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"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
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Creative Leisure News
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Date: November 7, 2011
Vol. XIV, No. 20, #337

Printer Version


bulletCommentary: Tell Me Your Story
bulletNew Columns This Issue
bulletTake the CLN Poll: Fabric, Floral, & Food
bulletCLN Poll: Art, Needlework, & Kids
bulletMichaels Launches Online Scrapbook Service
bulletTNNA Announces New Leadership
bulletCHA Slates Board Candidates
bulletCall for Nominating Committee Nominations
bulletBoye Brand Celebrates 105th Birthday
bulletCHA Exhibitors Working Together
bulletPlaid ... And Hollywood
bulletOctober Sales: Up, But ...
bulletTwo More Pepe Stories
bulletRandom Notes, Random Thoughts
bulletMiscellaneous News: CHA
bulletMiscellaneous News: Retail
bulletMiscellaneous News: Hobby Lobby
bulletMiscellaneous News
bulletThe Creative Network: Job Openings
bulletProfound Thoughts & Quotes


While writing the last issue about Sbar's and Pepe, it struck me what fertile ground our industry is for entrepreneurs. Retired sales rep Max Makow's first distributor was a little shop whose "warehouse" was in the basement. Pepe Piperno started working for Sbar's for $1/hour as a high school freshman and a quarter century later bought the company. Jo-Ann started as a cheese shop in Cleveland. A chemist invented a fabric paint and started a little company. Went bankrupt but hung on. Then fabric painting became a hit and he sold the company for $100 million. How many businesses started on a kitchen table? The stories go on and on.

Tell me your story. How did your business start? (It doesn't have to be a resounding success; heck, in this economy that fact that you're still standing is an achievement.) I'd like to highlight a company in each upcoming issue. (You'll see a piece about Boye, below.) Email your story to mike@clnonline.com.

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Scene & Heard. Industry veteran Ellie Joos reports the big news from the recent Quilt Market and Festival events in Houston.

"Benny Da Buyer". If your store is in business for any length of time, the local media will notice you and want to write a story or broadcast a tv segment. It's a great opportunity for free publicity, but how do you maximize the positive effects? Heather Gooch, author of Positive Yarns: Musings on Marketing for Needlearts and Craft Retailers, has some simple but valuable tips.

(Note: If you click on the column and it's not the column you expected, click the Reload or Refresh button of your browser.)

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Here we go again: This time predict fourth-quarter sales in sewing, florals, and food crafting compared to last year. To vote, click on Industry Polls in the right-hand column or click HERE.

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Voters in CLN's unscientific poll are pretty optimistic about kids crafts and art materials. Needlework? Not so much. Those expecting kids crafts sales to be better than last year outnumbered those expecting a sales decline 42.9% to 14.3%. The rest thought sales would be about the same or weren't sure one way or another.

The spread between those expecting art materials sales to increase compared to those looking for a decline was also positive: 40.0% to 13.3%.

But the spread was slightly negative for needlework (excluding knitting and crochet supplies); 26.7% predict better fourth-quarter sales this year, but a full third, 33.3%, think sales will be lower.

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Michaels has launched MiDesign@Michaels a web-based application allowing customers to work online to create photo books, scrapbook pages, greeting cards, and custom invitations. There are two levels, free and premium content. Free members have access to hundreds of backgrounds and embellishments. Club members can choose from thousands of creative options, print their projects at home, and share via email or several social media outlets including Facebook and Flickr. All MiDesign@Michaels users can have their projects professionally printed, bound, and shipped to their homes or nearest Michaels store.

The program is an outgrowth of Michaels' September, 2010 acquisition of an online scrapbook application created by the technology company ScrapHD..

"So many people have all their wonderful family memories just sitting on their computers and Facebook, and MiDesign@Michaels Photo Creations and Custom Invites is a great way to bring those photos to life and to share them with others in a new, unique way," said Paula Puleo, Michaels Chief Marketing Officer. “MiDesign@Michaels can help anyone – whether an avid scrapbooker or a beginner – make beautiful keepsakes to last a lifetime.”

MiDesign@Michaels prints on heavyweight paper so customers can add embellishments and original mementos to create a scrapbook or individual pages that can be framed.

The books can be bound in soft cover, hard cover, or custom leather styles. To learn more, click HERE.

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Board of Directors. Joel Woodcock (Lantern Moon) was elected President. Sharon Garmize (Sharon G.) is VP and Karen Rumpza (Needlework Unlimited) is Secretary/Treasurer. Matt Bryant (Prism Arts) continues as Past President. A new board member is Sharon Crescent (Crescent Colours).

