Newark Plans To Borrow $120M To Fix Water Crisis
Aug30

Newark Plans To Borrow $120M To Fix Water Crisis

New Jersey officials announced on Aug 26 that the city of Newark is going to receive a loan of $120 million to fix the ongoing water crisis. According to the announcement, this amount of money will be able to bring the city clean water once again in less than three years. Newark is facing issues because of the 18,000 old pipes that are causing lead to contaminate the drinking supply. With other officials beside him, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said that the county will be issuing bonds over the next 24 to 30 months to more quickly eliminate the problematic pipes. Newark’s original plan would have cost $75 million and was scheduled to take eight years. “I don’t want to wait that long. I want this long-term solution to happen sooner rather than later,” said DiVincenzo. The County Executive also said that the importance of the crisis has made it a priority for the county and that he is happy the county can help speed up the solution. According to the city, over 770 pipes have already been replaced since the original plan went into action back in March. The new funds from the county offer another perk for Newark residents. Under the original program, homeowners potentially had to pay up to $1,000 each for the lead line replacement. While many homeowners may be willing to invest in something like curb appeal, one of the five most important factors in selling a house, to improve their property, not many would want to shell out their cash to fix a problem they didn’t cause. According to Baraka, the hundreds of homeowners who had their water lines replaced before the announcement of the new plan will not be billed for the work. To repay the loan, Newark will pay Essex County $6.2 million every year for 30 years. Despite this seemingly steep repayment schedule, Baraka said that Newark taxes will not increase for residents, even for a family of four that can use up to 400 gallons of water in an average day. Instead, he will be seeking state or federal funding to cover the debt and pay back the bond. U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-10th Dist., said that he has talked with the representative of Flint, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, to find federal funding for Newark. Payne intends to recreate the program that allocated federal dollars for Flint’s crisis. For Newark’s 282,000 residents, the expedited timeline and the freedom from debt comes at just the right time. Although over 63% of adults have moved...

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Digital Marketing Trends in 2019
Aug06

Digital Marketing Trends in 2019

Every year there are new and improved strategies in the digital marketing world. With new strategies, comes challenges for small businesses to keep ahead of the curb. We’ve reached out to the best local digital marketing experts to inform us what we should expect in 2019. Diversify Your Strategy “Our company focuses on digital marketing for local service based businesses,” says Rebekah Richards of JuceBox Local Marketing Partners. “With so much of the traditional page 1 real estate being taken up by ads and other Google features that push down traditional ranking spots, often below the fold, we focus on getting featured in four ways: 1) The Google Maps pack. Our clients need to show up in the top 3 and they must have Google reviews that beat their competition. Reputation marketing and SEO now go hand-in-hand. 2) Ranking YouTube videos for common questions in their niche as well as branded searches. The YouTube thumbnail really helps them stand out and videos that feature the business owners and their employees or customer testimonials increase trust and rapport. 3) Featured snippets. Content that is created has a heavy focus on answering questions and we use the FAQ schema to increase the likelihood of our answer being selected for the featured snippets. There is nothing quite like being featured at the very top of the Google search results. 4) Google Posts. By posting to Google we generate more organic clicks for our clients. Since Google posts come with CTA buttons visitors are encouraged to take action off the post.” Create In-Depth Content “Give readers and Google what they want to see; in-depth content. There’s been a bad habit circulating of sites writing blogs that seem to say the same thing post after post,” says Kelly Rossi of Marketing Magnitude. “What we’re finding now is that writing longer content with better information is performing better with visitors and on Google.” Find A Reputable Marketing Company “Work with a company that keeps you informed. Your digital presence is paramount, and can be your largest asset if utilized properly,” says Kelly Shoumate of AdCaffeine Marketing. Don’t Forget About Technical SEO “SEO used to balance on-page and off-page, but now technical SEO is a big piece of the pie,” echoes Shane Griffiths of Clarity Online. “We focus heavily on page speed, caching and rendering, Schema, site structure, and other technical factors when optimizing a website.” Page Speed “One of the most effective SEO strategies I have seen in 2019 has been optimizing page speed,” describes Tyler Rice of Animas Marketing. “The speed of a website not only influences customer behavior but is also becoming a larger ranking...

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Charlottesville Novelists Say Making Them Pay Business Taxes Is Unconstitutional
Aug01

Charlottesville Novelists Say Making Them Pay Business Taxes Is Unconstitutional

As two people who make their living writing novels, Corban Addison and John Hart don’t have to follow the traditional system for paying taxes through an employer. After receiving sizable tax bills from the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, however, the two novelists have decided to take a stand against what they deem an unconstitutional act. The state code in Virginia exempts writers for newspapers and magazines from paying business license taxes but does not extend the same exemptions to novelists. While it is not completely unheard-of for businesses to lack knowledge on their own tax information — a CNBC Small Business Survey found that in 2016 22% of small business owners didn’t know their effective tax rate — Hart and Addison weren’t aware that the state considered them businesses at all. The Institute for Justice, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is representing the two men in the lawsuits they filed against the city and county on July 24. According to attorney Renée Flaherty, the city and county are participating in unconstitutional discrimination by exempting writers who write for newspapers and magazines from the tax code and not independent authors. These writers supply the 12 books per year that the average American reads. Yet they don’t receive the same tax exemptions writers who work for media organizations do, even though there is often crossover between the two types of writing. “Instead of protecting and supporting its creative community, Charlottesville and Albemarle County have decided to treat it like an ATM,” Flaherty said. The lawsuit specifically cites the city and county’s actions as breaking the writers’ First Amendment rights, as it is a discrepancy in treatment over speech. The suit contests that the business license tax doesn’t clearly state the types of businesses that need to pay, violating their 14th Amendment rights as well. Flaherty clarified in the press conference announcing the lawsuits on July 24 that the purpose of business license taxes is to account for the cost of infrastructure that supports business operations. This covers aspects like the roads businesses are located on and the parking lots, 90% of which in the U.S. are surfaced with asphalt pavement, customers park in. Flaherty says that her clients, however, don’t use the city’s infrastructure to turn profits or serve customers as other businesses do. Hart maintains that he doesn’t use anything from the city or county for his work. He doesn’t even need parking spaces from the city, just his laptop and his imagination. If like 80% of homeowners, he decided to remodel his home to accommodate his work life, which could take up to one year to complete,...

