Gunning Daily News

Question of the Day

May 13, 2011 7:51 am

Q: Are there such things as no-cost and no-fee loans?

A: You see promotions for them all the time. But banking regulators have gone after lenders who misrepresent these loans. The reality is that no-cost and no-fee loans may actually cost the borrower more over the long term because costs are often hidden by rolling them into the new loan through higher principal or interest.

The rates on no-cost loans are usually about 1/2 or 5/8 of a percentage point higher than the "full cost" rate.

A typical no-fee loan includes points and all fees in the loan principal, so the borrower does not pay or "see" these expenses at the closing. Instead, the borrower pays them over the life of the loan.

If you are looking to refinance, it may be possible to get a no-cost program that will lower your rate at no expense to you. Today, lenders are paying all closing costs, such as title fees, appraisal fees, and credit report fees. There are no loan fees or points, and nothing is added to your loan balance.

However, many lenders may charge a loan application fee and some restrictions may apply depending on the size of the loan.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


101,000 Americans become 'Sun Certified,' Raising $101,000 for The Skin Cancer Foundation

May 13, 2011 7:51 am

RISMEDIA, May 13, 2011-With the weather warming up across the country, families are spending more time outdoors enjoying the sun. But, with skin cancer as the most common form of cancer in the U.S., they need to take steps to protect themselves from sun exposure. To help increase awareness of this important issue, Banana Boat sun care is teaming up with The Skin Cancer Foundation to raise funds for skin cancer education initiatives by challenging 101,000 consumers to get "Sun Certified" this year.

Each consumer who takes a short "Sun Certification" quiz on www.facebook.com/BananaBoatBrand will receive a "Sun Certified" badge to display on their own Facebook wall and trigger a $1 donation to support The Skin Cancer Foundation's sun education initiatives, for a total donation of up to $101,000.

"With skin cancer as the leading type of cancer in the U.S., it's become increasingly important that families know how to protect themselves from the sun," says Perry Robins, M.D., President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Banana Boat in our ongoing efforts to raise awareness for this important issue."

The Banana Boat "Sun Certification" program is part of a Sun 101 sun education campaign designed to give Americans the basic information they need to enjoy the sun without worry. This sun season, the brand will also share advice from and host live conversations on its Facebook page with sun experts, including: two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Women's Soccer Team captain Christie Rampone, dermatologist Julie K. Karen, M.D., and family lifestyle expert and magazine editor Amy E. Goodman.

"We are on a mission to inspire more people to use more sunscreen more often," says Beth St. Raymond, Director, Energizer Personal Care Sun Care, maker of Banana Boat . "An estimated 62 percent of American households don't use sun care products, and by working with partners like The Skin Cancer Foundation, we hope to change that to ultimately reduce the incidence of skin cancer."

More information visit www.BananaBoat.com or http://www.facebook.com/BananaBoatBrand.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Women Winning the Battle of the Sexes when it Comes to Periodontal Health

May 13, 2011 7:51 am

RISMEDIA, May 13, 2011-The differences between men and women are extensive, especially when it comes to taking care of one's health. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), compared to men, women are better about seeing their physician for routine check-ups and are more likely to schedule a doctor visit when feeling sick or injured. And now, new research published in the Journal of Periodontology reveals another area where women are more proactive than men: in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

According to the study, published in April 2011, women are almost twice as likely to have received a regular dental check-up in the past year. In addition, women were more likely to schedule the recommended treatment following the dental check-up. Women in the study also had better indicators of periodontal health, including lower incidence of dental plaque, calculus and bleeding on probing; all of which can be used as markers of periodontal disease.

The study also suggested that women have a better understanding of what oral health entails, as well as a more positive attitude towards dental visits.

The study included over 800 participants between the ages of 18 and 19. Participants were asked to complete a written questionnaire concerning lifestyle, dental knowledge, dental attitude and oral health behaviors. In addition, the participants underwent an oral examination to assess for indicators of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In addition, previous research has associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

"It is crucial that everyone-both men and women-strive to maintain periodontal health," says Donald S. Clem, DDS, a periodontist in private practice in Fullerton, California and President of the American Academy of Periodontology. "With increasing research indicating that one's periodontal health may be related to overall health, never has it been more important to ensure the health of your teeth and gums. You cannot be healthy unless you are periodontally healthy."

