Rookie QB Cam Newton shines amidst tough loss to Arizona
The Carolina Panthers 2011 football season is underway, and we at Volkswagen of South Charlotte couldn't be more excited! Coming off a rocky last season, we're hopeful that with the help of our new quarterback, Cam Newton, the Panthers will deliver a more winning season. Things are definitely looking up; in fact, SB Nation recently previewed the Panther's season and predicts a 6-10 record with the rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, we've had four preseason games and one regular season game, and only one win to show for it. The Panthers are going to need all the support they can get!
This past weekend, despite the loss of 28-21 to the Arizona Cardinals, the Panthers still showed a lot of promise. Newton tied the rookie record for passing yards with 422 passing yards, and the real key was how fun the Panthers were to watch for the first time in a lot of games. We got a small taste of the season to come (though we hope more games will end with a "W"), and with 2 thrown touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown, Newton looks like he'll be shaping up into a great quarterback this season.
For access to tickets and all of the latest news on the Panthers, visit the Carolina Panthers website. Be sure to tune in for their next game, here in Charlotte, against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m.
The Play Belt: New from Volkswagen’s Fun Theory
Last month, we at Volkswagen of South Charlotte introduced you to an initiative called The Fun Theory that Volkswagen launched back in 2009. The initiative was designed as experiment to see if "something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better." To test the theory, Volkswagen set up scenarios that made things like recycling and taking the stairs instead of the elevator fun. They placed hidden cameras around those scenarios to see the results. Last time we showed you an example where a staircase was transformed into a piano that made music and lit up as people walked up and down.
This month Volkswagen of South Charlotte has a second example: "the play belt." Here to try to encourage people to use seat belts, the inventor made buckling up a game. This idea is currently being tested in Sweden and could be implemented on a much wide scale in the future!
Volkswagen of South Charlotte is proud to announce that eight Volkswagen models have received the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2011 Top Safety Pick distinction from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The all-new 2012 Passat, CC 2.0L TSI®, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Tiguan, Touareg, and four-door Golf and GTI models were the models honored this year.
The annual rating from the renowned independent group is designed to recognize those vehicles that perform best in protecting passengers. Front, side and rear crash test evaluations are all used for ratings as is the newly required roof-strength test. You can find more information about Volkswagen's safety program online or by stopping by Volkswagen of South Charlotte today!
Parallel red stripes run horizontally across the honeycomb mesh black grille while over to one side are three gleaming chrome letters that say it all: GTI.
Gran Turismo Iniezione, in the original Italian, Grand Tourer Injection in English, the 2012 GTI is the latest incarnation of the original "hot hatch." The phrase “pocket-rocket” was invented for the Volkswagen GTI. The Granddaddy of every compact car with sporting aspirations, the GTI was the first, and it remains the class leader.
The point of a hot hatch is to combine practicality with driving excitement, and the GTI excels at both. With rear seats folded flat, the hatch opens up to over 40 cubic feet of cargo space. Put the seat up, and there’s room for five adults. The GTI comes with either two doors or four, and while enthusiasts may scoff at the idea of a four-door "pocket rocket," many will appreciate the ease of rear seat access afforded by the additional doors.
So the GTI is practical; what about excitement?
With a 2-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder under the hood producing 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet, this is a fast car, but the GTI is about so much more than sheer speed. GTI buyers are discerning motorists who appreciate that driving satisfaction comes not just from zero-to-sixty times (sub 7 seconds, for those who are concerned), and cornering Gs. They want to savor the connection between man, machine, and road. They value steering that takes the car precisely where it’s pointed, while providing feedback on how well the tires are gripping the surface. They want a ride that’s firm yet comfortable, an interior that’s quiet but not library-still, and acceleration and braking that gets them from A to B quicker than almost any other car on the road.
All of this the GTI delivers in spades, but let’s take a moment to review what else goes in to the 2012 model.
A 6-speed manual, standard across the range, shifts with the satisfying precision expected from the finest German engineering, but drivers desiring an automatic are rewarded with the 6-speed DSG®. This double shift gearbox is an automated manual, using a pair of clutches to change up or down faster than could any driver. The result is even more rapid acceleration coupled with improved fuel economy. DSG-equipped, the GTI achieves 24 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway, according to the EPA. The numbers for the conventional 6-speed are 21/31.
Most front drive hot hatches suffer from torque steer--a tendency of the steering to pull to one side under hard acceleration--but such irritating traits have been engineered out of the GTI. A host of electronic aids, such as XDS (a cross differential system that mimics a limited slip differential) and Launch Control (available with the DSG) help keep the low profile tires (225/40 rubber on 18-inch alloys) in touch with the road, giving the driver an unrivaled feeling of confidence in his machine.