Also serving on the board are Dale Lenci (DJ Designs); Kristin Muench (Muench Yarns); Hal Ozbelli (Universal Yarn); and Dave Stott (Norden Crafts).

Product Segment Group Chairs. Warren "Pete" Poitras (JP Needlepoint), Needlepoint Group … Beth Casey (Orna's Laces), Yarn Group … Debbie Rowley (DebBee's Designs), Counted Thread & Embroidery Group … Dave Van Stralen (Louet North America), Spinning & Weaving Group. Group Chairs also serve on the board.

Retail Council. Penny Franz (Ewe Count) Chair and Board Representative … Donna Zimmerman (The Web-Sters), Vice Chair … Karen Aho (Acorn Street Shop), Secretary/Treasurer. Toehr members include Debra Koch (Stitches N Things); Roberta "Bobbi" Kreb (Amazing Threads); Lori Mazza (Waste Knot Needlepoint); and Randi Nelson (The World in Stitches).

The winter TNNA show moves from California to Phoenix, Jan. 21-23, with education beginning Jan. 19. For info, click HERE.

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Nominated to a second three-year board term, Mark Hill has 25+ years industry experience and is currently President/CEO for The New Image Group, a holding company for brands such as CPE Felt, Lara’s Crafts, Kelly's Crafts, and Signature Designs.

Nominated for a first board director term, Nora Abousteit is the co-founder of BurdaStyle.com, which the New York Times described as a "sort of Facebook® for sewers." It is the largest DIY fashion and sewing community with almost 700,000 registered members and nearly 7 million page views/month.

Also nominated for a first term, Kerri Wickersheim is Director of Marketing for the Bernina Sewing Supplies Companies which includes BREWER™ OESD embroidery design products and Benartex Fabrics. Previously she was Marketing and Creative Director for 3L Corporation's Scrapbook Adhesives line.

The candidates will be officially elected by a proxy ballot which will be mailed to each CHA member company’s voting contact by Nov. 29. The confirmation of the directors’ election will be announced at the CHA Annual Business Meeting to be held during the 71st annual Winter Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim Jan. 28–Feb. 1, 2012.

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CHA is seeking nominations of industry members to serve on the committee for a one-year term in 2012. This autonomous group is responsible for interviewing the nominated candidates to the Board of Directors for 2013.The Committee is comprised of three current board directors elected by the Board, and three at-large members elected by the membership.

To be eligible, nominees must be employed by a CHA member company. Employees of CHA member companies may nominate themselves, or another CHA member employee. The link to print the nomination form can be found under the "Membership" area of the CHA website at www.craftandhobby.org. To receive a copy by email, email memberservices@craftandhobby.org. The deadline is Nov. 21.

The general CHA membership will elect the committee members when a proxy ballot will be mailed to members in late November. The winners will be announced at the annual business meeting.

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The company Boye was founded in Chicago in 1906 by three former sewing machine salesmen, one of whom was James H. Boye. The three partners patented a revolving cabinet for sewing machine needles, shuttles, and bobbins, thus making it much easier  for small merchants and manufacturers to keep an orderly supply of sewing accessories on hand for their customers.

From there the company expanded to offer sewing machine parts and accessories, followed by hand sewing needles and miscellaneous sewing notions.

In 1917, Boye introduced the first complete line of steel crochet hooks and knitting needles made in America; Aluminum crochet hooks and needles were added in 1923. The light-weight, durable aluminum tools we know today were introduced in 1949. In 1965 the original NeedleMaster set of interchangeable knitting needles was added and Boye once again revolutionized hand knitting. Today Boye is known as the largest company of its type manufacturing and distributing art needle implements and accessories.

The company was sold in 1971 to the Newell Company, then in 1987 Boye and Newell merged with Wrights, but the well-known Boye brand name continues. In 2008, Boye and Wrights became part of the family of companies represented by Simplicity Creative Group.

To see the complete line of current Boye products, go to www.simplicity.com.

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CLN has always encouraged independent retailers to work together in groups such as Crafter's Home and Sierra Pacific Crafts, and activities such as shop hops. The value of working together applies to vendors, too.

Clearsnap, Globecraft Memories, Justrite Stampers, Makin's Clay, Rubber Stamp Concepts, ScraPerfect, The Robin's Nest, and Westcott Brand Cutting Tools are the 2012 Independent Manufacturers Partners (IMP), a loosely affiliate group of independent CHA members who will be cooperatively promoting their products at the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show in January in Anaheim.

The vendors will be offering prizes, a special workshop, a designer gallery, and more, all showing how their products work together.

There will be more on IMP's plans and activities in future issues of CLN.

