NFPA Works to Support National Electrical Safety Month
May19

NFPA Works to Support National Electrical Safety Month

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has declared May as National Electrical Safety Month, a motion that has garnered support from both local organizations and larger-scale groups such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Together, these organizations work to raise awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of proper electrical safety habits. A new NFPA report reveals that between 2010 and 2014, there were almost 45,210 electrical home fires each year, which accounted for $1.4 billion in property damage. Fire safety experts say that a combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in buildings could help reduce injuries and property damage by at least 50%, but electrical safety also plays an important role. Approximately 57% of the electrical fires detailed in the NFPA report were the result of unsafe practices with wiring, outlets, and even lamps. “Computers, kitchen appliances, fans and other equipment that use electricity have the potential to be involved in an electrical fire,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy told The Donaldsonville Chief. In order to prevent electrical fires, officials from organizations across the country are dedicating their efforts toward safe electrical practices this month. In addition, officials warn that parents might not be taking enough precautions to ensure their children are safe. A Temple University study found that in observing children ages two to four, a full 100% were able to remove a plastic outlet cap within 10 seconds. Now, researchers are urging parents to install tamper-resistant devices to fully protect children from electrical outlet hazards. And that goes for other types of outlets as well. RJ45 ethernet plugs are only good for approximately 1,000 to 2,000 insertions. After that they can become loose or fray, making them a big hazard for children and pets. The NFPA says that in order to prevent these situations, homeowners should have a licensed electrician perform all electrical work on their home, including inspections and new installations. May isn’t over yet, which means the NFPA and other local organizations will be publishing more data and even organizing events to further raise awareness about safe electrical...

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Organic Pepper Sales Are Recovering After Troublesome Fall Growing Season
May18

Organic Pepper Sales Are Recovering After Troublesome Fall Growing Season

Everybody knows that eating fruits and vegetables are important to maintain a healthy diet – in fact, it is recommended to consume at least 1.5 to 2 servings of fruit a day and 2 – 2.5 cups of vegetables every day. However, one unexpected shift in the organic produce market has vegetable farmers eager to keep their sales–as well as their vegetables–growing. Despite the fact that the organic food market as a whole is growing, organic peppers were reported to have some serious troubles last fall. Demand was low, and eventually, prices became lower than the cost of doing business. This spring, however, sales have bounced back, and demand is higher than ever. “We see the organic category continuing to grow. The demand for our organic peppers continues to be very strong,” Chris Veillon, director of marketing at NatureFresh Farms in Ontario, told The Packer. According to Sarah Pau, director of marketing for Pure Hothouse Foods Inc. in Leamington, which also markets the Pure Flavor brand, the climate was much better for growing this year. “Organic greenhouse growing was only bound to happen, thanks to the more consistent climate making yields significantly higher,” she said. While the appeal of pesticide-free foods is enough to get many people to buy organic, these companies’ marketing efforts should not go unnoticed. While 97% of consumers use internet when researching local products and services, shoppers make 82% of their purchase decisions in the store, and there has been an increased effort on the part of Pure Flavor to both market and grow their organic foods. The company has already announced its plans to expand its organic selections next year. “Pure Flavor has focused on increasing and strengthening our organic program and is now growing many organic crops,” said Pau. On average, companies spent 25% of their total marketing budgets on digital marketing in 2014, with that expected to rise to 75% within five years. And if the organic food market continues to grow as fast as it has been in recent months, the organic industry as a whole could see massive and even unprecedented success. The Oppenheimer Group in British Columbia is another distributor of organics that is anticipating a massive spike in demand and sales. The company cites marketing data from FreshLook demonstrating that organic peppers make up around 4% of all greenhouse pepper sales. The company also says that the data is “indicating an opportunity for peppers to capitalize on the general increase in demand for high-quality...

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BBB Warns Homeowners of Fraudulent Repair Scams After Bad Weather
May16

