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The National Parenting Center releases it's Spring 2012 Seal of Approval Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by D Gaynes   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:12
WEDNESDAY - April 23, 2012 - The National Parenting Center has released its 22nd annual Spring Seal of Approval report.  The first report of 2012 follows two months of consumer testing by parents and children at The National Parenting Center's test centers.  A recent independent survey indicated that nearly 60% of mothers rely on awards such as the Seal of Approval when making final purchase decisions for their children.  As such recognition from The National Parenting Center has become a significant bellweather for retail buyers as to which products will ultimately succeed in connecting with consumers.

TNPC's evaluative process gauges consumer reaction to products currently being marketed to both parents and their children such as toys, games, books, videos, websites, educational products, mobile apps, etc.  Each is reviewed on a variety of levels including, but not limited to, price, packaging, design, stimulation, desirability, age appropriateness, instructions and more.  TNPC's Seal of Approval is ultimately a peer-to-peer review program to recognize and highlight products and services that have been met with a "thumbs up" by parents.

Since 1989, The National Parenting Center has established itself as North America's leading parent advocacy organization.  TNPC offers advice and information to parents on issues that range from pregnancy through adolescence.  The National Parenting Center's home page, TNPC.COM, offers visitors free access to hundreds of articles on parenting issues as well as Seal of Approval reviews.

 
NARI Announces National Winners of the 2012 CotY Awards PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Morgan Zenner   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:08

Achievement Awards winners also announced at Evening of Excellence.

Des Plaines, Ill., April 24, 2012—The 2012 Evening of Excellence™ capped a nearly week-long event for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) that also included its Spring Business Meeting, held at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

The Evening of Excellence™ is the premier remodeling industry event that celebrates NARI’s Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards winners. Held Sat., April 21, 2012, the event was attended by more than 200 of the industry’s elite and was sponsored by the following NARI national member companies:  Platinum Sponsors – Lowe’s Commercial Services and Pella Corp.; Silver Sponsor — Ferguson; Pewter Sponsor – Moen; Bronze Sponsor – Hanley-Wood Remodeling Magazine.  

Contractors from seven regions nationwide vie for the awards on an annual basis. All projects submitted for judging were an improvement or an addition to an existing structure, with the exception of one category, “Residential Exterior Specialty.” Otherwise, new construction projects were not eligible.

In addition, the projects entered were completed between July 1, 2010, and November 30, 2011, and were not submitted in prior NARI National contests. An impartial panel of judges, who are experts within the industry and associated fields, selected winners based on each entrant’s binders, which include “before and after” photography and project descriptions. Judging focused on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation.

Twenty-five national CotY winners were named at this year’s ceremony. Preliminary judging took place in Des Plaines, Ill., in early January, where regional winners were announced in each of the categories. These regional winners advanced as a finalist at the national level. Four projects were honored under the Universal Design Project Recognition program and six projects were honored under the Green Project Recognition program.

To be considered for a CotY Award, a company must be a NARI member in good standing. The entries in this year’s competition totaled $90 million worth of remodeling projects. NARI members represent an elite group of the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the U.S. identifying themselves as remodelers.

The complete list of national CotY award winners for 2012 is as follows (click here to see the online version of the list):

 

Residential Kitchen Under $40,000

DeRhodes Construction

Charlotte, NC

 

Residential Kitchen $40,000 to $80,000

Neil Kelly Design/Build Remodeling

Portland, OR

 

Residential Kitchen $80,001 to $120,000

TriplePoint Design Build

Saint Petersburg, FL

 

Residential Kitchen Over $120,000

Airoom Architects & Builders

Lincolnwood, IL

 

Residential Bath under $30,000

DeRhodes Construction

Charlotte, NC

 

Residential Bath $30,000 to $60,000

Revolution Design and Build

Wayzata, MN

 

Residential Bath Over $60,000

Lifestyles Design with team member Innovative Kitchens & Baths, LLC

Pottstown, PA

 

Residential Interior Under $100,000

WrightWorks, LLC

Indianapolis, IN

 

Residential Interior $100,000 and Over

Craft & Design Collaborative

Portland, OR

 

Residential Interior Specialty

Nar Fine Carpentry

Carmichael, CA

 

Residential Addition Under $100,000

S. D. Lohr, Inc.

Waldorf, MD

 

Residential Addition $100,000 to $250,000

Sun Design Remodeling Specialists, Inc.

