Vehicle Profile: 2017 Ford Escape

The 2017 Ford Escape combines comfort and performance

With comfort and power in spades, the 2017 Ford Escape is a top-notch SUV. The model has a sharp new design available in three different trims: S, SE and Titanium. Some highlights of the 2017 Escape include a 3,500-pound max towing rating when properly equipped, three engine options and an additional Sport Appearance Package available on the SE and Titanium trims, making it an even sleeker vehicle.

Take a look inside

The 2017 Ford Escape provides comfort and class, all in one. With available leather-trimmed front bucket seats, a driver’s side footrest and an overhead console with sunglasses storage, the 2017 Escape feels like home away from home. The urethane steering wheel with cruise and audio controls allows you to manage your music at the touch of a button, without taking your hands off the steering wheel. For added storage inside, the 2017 Escape comes standard with 60/40 split-fold-flat rear seat backs.

Up-to-date technology

With its advanced radio and technology, the 2017 Ford Escape keeps you connected. Remote Keyless-Entry, SYNC® Enhanced Voice Recognition Communication and Entertainment System and six speakers all come standard on the 2017 Escape. An additional four speakers are available on the Titanium trim, for an even more enhanced system. To top it all off, the SE trim comes standard with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio.

Built to perform

The 2017 Ford Escape prides itself on efficiency. The 2.5-liter, I-VCT engine, standard on the S trim, earns 21/29/24 MPG City/Highway/Combined with 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque.* The 1.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, standard on the SE and Titanium, maintains 23/30/26 MPG City/Highway/Combined with 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.*

Performance and practicality combine perfectly in the 2017 Ford Escape. With its advanced technology, stellar performance and additional storage, the Escape is the perfect SUV for you and your family.

*EPA-estimated city/hwy mpg for the model indicated. See fueleconomy.gov for fuel economy of other engine/transmission combinations. Actual mileage will vary. On plug-in hybrid models and electric models, fuel economy is stated in MPGe. MPGe is the EPA equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric mode operation.

Health Benefits of Laughing

Laugh your way to better health

Tired of the gym? Looking for some easier ways to boost your health besides that dreaded eight-letter word (“exercise”)? The research is in. Apparently laughter is a necessary, but often overlooked, component for overall wellbeing.

Helps tone your core

Do you ever wonder why your stomach feels sore after a hearty laugh? When you laugh, you are actually contracting and expanding your diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This results in toned core muscles. Laughing definitely seems to be a great way to sneak in a mini core workout without hitting the gym.

Increases positive hormones, eradicates negative ones

Laughter triggers your body to release positive hormones like dopamine, while reducing levels of negative hormones like cortisol. Dopamine promotes clarity of thinking, a peaceful sensation and an overall positive mindset. Besides dopamine, laughing increases positive hormones like neurotransmitters and endorphins. Interestingly enough, endorphins are a type of natural pain minimizer, because they latch onto the same receptors that opiates do. These hormones help reduce anger, tension, anxiety and depression.

Clears your mind

According to Time magazine, laughter triggers gamma frequencies which help to sync the way your brain neurons talk to each other. Loma Linda University researchers did a study in which they observed these gamma frequencies in advanced meditators’ brains. The core investigator of this study, Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, commented on the positive effects of laughter on the brain: “When there is mirthful laughter, it’s as if the brain gets a workout. […] This allows for […] being able to think more clearly and have more integrative thoughts. This is of great value to individuals who need or want to revisit, reorganize or rearrange various aspects of their lives or experiences.”

Keep illness and germs at bay

Laughing more can help you to avoid getting sick. Studies have shown that your body produces more immune system-boosting T-cells if you laugh regularly than if you do not. This is because laughing involves diaphragmatic breathing which puts a negative pressure on the thoracic duct. This, in turn, boosts the flow of lymphatic fluid, which triggers greater production of immune-boosting cells like NK, t and b cells.

Boosts your cardiac health

Laughter is a great way to keep your heart healthy and minimize the chance of a heart attack. The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore published a study in which they compared the humor responses of 300 individuals. Half had had histories of cardiovascular health problems, while the other half did not. After analyzing two different survey results, they found that those with heart disease experiences were less likely to recognize humor, while the other group had a better humor response.

