Gunning Daily News

Tips on Returning Home after a Hurricane

August 27, 2012 5:16 pm

Regardless of where you live in the country, it’s good to brush up on your post-hurricane tips so you know what to do if a disaster ever occurs. Obviously, the first thing you do if a severe weather warning is underway is evacuate. But what happens after evacuation? Read on to find out.

Once residents have evacuated, it is important to remain in those secure locations until the storm has passed, and even then, an immediate return is discouraged. Many areas will be severely damaged, and as such will be actively dangerous to enter. It is recommended that residents and business owners wait until the all clear has been given by emergency management officials before any attempt is made to return to the property.

Once back, it is imperative to take note of the structure and the condition it is in, as well as the condition of the surrounding buildings and land. In many cases, a home or business may have been severely weakened from wind and water damage, making the structure prone to collapse.

Under no circumstances should any building be entered until structural integrity has been verified.
Also, residents should beware of any downed power lines in the immediate vicinity and report all such lines to the authorities. Do not attempt to touch or move these power lines as any such attempt may result in serious injury or death due to electric shock. Even using materials that are normally nonconductive such as wooden sticks may pose the risk of injury if the stick is wet.

Power may also be knocked out as a result of the storm. If the power was not already shut off in the structure, it should be shut off at this time. The power will eventually come back on, and the homeowner does not want that to happen if they or any other people are standing in or working in standing water. Gas supplies should similarly be shut off, and all utilities should remain shut down until approved by their respective technicians.

Source: Restoration Local

Word of the Day

August 27, 2012 5:16 pm

Replacement cost. The cost at today’s prices and using today’s construction methods, of building an improvement having the same usefulness as the one being appraised.

Q: Can I Deduct a Loss on the Sale of My Home?

August 27, 2012 5:16 pm

A: No. A loss from the sale of personal-use property, such as a home or car, is not deductible. They are considered nondeductible personal losses, and you cannot reduce your tax bill by deducting them the way you would deduct stock and investment losses on your tax returns.

Q: How Do Capital Gains Work If You Have More Than One Home?

August 24, 2012 11:32 am

A: For more than one home, you can exclude the gain only from the sale of your main residence. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is usually the one you live in most often.

Word of the Day

August 24, 2012 11:32 am

Rent control. Government-imposed restrictions on the amount of rent a property owner can charge.

Preventive Maintenance: Insulating Water Lines

August 24, 2012 11:32 am

“Insulating water lines does not stop them from freezing,” warns plumber Bob Beall.

The logic of insulating water lines is based on the hope that you can out wait the cold long enough for warmer temperatures to prevail–for example, says Beall, “when temperatures fall below freezing at night but rise above freezing during the day when the sun comes out.”

There are two materials that can be used to insulate water lines. Wrap them with fiberglass insulation (which rarely works very well) or snap on split-foam insulation. Those serious about insulating water lines, the snap-on foam, the thicker the better, should be used. According to the most referred plumber, “some varieties come with a peel-off backing that exposes a self-adhesive strip on the edges, sticking the edges together.” Absent the self-adhesive, duct tape must be used on the edges at intervals along its entire length.

Read the following tips and learn how to insulate your water lines:
• To start, cut the foam insulation to length and slip it onto the pipe.
• Close the seam by peeling off the protective adhesive strip and pressing the edges together or by taping the seam.
• To hand an insulated water line, use pipe hanger strapping or plastic J-hooks.
• To insulate an elbow, either cut a slit out of the pipe and slide it onto the corner or cut a diamond pattern out of the foam and slide the cutout over the elbow.
• Bonus Tip: Turning A Corner
To insulate an elbow, either cut out a triangular section of the insulation and slide the cutout to fit around the elbow, or, cut a rectangle out of a section and slide it on the elbow. Use whatever method makes it easiest to push the insulation around the elbow.

Source: Mr. Rooter

Fall Tips to Drought-Proof Lawns and Landscapes

August 24, 2012 11:32 am

With drought plaguing much of the country, the fall season is the ideal time for homeowners to assess the condition of their lawns, plants, trees and shrubs to ensure they can weather another dry season.

