October 10, 2012 5:50 pm
Variance. A permit granted as an exception to a zoning ordinance that allows a property owner to meet certain specified needs.
October 10, 2012 5:50 pm
A: They can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years.
However, a borrower who has worked hard to reestablish good credit may be shown some leniency by the lender. And the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy may also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went bankrupt because you were laid off from your job, the lender may be more sympathetic.
If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, it is unlikely the lender will readily give you a break.
October 10, 2012 5:50 pm
When it comes to painting the interior of your house, many people are intimidated by color. “Going beige, or off-white, or some neutral color just seems safer,” says HGTV decorator Candice Olsen. “But a splash of vibrant color, whether on all four walls or in a major accessory or furniture piece, can add zest and interest to your rooms as well as insight into your mood and personality.”
It isn’t easy to choose the right color when you are working from tiny paint chip samples, Olsen observed. Before you go bold on a wall or walls, try a broad swath of your chosen color to be sure it is exactly what you want – and remember that paint is not permanent. If the look you aspired to is not quite right, try another.
Olsen offers tips on choosing – and using – bold color to help your home make a statement to be proud of:
Think palette – You can have different colors in different rooms, but think in terms of broad palette choices that look well together; a range of pastels, for example, or bright primary colors, or a spectrum of deep jewel tones.
Start small – If going bold seems scary, start with a small room, such as the front hallway or the guest bathroom. It’s a great area in which to experiment; try a deep lavender or cornflower blue accented with white or ivory accessories.
Choose bright accents – Stick with a neutral wall color in the living room or dining room if you like, but use lots of color in the furnishings: a sectional sofa in burnt orange or deep Tangerine Tango (Pantone’s color of the year in 2012) for example, or a rug and dining chair fabrics in a rich, jewel-toned aquamarine.
Cool if down – If you do go bold with deeply colored walls, choose furniture and accents that cool and contrast the choice: a white area rug and bedstead against a hot pink bedroom wall, or black and white accents against red.
Try classic combos – Some colors are trendy, but many classic combinations withstand the test of time; black and white, for example, with an unexpected pop from hot pink or lime green pillows.
October 9, 2012 5:38 pm
The season for colds is nearly upon us. As you bundle your child up to prevent those fall sniffles, keep in mind that their runny nose could be more than the passing cold.
"Runny, stuffy or itchy noses, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, and headaches can all be symptoms of both allergies and colds but when parents pay close attention to minor details they will be able to tell the difference," says Michelle Lierl, M.D., a pediatric allergist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
"Children who have springtime or fall allergies have much more itching of their noses; they often have fits of sneezing and usually rub their noses in an upward motion. They also complain about an itchy, scratchy throat or itchy eyes, whereas with a cold, they don't," she said.
Dr. Lierl also said that nasal discharge for allergy patients is usually clear and has the consistency of watery mucus, while patients who have colds usually have yellowish mucus discharge.
You can get your child tested for allergies with a blood test called the Immunocap, or RAST, that can screen for allergy to specific foods or airborne allergens. RAST can be ordered by any doctor, but it is important that patients or their parents talk with their doctors first. Children experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms should be tested for environmental allergens present during that season and not for food allergies or allergens present during seasons when they had no symptoms. The results of the RAST test are back after three to five days, whereas allergists can do allergy skin testing in one day in the doctor's office.
If you discover that your child has allergies, try the following tips to combat symptoms:
- Windows should be kept closed during periods of very high pollen and fungal spore levels.
- Change air conditioner filters every month.
- Change children's clothing when they come inside from the outdoors. Clothes should also be washed thoroughly to rid them of all of the outdoor pollutants.
- Children should wash their face, hands and hair after being outside.
- Flush the child's eyes and nose with a non-prescription saline solution when the child has been outside to remove the pollen and fungal spores.
- Minimize early morning outdoor activity since pollen counts are higher in the morning.
- Keep vehicle windows closed while traveling with an allergic child in the car to keep allergens out.