Dr. Clem stressed the importance of routine oral care in helping to prevent periodontal disease. "Taking good care of your periodontal health involves daily tooth brushing and flossing. You should also expect to get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation every year," he advises. A dental professional, such as a periodontist-a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum disease-can conduct a comprehensive exam to assess your periodontal disease status.

To assess your risk for periodontal disease or to learn more, visit www.perio.org.

Periodontal Health: Women vs. Men

Women are 26 percent more likely than men to floss on a daily basis.

74 percent of women would be embarrassed by a missing tooth-a possible consequence of periodontal disease-compared to 57 percent of men.

Women are almost twice as likely to notice missing teeth on another person than men.

44 percent of women are aware that periodontists can help contribute to overall good health, compared to 33 percent of men.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Alternatives for Seniors Predict Increased Burden for Caregivers

May 13, 2011 7:51 am

RISMEDIA, May 13, 2011-Members of the largest demographic group in American history, Baby Boomers, will begin turning 65 next year. According to Alternatives for Seniors, as these men and women join a senior citizen population that continues to live longer lives, many in the country will face the becoming a caregiver for a parent or loved one and being involved first hand with senior care challenges.

The sons and daughters of an aging population have no easy task ahead of them in determining how to care for elderly loved ones, but if caregivers take the time to consider available senior housing and care options and start planning sooner than later, the challenges faced by the demographic changes in America's population will not be too much to handle.

According to AgingStats.Gov - Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics, about 13 percent of the American population is currently 65 or older and that number is expected to grow to 20 percent (or 72 million people) by the year 2030. Also, as the life expectancy grows, the number of people age 85 or older is expected to jump from 5.7 million to 19 million by the year 2050. These statistics show sons, daughters, friends, and family all across the county they need to prepare themselves for very difficult choices about the caregiver role they may need to play and the long term care their loved one may need.

A study by the Family Caregiver Alliance estimates that 39 million people have become an informal or family caregiver to somebody age 50 or older. These informal caregivers are individuals who provide either full or part-time care free of charge. While it is excellent there are so many loving people who are willing to care for a loved one in this way, as a result caregiver stress has become an increasing problem. Caregivers run a risk of increased blood pressure and insulin levels, increased rates of depression, and for caregivers who are over 65 themselves, an increased mortality rate.

Rather than take on the role of an informal caregiver, another option is to invest in long term care. Determining what form of long term care is necessary can be a difficult decision for a caregiver given there are so many options: home care, day programs, senior housing, independent living, assisted living, nursing and rehab centers, and continuing care communities. Each type of long term care has its own distinct advantages based on the level of care that is needed.

While the financial picture is different for each caregiver, everybody can plan ahead by exploring the options for long term care with their loved one. It is important to include the senior in discussion of their care and listen to their concerns. The caregiver should also include friends, family, and other who have influence in the decision making process.

The print and nationwide senior housing and care online directory provides detailed listings on Independent Living, Senior Apartments, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, Alzheimer's Centers, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Home Care and other services. The directories assist families by separating the options by level of care or service and geographic area making it easy to use and understand all options at a glance.

"Alternatives for Seniors' mission is to provide seniors, families and healthcare professionals with the senior care resources and tools they need to make educated, informed decisions and to understand the options available to them," says Anita Kremer, president of Alternatives for Seniors. "Whether a family's needs are immediate or planning for the future, the information and tools provided is of great value."

For more information visit http://www.AlternativesforSeniors.com.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


May Is Family Wellness Month: How Parents Can Strengthen Family Relationships, Even during Divorce

May 13, 2011 7:51 am

RISMEDIA, May 13, 2011-The word "divorce" doesn't conjure up positive thoughts of family wellness, but emotionally neutral parents can strengthen family relationships, even during the divorce process and later as a divorced family, according to Deborah A. Carder, a Partner with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, one of the nation's leading family law firms.

Carder, who has litigated highly complex family law cases for more than a decade, says a change in Illinois law in 2006 to require parents to attend a parenting education course, has had a very positive impact on the outcome of child custody proceedings. The family law attorney explains that in DuPage, Kane and Will counties, where she practices law, within 60 days of the first court appearance parents are required to complete a parent education program. "It is extremely important for parents to take the class early in the process," advises Carder. The program teaches parents to deal with adult problems in ways that avoid harm to their children's emotional well being.