“The fall season is the best time to assess the landscape, your watering strategy and make any necessary adjustments to safeguard against drought,” says Norman Goldenberg, Landscape Industry Certified, PLANET president. “Homeowners and property owners who assess and renovate their lawn and landscapes in the fall help protect their investment and make the most of the cooler weather and additional moisture that comes along with the fall season.”

The following are several key steps to drought-proof lawns and landscapes this fall:
Consider Low-Water Use Plants or Hydrozoning. Consider planting drought-proof (or low-water use) plants or hydro-zoning, the practice of clustering plants together with similar water requirements in an effort to conserve water. Plants are typically separated into three water need categories: very low, low, and medium.

Audit and Add Water-Saving Tools. It is recommended to have a land care professional ‘audit’ your irrigation system or, perhaps, install one. An irrigation system may need repair or adjustment, and a professional can also check for water distribution uniformity and make sure irrigation systems are installed and maintained properly.

Fall or winter is the best time for irrigation system design or repair since land care professionals are often less busy and rates may be more affordable. Also, consider reusing water with rain barrels to retain rainwater for later use in the garden.

Give Grass Some TLC. With cooler weather and more moisture in the fall, growth–and green color–will return to turfgrass. But, use the cooler weather to aerate the lawn by removing small soil plugs out of the lawn. Aeration allows the roots to go deeper into the soil, more absorption of rainfall or irrigation, and the plants to better draw in water, nutrients and oxygen.

“Turfgrass is incredibly resilient and genetically geared to go dormant in drought conditions and then green up beautifully when the moisture returns,” says Bruce Hellerick, PLANET member and senior horticulturist.

Prepare the Soil. You may want to consider a professional with the know-how and tools needed to break up and amend the soil. A special tool can be used to loosen or “fracture” soil 12-18” deep so roots penetrate deeper and the application of organic compost or other macro and micro nutrients is well distributed.

“The leading cause of poor landscape performance and drought resilience is improper soil preparation,” said Kurt Bland, Landscape Industry Certified, PLANET member. “It’s very difficult to rehabilitate a landscape after poor preparation of soil. Before you invest in more plantings this fall, create healthy soil first.”

Revisit Your Watering Plan. Check with city ordinances on water restrictions. But, the general recommendation is to water early in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Also, avoid watering on windy days to minimize evaporation. Remember, more damage can be done by overwatering plants.
Source: www.landcarenetwork.org

10 Cities with the Worst Car Theft Rates

August 24, 2012 11:32 am

How can you prevent you car from being stolen? According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the answer may be this: don’t live in California. The top 10 cities for car thefts in the U.S. was released by NICB, seven of the 10 cities are in California.

However, it wasn't all bad news as car thefts fell nationwide for the second straight year, reports MSN. Relying on FBI figures, there was a 3.3 percent drop in car thefts from the 2010 total of 737,142.

Here are the top cities for car thefts list including the total number of stolen vehicles and thefts per 100,000 people:
1. Fresno, Calif.: 7,621 total thefts, or 808 per 100,000 people
2. Modesto, Calif.: 3,315 or 639 per 100,000
3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.: 5,240 or 615 per 100,000
4. Spokane, Wash.: 2,614 or 552 per 100,000
5. Yakima, Wash.: 1,308 or 529 per 100,000
6. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif.: 23,223 or 529 per 100,000
7. Stockton, Calif.: 3,532 or 507 per 100,000
8. Anderson, S.C.: 911 or 483 per 100,000
9. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.: 2,002/481 per 100,000
10. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.: 2,124 or 473 per 100,000
Besides not living in California, the NICB also offered some tips on how to prevent your car from getting stolen. These include getting an audible alarm with motion or impact sensors, steering column collars that prevent hot-wiring of the vehicle, and steering wheel locks that are designed to be placed over the steering wheel.

These devices are relatively inexpensive and typically cost less than $100. If you live in one of the top cities for car thefts, this may be an investment worth making.

Source: Findlaw.com

Trees in Distress

August 23, 2012 4:22 pm

If the leaves on your trees seem to have gotten a jump-start on fall compared with those on similar trees in the area, this could be an early warning sign that your tree may be experiencing some type of distress.

