Gunning Daily News

How to Keep a Speeding Ticket Out of Your Summer

August 2, 2013 6:34 pm

(BPT) - Want to know how to avoid a speeding ticket? Easy - don't speed. But even the most law-abiding drivers with flawless records can make mistakes and find themselves pulled over. In fact, 34 million people in the United States receive speeding tickets each year, according to the National Motorists Association.

A ticket can raise insurance rates and tarnish your driving record, according to FindLaw.com, the nation's leading website for free legal information. If you get arrested or fined for other traffic violations, those tickets can lead to stiffer fines and penalties.

"The big rule of speeding tickets is that most come at the discretion of the police officers involved," says Don Cosley, a criminal defense attorney of the Cosley Law Office in Chicago. "Unless the officers are working a state or federal grant where they are required to issue traffic tickets, how you interact with a police officer will play a considerable role in whether you drive away with a warning or a ticket."

"Always cooperate with law enforcement officers," Cosley says. "They've heard every excuse in the book. If you immediately start arguing or making smart comments, your chances of driving away with a ticket increase."

Here are some additional tips from FindLaw.com on how to avoid a speeding ticket:

  • Watch for posted speed limit signs. According to a 2013 survey by Insurance.com, the top excuse for speeding is, "I didn't see the sign." The safest way to avoid a speeding ticket is to carefully watch posted signs and not exceed the limit. Even five miles per hour over the speed limit can land you a ticket - particularly near schools, road construction zones and other hotspots where police try to increase safety.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. If you're running late, you're more likely to speed. One simple trick you can do to build in some travel time is to set your house clocks a few minutes ahead. Remember, you'll arrive even later if you get pulled over.
  • Keep a clean driving record. Police cars are often equipped with computer systems that allow law enforcement to instantly look up your driving record. A driver with a clean record is more likely to be let off with a warning than one with several traffic violations.
  • Stay off your cellphone. Cellphone use is legal in some states and illegal in others, but distracted driving should always be avoided. If you are observed speeding and using your phone at the same time, it will dramatically boost your odds of driving away with a ticket, rather than a warning, and it may increase fines associated with the violation.
  • Avoid speed traps. Speed limits typically drop when you approach a small town or city. That's prime real estate for speed traps. Police often use highway overpasses, bridges or medians with a clear view of oncoming traffic to hunt for speeders.
  • Don't stand out. Drivers who go too fast, swerve or aggressively pass other drivers are more likely to draw the attention of the police.
  • Move over. After using the left lane to pass a car, move back over to the right lane. Cars that continue to pass other cars while in the left lane are easy targets for police. Also keep in mind that in some states, the left lane is only for passing.
  • Cooperate with the police officer. Being cooperative and respectful toward the police officer who pulls you over is one of the best ways to avoid a speeding ticket. It also can help defuse a potentially stressful situation. If you are pulled over, start by turning off your car, put away your cellphone and place your keys on the dashboard and your hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 o'clock position to show the officer that you aren't doing anything illicit before he or she arrives. Taking off your sunglasses also can be a show of respect. If it's nighttime, turn on the interior lights of your car.
  • Save your arguments for traffic court. If you believe you don't deserve a speeding ticket, take your argument to court. Don't argue it with a police officer at the scene.

Source: FindLaw.com.

 


Word of the Day

August 2, 2013 6:34 pm

Real property.  Land and buildings and anything permanently attached to them.


5 Legal Tips for Babysitters

August 2, 2013 6:34 pm

If you're a babysitter or nanny, at the end of the day, the goal should be to keep the child occupied, happy, and above all, safe. At the same time, you'll also want to keep yourself away from any potential legal trouble.


Here are five legal tips for all the babysitters out there:

  1. Be wary of spanking. In general, state laws allow a babysitter to spank a misbehaving child using a reasonable amount of force. Since the law is somewhat unclear, and spanking makes children susceptible to medical issues, it's probably best to keep your hands to yourself.
  2. Know that you may be on hidden camera -- but it may not be legal. Video-only nanny cam recordings are generally legal, but they must be used for a reasonable purpose. Many states laws don't allow the use of nanny cams that also record audio. And several states require consent.
  3. Watch out for toppling TVs. TVs falling on children may conjure the image of a silly cartoon, but in reality, it's a disturbing trend that's proving fatal for some children. If you can't reinforce a TV yourself, don't let the kids out of your sight. If you put the child at risk, or don't provide adequate supervision, you could face child endangerment charges.
  4. Be careful about "babysitting" teens. When teens drink or do drugs behind your back, you could be in trouble, too. If you knowingly furnish teens with alcohol, or should have known they were drinking while under your care, you may be arrested under social host liability laws.
  5. Don't forget to pay your taxes. Babysitting income is generally taxable, though there are exceptions depending on whether you're under 18, how much money you made, and whether babysitting is your primary occupation, among other factors. In many cases, an employer may be legally required to (but chooses not to) withhold babysitter taxes, reports The New York Times. This area of the law can get complicated, so you may want to consult an experienced tax lawyer to figure out what applies to your situation.