Beneficial for diabetics

Yet another health perk of laughter is that it can help those with diabetes. Japanese researchers analyzed a group of diabetics and published a study that found a direct correlation between laughter and a minimized spike in two-hour PPBG (post-prandial blood glucose) levels. When the participants attended a 40-minute post-meal lecture, their PPBG rose 6.8mmol/L average. However, their PPBG rose only 4.3 mmol/L average after they attended a 40-minute post-meal comedy show.

Laughter definitely seems to be an easy, cost-effective way to improve both your physical and mental health.

Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Recipes

Three tasty takes on classic summertime barbeque

No summer soirée is complete without the smell of seasoned meat wafting through the yard and sticky fingers covered in spicy BBQ sauce. Whether you’re grilling out on the patio or making dinner in the kitchen on a rainy day, these three BBQ recipes will delight your family by offering unique spins on classic cooked meats.

Ultimate barbecued chicken

This recipe from Chef Tyler Florence of the Food Network’s “Tyler’s Ultimate” aims to be the best barbecued chicken you’ve ever tasted, and—based on its reviews—it succeeds.

It begins with soaking the chicken in brine made of water, salt, sugar, garlic and thyme for two hours in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, mix the sauce in a warm saucepan on the stove, slowly adding bacon, thyme, olive oil, onion, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, red or white wine vinegar, dry mustard, cumin, paprika and ground pepper until the entire mixture is cooked and simmering for 20 minutes.

Dry and cook the chicken on an outdoor grill for 10 minutes, then continue cooking in the oven for another 15 at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit). Brush liberally with the sauce and bake for another 25-30 minutes before serving with more sauce.

Beer-braised BBQ

From the kitchen of Dave Lieberman, host of the Food Network’s “Good Deal with Dave Lieberman” comes this recipe that is a cinch to cook in large quantities.

Start by mixing ground black pepper, salt, chili powder, garlic, ground coriander and ground mustard seed. Knead it into a couple pounds of pork butt, then wrap the hunk of meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, cook the unwrapped pork in a roasting pan in a 500-degree oven for 45 minutes. After removing the pan and lowering the temperature to 375 degrees, pour 12 ounces of good ale or dark beer over the top and surround the meat with chopped garlic cloves. Continue cooking the pan, now covered in ventilated foil, for another 2.5 hours. Simmer the leftover pan juice in a pot for 20 minutes, adding ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Once you pull apart the pork butt and pour the sauce over it, your meal is ready to be served.

Sweet tea ribs

Yet another of the many excellent BBQ recipes on the Food Network’s website, this sweet take on ribs pairs perfectly with lemony potato salad.

Using about three bags of loose leaf black tea (can be emptied directly from tea bags), mix the un-brewed leaves with brown sugar, salt, ground black pepper and zested orange peel. Rub the mixture into two racks of dried baby back or beef ribs.

Steep three tea bags in two cups of water until dark and then dissolve in more brown sugar and some squeezed orange juice. Once the ribs have been in the roasting pan for a half hour to reach room temperature—if not already—pour the liquid around the ribs and bake them covered for 90 minutes in the oven at 275 degrees.

Then, drain the liquid from the pan into a stovetop saucepan and simmer at medium heat, basting the ribs with it and returning them to the oven, uncovered at 450 degrees for another 20-30 minutes. Let the rest of the sauce thicken and serve it over the cooked ribs.

If you love BBQ, you’ll enjoy trying out these savory new recipes this summer. Just be sure you make enough to share with your friends and family!

5 Dog Breeds Surprisingly Suited to Small Apartment Life

These breeds are perfect for smaller spaces

Dog lovers can still be dog lovers no matter where they are; whether you live in a big house with a fenced in yard or a one-bedroom apartment, there is a dog out there waiting to make your home its own. Here are a handful of well-known dog breeds that are fit for apartment life.

Pugs

While this is one of the more obvious choices, Pugs are perfect apartment dogs. Their size gives them an advantage, making an apartment more than enough space for them to be comfortable. But here’s the best part: while small dogs often come with yappy barks, Pugs don’t follow that rule. Pugs are quiet, gentle dogs that remain inactive when indoors; basically, they are couch potatoes. They love relaxing at home and will binge-watch the newest season of “House of Cards” with you any time.