Inside, the GTI is a paragon of ergonomic efficiency. Knobs and switches, marked in red and placed exactly where you’d expect, provide a satisfying tactile sensation when operated. Visibility is excellent all round and the bolstered front seats (8-way manually adjustable) hold driver and passenger secure during even the most enthusiastic cornering. The red detailing continues in the stitching on the leather steering wheel and gearshift, while plaid upholstery pays homage to the original GTI.
Prices for the 2012 Volkswagen GTI start at $23,695 for the two-door; the four-door is just $600 more. Climbing the trim hierarchy, the next level is Convenience and Sunroof which, for $1,300, provides an upgraded sound system, a multi-function sport steering wheel, and, of course, a powered tilt/slide tinted panel in the ceiling.
Stepping up another rung brings the buyer to the self-explanatory Sunroof and Navigation trim level. The two-door costs $27,495 and the four-door, $28,095.
Topping the GTI line is the Autobahn. Priced at $29,935 for the two-door and $30,535 for the four-door, this switches the plaid upholstery for gorgeously supple leather and the axe-like “Detroit” alloy wheels for more discrete “Serron” rims. Keyless entry with push-button start and a premium sound system are additional treats for the well-heeled buyer.
A hot hatch is supposed to be both quick and practical. The Volkswagen GTI, the Granddaddy of all “pocket rockets,” excels in both regards, but a finely detailed interior and superb dynamics make this possibly the most satisfying machine in the world to drive.
As a parent, you have rules for everything. Driving should be no exception. Your teen has shown they’re responsible enough to drive, but that doesn’t mean you should let them drive off willy-nilly. Here are five rules that help keep your teen safe.
1. Drinking: Do not imbibe when you drive
You must have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. You can never stress enough that your child should never, ever, never-ever get behind the wheel when they've been drinking (even one drink) or get into a car with someone who has been drinking. The same goes for drugs.
Ideally, your teen isn't out there drinking, but the statistics show that's probably not the case. Part of growing up is trying new things, and they're usually things that give parents nightmares. Be sure your teen knows how you feel about drinking and driving and what the real life consequences are.
Try not to lecture or all they'll hear are the parents from Charlie Brown. Discuss the issue and do it more than once. One conversation isn't enough. Make sure they understand that they have to call you or a cab if they're out drinking.
For a teen, even drinking and driving with a soda or an iced mocha can be deadly. Hands aren't on the wheel, eyes are down and the attention is divided. Until they’ve established themselves as reliable and experienced drivers, make drinking any kind of beverage while driving verboten.
2. Passengers: All aboard, only not
One of the first things your teen will want to do is head over to their friends' houses and have them pile in. The last thing a new driver needs is a back seat full of distractions. Set specific rules on what passengers are allowed in the car. At first, your teen should be flying solo. That means, no passengers, not even just “Melinda cause she needed a ride and her Mom is, you know, and it was only like a few miles so why are you making it into such a big deal!”
3. Distractions: omg wz jst n axidnt
Cell phones are at the top of the no-no list. If they need to use their cell, they should pull over and stop before making or answering a call. And, absolutely no texting.
Another common distraction is the stereo. One of the first things any red blooded teenager will do when they get into a car is crank up the tunes. You don't have to go all Footloose on them, but make sure they understand that CDs shouldn't be changed while driving, that the volume needs to be at human levels and that under no circumstance should they use headphones while driving.
4. Curfew: Hours of operation
Set rules about when your teen is allowed to drive. Curfews might be so Jurassic, but when it comes to new drivers, they're a must. According to the National Safety Council most accidents occur between 9 PM and 6 AM. Fatigue, inexperience and decreased visibility are a recipe for badness. Also, keep your new driver on ice when the weather's bad. Driving in rain, snow and ice are advanced skills. Heck, most adults still can't do it well.
5. Seat belts: Click it or ticket
Always, always, always wear seat belts. No matter how skilled a driver may be accidents happen. Unrestrained drivers are at far greater risk for serious injury and death. And, unfortunately, teens have the lowest seat belt usage rate, which means that when an accident occurs, they're more likely to sustain serious injuries. You can make a difference by insisting that your teen always wear a seat belt. And, there have to be consequences for not wearing them. Create an in-house Click It or Ticket law with a fine and a punishment.
Some parents and parenting "experts" feel giving kids an allowance is a good idea. Other parents and parenting "experts" feel giving kids an allowance is a bad idea. Here are justifications for both sides of the argument.