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In the last issue CLN reported on a movie, Courageous, that had various scenes filmed in a Coats & Clark facility in Albany, GA. This time it's Plaid and the stars of the hit movie, Puss in Boots.

To use the movie's premier to support a charity, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, and Billy Bob Thornton each personally decorated a pair of Frye Boots with supplies donated by Plaid.

The individually customized boots are now on display at Frye Boots' flagship store in Manhattan and will be up for public auction on eBay beginning today through Nov. 17. Once the auction is live, bids can be placed on www.eBay.com/pussinboots.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit Stand Up 2 Cancer, a program by the non-profit Entertainment Industry Foundation which was established to engage the public in supporting a new model of cancer research designed to get new therapies to patients quickly.

"We are pleased to participate in this creative activity--it's a natural for Plaid," said Plaid President Mike McCooey. "It's even more meaningful that the campaign will benefit cancer research, a long-time beneficiary of Plaid's charitable causes."

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Same-store sales in October were generally up, but for many chains the increase wasn't as good as analysts expected. A survey by Thomson Reuters found that Wall Street analysts had expected the 23 retailers in its index to report a 4.7% increase in October same-store sales. The increase was only 3.4%, but that was still better than last October's 1.6% increase. About two-thirds of the retailers reported sales below the analysts' predictions.

A sampling of October same-store results: Costco, +9.0% … Dillard's, +8.0% … Limited Brands (Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works), +6.0% … Nordstrom, +5.4% … Kohl's, +3.9% … Target, +3.3% … Macy's, +2.2% … Saks, +1.6% … J.C. Penney, -2.6% … Gap (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy), -6.0%.

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In the last issue, CLN reported that an affiliate of Sbar's, owned by Pepe Piperno, is acquiring A. C. Moore, and included stories about Pepe. Readers responded with two more.

1. I also have a Sbars/Pepe story to share: Many years ago I was a VP for Herr's, a distributing-competitor to Sbar's and Pepe. I later accepted a management position with AMACO and became a vendor/supplier for Sbar's/Pepe. Within a month I was invited to attend an open house for Sbar's at their new warehouse location. Since I previously was a competitor, I was not sure how I would be welcomed. Arriving to my hotel the evening before the event, I found a basket of fresh home made cookies and a note from Pepe that said, "Welcome to the Sbar's family, Mark. We have always respected you as a competitor and look forward to working with you at Sbar's."

I was even more impressed the day of the event. Pepe came by my booth to help me set up for the show!

Wow, now that is leadership. – Mark Lee, Flowersoft

2. Pepe is a wonderful person and a true professional in every way. I know. I learned more from Pepe about the craft industry than any other person and always will be grateful to him for the knowledge he passed on. He was always willing to listen, and what a wonderful teacher he is. I wish him much success in this new venture.

I also enjoyed the comments from Max [Makow] and Larry [Kennie]. In my opinion they were two of the most knowledgeable people in the craft industry. -- Don Rigg, retired from Treasure Island

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1. The other day the Business Editor of the Peoria Journal Star interviewed me and wrote an article HERE. After all the typos I've published over the years, it's poetic justice that the Journal Star misspelled my name in the headline.

2. Writing history – accurately – is tough, thanks to conflicting memories from people who were there. I also heard that Millie Sbar fought in the British Army before Great Britain divided Palestine and Israel. I also heard that Millie was friends with Golda Meir, Israel's fourth prime minister.

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REGISTRATION. The schedule and registration for the 2012 Winter Conference & Trade Show begins tomorrow. Go to www.craftandhobby.org to register and see the schedule of events.

BOARD. The Board of Directors has re-elected Larry Olliges, President of Dee's Crafts, to another term as Chair. Maureen Ruth of Creative Marketing Solutions was elected Vice Chair, and Mark Peters, President/COO of iLoveToCreate was elected Secretary.

EXHIBITORS. Exhibiting at the winter Conference & Trade Show? CHA offers free tools, ShowBiz Connections and the Exhibitor Invite Program, to help you maximize attendance at your booth – and a webinar to explain how to use them. The speakers will be Steve Rittler, Chief Technology Officer for ExpoLogic, and Andria LaJeunesse, CHA Registration Manager. The hour-long webinar is Dec. 7 at 1 pm EST, but you must register, and registration opens today. It's free to members, $25 for non-members. For info, click HERE.

DEADLINE. This Friday is the last day to submit a workshop application for the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show. Visit HERE.

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HANCOCK. The board of directors named Steven Morgan to serve as President/CEO and to continue to on the board. Morgan, 59, has been Interim President/CEO since January 2011 and a board member since June 2010. He has 30+ years of retail experience.

