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DEAR READERS: Here are two letters from readers about knife choices.

"I read your recent column about serrated-blade versus smooth-blade knives and have this to add:

"We travel a lot and stay in rental homes. Without fail, the knives barely cut anything. We now always throw our knife sharpener in the trunk. Please tell readers to buy a decent-quality electric knife sharpener and sharpen their knives frequently. They won't believe how much better knives work when they are sharp! Thanks."

-- Jules in Florida

"After reading your column about serrated knives, I want to share this with you: A few years ago, I purchased a 10-inch double serrated knife. It is one of the best kitchen tools that I have. Using it to slice bread is a delight."

-- Nick in Little Rock

DEAR READERS: How's your Hearing? If you're like most folks, you might ignore signs of potential hearing loss. Millions of people experience unsafe noise levels at work; 20% of teenagers have reported hearing loss due to loud noise; and hearing loss is the second most widespread health issue worldwide.

The National Campaign for Better Hearing ( wants you to check your hearing, beginning at age 60, with its "Test Your Ears at 60 Years" campaign, and once a year after that. To schedule a free hearing assessment, call (866) 837-8286.

For every hearing test given, participating health practices will donate $5 toward increasing awareness of the risks of ignoring hearing loss. They will also distribute free hearing aids to those who can't afford them.

For more information, you can email

P.S. Experts agree that 30 minutes of exercise five times per week can help maintain your good hearing.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a compost heap in the backyard. Beyond the grass clippings and leaves, we also put in vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and fruit.

The problem with the fruit is that every apple, banana and orange has a plastic label on the outside. The plastic label will not break down in the compost heap.

What I would love to see is all of those plastic fruit labels replaced with biodegradable ones. These biodegradable labels would break down.

-- Gordon C., California

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend on 08/08/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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