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Should you DIY or hire a pro? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Morgan Zenner   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:30

NARI offers advice on deciding how to tackle projects during Home Improvement Month.

 

Des Plaines, Illinois, May 22, 2012— As May, National Home Improvement Month, winds down, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) shares advice with homeowners before they tackle their spring projects: namely, whether to do-it-yourself (DIY) or hire a professional during the busy remodeling season.

 

According to a consumer poll from NARI.org, the largest determining factor for deciding to DIY or hire a professional was cost, at 40 percent. Thirty percent of respondents placed project type and know-how as the second most important factor, and level of difficulty was close behind at 25 percent. Safety and length of time required to complete the project were last, with 2 and 3 percent respectively.

 

“Some of the biggest homeowner misconceptions are related to the three largest considerations: cost, difficulty and know-how,” says NARI National President Dean Herriges, MCR, CKBR, Urban Herriges & Sons Inc., based in Mukwonago, Wis. “Many believe that if they do-it-yourself, the cost will be greatly reduced. And most people also believe that the learning curve for home improvement is lower than it actually is.”

 

In reality, the home improvement process—though varied across project type—can be very costly and involved for anyone, not to mention a beginner. That’s why it’s important to weigh all considerations before you begin work to prevent a DIY disaster.

 

“There are a few basic questions that homeowners must consider before they start; otherwise, they will find themselves paying a professional even more money to fix multiple issues or, even worse, injured,” Herriges says.

 

The most important considerations for homeowners have to do with physical ability, skills, time and understanding of what needs to be.

 

“Oftentimes, people underestimate height and physical limitations like lifting or controlling heavy objects, or whether the job requires more than one person,” Herriges says. “When people attempt things that are beyond their ability, they open themselves up to injury.”

 

Herriges says that homeowners should have basic skills when it comes to using tools or knowing which tools are necessary, measuring, installing and following product manufacturer instructions.

 

He also says that homeowners should plan the process from beginning to end to ensure they have time to complete. “If you’re working on a bathroom, you need to map out a good time for you to be without a bathroom and how long those critical steps will take so you know when you will have a bathroom again,” he says.

 

And then homeowners should consider the costs. Permits, materials, time and costs associated with correcting mistakes must be factored into the total cost. “If you are doing the project yourself for financial reasons, you need to consider what it would take to correct mistakes that cause damage,” Herriges says. “Fixing a project is usually more expensive than hiring a professional to do the project the first time through, so it’s wise for homeowners to know what they are getting into and if the risk is worthwhile.”

 

Most homeowners can handle routine maintenance projects and cosmetic touch-ups, but it’s recommended they consult with qualified professionals for larger remodeling jobs and major changes to the home’s structure. Visit the NARI Website to access a DIY quiz, designed to help you decide whether you are going to need to hire a professional.

 

If you find out that you do need to hire a professional, hiring someone who is qualified and competent to do the work is just as important as preventing a DIY disaster. “You want to select someone that is certified or has professional experience working in the home improvement industry,” Herriges says.

 

As of April 22, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency passed new regulations to address a lead safety concern in homes built before 1978. The Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is designed to train professional remodelers how to minimize lead dust in the home to reduce exposure to children under 6 years and pregnant women. Remodel-ready homeowners should make themselves aware of lead-safe practices in their homes during a remodel, either by a professional or as a do-it-yourself practitioner, to keep their families safe. Please learn more at www.nari.org/leadsafety.

 

NARI is a good source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics that observes high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

 

Visit the NARI.org site to get tips on how to hire a remodeling professional and to search for NARI members in your area.

 

NARI members represent a select group from the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the U.S. identifying themselves as professional remodelers.

 

NARI is a professional association whose members voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics.  Consumers may wish to search www.nariremodelers.com to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI. For the latest information on green remodeling, visit www.GreenRemodeling.org. Click here to see an online version of this press release.

 

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About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents 7,000 member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit www.NARI.org or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Ill., at (847) 298-9200.

 
Family Vacation Tips PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:00

Family Time, Unplugged & Outdoors: Memories are Made on Vacations; Tips for the Road

Don’t worry about record-breaking gas prices – the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates prices to be $3.79 a gallon this summer, less than in 2008.

That’s good news for families considering reviving the tradition of a road trip vacation, one of the best experiences parents and kids can share, says Michael DiLorenzo, author of Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks! (www.adventureswithjonny.com).

“This is a shared experience, and one that will be talked about during family gatherings for years to come,” says DiLorenzo, a father of three. “For busy parents, this is a time to savor their children’s youth. As moms and dads eventually find out, they grow up fast.”

It’s also a chance to get children outside and away from their computers, he says. Children today already have a deep-rooted interest in technology, which is why a road trip to a natural, outdoor destination is an opportunity to “give your child the gift of the outdoors, which is a gift for life,” says DiLorenzo.

The journey to a national park in the United States or Canada – perhaps Yellowstone in Wyoming or Banff in Alberta – is as bonding an experience as whatever happens at the destination.

“And there are parks in every state,” he notes. “If you don’t have the time or money to go cross country, pick a park closer to home.”

DiLorenzo offers these helpful tips for the road:

• Games, games, games!: Yes, there is ample entertainment for both drivers and riders in cars these days. BUT, the goal is to bond with the family, so consider a fun, albeit off-color game like “Road Kill Round-Up.” A point system might break down like this: two points for the first to spot a poor critter; three for whoever first correctly identifies the species; two points subtracted for a false road-kill call; three points subtracted for misidentifying the kind.

