Gunning Daily News

Trending: Salt Water Pools

July 27, 2012 4:48 pm

(ARA) - One of the hottest summers in U.S. history has sent everyone scurrying into their pools to cool off, and the biggest new trend in swimming pools is salt water. First developed in Australia, saltwater pools offer several advantages over conventional chlorine and have become incredibly popular in the last decade.

People no longer have to tolerate the eye-burning, nose-curdling sting that comes from chlorine. Saltwater pools only have one-tenth the salt of ocean water and about one-third when compared to human tears. They are also gentler on the skin and hair than traditional chlorine pools. And pool owners don't have to purchase, store, and handle harsh chemicals, so maintenance is easier, more convenient, and saves time and money.

Across the country, more chlorine pools are being converted to salt water and today there are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in operation nationwide. An estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002, according to data published in Pool & Spa News.

Since the Evergreen Commons senior center in Holland, Mich., converted its 65,000-gallon pool to salt water, members have been pleased with the results. "The minute you walk into the pool area you notice a big difference," says Jodi Owczarski, the center's community relations director. "There is no longer that chemical smell. People also tell us that the water is much softer. In the old pool, people said they sometimes had to wash twice to get all those chemicals off, but in this pool, they only have to wash once. All in all, people have been thrilled with this new system."

In saltwater pools, chlorine is automatically produced as water passes through the generator. As the water exits the generator and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.

Saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional pools, but pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine, and monthly for other water balance factors and for salt levels, which can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Most pool owners test their pool water themselves with test strips and periodically bring a sample in to a pool retailer for testing.

Anyone who has made the decision to move to a saltwater pool should make certain they use salt specifically designed for that use. An average 20,000 gallon pool requires 530 pounds of salt at startup; with quantities that large, even small amounts of contaminants within the salt can cause pool problems. That's why ultra-pure salt is best for salt water pools. Salt water systems can also save money in the long run over chlorine-based alternatives.

There have also been questions about the effect of salt water on pool construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks. Most materials are suitable for salt water pool construction, and most kinds of stone and decking materials will last if treated and sealed properly and periodically rinsed off.

If you're considering a saltwater pool, talk to a knowledgeable builder or retailer, or get some insight from other saltwater pool owners. You can also find more information at the Salt Institute website.

Painting Kids' Rooms: Tips and Tricks to Get It Right

July 27, 2012 4:48 pm

Looking to set up a nursery or revamp the color of your tweens bedroom? Painting is an easy and cost-effective way to create just the right atmosphere. But knowing how to get started can feel overwhelming. These tips will help you choose the best type and color of paint, while keeping the process quick and stress-free.

Sheen Savvy -Sheen determines how shiny your paint looks when it's dry. Choosing the right sheen adds the perfect finishing touch on a room, and it can make a big difference when it comes to cleaning up.

Semi-Gloss - Brings a soft shine to the room without being overpowering. It's good for kids' rooms because it's durable and easy to clean. You can wipe off crayon and pencil marks with common non-abrasive cleaners.

Eggshell/Satin - Has a smooth finish with a subtle sheen, and is washable and scrubbable.
Flat - A beautiful matte coating with no shine. It is ideal for low-traffic areas and hides minor dents or nicks best.

Choosing Colors

For many DIYers, choosing paint colors can be a tricky and time-intensive process. There are so many options and many people worry about making a big color mistake.

Get inspired - Look through magazines, websites such as Pinterest®, an online pinboard, and even at friends' homes to get some ideas.

Try them out - Once you've narrowed down your color choices, try out your top picks to see how they will look in the room with your specific lighting conditions.


Painting Tips

• Consider using a combination paint and primer -- it can save you time and money by eliminating the need to use two painting products.
• Work from the ceiling down to the baseboards. Do one entire wall or area at a time.
• Use wide masking tape to mask off areas you don't want to paint, such as window panes or trim.
• Use a roller to paint in blocks of roughly 4 x 4 feet. Paint adjacent blocks before each previous block dries to help blend the edges.
• Paint molding and woodwork with a brush, in the direction of the wood grain. Use short strokes to coat the surface, then use longer, smoother strokes for an even and finished surface.
• Make sure the room is well ventilated as you paint.
• Pick a paint that dries quickly and has low odor, so your child can move into the newly painted space sooner.

Source: www.Glidden.com.