- Most important, make sure children take their allergy medicine daily during the pollen season.
For more information about fall allergies, visit www.aaaai.org.
October 9, 2012 5:38 pm
People have changed in dramatic ways over the past five years, and businesses should take that into consideration this holiday season.
“As people’s values change, so do their shopping habits. To market effectively, businesses should be aware of how their prospective customers have changed,” says Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations in Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Consumers are fussier, and while recessionary budget concerns are one reason for that, thrift is not the only value affecting consumer choices, Friedman says.
“Some stem from personal issues. Take me, for instance. As I grow older, I view many more material things as clutter. I want to get rid of the junk in my life and focus on important things,” she says.
Friedman is a baby boomer – a group that makes up 26 percent of the U.S. population.
“I’m sure I’m not the only person experiencing a change in how I view material goods, what’s ‘clutter’ and what’s meaningful,” she says.
Other changing values have arisen from global concerns, such as the world’s reliance on oil, growing environmental issues, and whether goods were manufactured here or abroad, she says.
Here are her tips for developing a new marketing approach that’s in sync with the times:
• Identify what makes your product appealing to customers’ values. If your homemade soaps are produced right here in the U.S.A., brag about it! In a recent poll, 90 percent of us rated “keeping jobs in America” as the No. 1 step the government can take to help us economically. Many shoppers have friends or family members who are unemployed or underemployed; that makes for a greater appreciation of businesses that create jobs here at home. Your “made in America” label is valuable!
Does your packaging use recycled materials – or is it recyclable? There are now 69 percent of us recycling, according to a National Geographic poll. Does your manufacturing process use a renewable energy source? More than half of us think it’s more important to develop alternative sources of energy than to find more oil.
• Become an expert. You can gain valuable media exposure for your company or product by positioning yourself (or your spokesman) as an industry expert with useful information to share. For instance, if you’re highlighting the fact that your product is made in America because you to help put Americans to work, offer them suggestions based on your experience. What are skills employers value? What are the biggest mistakes applicants make during interviews?
• Which channels will be best for getting your message out? Where does your audience get its news and entertainment? Are they using social media? Reading the newspaper? Listening to radio or watching TV? Or a mix of all four? On social media, you can share your expertise by offering useful information and links to resources, and engaging in conversations. Print is a great medium for providing consumer tips, as is TV, which is also perfect if your message has a visual component. Talk radio shows look for debate and information that solves problems. On social media, you can build a following of fans who help spread your message, while mentions in (or appearances on) traditional media will give you the implied endorsement of journalists and talk show hosts.
• Choose a messenger who’s accessible. If you’re the CEO and the person best qualified to be interviewed by journalists and show hosts, you may be the perfect spokesperson. But if you’re so busy you can’t drop what you’re doing to respond to interview requests, you will lose valuable media opportunities. Your messenger should be a person who is well-versed on the chosen area of expertise – and available at the drop of a hat.
If your message hasn’t changed with the times, Friedman says, now is a good time to think about your company or product in a new light.
“If you look at it from the shoppers’ perspective, you may just see something that appeals to consumers’ changing values,” she says. “Turn that into a message that resonates with potential customers and you may just have your best holiday ever.
Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.
For more information, visit www.emsincorporated.com.
October 9, 2012 5:38 pm
Value. Market value or present worth. To have value, a property must have utility, scarcity, effective demand, and transferability.
October 9, 2012 5:38 pm
A: There are two types – judicial and non-judicial. A foreclosure that results from a court action is a judicial foreclosure. The mortgage deed or trust does not have a power of sale clause, therefore the lender, trustee or another lienholder must take the borrower to court to recover the unpaid balance of a delinquent debt. By contrast, a non-judicial foreclosure is one in which a foreclosure can be completed outside the court system. Real property can be sold under a power of sale in a mortgage deed or trust that is in default, but the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment.
