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Sharpie shows consumers how to be back-to-school cool without breaking the bank

BY Anna Mcgrath

OAK BROOK, Ill. Sharpie is teaming up with Laura Rowley, personal finance expert and finance columnist at Yahoo!, to help educate consumers of innovative ways to send their kids back to school without spending a fortune or compromising new-school style.

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, families with kids in grades kindergarten through 12 are expected to spend $548 on school supplies this year. The survey also reported nearly 9-in-10 Americans plan to adjust their back-to-school shopping habits to save money.

“This year the buzz is all about the bargain,” said Rowley. “Moms are looking for ways to stretch their back-to-school budgets while still letting their kids show up with the latest trends. The good news is there are lots of easy, creative and inexpensive ways to ensure kids’ make the grade and moms save.”

For more creative and cost-effective back-to-school recommendations from Rowley and the Sharpie Squad, a group of bloggers and creative artists,  visit www.sharpieuncapped.com.

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Report: Standards for glucose monitors may change

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Federal officials may soon require improvements for the glucose monitors used by more than 11 million diabetics in the United States, the New York Times has reported.

Home glucose monitors, which can have an error rate of as much as 20%, can leave patients vulnerable to more dire consequences, including coma and death. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking out The International Organization for Standardization to revise the international standards for such glucose monitoring systems.

In May, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists urged that revisions be made in a letter to said officials. “Because of the highly variable quality of the meters and the glucose testing strips in widespread use, the safety of our patients who depend upon those meters is threatened,” they wrote.

An organization representing the monitor manufacturers, however, believes that the current standards are working. Meanwhile, a study by government researchers found that when comparing tests from five different popular monitors, results varied by as much as 32%, the New York Times reported.

According to the New York Times, diabetes has been diagnosed in 18 million people in the United States, and another 6 million are estimated to have the disease without knowing it. It is the seventh leading cause of death and costs the United States an estimated $174 billion a year, with the federal Medicare program spending $1 billion on diabetes test strips alone.

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Hallmark launches mobile greetings Web site

BY Allison Cerra

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark has launched a line of greetings that can be accessed through a mobile device.

Hallmark Mobile Greetings, which launched Tuesday, is an innovative new product for cell phones that combines the immediacy of a text message with creative design and editorial. Senders can also add their own personal message to any of the greetings. The initial launch includes a small network of phone models, eventually Hallmark Mobile Greetings will work on the majority of mobile phone models and will be able to be sent from most major mobile phone networks to any other network.

Hallmark Mobile Greetings is available by downloading to a cell phone the free mobile phone application from www.mobile.hallmark.com. Users can then send greetings to other mobile phones. In addition, consumers also can send greetings directly from mobile.hallmark.com for delivery to a mobile device.

Each Hallmark Mobile Greeting costs 99 cents. Fees are billed as part of monthly service-provider charges and the sender is only charged if the recipient opens the mobile greeting. The application itself is free of charge, though standard data rates may apply so consumers are advised to check their contract with their carrier.

More than 500 Hallmark Mobile Greetings are available in the following categories: Just for Fun, Birthday, Thinking of You, Love, Holidays, Characters & Collections, Congratulations and Business Greetings. More categories and mobile greetings will be added in the future.

For more information on Hallmark Mobile Greetings, visit www.mobile.hallmark.com.

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