Tips to Recognize Teen Depression: Eagle Ranch Academy

July 27, 2012 4:48 pm

Every parent wants to be a support system for their child. Keeping an eye out for signs of depression is one way you can be there for your teen. Below are several tips for recognizing if your child may be suffering from depression.

Tip 1: If a teen becomes overly quiet and withdrawn from others, tending to spend most of their time in their room away from family and friends, this could be a definite sign of depression. Typically, depressed teens do not wish to communicate with others and would rather avoid any type of social situation.

Tip 2: Dropping grades in school could also be another sign of teen depression. A student that usually gets A’s or B’s, and is currently getting more C’s and D grades could be suffering from depression, as is sometimes seen when parents decide to send their children to a teen treatment center.

Tip 3: Quick or dramatic changes in mannerisms, dress, actions, and friend crowd could also be a sign of depression. Observe a teen closely to see how their behavior and friend crowd has changed.

Tip 4: During the winter months, if changes in teen behavior occur, this could be a sign of seasonal depression. Treatment for this depression may be different than others, but the symptoms for seasonal depression are the same, but with symptoms only occurring during certain seasons, and disappearing in others.

Tip 5: Is a teen prone to listening to music on their iPod or multimedia device with their headphones in and their volume up to full blast for long periods of time? This could be another sign of teen depression. Typically, a teen that does this regularly is trying to isolate themselves from the real world by tuning out everything but their music. It is not so much what music they are listening to as it is the fact that they are choosing loud volumes and isolating themselves.

Source: Eagle Ranch Academy

Word of the Day

July 27, 2012 4:48 pm

Origination fee. A charge by the lender for granting and processing a new mortgage loan.

Q: Are There Standard Ways to Determine How Much a Home Is Worth?

July 27, 2012 4:48 pm

A: Yes. A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home's value.

Your real estate agent can provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Reviewing comparable homes that have sold within the past year along with the listing, or asking, price on current homes for sale should prevent you from overpricing your home or underestimating its value.

A certified appraiser can provide an appraisal of a home. After visiting the home to check such things as the number of rooms, improvements, size and square footage, construction quality, and the condition of the neighborhood, the appraiser then reviews recent comparable sales to determine the estimated value of the home.

You also can check recent sales in public records, through private firms, and on the Internet to help you determine a home’s potential worth.

Best of The 2012 Idea House – Part 2

July 26, 2012 6:02 pm

Sure, maybe zombie-lovers are flocking to Senoi, Ga., to check out filming of the hit cable series The Walking Dead. But there are also some great ideas to bring your place back from the dead in Senoia, home of the Southern Living 2012 Idea House - a historic 1830 circa farmhouse

In this segment we’ll look at the second half of our Top-10 list of Ballard Designs' hand-picked accessories that are breathing new life into the 2012 Idea House.

6. The Calissse 4-Light Pendant is a classic choice to use over a table, in an entry hall or stairwell. The tiered top and clear glass panes recall the romantic candle lit lantern fixtures of the 19th century. A hinged glass panel door allows easy change of bulbs. Priced at $250.

7. Or how about a Julian Apothecary Lamp? This light is designed in the style of traditional pharmacy lamps, the stem telescope, so you can set it to the perfect height. A pivoting shade and adjustable neck helps focus light exactly where you need it. Priced at $99.

8. Available in 18 different finishes, Ballard’s Louis XVI Armoire stands almost 7 feet tall and offers the storage of an additional closet. This armoire is crafted in Italy with fluted side rails, medallion accents and bulb feet. Paneled doors conceal three adjustable shelves and floating back panels, so you can also use it as a media center. Priced at $1799.

9. To compliment your Louis XVI Armoire, go for the matching dresser, also available in 18 finishes. This single Dresser has nicely turned legs crowned in carved rosettes. Beaded drawers with antique brass ring pulls feature protective dust panels and hand painted Italian paper drawer liners. Priced at $1099.

10. Fill Ballard's versatile Seagrass Hurricane with colorful stones, seasonal balls or submerged blooms. With its grand scale and natural texture, the Southern Living Seagrass Hurricane makes an instant statement, inside or out. Add candles or simple stems to create a memorable centerpiece for any occasion. Priced between $45 and $75.

Want to check out more 2012 Idea House accessories and furnishings? Visit ballarddesigns.com. And to learn about visiting the Senoia area and the 2012 Idea House through December 23, visit southernliving.com.