October 9, 2012 4:36 pm
With the newfound chill in the air, families all over the country are firing up their fireplaces and gathering around. However, it’s important to keep your family safe when there’s a fire burning, especially if you have a gas fireplace with a glass front, as nearly 11 million households do, according to the 2012 Hearth Consumer Survey. And more than half of those households currently are unaware of the risk of burns from touching the glass fronts.
"While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become extremely hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard," says Jack Goldman, president & CEO of HPBA. "In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of burns by touching the hot glass and surrounding panels on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. And, though we believe these incidents are few and rare, even one is too many."
Below are some general tips to keep safe around gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts that have glass fronts.
- Always supervise children, the aged, infirm or pets near an operating gas fireplace, stove or insert – or one that has recently been turned off.
- Keep the remote control out of the reach of children (if your appliance has one).
- Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance.
- Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass on a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot.
- Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it, noting that the cool down can take a long time – an hour or more.
- Be aware that metal surfaces, such as door frames and grilles, may also get hot.
- Always read the owner's manual and follow instructions.
For more information, visit www.SafeFireplaceTips.com.
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
There are no more secrets about how we shop – not with a growing number of retail researchers documenting every aspect of how we choose to buy and why – and retailers are responding with merchandising strategies designed to encourage more spending.
“There is nothing random about how a store is arranged,” noted retail researcher Paco Underhill” speaking to Bankrate.com. “The design is calculated to appeal to you in every possible way.”
But shoppers can resist the urge to spend too much by being more aware of how they are being tempted. The consumer website’s Naomi Mannino provides seven retail strategies shoppers need to stop and consider:
Display magic – A pile of the cheapest import T-shirts can be made to look more appealing when arranged tastefully under glamorous display graphics. Examine items you like for workmanship quality before you hand over your cash.
BOGO deals – Buy-one-get-one free deals and other bundled item promotions are not always what they seem. Don’t spend more to get more unless you know the retailer and the regular price of such items.
Don’t turn right – Because most people are right-handed, they tend to turn right when entering a store – so that is where the most expensive items are displayed. Staying focused on why you entered the store should help you stay on track.
Clearance placement – Ever notice that most clearance racks are in the back of the store? That’s so you will have to bypass more expensive displays before you find them.
Messy clearance tables – Also no surprise. Who wants to paw through a messy clearance display when more appealing displays are beckoning? Be patient.
Register appeal – Impulse items displayed at or near registers are there for a proven reason; temptation. Beware of jewelry, fragrances, magazines and other items you did not plan to buy – and think twice before you pull out your wallet.
Shopping with friends – Try to shop with your most conservative friends – and don’t be too quick to purchase an item just because your companion assures you it is “you.”
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
It used to be that a passport, credit card, travel insurance, and a relaxed attitude were the only true holiday essentials.
But now, electronics and other valuables are traveling staples, from iPads to professional-quality digital camera. Not to mention the scores of honeymooners heading abroad with a small fortune on their fingers.
With the value of our personal belongings heading upwards, it’s even more important to ensure your travel insurance coverage is sufficient for the value of the items you plan to travel with.
Tough economic times meant theft was an unfortunate fact of life. Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Craig Morrison says his best advice for travelers is to simply leave valuables at home. However, if that’s not an option, he has the following tips:
Before you go:
Check your policy
to ensure coverage is adequate for the value of the item you plan to take away. Coverage for specified high-value items can be included under policies for an extra premium payment.
Ensure you have adequate proof
of ownership in the event you need to claim. If not an original receipt, this could be something like a listing under a home and contents policy. Check with your insurer to see what they will accept.
Make use of your hotel safe,
and only carry essential items and a small amount of cash when out sightseeing.
When flying, place valuables in carry-on luggage (not check-in).
Closely guard or secure your items
at all times. Some policies don't provide coverage for items left unattended in a public place, in a vehicle overnight, in unlocked premises or an unlocked vehicle.
Notify the authorities. I
f theft of an item does occur, many policies request that authorities are notified within 24 hours of the discovery of the theft and an official report obtained. The original of this report must be kept for the insurance claim.