CARDS. This Saturday all 134 A.C. Moore stores will host a free card-making event in conjunction with EKSuccess Brands and Operation Christmas Cards, which sends Christmas cards to armed forces personnel in Afghanistan, Japan, Iraq, Egypt, and Germany.

INDEPENDENTS. FEDEX and AMEX are once again sponsoring Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to shop at their local independent retail stores on Nov. 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. They're offering gift cards and credits to consumers who shop at stores that are registered for the program, and special inducements for retailers. Retailers can learn more at www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday. A summary of the overall program is HERE. … The October issue of Country Living magazine has a nice profile of the Central Yarn Shop in Portland Maine. The shop has been family owned since 1949. Visit www.centralyarn.com.

LAWSUIT. Has been filed concerning the pending acquisition of A.C. Moore by an affiliate of Sbar's. Read the legalese HERE.

IMPORTS. The U.S. Senate passed the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act, a bipartisan bill intended to pressure China to accelerate the appreciation of its currency against the dollar. The Toy Industry Assn. is not happy about it. Read why HERE.  

MICHAELS. The company's "Make It, Gift It, Decorate It" includes ideas and inspiration to help customers tackle all kinds of holiday projects and events in conjunction with the Association of Hole in the Wall camps, the Starlight Children's Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. A schedule of in-store holiday events is available at Michaels.com/store-events.

IMPORTS.  Cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 2.6% in October, according to the National Retail Federation.

That Sam's Club now offers custom framing? See it HERE.

SEWING. Taya Swensen of Humble, TX won the top prize in Jo-Ann's Own Your Look™ Prom Contest. There were 2,500+ entries and Taya won $50,000. The dress took 300+ hours to sew and was based on an art project she had drawn; she followed no pattern. To see many of the entries, click HERE.

SURVEYS. A Michaels' customer survey conducted in October revealed that 65% of respondents said they plan to make gifts this year; almost half said they will make cards and 69% will make decorations.  

THE JOYS OF RETAIL. Kudos to the Jo-Ann store in Knoxville, TN (a concealed gun state) that has a sign in the door, "No Guns." Now some self-appointed gun rights enthusiast is trying to get the company to take down the sign, which it has refused to do. Read it HERE and shake your head. (Comment: Is that what our industry needs, more guns in our stores?)

CRIME. The Hancock store in Greenville, NC was burglarized when a man smashed a glass door with a baseball bat and robbed the cash register. The police were puzzled because surveillance cameras showed the man wearing sandals, GreenvilleOnline reported.

WAL-MART. The president of the China division announced his resignation shortly after authorities in the city of Chongqing arrested two employees, closed 13 stores for two weeks, and fined the company 2.7 million yuan ($421,000) on charges of passing off regular pork as higher-priced organic meat. The company said the two issues were not related, the Associated Press reported. The stores have re-opened.

STOCKS. A.C. Moore: $1.59, up $0.04 ... Hancock: $0.76, down $0.09 ... Wal‑Mart: $57.50, up $2.04 ... Dow Jones: 11,983.24, up 2.9%. (Note: All changes in price are since 10/14 and are exclusive of dividends.)

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EXPANSION. If you had any doubt that HL was going national, forget it. Today the company is opening five stores -- to date the most in a single day. But it isn't just the number of stores, it's where they are: Middletown, NY; Lakeland, FL; Lynnwood, WA; and Temecula and Rancho Cucamonga, CA. … Another new store is on the way for Victorville, in the San Bernardino area. It will be HL's seventh store in California.

JOBS. The new store in Lakeland, FL received approximately 1,500 applicants for 70 openings, and many of those jobs are only seasonal, The Ledger reported.

REBUILDING. The store in Tuscaloosa, AL was destroyed by a tornado, but a new store will open early next year. … The store in Kingsport, TN reopened two months after a violent storm caused the back wall and part of the roof to collapse.

CRIME. A thief recently walked into the store in Bolingbrook, IL about 1:00 pm, loaded a shopping cart with approximately $1,200 worth of art supplies, and walked out without paying.

QUOTATION. "We offer our classrooms to anyone who wants to teach at no charge; but we do require that the students of these classes use products that can be purchased at Hobby Lobby. The teachers set the class schedules and price." – Vincent Parker, Hobby Lobby's Director of Training and Customer Service at the opening of a new store in Chandler, AZ. (Wrangler News)

REMINDER. There are two Hobby Lobby companies: the craft chain and a hobby chain called Hobby Lobby International. There can be confusion which inadvertently spreads false information. For example, the hobby chain just announced its stores would be open on Sundays. That's the hobby chain, not the craft chain.

