Up to $400 from Duke Energy

Reduce the amount of the sun’s heat that enters your home, increase your comfort and lower your energy costs by installing energy-efficient replacement windows. Duke Energy will pay up to $400 when you upgrade to energy-efficient windows or make your existing windows more energy efficient. This offer is available for single-family homes. Multi-family homes do not qualify for this incentive.

You must have a free Home Energy Check with a qualifying recommendation performed before any work begins (within the past 24 months) to qualify for this incentive.

Sounds like the perfect time to call the leader in energy-efficient replacement windows, Renewal By Andersen

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Father’s Day with Jeff Foxworthy

Sharing some laughter this Father’s Day weekend.

You might be a redneck if:

-if you and your father attend the same class reunion.
– if the most important thing your dad taught you how to elude a pack of trailing bloodhounds.
– if the only thing you inherited from your father was Marlboro Miles.
– if you consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.
– if you were born with a plastic spoon in your mouth.
– if your dad’s proudest moment was seeing you on Girls Gone Wild.
– if your dad’s cell number has nothing to do with a telephone.
– if you know your daddy’s C.B. handle but not his real name.

Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools

FORBES Nicholas Wyman

Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.

But in the 1950s, a different philosophy emerged: the theory that students should follow separate educational tracks according to ability. The idea was that the college-bound would take traditional academic courses (Latin, creative writing, science, math) and received no vocational training. Those students not headed for college would take basic academic courses, along with vocational training, or “shop.”

Ability tracking did not sit well with educators or parents, who believed students were assigned to tracks not by aptitude, but by socio-economic status and race. The result being that by the end of the 1950s, what was once a perfectly respectable, even mainstream educational path came to be viewed as a remedial track that restricted minority and working-class students.

The backlash against tracking, however, did not bring vocational education back to the academic core. Instead, the focus shifted to preparing all students for college, and college prep is still the center of the U.S. high school curriculum.

So what’s the harm in prepping kids for college? Won’t all students benefit from a high-level, four-year academic degree program? As it turns out, not really. For one thing, people have a huge and diverse range of different skills and learning styles. Not everyone is good at math, biology, history and other traditional subjects that characterize college-level work. Not everyone is fascinated by Greek mythology, or enamored with Victorian literature, or enraptured by classical music. Some students are mechanical; others are artistic. Some focus best in a lecture hall or classroom; still others learn best by doing, and would thrive in the studio, workshop or shop floor.

And not everyone goes to college. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that about 68% of high school students attend college. That means over 30% graduate with neither academic nor job skills.

But even the 68% aren’t doing so well. Almost 40% of students who begin four-year college programs don’t complete them, which translates into a whole lot of wasted time, wasted money, and burdensome student loan debt. Of those who do finish college, one-third or more will end up in jobs they could have had without a four-year degree. The BLS found that 37% of currently employed college grads are doing work for which only a high school degree is required.

 

The Essential Guide to Hurricane Preparedness

State of Florida: LINK

Hurricane Knowledge

florida hurricaneFirst, know your hurricane facts and understand common terms used during hurricane forecasts. Storm conditions can vary on the intensity, size and even the angle which the tropical cyclone approaches your area, so it is vital you understand what the forecasters and news reporters are telling you.

Tropical Depressions are cyclones with winds of 38 mph. Tropical Storms vary in wind speeds from 39-73 mph while Hurricanes have winds 74 mph and greater. Typically the upper right quadrant of the storm (the center wrapping around the eye) is the most intense portion of the storm. The greatest threats are damaging winds, storm surge and flooding. This is in part why Hurricane Katrina was so catastrophic when bringing up to 28 foot storm surges onto the Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines.

Here are some important terms you may hear:

  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions are possible in the area.
  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the area.
    Watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the area.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the area.
    Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm force winds.
  • Eye: Clear, sometimes well-defined center of the storm with calmer conditions.
  • Eye Wall: Surrounding the eye, contains some of the most severe weather of the storm with the highest wind speed and largest precipitation.
  • Rain Bands: Bands coming off the cyclone that produce severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind and tornadoes.
  • Storm Surge: An often underestimated and deadly result of ocean water swelling as a result of a landfalling storm, and quickly flooding coastal and sometimes areas further inland.

During a watch, prepare your home and evacuation plan in case a warning is issued. During a warning, carefully follow the directions of officials, and immediately leave the area if they advise it. In the event of an Extreme Wind Warning/Advisory, which means that extreme sustained winds of 115 mph or greater are expected to begin within an hour, immediately take shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.

