Gunning Daily News

It’s Electric: Six Safety Tips

May 10, 2013 4:50 pm

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and with the weather warming up, it’s time to make safety a priority when working outside near overhead power lines.

Safe Electricity reminds everyone to take note of overhead power lines when working outside:

  • Look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools like ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning poles. Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep in mind that wind can blow large objects out of your control.
  • Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from power lines. Even if you do not come in contact with a power line, the electricity can arc to close objects and people.
  • Be careful when working on or around your roof—installing or cleaning gutters, installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes, or doing repair work. Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Contact a professional maintenance contractor.
  • Never climb trees near power lines.
  • Never trim trees near power lines. Leave that to the professionals.
  • Always follow safety procedures, no matter how boring and mundane they seem.


Do Your Homework before Selecting a Pet

May 10, 2013 4:50 pm

(Family Features)—What is it about a tiny, fluffy kitten that makes them so hard to resist? For many, it's their looks. Appearance is one of the primary factors when choosing a feline friend, while dog owners tend to focus on size.

A recent survey revealed that 55 percent of cat owners feel appearance is one of the most important qualities when choosing a cat, while 62 percent of dog owners cite size as most important. However, experts encourage people to first consider the animals' temperament, health and nutritional needs when selecting a pet.

"Matching a dog or cat's personality with that of your family is essential," says Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant and host of "Steve Dale's Pet World" radio show. "Before bringing home a new pet, owners should research typical traits of that breed to make sure it matches up with their lifestyle."

  • When bringing home a new pet, here are some important factors to consider:
  • Energy Level: Compare your family's activity level to that of the prospective pet. For example, the Labrador is a very active breed that typically needs lots of training, attention and exercise. This breed works best for active families who have the time to give them the exercise and structure they need.
  • Temperament: Although a dog might look adorable, its breed can reveal a lot about its potential personality. Yorkies, for example, are typically friendly dogs, but can be very shy around strangers and need to be socialized properly.
  • Grooming: Grooming your pet can be an expensive and time consuming chore. For instance, a Persian cat needs to be brushed daily, however a Siamese requires very minimal grooming help from its owner.
  • Nutritional Needs: Different breeds have different, and sometimes complex, nutritional needs. For example, a Maine Coon cat is at risk for certain types of cardiovascular conditions and needs help maintaining a strong heart.

Word of the Day

May 10, 2013 4:50 pm

Property tax deductions. The Internal Revenue Service allows homeowners to claim as itemized personal deductions money paid for state and local realty taxes, as well as interest on debt secured by their homes. It also allows for the deduction of loan prepayment penalties, and the deduction of points on new loans.

Q: What Is a Lease Option?

May 10, 2013 4:50 pm

A: It is an agreement between a renter and a landlord in which the renter signs a lease with an option to purchase the property. The option only binds the seller; the tenant has a choice to make a purchase or not.

Lease options are common among buyers who would like to own a home but do not have enough money for the down payment and closing costs. A lease option may also be attractive to tenants who are working to improve bad credit before approaching a lender for a home loan.

A lease option also may be a way for the seller to move property in a slow market. Seller advantages include earning above-market rent, retaining all the property income tax deductions during the lease-option period, and attracting tenants who will care for the property as though they owed it.

10 Ways to Save Big on Wedding Costs

May 9, 2013 5:36 pm

If there’s a wedding in your future, you already know that costs can be excessive—and that they sometimes seem to grow out of proportion to every idea you envision. But, say experienced wedding planners, there are plenty of ways to save on the big day without appearing to wed on the cheap.

Planners suggest 10 simple ways to cut various aspects of the wedding cost without sacrificing any of the elegance:
  • Think off-peak or off-season – You can often save thousands on the venue by planning your wedding in the fall or winter, or on a Sunday instead of Saturday.
  • Request larger tables – You’ll need fewer linens and fewer centerpieces by choosing tables that seat a larger number of guests.
  • Choose seasonal flowers – Stick to one or two varieties. Include lots of greenery and fewer blooms – and fill out centerpieces with non-florals, such as lanterns.
  • Skip a sit-down main course – think about appetizers or ‘small plates’ instead of a sit-down entrée, or an open seating buffet.
  • Skip the full bar – Offer wine, beer, and perhaps a signature or champagne cocktail instead of an open bar.
  • Order a smaller tiered cake – Supplement it when serving with a sheet cake waiting in the kitchen.
  • Email ‘save the date’ notes – It will save on postage and get your guests just as prepared and excited.
  • Choose simple invitations – the heavier the invite, the larger the postage cost. Stick to lighter weight versions.
  • Save on table favors – See if you can find something special your bridal party can create – and/or provide one favor per couple instead of one for each guest.
  • Limit the photo opps – Specify the ‘must have’ shots you want to limit the number of photos taken – and be prepared to limit your final photo selections.

Stay Safe This Summer: BBQ Safety Tips

May 9, 2013 5:36 pm

According to the National Fire Prevention Association there are 5,000 outside BBQ grill fires annually that require fire departments to respond. And there are another 3,600 BBQ grill fires that cause damage to the structure of homes.