"Typically parents are so trapped in their own emotional chaos, not to mention the arduous divorce procedure, that they involve their children in the process without even knowing it," she notes. The commonly heard statements such as, "Your mother is a liar," or, "I can't afford that because your father hasn't paid support this month," are damaging to children, but equally damaging is the inability of a parent to manage their emotions. "Being emotionally neutral is the most difficult, yet most critical skill a divorcing parent must have," advises Carder. "By learning coping techniques to help deal with the emotional impact they can be more effective and available parents," she adds.

Family Wellness Month-recognized every year in May-is supported nationally to increase awareness and empower parents with practical solutions, extensive resources and specific services for family wellness, including parenting courses offered during the divorce process.

Carder acknowledges that the divorce process can be long and painful, adding that a recent change in laws has also helped to move child custody procedure forward in a timelier manner. In the past it could have taken three years to settle a child custody case. Present law requires the case be resolved in 18 months. "The true benefit is that all parties can end conflict and move forward onto the next stage of their life," she adds.

Moving forward is an important outcome of any case to Carder, but she also says her ultimate goal from the first time she meets with a client is to give them the tools, resources and support during the process. These tools enable them to be a good parent to their children, grant them the ability to focus on their professional life and allow them to continue to enjoy their personal interests and move forward in life, while Carder handles the legal aspect of the divorce.

Since 2007, Carder has consistently received the honor of being selected by her peers as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. She has been named as one of the Top 100 Women Consumer Lawyers in Illinois. She has also been named as a 2008-2010 Illinois Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers. Most notably, Ms. Carder was chosen in 2010 by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of the "40 Attorneys Under 40 in Illinois to Watch."

For more information visit www.sdflaw.com.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Question of the Day

May 12, 2011 8:21 am

Q: Are victims whose homes are damaged by natural disasters granted any tax relief?

A: Damage, destruction, or loss of property from fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters are deductible from both state and federal income taxes.

If destruction is caused by an event deemed a federal disaster by the president, homeowners can deduct their losses in the tax year before the event happened by filing an amended return. This helps to dramatically cut the wait for tax refund money that can immediately be used to make repairs or pay for living expenses.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Word of the Day

May 12, 2011 8:21 am

Title insurance. An insurance policy that protects against any losses incurred because of defects in the title not listed in the title report or abstract.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Learn What Toxins in Crib Mattresses Could Be Harming Your Children and How to Protect Them

May 12, 2011 8:21 am

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2011-A new mother's job is to protect her baby. An expectant mother keeps their baby warm and safe for 9 months, but how does a mother keep their baby safe from hidden dangers when setting up a nursery? The crib mattress is one of the most important purchases parents make, as babies sleep in their crib for the first two years. It's imperative that consumers are educated before choosing a crib mattress in order to protect their family from the many hidden dangers.

Pesticides not detected by the naked eye in non organic mattress are poisonous and lethal to children and adults. Consumers' confusion on organic practices and understanding labeling makes it difficult choosing the right crib mattress. Mattresses produced by the Futon Shop-an organic mattress and crib mattress manufacturer-are are one example of a mattress made from quality organic material, which protects families from harmful chemicals.

You want to be sure that the cotton used in the mattress is grown without toxic chemicals and pesticides, which helps make the world a healthier place. In order for cotton to be certified organic, farmers rely on crop rotation that replenish and maintain soil fertility while botanical means are used to control pests and weeds. The USDA only certifies cotton as organic when a field is pesticide-free for three years prior to planting. According to the Organic Trade Association, Dr. Chensheng Lu of the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health has found that less pesticide exposure during pregnancy means fewer risks to your babies for a variety of diseases that can manifest years later.

There are Organic mattresses and crib mattresses available online that appear to be labeled and designed safe for your child, but this does not mean they are. Many companies and websites have classified their product "green" or "organic," but when you look a little closer, you will find that companies are using deceptive green labeling that misleads customers. Every year there are hundreds of babies that get sick or die from dangers in toys and mattresses. According to Forbes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 44 toys in fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30, and several more in October and November.

The FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued general warnings regarding the use of phthalates and their dangers to our health, yet the PVC surfaces of baby mattresses still contain the phthalates Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Barry A. Chief Engineer, G.E.M. Testing & Engineering Labs completed a Toxicity Analysis of Baby Mattresses in which he found all plastics are not created equal. The "vinyl" surface typically used in baby mattresses is actually PVC, which is made from vinyl chloride-a combination of petroleum (ethylene) and chlorine. This particular plastic is far more toxic than the plastic bag you might use to pack your lunch. To keep you and your family safe, the waterproof organic cotton crib mattress protectors offered by companies similar to The Futon Shop containing no harmful metals or VOC.