Boxers

Boxers are medium-sized dogs, reaching up to around 2 ft. and 60-70 lbs, according to Dog Time. Because they are larger than pugs, they do need a bit more exercise. However, this need can be satisfied with walking or a trip to the dog park. Boxers tend to be good with kids and families due to their loving temperament. Another plus is that with their short hair, Boxers barely shed, which is always a perk when you have a small living space.

Greyhounds

You may be thinking, “Those are the fastest racing dogs out there! How can they be calm enough to live in an apartment?” According to the American Kennel Club, Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed in the world, but there’s a catch−Greyhounds expel their energy in short, quick bursts. In other words, they’re sprinters, not marathon runners. When they aren’t sprinting, they are actually low-energy dogs, spending most of their time lounging around. Their energy levels combined with their medium to large frames make Greyhounds a pretty good fit for an apartment lifestyle.

Welsh Corgis

Welsh Corgis are a unique breed. They are smaller dogs, but they have many of the features of a large dog. The most prominent difference between Corgis and larger breeds is their short legs, which are fairly disproportionate to their bodies. Corgis are athletic but only need moderate amounts of exercise, so walking them or taking them to a dog park is sufficient. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Corgis often have separation anxiety, so leaving them at home all day isn’t the best idea, no matter how big your home might be.

Shiba Inus

Shiba Inus are bold characters. Their personalities are prominent, so you’ll get to know them quickly. These small dogs are quiet and independent. They love their alone time, so you won’t have too many problems leaving them during the workday. Not to mention, having a quiet dog with an apartment is important; the last thing you need is a neighbor complaining at your door.

It is important to keep in mind the dog’s temperament and size when choosing a dog breed. Just because a dog is small does not mean it is fit for apartment life; the same goes for large dogs. Not all larger dogs need excessive amounts of exercise. Doing your research helps ensure you find the perfect dog for your lifestyle.

Car Care: Car Maintenance FAQs

Maintenance tips to keep your car running smoothly

It might be hard to admit, but your life probably revolves around your vehicle. Between errands, family activities, work and entertainment, your car must be reliable and trustworthy to keep your world running smoothly.

Since you expect so much from your vehicle, it’s important to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible. The best way to ensure your vehicle’s good health is to practice regular car care. With these car maintenance tips from the experts at Kelley Blue Book, you can help your vehicle operate at its highest potential.

Oil and air

Regular oil changes and oil level checks are great ways to protect your engine. Whether you choose to do the work yourself or relinquish the responsibility to an automotive professional, regular oil changes are essential for a long engine life.

Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the service schedule recommendations for changing transmission and other fluids. While oil needs replacing regularly, other fluids only need flushing at intervals specified in your owner’s manual.

While you are tackling an oil change or oil check, MoneyCrashers.com writer David Bakke suggests turning your attention to your car’s air filter, which needs replacing every 12,000 miles, or once a year. Again, this is a task you can handle yourself, but if it would make you feel more comfortable, seek out a professional’s help. According to Bakke, the air filter is under the hood encased in a black rectangular box with metal clips. Open up the box and before removing the filter, take notice of how it fits inside. Take out the old, put in the new and secure the clips.

Cool factor

To keep your car from running too hot, a yearly flush of the cooling system is needed. Use a half-and-half mixture of coolant and distilled water as a coolant replacement. This potion works well to keep deposits and corrosion at bay.

Wash and wax

Regular car washes are not just exercises in vanity. By consistently washing your vehicle, you will rid it of potentially corrosive materials like salt and road muck that love to nest under your vehicle. To make the most of your car washing efforts, apply a coat of wax at least twice a year. Your paint will be protected and shine like new.

Power source

It’s a common occurrence—you’re running late for work and when you go to start your car, nothing happens. To prevent this from happening, Bakke recommends looking at the condition of your battery and its connections every few months. Is it getting gunked up with crunchy white residue? Even a little bit of this residue signals that a cleaning is due.

Your vehicle is a mass of parts moving and working together to keep your life moving on the road. By practicing regular maintenance checks and procedures, you will have peace of mind knowing your vehicle is running at its best. If in doubt about your mechanical abilities, take your car to your local dealership where certified technicians will give it the TLC it needs to remain in top shape.