Hurricane Forecasts

Predicting a tropical cyclone’s path can be challenging; there are many global and local factors that come into play. The storm’s size and path can directly influence what sort of wind patterns guide, enhance or hinder its growth, and vice versa! Forecasters have computers that take huge amounts of data and try to predict where the storm will go and usually can calculate 2-3 days out fairly accurately. This is where you hear the terms computer models and spaghetti models being used. Generally the forecast track or path is given with the average consensus of these models. The National Hurricane Center has the most up-to-date information on tropical cyclone developments, forecasts and weather alerts, discussions analyzing the data and more. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Hurricane Names

Hurricane names are picked randomly, then rotated and recycled every 6 years. If a hurricane was catastrophic or severely deadly and costly (i.e. Charlie, Katrina, Irene) it is officially retired since use is not appropriate and can be confusing when naming current storms. To view the current list of tropical cyclone names click here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

Hurricane Kits

It is important to create a kit of supplies that you could take with you if you are forced to evacuate. This kit will also be useful if you are able to stay in your home, but are still affected by the storm, such as through the loss of power. One common trend seen when hurricanes are approaching is a wide-spread panic. When this happens, people rush in large numbers to get all the supplies they think they need. However, if you prepare your kit ahead of time, you can alleviate a lot of the potential stress of a very chaotic situation. You should create your kit in a bag that you can easily take with you. Some recommended items to include are:

  • Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
  • Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
  • Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
  • Waterproof container with cash and important documents
  • Manual can opener
  • Lighter or matches
  • Books, magazines, games for recreation
  • Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated

Securing Your Home

Know how to secure your home in the event of damaging winds, storm surge and flooding.

  • Cover all of your windows, either with hurricane shutters or wood.
  • Although tape can prevent glass from shattering everywhere, be warned that tape does not prevent the window from breaking.
  • If possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the structure of your home.
  • Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed and clear rain gutters.
  • Reinforce your garage doors.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, and anything else that is not tied down.
  • If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors and close, secure and brace internal doors.

Power Outages

In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider and help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness.

  • Gas: Make sure your tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, rush to get extra gas for cars and generators, and subsequently gas stations can run out early.
  • ATMS: Have extra cash on hand in the event no ATMS in your area are accessible or working.
  • Cell Phones: Charge your cell phone and limit use after power is out.
  • A/C: This can be the most uncomfortable side effect of losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up your windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery operated fans, don’t run them unless you are in the room. Fans create a difference in perceived temperature but do not cool the room; instead they create a cooling effect by dispersing the heat off your skin. It is said they can actually add heat to a room just by running.
  • Water: Fill bathtub and large containers with water for washing and flushing only.
  • Food: Turn your fridge temperature down and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage. Here is a guide on freezing food: Freezing and Food Safety. Have a cooler with ice packs prepared to cool your drinks and snacks after power has been out for more than 4 hours. And importantly, check out this food safety guide for when to discard your perishable food: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html
  • Health/Safety: The CDC has a great guide on how to stay safe in the event of a power outage: Power Outages

Remember, any severe storm can be deadly and destructive. If you’ve survived a landfilling cyclone, you know the inconvenience and distress it can cause. One of the best tips to be prepared is knowing the cycle of a cyclone – Approach, Arrival & Aftermath. Prepare ahead of time and listen to the directions of officials for the approach. Secure your home, or find a safe shelter for its arrival, and know how to proceed safely during the aftermath.

Author: Christine Harrison

Want to be on a home improvement reality show? Read this first

Home Renovation

May 2017Josh Green / Atlanta News & Culture

What do casting directors look for?
“We like our clients—either people who are house hunting or in need of a home renovation—to have a sense of what they want,” yet still be flexible when it comes to, say, choosing an unusual paint color, says John Feld, senior vice president of programming at HGTV and DIY Network. These shows don’t want to feature white subway tile on every single episode.

If you’re submitting an application video or preparing for an interview, George Verschoor, executive producer of Fox’s Home Free, suggests thinking of your home as a story. “What makes you different from your neighbors to the left and right?” he says.

Just who pays for these renovations?
“It depends on the circumstances,” says Cartersville Realtor Bonnie Furey, who transformed a 1930s Tudor in southwest Atlanta with her husband, Drew, for the second season of HGTV’s Flipping Virgins. Furey says she fronted most of the costs for her home flip, so have a budget in mind when you apply to be on the show. Still, there can be perks: “As a gift to us for being [featured], they gave us all of the appliances,” she says. “And if there were any mistakes that were made, they would try to meet us in the middle. For instance, the contractor installed the wrong color cabinets. Instead of taking them out, the design team was able to come up with a new color, and HGTV paid for the painting.”

In a few lucky cases, the show will cover all expenses. “We often put more money—for the sake of television—than most people would put into a house,” says Verschoor. “It’s probably the nicest home on the block because it’s overbuilt.”

What happens if things go awry?
The internet does contain horror stories from homeowners who claim that their reality produced renovations were full of shoddy work and ill-conceived design plans. One Raleigh couple last year filed suit against HGTV’s Love It Or List It, alleging low-grade renovations performed on the show weren’t drawn up by a licensed architect and left their floor “irreparably damaged” and windows painted shut. But as long as the show uses licensed, professional contractors, then you have some legal protections. “If the rare issue arises, they’re responsible for making it right,” says Feld. “We’ll make sure of it.”