Protect Your Car from Theft as Temperatures Rise

July 26, 2012 6:02 pm

The warm sunshine of summer brings with it more than just trips to the beach - it also brings an increase in auto theft and auto theft-related crimes, according to H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts), Michigan's statewide vehicle theft prevention program.

According to the FBI, July marks the start of the high season for car theft. In 2010, a car was stolen every 42.8 seconds for a total of 737,000 car thefts resulting in $4.5 billion in losses for American car owners.
"While you're out enjoying the summer sunshine, thieves are out looking for unsuspecting victims," saysTerri Miller, director of H.E.A.T. "Don't make yourself an easy target because you forgot to roll up your windows or left your keys in the car while cooling it down. Michigan drivers need to be educated, aware, and take an active role in protecting themselves and their property."

H.E.A.T. provides Michigan drivers with the following tips for keeping cars and belongings safe throughout the warm weather months:
• Lock It Up – Always lock your car when leaving it, and remember to set alarms or other anti-theft devices every time you get out. Close windows tightly, and don't forget the sunroof or convertible top. You can also add a second layer of protection to your vehicle by using a steering wheel locking device, a steering column protector or an alarm with a visible indicator.
• Watch Those Wheels – Invest in locking lug nuts and park in your garage whenever possible. Thieves target easy-to-steal tires and rims.
• Out of Sight, Out of Mind – Keep all personal belongings, including GPS systems, MP3 players, cellphones and other valuables, out of sight.
• Give and Go – No car is worth your life. If approached by a carjacker, give up your car. Most carjackings involve a weapon, so give them your keys and get away from the scene quickly.
• Keep Watch and Report Crime – Help keep your neighborhood safe by writing down descriptions, license plate numbers and other helpful information. Report any suspicious activity. If you know anything about auto theft, chop shops, carjacking or insurance fraud, report it day or night to your local police department.

Source: H.E.A.T.

How Safe Is Your Child's Playground?

July 26, 2012 6:02 pm

Thousands of children are treated for injuries related to playground equipment each year. The numbers are alarming and parents should pay attention.

Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show the following results for kids 3-16 years in the U.S in 2011:

• Approximately 104,157 were treated for injuries from swing sets
• More than 8,800 from seesaws or teeterboards
• Approximately 80,668 from slides and sliding boards.
"In addition to falls and other types of injuries, a playground's surface, design and maintenance also are major factors contributing to mishaps on the playground," says orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Dr. John Gaffney, DO. "For example, knowing what types of playground surfaces to avoid, or being aware of potential injuries that happen from common practices like going down the slide with a child in your lap are great places to start."

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends the following safety tips:

Tips for Parents:
• Avoid playgrounds that have concrete, asphalt, hard-packed dirt, or grass. Recommended surfaces include shock-absorbing unitary materials like rubber mats or loose fill such as double-shredded bark mulch, engineered wood fibers, sand, and fine or medium gravel of suitable depth.
• Steer children to age-appropriate playground equipment.
• Check to see that there is enough space for kids to easily get off the slide or merry-go-round. Don't let children crowd exit areas.
• Try the handgrips on monkey bars and other climbing devices to verify they are shaped and sized for easy grasp.
• Swing seats should be made of plastic or rubber. Avoid metal or wood.
• Avoid any equipment that has openings that could entrap a child's head.
• Be sure you can clearly see your children on the playground.

Tips for kids:
• Play on dry equipment.
• Hold on to handrails and climb all stairs or steps slowly.
• Slide one person at a time, sitting down and facing forward, and move away from the slide as soon as they reach the ground.
• Be careful crossing in front of moving swings or teeter-totters.
• Remove drawstrings and hoods from clothing that could catch on equipment.
• Use care in the sun. In hot weather, equipment exposed to direct sunlight can burn skin.
• Wear proper footwear — no bare feet.

Source: www.AAOS.org.

Word of the Day

July 26, 2012 6:02 pm

Open listing. Listing that gives a broker a nonexclusive right to find a buyer; the owner can still find a buyer himself and avoid a commission.

Q: What Is the Most Common Type of Contract for Listing Properties?

July 26, 2012 6:02 pm

A: The exclusive right to sell. It gives the real estate broker the exclusive right to sell your home during the term of the listing. If a sale occurs – even if you sell the home yourself – the broker gets a commission. The broker may share the listing with other brokers on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to get the widest possible exposure for your home. If you request that the property not be listed on a multiple basis, only the broker named in the contract and his or her sales agents can market and show it.