4 Places to Cool Off in Minnesota and Wisconsin

Stay comfortable and active at these attractions

As the summer wears on, the heat can become a big nuisance. You can choose to stay inside with the air conditioning, but that severely limits the activities you can do. If you are in the great states of Wisconsin or Minnesota, consider one of these unique places to go and escape the heat without avoiding adventure.

Black Beach (Minnesota)

Minnesota might not be on the ocean, but that does not mean it lacks great beaches. One of the upper coast’s best-kept secrets is Black Beach, which is situated in Silver Bay north of Duluth. According to SuperiorHiking.com, the beach is a short hike off of a city access road and is a fairly popular spot for locals. The beach is covered in soft black sand and there is a small island and rock formation a short way off the beach. There is also a cove waiting to be explored. If you visit this beach, you should know that there are be prepared fr no traditional beach amenities, and the water is cold due to its location on the northernmost Great Lake, Superior.

North Beach (Wisconsin)

If you and your family are looking for a more traditional beach experience, consider North Beach in Racine, south of Milwaukee. This beach on Lake Michigan is huge, offering 50 acres of sand stretched along about 2,500 feet of water. North Beach was named one of USA Today’s 51 Great American Beaches. From food to boats and disabled access, North Beach is a great choice if you want a kid-friendly experience.

Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

If you want to explore some of Minnesota’s most pristine pieces of wilderness in your quest to stay cool, consider visiting Voyageurs National Park near the Canadian border. Voyageurs is located in the true heart of the North American continent and the only way to explore all of it is by using the water highways of the North Woods. The water is a great place to cool off, and visitors can choose to paddle a rented canoe or take a boat tour from one of three main starting points: the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center or Ash River Visitor Center. Besides the water, Voyageurs is known for good camping spots to watch the night sky with limited light pollution and the combination of Boreal forest and hardwood forest.

Noah’s Ark Waterpark (Wisconsin)

Being by the water is a good idea on a hot day, but if you cannot get cool enough there is no better cure than just jumping in. North of Madison is Noah’s Ark Waterpark, which bills itself as America’s largest water park. All that space means that there are plenty of ways to get wet and stay comfortable, such as slides, lazy rivers and land activities when it is time to take a break. If you feel more like staying dry while your family enjoys the park, consider booking a cabana in advance to reserve your slice of shade.

There are plenty of ways to stay cool in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Get out and explore to find what works best for you.

2017 Kia Niro: Built from the Ground Up

A new hybrid crossover takes the industry by storm

The 2017 Kia Niro isn’t just new for 2017: it’s an all-new model in the Kia lineup and the automaker’s first to be built from the ground up as a hybrid vehicle. More than that, it is also a fresh take on the crossover segment that combines generous passenger room and impressive fuel economy with an outstanding list of modern safety and convenience technologies. It’s no wonder the 2017 Kia Niro was named “Highest Ranked Small SUV in Initial Quality” in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study.*

The 2017 Kia Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. It produces a combined 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque while returning 52 mpg city, 49 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined,** making it one of the most efficient hybrids on the market and, notably, putting it well ahead of any similarly-priced competitors such as the Toyota Prius v or the Ford C-MAX.

Style is second nature to the 2017 Kia Niro, which boasts a clean yet attractive small crossover SUV design with modern touches like body-color door handles and mirrors on every model, and some nice upgrades like 18-inch alloy wheels on upper trims.

The interior is perhaps the Niro’s greatest strength. Everything is smartly situated, from the audio and climate controls to the USB and power ports. All the buttons and knobs feel well-engineered and the overall layout was clearly designed with functionality and elegance equally in mind. At the center of it all is the latest version of Kia’s easy-to-use UVO3 infotainment system, standard across all trim levels, which includes Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility as well as one-touch access to Pandora internet radio and various other apps.

The 2017 Kia Niro is probably the first small crossover SUV to provide all of the advantages that come with greater vehicle size but without any of the downsides. In addition to its excellent fuel economy, it also boasts a tight turning radius, good outward visibility and a standard backup camera, making it easy to navigate even the busiest city streets and parking lots.

Additionally, the Niro comes with available rear cross-traffic alert, a new adaptive cruise control system and various other useful passive and active safety technologies, including as a driver’s knee airbag, traditional traction control and vehicle stability control systems, and an Iso-Structure™ body made of more than 50% advanced high-strength steel.