    Things can get even more complicated if your weekend babysitting gig grows into a small business, which may require a license. If that's the case, then it may be time to give a local business attorney a call.


Source: FindLaw.com


Q: How Do You Clear Up Bad Credit?

August 2, 2013 6:34 pm

A: It is not easy but certainly doable with both commitment and time.  

By law, any unfavorable information in your credit file can stay there from 7 to 10 years. Today, however, a creditor must remove credit blemishes in a timely fashion if you challenge them and they turn out to be false.

The first step in any recovery plan is to get copies of your credit records.  You are entitled to free copies if you have recently been turned down for credit. Otherwise, request copies for a fee from the three major credit-reporting agencies: Experian, (800) 311-4769; Equifax, (800) 685-1111; and Trans Union, (800) 916-8800.

If you see any incorrect information, let the credit reporting agencies know.  Also contact the companies that reported the negative claims against you.

 


Rethink the Way You Pay

August 1, 2013 1:50 pm

Today's consumers are finding new ways to get the goods and services they want for their lifestyles. Using savvy, money-saving tactics, these shoppers are getting more for less, eliminating services they don't need and using comparative shopping.

These new power consumers challenging the trend of "more is more" are confidently declaring "half is more" when it comes to paying for what they want. Here are some tips to help adopt better spending habits while searching for the perfect deal.

Cut Insurance Costs: No longer subjected to cookie-cutter insurance policies of old, more versatile options exist today, allowing you to name exactly what you need. The insurance industry is a prime example where you can carefully determine exact needs and price comparative shop for the best provider. Many online tools exist that will provide side-by-side pricing of insurers for your consideration.

Switch to a No-Contract Wireless Phone Plan: Today's consumers want lower cost wireless phone services, but don't want the long-term contract commitments that come with postpaid wireless service providers. Many are making the shift away from traditional postpaid contracts and instead are utilizing reliable no-contract wireless service providers, such as Cricket Wireless, a communications leader offering prepaid no-contract wireless plans for more than 14 years. Making such adjustments can save up to half on your wireless phone bill (compared to a similar plan with a postpaid wireless service provider) while maintaining unlimited and nationwide service.

Test Before You Buy: Have you ever bought a new product, such as cosmetics or skin care items, only to realize you don't like it? That's money wasted. Today, there are new online services that send you test size samples of products before you buy, ultimately saving you money by trying the products first.

Save on Gas: Take advantage of your local grocery store's gas rewards program. Many stores offer discounts on gas if you buy from their service station or participating gas stations in the area. It's as simple as signing up for the program and then earning points or money toward gas while you shop for other everyday needs.

Scale Back on Entertainment Spending: An evolution has occurred in the movie and music industry that can save you a considerable amount of money. Instead of purchasing individual DVDs, Blu-rays or CDs, consider taking advantage of digital services, such as Netflix or Hulu, that provide access to thousands of movies at a relatively low monthly rate. In addition, downloading music to your phone, instead of streaming, won't use up your data allotment. Cricket Wireless offers Muve Music, free with compatible smartphones, which lets you choose from millions of songs that you can download right to your phone.

Shop Discount Websites: Subscribing to discounted apparel and home decor websites' lists can keep you from overpaying at retail stores. From throw pillows to watches, sites like Gilt, Hautelook and Fab.com provide some of the trendiest designer items for less. Some sites also have timed sales for specific items, and taking 15 minutes to browse can equate to hundreds in savings.  

Source: www.mycricket.com.   


How to Budget for Baby

August 1, 2013 1:50 pm

Is the buzz about the royal baby giving the nation some serious baby fever? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child until the age of 18 is $234,900 — a number large enough to make anyone feel as though they would have to be royalty in order to afford a baby.

Luckily, for those considering parenthood for the first time, there are steps you can take beforehand to help ensure you are financially prepared for that bundle of joy. The financial experts at Money Management International (MMI), a nonprofit credit counseling agency, offer the following five tips:

Take control of your debt — now. If you have credit card debt, now is the time to create a solid debt repayment plan. You'll be surprised at the amount of money you can save once those monthly payments are out of the picture. To explore debt repayment options that offer a reasonable payoff time and the potential for lower interest rates, call a nonprofit credit counselor and register for a free debt and budget counseling session.

Explore your health coverage options. Checkups alone for baby can cost more than $100 per visit. You may also want to explore adding long-term disability and life insurance coverage to your existing healthcare plan. Consider reviewing your maternity or paternity leave policies at your workplace.

Know your options. Daycare is one of the largest added expenses that a new baby brings. Considering your childcare options is an important first step. According to a recent study by ChildCare Aware of America, childcare cost for an infant can average more than $300 per week.