BBB Warns Homeowners of Fraudulent Repair Scams After Bad Weather

Homeowners across the country are being warned to stay on the lookout for fraudulent repair services and to do plenty of research before working with any home repair company. Unfortunately, “storm chasing” remains a popular home improvement scam after a region suffers particularly intense weather. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has recommended that homeowners improve their online research habits when searching for residential repair services, especially following weather disasters that result in severe property damage. During these traumatic times, homeowners often reach out for help as quickly as possible, looking over potential red flags in the process, in order to repair their homes. Unfortunately, there are plenty of criminals out there that will gladly take advantage of these struggling homeowners by offering fraudulent repair services. In fact, some storm chasers even go door-to-door, specifically targeting seniors with damaged homes. Areas like East Texas, for example, which suffered from a multitude of tornadoes earlier this month, is a prime location for these scam artists. These faux repair companies pose as legitimate companies online and offer fair prices for home repairs. After demanding money up front, these con men walk away with the money without ever performing a second’s worth of actual repair work. “There have been more than 300 home improvement scams reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker nationwide in the past year,” said Emily Valla of the Northwest BBB. “Roofing contractors, plumbers, auto repair, and insurance companies all make the list of top-10 most injured about businesses at BBB serving the Northwest.” Per the BBB’s recommendation, homeowners should always find a reputable company or contractor. Furthermore, homeowners should be highly suspicious of contractors who demand cash payment in advance. “Find out how long a company has been in business and how people rate and review them,” added Valla. “If they have complaints with the BBB, how did the company respond? Taking the time to resolve a situation is most important. Whenever possible, get references. Find out if others had a good experience and if they ended up having to pay more than they bargained for.” In addition to working with credible organizations, KDVR states that having a quality insurance policy and strong warranty can help provide you with peace of mind. A legitimate national warranty organization, for example, will provide quality coverage and protection for up to a decade on qualified structural defects, and a credible insurance agency can help fund catastrophic damage from inclement weather. And if a door-to-door “contractor” shows up at the front door after an intense storm, remember that some deals really are too good to be...

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Are You A Used Car Owner? Here’s Why You Should Check For Extended Warranties

In today’s economy, more and more people are choosing to purchase a used vehicle as opposed to a brand new one. In fact, certified pre-owned sales reached a record 2.6 million units in 2016. And considering the fact that there are 214 million licensed drivers in the U.S., used vehicles make up a significant portion of total vehicles on the road. However, there’s one extremely important precaution that many used vehicle owners forget: taking the time to fully understand the terms and conditions of the manufacturer’s warranties. Why Are Extended Warranties So Important? Pennsylvania newspaper The Morning Call provides this cautionary tale: Phyllis Kriz and her husband, of Lower Towamensing Township, Pennsylvania, purchased a used 2008 Nissan Ultima for their daughter back in 2013. But after just one year, the transmission failed. The car only had 71,000 miles on it, and the family had no choice but to get it repaired. Since it was outside of the manufacturer’s warranty, they paid the full cost of $5,200. But just last December, the transmission failed yet again. Upon taking the car to a Nissan dealership, they were told that the car did in fact have an extended manufacturer’s warranty on the transmission, which should have covered the costs of not one, but both repairs. Unfortunately, since the first repair wasn’t performed by Nissan, the second repair wouldn’t be covered, either. The Kriz family had voided the extended warranty. When Phyllis Kriz researched her warranty she learned that reimbursements were indeed possible for repairs made at any independent shops before the issue of the extended warranty in 2010. “It only seems fair to also extend this courtesy to customers who bought their vehicles used after the implementation, too, because we did not receive the formal notice,” Kriz told The Morning Call. Kriz took action by mailing receipts for both transmission repairs, along with an explanation of her unique situation, to Nissan corporate headquarters in Tennessee. After nearly a month without a response, she’s speaking out. “If we knew of the extended warranty, of course we would’ve had her bring the car to a dealer to be fixed and I was hoping this common-sense logic would be all that was needed for them to authorize our eligibility for reimbursement,” she said. After a reporter from The Morning Call contacted the automaker, Nissan eventually agreed to meet the family halfway and reimburse her for the second repair, done by Nissan, for a total of about $4,300. Kriz said that Nissan wouldn’t pay for the first repair job because Nissan parts were not used. “Nissan does not warranty repairs previously done by third-party repair shops...

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Flipping Houses May Be Easy On TV But It’s Extremely Hard In Real Life
May01

Flipping Houses May Be Easy On TV But It’s Extremely Hard In Real Life

People have always enjoyed television, especially with new streaming services like Netflix, which is the single largest bandwidth uses across the entire Internet, accounting for over 38% of all peak evening hour traffic, but now they are combining their love of TV entertainment with a new trend that has become increasingly popular over the last few months: house flipping. According to The Washington Post, although so many people enjoy watching these house flipping television programs, actually flipping a house and successfully selling it to a new owner for a profit is not nearly as easy as many popular TV shows make it out to be. Flipping houses takes a lot of effort, hard work, and is even extremely dangerous. “The myth of the TV show is that you can just do this [flip a house] right away,” said Aarron Cunningham, Chief Engineering Officer of Inland Capital, who has oversaw an estimated 400 house flipping projects since 2003. “In reality, you have to do a lot of houses before you get really good at it.” The Spokesman-Review reports that a typical house flipping project needs between $30,000 and $40,000 of initial funding cash, which can be extremely difficult for just anyone to obtain and put immediately into a construction project, especially with little or no experience. “Some companies advise you to run up your credit cards for a flip,” added Cunningham. The perfect type of house for flipping is usually a nuisance home that has no working plumbing, no heating, and no structural support. Indoor plumbing, which dates back to roughly 2500 B.C., however, isn’t a skill that just anyone can pick up on after watching a few cable TV house flipping shows. And neither are many other aspects of these major construction projects. “Everyone sees a house they really like and think it’s going to be just like that TV show,” added...

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