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CONDOLENCES. To Pat Koziol for the passing of her husband of 34 years, Richard, 64, who died suddenly on Oct. 15. They have two children, Emily and Andrew. Pat is the former exec director of HIA, CHA's predecessor, and still has many friends in the industry. Richard had a long career in radio broadcasting and was the founder of The Radio Reading Project, a radio service for the visually impaired. In lieu of memorials, donations should be made to The Radio Reading Project, 170 Kinnelon Rd., Ste. 33, Kinnelon, NJ 07405. To read the obituary and sign the guest book, click HERE.

DESIGNERS. Current members of CHA's Designer Section can apply for the 2012 New Horizons Awards sponsored by Plaid. The Awards were created in 2000 to recognize outstanding designers and to enhance their careers and professional development. Beginning and advanced artists can apply for a $1,500 award that will be presented to two artists based on their achievements and professional goals. The categories include applicants with 1-5 and 6+ years as a professional artist/crafter. Applications are being accepted through Dec. 15 on PlaidOnline.com. The awards will be presented at the CHA Designer Meeting to be held during the 2012 CHA Winter Conference and Trade Show in Anaheim.

BOOTH FOR SALE. Large Trade Show Booth for $15,000 (purchased by Delta Creative in 2001 for $137K). In very good condition and produced by a leading booth manufacturer, Skyline. Modular in format and can be used for the largest trade show islands or to accommodate smaller spaces or trade show requirements. For info, email Arlene Cheng at aching@deltacreative.com or CLN at mike@clnonline.com.

CPSIA. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approves two third-party product testing rules for domestic manufacturers, importers, and private labelers of children's products. To read a summary of the rules click HERE.

HOLIDAYS. Federal Express predicts a 12% increase in holiday deliveries, largely driven by a big increase in online shopping.

CHINA. The New York Times published an article on how wages and savings are not keeping up with inflation. To read the article, click HERE.

PHOTOS. The Photo Marketing Assn. announced the resignation of Exec Director Ted Fox. Jim Esp was named Interim Exec Director. Esp has led the International Activities at PMA for 10 years.

JEWELRY.  Beadalon has introduced new wire banding pliers to make wire wrapping easier. It's designed to make the initial tight band that holds wire designs together. Visit www.beadalon.com.

KIDS. Terri O, host of the PBS series, Super Simple with Terri O, and long-time spokesperson for CHA, has created two videos for Hygloss. One explains how to make a "Be Good Board." using Hygloss' behavior kit to make a behavior management board that caters to the specific needs of each of child. In another video, Terri demonstrates how Hygloss' Dazzlin Dough Language Kit can be used for letter identification skills, fine motor skills, and word creation. Visit www.hyglossproducts.com.

RECOMMENDED READING. Heather Gooch, an editorial and marketing consultant who specializes in the professional needlearts and crafts industries, has published a compendium of her online business columns. Positive Yarns: Musings on Marketing for Needlearts & Craft Retailers rounds up nearly three years of practical, hands-on advice focused mainly on improving the brand identities (and sales) of local yarn and needlepoint shops. The principles she espouses are relevant for other specialty shop owners, too. It's available for sale at PositiveYarn.com. Read "Benny Da Buyer" for an excerpt.

MAGAZINES. The new winter issue of Michigan Scrapbooker is now in stores. It's free to consumers who pick it up at locations listed HERE.

MAGAZINES. After growing for the first six months of the year, advertising declined 5.6% in consumer magazines in the third quarter, according to figures from the Publishers Information Bureau and as reported by Folio magazine.

TECHNOLOGY. The QR Code continues to spread. It's on many product packages and magazine ads. Now HSN is testing QR Codes on its high-definition channel, the New York Times reported. Viewers with smart phones can scan the code on the screen and be taken to more info about the product being sold and buy it without having to make a call.

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To read the latest listings click on Jobs in the left-hand column or click HERE.

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1. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. 

2. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day. 
3. Money cannot buy happiness but somehow, it's more comfortable to cry
in a Mercedes Benz than it is on a bicycle.
4. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

5. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

6. I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

"A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles in a year. Another study found Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon. Kind of makes you proud."

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1. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on "Printer Friendly version."

2. If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main office is welcome to register, free. Just click on "Work for a paid subscriber? Click Here to register" (center column, near the top).

3. If you ever have trouble with your password, click on "Trouble with your password?" in the right-hand column of the main page. The computer will then email the correct information to you.

4. CLN is published the first and third Mondays of each month. Because October has five Mondays, your next issue will be Monday, November 21.

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