One of our regular resources - staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association Tchukki Andersen - says August is the best time to identify early signs that one or more of your trees may be in distress. He says that premature colors can be an indication that a tree isn’t vigorous enough to withstand insects and disease organisms that may attack it, not to mention the usual changes that occur when the weather turns cold.

The subtle changes may only manifest with one or two limbs of the tree showing premature fall color, but this is where you could nip a disease at work that is beginning to weaken only the infected limbs.

A more common situation is for an entire tree to exhibit premature fall coloration, a phenomenon usually linked to root-related stress. Andersen says that trees respond to these stresses by trying to curtail their above-ground growth.

He says leaves can be thought of as small factories containing raw materials, products and by-products, all in chemical form and some with color. As the leaf is “abandoned” by the tree, the green chlorophyll - the dominant chemical found in most leaves - is broken down and “recycled,” leaving behind other-colored chemicals.

Supply lines to the leaves also become clogged. If the major chemical remaining in the abandoned leaf is red, the leaf turns red; if it’s yellow, the leaf turns yellow, and so on.

So if autumn is coming early to a few branches, or an entire tree, now is the time to get advice from a certified arborist, or a member of the Tree Care Industry Association. Click on tcia.org to get started locating a reputable tree care professional in your community.

Top Tips to Master Your Grill

August 23, 2012 4:22 pm

With the kick-off to the football season here, tailgating season is upon us. Fans across the country are preparing their checklists and equipment for the pre-game festivities, for what is sure to be the best tailgating season yet.

And, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), when it comes to tailgating, this season North Americans are more likely to tailgate at professional football games (27 percent) than any other type of event, such as outdoor concerts (19 percent) and college football games (15 percent). So, fire-up the portable grill, smoker or fryer, grab all the essentials for a finger-licking good time, and assemble your team to help get this year's tailgating season off to a winning start.

"What better way to kick-off game day than bringing together friends and family for a tailgate? From the rookie to the pro tailgater, everyone should always start with a game plan and the right equipment and tools," says Leslie Wheeler, HPBA Communications Director. "A portable grill, smoker or fryer is a must for a successful tailgate, and coming to the stadium prepared with all the essentials will ensure a touchdown every time."

Starting your tailgating season off right sets the right tone for the rest of the season. Follow these tips to get started.

Know the Rules: Know the tailgating rules for your stadium before game day. Are grills, smokers and fryers allowed? What time do the parking lot gates open for tailgaters?

Morning Practice: Create a tailgate checklist so you won't forget your gear, including food, drinks, grill, smoker or fryer, grilling accessories, chairs, table, cooler and paper goods.

Equipment Check: You can't play the game without the ball, and you can't cook without the grill, smoker or fryer. Make sure your 'equipment' works properly before getting to the stadium. You'll also want to bring your favorite outdoor cooking accessories, like tongs, and plenty of paper goods for serving.

Be a Team Player: Score big with your friends by bringing a variety of food to throw on the grill, smoker or fryer, and drinks and water, so that there's something for everyone, including kids, vegetarians and those who may just want a snack.

Pre-Game Prep: Prep and marinate meat ahead of time and keep on ice during transportation to ensure freshness (and safety). Arrive early to start up the grill so that it's fired-up by the time other tailgaters arrive.

Go the Extra Yard: You've got the grill and the food, but don't forget about tailgating entertainment, like an iPod, MP3 player or other device for parking lot music, generator to power a TV for pre-game coverage, or even a football, frisbee or cornhole set for activities to play before the game starts.

Clean-Up Blitz: Before heading into the stadium, make sure the grill is completely extinguished, coals are cooled and disposed, and you've cleaned up your tailgating area. Many stadiums provide metal trash cans to place used charcoal. However, if you are tailgating at a stadium that does not, it is always a good idea to bring your own small metal can to place cooled coals.

Practice Makes Perfect:
After you and your guests deemed the tailgate a success and the game is over, go home and 'review the tapes'. Did the new marinade you used work? Do you have enough charcoal, propane, etc. for next week's tailgate? Take what you learn from each tailgate and apply it to the next to be the champion of the tailgating season.

Source: www.hpba.org