For Giving Kids an Allowance
- Giving kids an allowance helps them learn how to manage money. Even more valuable than giving your kids an allowance is giving them an idea of how money works and what to do with it. It's never too soon to start teaching. Successfully managing small amounts of money will help kids manage large amounts of money in the future.
- Giving kids an allowance helps children learn responsibility. Remember what happened when you had to buy your own clothes, and your own toys, and your own electricity? When you buy things, you take better care of them.
- Giving kids an allowance helps them learn the value of money and the consequences of choices. Kids who spend their allowance on candy bars five minutes after they receive it get really fat and soon realize they can't buy the Lightning McQueen backpack they'd wanted, a devastating memory that will spur them to sound money management for life.
Against Giving Kids an Allowance
- Giving kids an allowance doesn't help them learn how to manage money; it teaches them a sense of entitlement. Shouldn't kids do chores because they're a part of the family? Shouldn't kids get good grades because they're supposed to?
- The only responsibility kids learn from receiving an allowance is how to convince their parents that what they're getting is not enough. Just because a kid gets an allowance doesn't mean he or she won't still ask for more money.
- Kids might assume that because it's their money, they can buy whatever they want. Even if your 5-year-old doesn't come home with a Spiderman tattoo, it's quite possible that your children--teenage or younger--will buy things that add stress to the family.
Effective Allowance Giving
Suze Orman at Yahoo! Finance suggests that "an allowance is your first opportunity to teach your children to respect money, to teach them that money is something that must be earned." She recommends eliminating the term "allowance" and calling it a "salary." She also recommends the following:
- Salary (formerly called an allowance) should be determined by the work a child does. In other words kids need to learn that work produces income and the higher the quality of work, the higher the salary.
- Pay at the same time every week. It's like a paycheck. Stick to the schedule.
- Only pay if the work gets done. Don't, however, wait until the end of the week to notify slackers they're not getting paid. Check in throughout the week and encourage your children to buckle down.
- Encourage teens to get a job. Once your kids are old enough to get a job, encourage them to get one, especially if their spending habits require increased spending from you.
Organic. Just the mere word evokes images of earthy, wholesome food grown by earthy, wholesome people wearing hemp shirts and Birkenstocks. But, today, organic is big business. And even though organic food is generally more expensive, people are still forking over the bucks for it. But, is organic food really worth it?
What does organic mean?
USDA defines organic as food that is “produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.”
The USDA inspects farms and certifies producers of organic food to ensure they meet their standards. But, while these labeling standards sound good, they're not any guarantee or endorsement of organic food as healthier than conventionally grown food.
Is organic really better?
Organic sounds better, but is it actually better for you? Most experts agree that the nutritional content is the same. But doesn't the lack of pesticides make them safer to eat? That depends on who you ask. There's no real hard evidence that the pesticides in non-organic food exist in high enough concentrations to do any harm.
Organic food might even look a little less attractive, have a few more spots and, sadly, spoil faster. And, organic doesn't always mean locally produced either. It simply means that the product meets the USDA standards for organic labeling.
Also, don't be fooled into thinking eating an organic potato chip is somehow a wholesome and nutritious choice. A potato chip is still a potato chip and that cheese doodle is still a cheese doodle.
On the other hand
Pesticides even in small amounts can affect small children and unborn babies. Some conventionally grown foods have been found to have as many as 64 different chemicals on them. And, the chemicals certainly aren't good for the farm workers.
While the jury may still be out on the benefits of organics as far as pesticides go, there is some evidence that the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in farm animals can be potentially harmful to humans. Antibiotics used for animals, including dairy cows, beef steers and poultry often remain in the animals’ tissue and end up being ingested by us when we eat the meat or drink the milk. This over-consumption of antibiotics causes antibiotic resistant strains to flourish as the system develops an immunity to the antibiotic, rendering it ineffective.
Now, when it comes to the environmental impact, most agree that organic farming is definitely more earth-friendly. It reduces pollution in the groundwater. It also helps conserve water and soil by reducing erosion to help create more sustainable crops.
In the final analysis, there are benefits to buying organic foods, but how much they're worth is a personal choice.
The dirty dozen
The wisest option is to be selective in your organic buying. The Environmental Working Group (EGW), an environmental non-profit group, has published a list of the 12 foods that are most likely to have pesticide residue. If you're going to go organic, go with these.
- Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
Organic food isn't a necessity, yet, but it is statement. When you buy organic, you're supporting farmers that are working to protect the environment and create a system that relies on renewable resources. How much that's worth, is up to you.
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