Practice living on a "baby budget." If you are planning to live on one salary, start now. This will give you an opportunity to make the necessary lifestyle changes and cutbacks before your bundle of joy arrives — which will also make for a much easier financial transition. 

Get tips from the experts — other moms! No one can give you better advice than people who have been through the experience themselves. So ask your friends and family to share their advice or find a local or online support group for parents.

Source: MMI

 


No Backyard? No Problem - Yardless Gardening

August 1, 2013 1:50 pm

(BPT) - Backyard or back patio, it's time to get planting, no matter where you live. The number of American households engaging in do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities rose by more than 3 million in recent years, the National Gardening Association's National Garden 2012 Survey found. That can include you, even if you don't have an actual yard.

Yardless gardening is a popular alternative for people short on green space looking to flex (or find) their green thumbs.

Make a container garden
Small back patio? Window sill? That's all the space you need for a yardless garden. "You can enjoy a garden, no matter your space or place," says Certified Nursery Consultant Nick Blassman. "It's an easy project to take on in a weekend and can make a big difference in your home."

Step one: pick your plants
Edible plants like basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary are great choices because they're heavy producers and easy to grow in small spaces. The Home Depot's Bonnie Organic herbs are healthy options to have on hand when you're chopping, dicing and using fresh herbs in the kitchen. These herbs come in peat pots made of biodegradable material so if you plant outside, just drop the entire pot in the dirt - there's no plastic to throw away. Love tomatoes (or ketchup)? Heinz introduced Heinz tomato varieties this spring, which can be grown in a container or trained to grow up a wire cage or teepee of bamboo.

Step two: choose your vessel
A couple factors to consider when you're looking for pots and planters. First, make sure your plant is going to have enough room to grow and develop roots. A good rule of thumb is to use smaller pots for herbs and larger pots for fruits and vegetables. Next, flip the pot over - does it have a hole in the bottom? Planters should have drainage holes so your plant doesn't get waterlogged.

Step three: gear up 
Big tools in a small planter equal a potentially disastrous situation. Make sure you've got the right gardening tools for your job - a small spade, trimmers, gloves and a watering can or hose.

Step four: fill 'er up 
You want the fertilizer or potting mix that's going to nourish and help your herbs thrive. "Choose a potting mix with ingredients like sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, and aged compost products to help retain moisture and control the release of water into the plant's roots," says Blassman.

 

 


Word of the Day

August 1, 2013 1:50 pm

Real estate investment trust (REIT). Entity that allows a very large number of investors to pool their money in the purchase of real estate, but as passive investors.  The investors do not buy directly.  Instead, they purchase shares in the REIT that owns the real estate investment.  


Q: What If I Am Turned Down for a Loan?

August 1, 2013 1:50 pm

A: Unless your credit is absolutely abysmal – with all kinds of judgments, liens, excessive delinquencies or non-payments, foreclosures and bankruptcies that show no attempt on your part to make progress – you can generally get a loan.

More and more borrowers are finding ways to become homeowners despite past credit problems, a lack of a credit history, or debt-to-income ratios that exceed traditional limits.  This is because a greater number of lenders are willing to take a chance with borrowers today that they once turned down for home loans.

If you are denied a mortgage, ask the lender for a full explanation. If you feel you are creditworthy, then appeal the decision in writing.

 


8 Ways to Slash Summer Energy Bills

July 30, 2013 11:52 pm

When the mercury climbs, summer energy bills climb with them – primarily because we are using more water and air conditioning. U.S. News and World Report suggests eight easy ways to keep your energy bills in check:

  • Check the hot water heater – Most likely, it is set for 140 degrees. Turning it down to 120 degrees, sufficient for most water use, can save you 6 to 10 percent on your bill. But check your dishwasher’s manual first. Newer models may require 140 degree temps for optimal performance.
  • Don’t turn on the oven – Cooking meals with a toaster oven, electric skillet, slow cooker or microwave uses far less energy.
  • Turn off the ceiling fan when leaving home – Ceiling fans don’t really cool. They only circulate air. But they do use energy, so turn them off when you leave home and on again when you return.
  • Use electric fans – they use far less energy than electric air conditioning, and they may be all you need to keep cool, especially in the mornings and evenings.
  • Dust the fridge coils – when the coils underneath or behind the refrigerator are covered with dust, the appliance is working harder and costing you more money.
  • Check fridge and freezer temps – The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 37 and 40 degrees, and the ideal freezer reading is 5 degrees. Any colder, and you're wasting money. Also note that full refrigerators and freezers do not have to work as hard to stay cool.
  • Replace air filters – Clogged filters can lead to air conditioners and appliance break-downs. In any case, they make appliances work harder, using more energy and dollars.
  • Plant trees – Planted strategically near the house, trees will create more shade as they grow and help cool off your home. According to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research, shade from two 25-foot tall trees -- one on the west side and one on the east -- will save a typical house $57 a year in energy costs.