Groundbreaking research from Dr. Jim Sprott, OBE, a New Zealand scientist and chemist, states with certainty that crib death is caused by toxic gases, which can be generated from a baby's mattress. Chemical compounds containing phosphorus, arsenic and antimony have been added to mattresses as fire retardants and for other purposes since the early 1950s. A fungus that commonly grows in bedding can interact with these chemicals to create poisonous gases (Richardson 1994).

The Futon Shop is located in San Francisco, and has been producing hand-made premium futon sofa beds, organic futons, organic crib mattresses, covers and organic bedding since 1976.

For more information visit www.thefutonshop.com.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Copper Sprinklers Offer Habitat Families Fire Protection

May 12, 2011 8:21 am

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2011-When Habitat for Humanity St. Louis (HFHSL) identified vacant property just north of downtown, the construction team wanted to build homes that were not only energy efficient but safe for its new tenants.

And with Model Building Codes now requiring new single- and two-family dwellings to be outfitted with sprinkler systems, Habitat chose to go with copper systems for all of its new homes, including the six that were completed this spring.

While state building codes across the country are becoming aware of the life-saving potential of installing fire sprinklers, copper lends itself perfectly for handling the installations.

"Copper is probably the best product to use, period-because it lasts forever," says Scott Usher, the superintendent for Fire Protection Services, the company that installed the sprinkler systems. "Once you put it in and it's done properly it requires almost no maintenance. Copper really is the best way to go when it comes to these types of dwellings."

While some plastic materials are approved for use in residential fire sprinkler systems, they can't be used in exposed locations such as basements, crawlspaces, attics and garages without being protected behind a fire-rated barrier-an additional construction cost. Since copper doesn't burn, doesn't support combustion, and doesn't emit potentially toxic fumes when subjected to fire, it is the safe, smart choice.

"Copper is the ideal choice for sprinkler systems because it's not only lightweight, durable and able to withstand extreme temperatures, it's also easier to work with and install because of its slimmer profile," says Andy Kireta Jr., vice president of building and construction for the Copper Development Association. "You can't put a price on fire safety, and with new homes requiring sprinkler systems, this adds another level of protection for the homeowner and their loved ones."

Copper systems also offer economic advantages, including lower maintenance costs and long-term performance. Copper's high recycled content and limitless recyclability support green construction practices as well.

Through the generous support of local companies and contractors, Habitat was able to secure the materials, services and labor for the project.

For more information about copper sprinkler systems, please visit www.copper.org.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Baby Boomers Bring New Boom, as Entrepreneurs

May 12, 2011 8:21 am

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2011-Industry indicators from commercial loan experts to minority-owned businesses to health care providers are reporting a boom in entrepreneurs seeking and engaging in new business opportunities.

"The economic downturn had the negative impact of placing a significant number of talented professionals in the market for a new job," says Kris Roglieri, president of Commercial Capital Training Group. "Many of these professionals looked for opportunities to control their future while at the same time learning new skills in an unstable economy."

One of the key demographics creating this shift is baby boomers. As this population prepares to retire, a growing number are not willing to just rest on their nest egg. A recent trend noted by Entrepreneur Magazine shows that "would-be retirees are taking over the workforce. Some experts even expect a boom in entrepreneurship as healthcare reform takes effect."

In addition, many baby boomers are searching for financial independence through commercial loan opportunities. Commercial Capital Training Group is witnessing this trend as a growing number of baby boomers from across the country enroll in the new six-day training program.

The Commercial Capital Training Group is an intense six-day training program, which provides business leaders with in-depth knowledge of dozens of lending products, industry know-how and marketing expertise to help them start their own commercial finance business. Since 2009, Commercial Capital Training Group has produced more than 150 financial experts who have gone on to facilitate a wide variety of loans from equipment leasing to stock loans to commercial real estate loans to Small Business loans, among many others.

"In the past year we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of professionals enrolling in our intensive training program as they reach retirement age," says Roglieri. "With an unstable economy and a large number of baby boomers preparing for retirement, many are looking for opportunities to supplement their retirement income."

The Commercial Capital Training Group has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of baby boomers in the past year. In addition, the training group is seeing more women and individuals representing minority groups participating, which reflects national trends.

For more information visit www.commercialcapitaltraining.com.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.