• Beware of dairy drinks (and other smelly snacks): A spill in the backseat can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip. But do pack plenty of  healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and avoid all the sugar and salt in junk food.

• Avoid big-city rush hours: When traveling through metropolitan areas, consider the busiest traffic periods. Whether you plan to stop and check out the city or simply zip through it, bumper-to-bumper traffic is something to avoid. A bit of consideration can save your family hours of grid-locked misery.

• Tech help: Various apps and websites can help drivers find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. Also, don’t forget a music mix that appeals to the entire family on one of these devices. (Remember, leave work at home – forget about work-related calls, texts and emails! Use a non-work-related smartphone, if needed.)

• Schedule pit stops: Being in a hurry should be left for the morning commute; vacation should be different. When traveling across states and provinces, consider local culture. For example, barbecue in South Carolina is very different from Missouri’s version. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes.

“The greatest family memories are created in shared adventure,” DiLorenzo says. “Outdoor recreation is filled with these memories just looking for a family to bring them home.”

About Michael A. DiLorenzo

Michael A. DiLorenzo is a married father of three living in the outdoor-rich environs of Michigan. He created the “Adventures with Jonny” series to entertain and educate children (and parents!) about the activities available in the great outdoors.

 
Animal Welfare Seminar Planned PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mike Banks   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 08:26

Petfinder.com and the Petco Foundation will present "Adoption Options," a one-day animal welfare seminar, hosted by Iowa City Animal Services, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, at the Johnson County Extension Building, Iowa City.

Featured speakers include Steve Notaro, Ph.D., University of Illinois, whose topic will focus on adoption strategies, Karen Dashfield D.V.M., speaking on vaccination protocols, and noted dog trainer Sue Sternberg, who will demonstrate techniques for training shelter dogs for increased adoptability. Marketing pets online will also be addressed.  The seminar is open to anyone involved in animal welfare.
The cost is $20.00 ($10.00 for Petfinder.com members) and includes lunch, a Petfinder.com t-shirt, a gift from the Petco Foundation and educational materials. Space is limited.  For more information or to sign up, visit www.petfinder.com/adoptionoptions or email adoption This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Petfinder is the oldest and largest virtual animal shelter and represents over 13,500 animal welfare organizations nationwide and in Canada.
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Senator Grassley - the week ahead PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:58
Monday, May 21, 2012

Here is information about Senator Grassley’s schedule this week.  The Senate is in session.

Senator Grassley will meet with Iowans from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Telecommunications Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Iowa Rural Letter Carriers, the Appraisal Institute, and the Paper Recycling Coalition.

Senator Grassley also will meet with Iowa families visiting Washington from Johnston, Des Moines, Ankeny, and Iowa City.

Senator Grassley will be a guest this week on public affairs programs hosted by Ryan Schlader of WMT Radio in Cedar Rapids and Mike Adams of AgriTalk, which airs on 13 Iowa radio stations.

On Monday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will speak to the Whistleblower, Civil and Human Rights Summit.

Senator Grassley will answer questions and respond to comments via Skype with fourth graders at MOC-Floyd Valley Community Schools in Hospers on Tuesday, May 22, at 1:30 p.m. (CT), and with students in the contemporary issues class at Marshalltown High School on Thursday, May 24, at 8:30 a.m. (CT).

On Wednesday, May 23, at 10 a.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the courts titled “Protecting Our Children:  The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.”

On Wednesday, May 23, at 1:15 p.m. (ET), in the Capitol Visitors Center, SVC-215, Senator Grassley will speak about the impact of intellectual property laws on jobs at an event of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.  The Center will be releasing a new study.

On Wednesday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in a hearing of the Judiciary Committee to consider nominations to the federal judiciary.

On Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m. (ET), in Dirksen 226, Senator Grassley will participate in the weekly executive business meeting of the Judiciary Committee.  Two legislative proposals may be considered:  S.2076, the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Al Franken, Lindsay Graham, Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn, Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal, and S.2370, the Small Business Reorganization Efficiency and Clarity Act, sponsored by Senators Grassley and Sheldon Whitehouse.

 
Treasurer Fitzgerald May Be Looking For You PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Karen Austin   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:47

DES MOINES, IA (05/21/2012)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is looking for over one million people who are owed over $239 million. The spring publication of the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is scheduled to begin soon and includes thousands of names that have been received in the last year. Fitzgerald wants Iowans to know they do not have to wait much longer to see if they have extra funds coming to them in the form of unclaimed property.

"We look forward to the spring publication every year," said Treasurer Fitzgerald. "Our goal is to locate the rightful owners of the unclaimed property. I'm sure that when we publish the new list, a lot of individuals will be pleasantly surprised." Treasurer Fitzgerald would also like to remind individuals that they do not have to wait for publication to begin to see if they have unclaimed property. "Individuals can go to www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com and search the entire Great Iowa Treasure Hunt list for their names anytime. It just makes sense to check."

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $143 million in unclaimed property to more than 359,000 individuals since Fitzgerald started it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer's Office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.

Everyone is encouraged to keep watch for the upcoming publication coming soon to papers across the state. In the meantime, all Iowans are urged to visit www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com and check to see if they have unclaimed property. Individuals may also send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For those who prefer corresponding by mail, please write to: State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald, Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319. Please make sure to provide current name, previous names and addresses.

 

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