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Landmark LGBTQ+ Events You Need to Know About Following Pride Month
Jul31

Landmark LGBTQ+ Events You Need to Know About Following Pride Month

With June having been pride month, there’s been a lot of talk about history and events within the LGBTQ+ community, especially on the legal front. And while there are a lot of legal problems and cases that happen throughout the year, there are still legality issues the LGBTQ+ community is facing. But fortunately, there have been vast improvements over the past few years. So let’s take a look at a few important events that happened during pride month that impacted the LGBTQ+ community. Ecuador Legalized Same-Sex Marriage There are numerous countries around the world that have very liberal LGBTQ+ laws. The Netherlands was the first nation to decriminalize homosexuality, Canada’s Prime Minister openly supports the LGBTQ+ community, and even Malta, a prominently Catholic nation, was the first European nation to ban conversion therapy. An average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S. each year, and many of these are now same-sex marriages. But there are still many countries that have yet to legalize same-sex marriage. However, Ecuador is no longer one of them. While same-sex unions have been legal for a decade now, those with a civil partnership had fewer rights than couples married under law. The ruling was made in a landmark case after several couples and advocates filed legal claims. And while people with an attorney typically get three to four times more for a claim when they have an attorney, this lengthy legal battle ended in a 5-to-4 ruling. Wisconsin Lawmakers Celebrate Pride Month Countries, states, and cities all around the world have celebrations in honor of Pride Month. And this year, lawmakers in Wisconsin celebrated Pride Month for the first time at the State Capitol. Lawmakers expressed their pride in how far the state has come in supporting the LGBTQ+ community. State Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) said, “If you had told me then that 14 years later, I would be standing at the Wisconsin state capitol as an openly gay elected representative, speaking about June as LGBTQ Pride Month, with the governor standing next to me, I would never have believed you.” And while those in attendance felt the joy and pride within the community, both lawmakers and advocates also acknowledged there is still a long way to go regarding equality. The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots Pride Month 2019 was especially important because June 1st was also the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, or the Stonewall Uprising. This event occurred in 1969 when members of the LGBTQ+ community stood up against harassment from police. This was years after the LGBTQ+ community began uprising in the 1950s, forming groups that lobbied for equality and acceptance. Stonewall consisted of a...

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Dr. Martin Schwartz Releases Bioscaling Gel For At-Home Tartar Cleaning
Jul22

Dr. Martin Schwartz Releases Bioscaling Gel For At-Home Tartar Cleaning

People of all ages dread going to the dentist, but a new product from Dr. Martin Schwarz is making it possible for consumers to tackle a major oral health issue at home. Yahoo announced earlier this month that the German-based oral care brand is releasing Bioscaling, an antibacterial gel that tackles dental plaque and bad breath. Dr. Martin Schwarz sees the revolutionary formula as a way for average consumers to carry out oral hygiene sessions on their own in the comfort of their bathrooms. The typical recommendation is that patients should go to the dentist for teeth cleaning and examination every six months. These check-ups help prevent oral problems like plaque build-up. However, patients may be able to avoid the usual professional dental scaling that gets rid of plaque if they use Bioscaling to improve their overall oral hygiene. The unique antiseptic formula of Bioscaling includes the naturally occurring compound, microcrystalline sodium bicarbonate. This compound is thought to significantly decrease the number of harmful microorganisms. By mitigating the amount of these microorganisms in a patient’s mouth, it will help remove dental plaque. As dental plaque turns into tartar within the first 24 to 72 hours, users of Bioscaling may also be able to aid in preventing tartar build-up that can lead to periodontal disease. With the gel, patients can also avoid the complex in-office dental procedures that remove tartar. According to a spokesperson of Dr. Martin Schwarz, Dr. Matthias Berg, Bioscaling could help with several other oral health problems as well. When the gel removes the bacteria that form plaque, it will also be removing the same bacteria that often cause bad breath. It does this by liquidating the harmful bacteria and restoring the natural pH level of the oral cavity. The gel’s active ingredients also help remove biofilm from the teeth, which is essential in preventing tartar from forming. All of these functions in one product help to make the process of dental scaling much more accessible to those who need it. With the average American having about $38,000 in debt, not including mortgages, a trip to the dentist for a pricey procedure to remove tartar isn’t always in the financial cards. Instead, consumers can avoid high co-pays and dental bills by using Bioscaling at home. Users can apply the gel to the teeth’s surface in a few ways, including with a sonic toothbrush, a manual brush, or mouth trays. For those who are still interested in services a dentist’s office can provide, there have been recent strides in plaque-removal technology for in-office use. A team of engineers, biologists, and dentists from the University of Pennsylvania developed a...

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