Here are some quick tips to help you enjoy a safe BBQ grilling season;

1. Before you use your BBQ grill:

  • Repair any damaged energy supply connections such as gas tanks, hoses and electrical connections.
  • Replace any corroded BBQ grill parts.
2. Locate your BBQ grill a safe distance from your home, wooden deck and anything flammable. Always keep your BBQ grill in a place where children are not playing. Your Operator's Manual should give you an explanation on proper BBQ grill placement.

3. Always follow the lighting instructions in the operator's manual that came with your BBQ grill.

4. Never leave a BBQ grill unattended and have a fire extinguisher close by.

5. Clean your BBQ grill r
egularly to remove grease. Grease can cause flare-ups that can be deadly.

And before you fire-up your BBQ grill for the 2013 season be sure to check and remove any rodent nests, spider webs and other debris that might affect the safe operation of your BBQ grill.

Source: The BBQ Cleaner

5 Tips for Lighter, Brighter Summer Eating

May 9, 2013 5:36 pm

(BPT)—Simple, fresh and delicious - that's summertime eating at its best. Less time in the kitchen means more time to enjoy the bright delicious flavors of just-picked berries, peaches, greens and other vegetables.

"It makes sense to eat lighter in the summer," says Chef William Tillinghast, culinary academic director at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. "Hot weather slows down the digestion and heavy foods are harder to digest."

Chef Tillinghast got together with Chef Jeffrey Floyd, culinary academic director at The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, to offer these five tips for enjoying summer's gastronomic delights.

Buy local and seasonal - or grow it yourself

Summer brings locally grown specialties - berries of all types, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, sweet onions and more. Visit farmers' markets and ask what's in season. Consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program to explore eating seasonally. And nothing tastes better than tomatoes from your own garden.

Process produce as little as possible

The fresher the produce, the less preparation needed. "The longer the time between preparation and consumption, the more flavor is lost," says Chef Tillinghast. Try cutting up peaches and a honeydew melon, add fresh blueberries and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Serve immediately for an instant refreshing dessert.

Cook veggies quickly by stir frying. Cut vegetables small. Cook briefly with olive oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat (or put the wok on your grill). Add a little coarse salt and freshly ground pepper - it's the perfect side dish for a simple roast chicken, grilled steak or swordfish.

Keep flavors simple

Allow the flavor of fresh summer produce to shine. Chef Floyd loves this summer salad, adapted from "American Regional Cuisine," by The Art Institutes system of schools. Cut zucchini into matchstick strips. Combine with wedges of ripe tomato, finely sliced fresh basil, thin slices of sweet or green onion. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of lettuce, spinach or other greens. Add feta or bleu cheese crumbles if you like.

Use that grill

Grill eggplant, zucchini, onions and peppers. Brush with olive or walnut oil if you like. Put veggies directly on the grill, use a griddle or wrap in a single layer in foil. Grilled peach halves and pineapple rings are also delicious.

Soup is for summer, too

"Cold soups like gazpacho, vichyssoise, avocado and cucumber, or various fruits, are refreshing," says Chef Tillinghast. For a delicious cold soup, peel and chop pears and apricots (or hull and cut up strawberries). Add a sprinkling of sugar and perhaps a little cinnamon or cardamom. Mash lightly with a fork and add sour cream or yogurt, half and half or milk - even champagne.

Beat the heat with lighter, simpler meals - you'll feel better and have more time for summertime fun.


Word of the Day

May 9, 2013 5:36 pm

Mortgage company or mortgage banker. Financial intermediary that offers mortgages to borrowers, and then resells them to various lending institutions, government agencies, or private investors.

Q: What Should I Do to Prepare My Home for Sale?

May 9, 2013 5:36 pm

A: Start by finding out its worth. Contact a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Or get a certified appraiser to provide an appraisal.

Next, get busy working on the home’s appearance. You want to make sure it is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers so that you can get top dollar. This means fixing or sprucing up any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.

The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important. In fact, it is the first impression that buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up. So make sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.

The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups, especially if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your home in a down market.

Celebrate Moms: Top 25 Mom-friendly Cities for Dining

May 7, 2013 5:16 pm

Whether it's a meal with the kids in tow, a romantic dinner with a spouse, or a night out with the girls, moms all over the place deserve a great meal out. Unfortunately, the dining atmosphere in some cities just doesn’t cater to those in need of a booster seat.

Below is a list of cities voted “mom-friendly.”

“Each of these cities has a diverse dining scene to satisfy mom's appetite for food and fun," says Caroline Potter, Chief Dining Officer of OpenTable. "And, it's very clear from the number of folks dining out locally on Mother's Day that area restaurants have mastered the art of pampering mothers and pleasing their palates."

The following cities, listed in order, comprise the Top 25 Mom-friendly Dining Cities in the U.S.

  1. Long Beach, Calif.
  2. Tampa, Fla.
  3. Boulder, Colo.
  4. Dallas, Texas
  5. Austin, Texas
  6. Columbus, Ohio
  7. Raleigh, N.C.
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Charlotte, N.C.
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada
  11. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  12. San Diego, Calif.
  13. Brooklyn, N.Y.
  14. Atlanta, Ga.
  15. Honolulu, Hawaii
  16. Kansas City, Miss.
  17. Santa Monica, Calif.
  18. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  19. Orlando, Fla.
  20. Denver, Colo.
  21. Seattle, Wash.
  22. Cincinnati, Ohio
  23. Baltimore, Md.
  24. Minneapolis, Minn.
  25. Los Angeles, Calif.