Add to all that America’s leading warranty and the 2017 Kia Niro promises to be the hybrid and crossover SUV combination that everyone had hoped would finally take the industry by storm.

*The Kia Niro received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles reflecting higher quality among small SUVs in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study based on 77,419 total responses, evaluating 189 models, and measures the opinions of new 2017 vehicle owners after 90 days of ownership, surveyed in February-May 2017. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com/cars.

**EPA fuel economy estimates. Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits, and your vehicle’s condition.

August 2017 Boucher Employee Anniversaries

Boucher Hyundai of Waukesha BLODGETT, JAMES CLYDE
Boucher Nissan of Waukesha DORPAT, JASON ROBERT
Gordie Boucher Lincoln of West Allis SULLIVAN, JOHN KYLE
Frank Boucher Mazda VW Kia of Racine MIRELES, CASSANDRA
Gordie Boucher Nissan of Greenfield CARRILLO JR, DAVID L
Gordie Boucher Ford of Kenosha WERDERITCH, KEITH A
Gordie Boucher Ford Lincoln Mazda of Janesville ARELA, TAMMY JEAN

 

Boucher Kia of Milwaukee ZARLING, JOSHUA E
Boucher Hyundai of Waukesha CAMARA, SCOTT R
Boucher VW Marketplace of Franklin KLECZKA, CHRISTOPHER C

 

Gordie Boucher Ford Lincoln Mazda of Janesville HARRIS, TED S

 

Boucher Chevrolet of Waukesha SIEGRIST, DEBORAH L
Boucher Kia of Milwaukee BUTH, ROBERT R

 

Frank Boucher Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram VW of Janesville BOXRUCKER, BRUCE

How to Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales

Feel like a kid again with back-to-school sales

Even if you don’t have kids heading back to school, you shouldn’t miss out on the benefits of back-to-school sales. You might not be in the market for safety scissors or an eight-pack of crayons—although now is the time to stock up if you are—but back-to-school sales cover so much more than just school supplies.

Office supplies

Perhaps you don’t need school supplies like colored pencils, glue sticks or a box of 26 No.2 pencils, but maybe your office supply drawer needs an inventory boost. Post-it® notes, notebooks, planners, pens and more will all be marked down, making back-to-school sales more like back-to-the-office sales.

Cleaning supplies

Since today’s school supplies lists usually include a box of tissue, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes and/or zip-top baggies, stores usually slash the regular price of these items. So, it is the perfect time for you to stock up on these staples, too.

Technology

You might be long past needing a graphing calculator, but what about a new laptop, printer or tablet? Kids of all ages will be heading back to school, and high school and college students will need to stock up on high-tech items. Back-to-school sales might be the push you need to overhaul your office technology, including your cell phone.

According to the experts at HirschfeldHomes.com, back-to-school means parents are in the market for new plans and/or cellphones for their college-bound kids; even if you are not headed to higher education or sending off a young adult to college, you might want to look into a phone upgrade or cheaper plan.

Linens

Kids headed off to college need a place to rest their heads, which means it’s time to take stock of your own linen closet, according to the HirschfeldHomes.com experts. Pillows, pillowcases, sheets, blankets, towels and even decorative items are typically included in back-to-school sales. Students want their home away from home to be inviting, comfortable and stylish, and stores are ready and willing to help them create a fantastic space. HirschfeldHomes.com says that now is the ideal time for you to restock your own linens, revamp your guest room or splurge on home decor.

Small appliances

Depending on a college’s rules, students often store small appliances in their rooms such as mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, vacuums, irons and fans. If your coffee maker has seen better days or you always wished you didn’t have to share the office fridge, back-to-school season—and all of its sales—is the perfect time for an appliance upgrade.

Art Supplies

School and office supplies need not only be practical or boring; art and craft supplies are usually included in back-to-school sales, too. Markers, crayons, fancy paper, glitter glue, coloring books and even scrapbooking materials are waiting for you to unleash your inner artist. Or, create a “kid craft basket” filled with the art and craft supplies—a great way to entertain your nieces, nephews or friend’s children on their next visit to your home, according to the experts at HirschfeldHomes.com.

By taking advantage of all that back-to-school sales have to offer, you’ll earn an A+ in savings and feel like a kid again.