Burke, VA

 

Residential Addition Over $250,000

Metropolitan Builders & Supply Co.

Charlotte, NC

 

Residential Exterior Under $100,000

Sicora, Inc.

St Louis Park, MN

 

Residential Exterior $100,000 and Over

Allen Associates

Santa Barbara, CA

 

Residential Exterior Specialty

Paulson's Construction, Inc.

Howell, MI

 

Entire House Under $250,000

Texas Construction Company

Austin, TX

 

Entire House $250,000 to $500,000

Albrecht Wood Interiors, Inc.

Centerville, OH

 

Entire House $500,001 to $1,000,000

BETZ Homes

Jenkintown, PA

 

Entire House Over $1,000,000

McCutcheon Construction, Inc.

Berkeley, CA

 

Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration

Provenance Builders

Dallas, TX

 

Commercial Interior

Irwin Contracting Inc.

Hauppauge, NY

 

Commercial Exterior

Irwin Contracting Inc.

Hauppauge, NY

 

Commercial Specialty

Stevermer Company

Shawnee, KS

 

Home Theater & Media Rooms Under $150,000

Watermark & Company

Austin, TX

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  HIGH-RES BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS OF WINNING REMODELING PROJECTS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.  Contact Nikki Golden at 630-204-7651 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

NARI will be providing special Contractor of the Year Award digital showcase in late April, which will highlight not only the national winners but feature photos of regional winners as well. The digital edition can be found on the www.NARI.org Web site, under Awards.

In addition to the CotY Awards, there were 11 categories of Achievement Awards handed out in Dallas. The Achievement Awards are bestowed on an annual basis, and in most cases, the recipient must be nominated. The categories are designed to recognize outstanding achievement by an individual, company or chapter that serves to promote and enhance the professional remodeling industry.

The complete list of national Achievement Award winners for 2012 is as follows:

Chapter President Award

Presented to a local chapter president who has demonstrated outstanding leadership capability in the broad range of service to his or her chapter during his or her term of service.

Diane Krueger, CR, Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council

 

Chapter Community Project Award

Presented to a chapter for a community project to enhance the community and increase the awareness of NARI in the community, both locally and nationally.

Kansas City NARI

 

Chapter Excellence Award

Presented to a chapter for work (other than a specific community project) which impacted the chapter’s local area or state in a positive manner, gave the association higher visibility within the community and enhanced the image and awareness of NARI through local activities, membership campaigns, awards programs, community service, etc.

NARI of Central Ohio

 

2012 Distributor of the Year

Recognizes distributors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to NARI, the professional remodeling industry and the community or communities in which they do business.

Siewers Lumber and Millwork, Richmond, Va.

 

Peter H. Johnson Image Award

Named for Peter H. Johnson, founder of the CotY Awards Program, this award is open to all who contribute to the enhancement of the remodeling industry’s image.

Superior Home Services, Washington, D.C.

 

Professionalism Award

Presented to a non-paid NARI member who has show exceptional leadership, devotion, dedication and accomplishment through his or her efforts to promote NARI as a professional organization at the local level.

Jim Pitzen, CR, Brookfield, Wis.

 

Harold Hammerman Spirit of Education Award

Established in 1978 by the late Harold Hammerman, this prestigious award recognizes excellence in training and education in the construction industry.

Kevin Anundson, CR, CKBR, Elm Grove, Wis.

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognizes accomplishments, awards, local community involvement and NARI National involvement in both appointed and elected offices.

Paul Zuch, CR, McKinney, Texas

 

Henry Fenderbosch Leadership Award
Created in 1986 in honor of the late Henry "Hank" Fenderbosch who served as NARI President from 1984-1985 and Chairman of the Board from 1985-1986, the Henry Fenderbosch Award honors an individual who has shown exceptional leadership, devotion, dedication and accomplishments on behalf of NARI at the national level.

Dale Benjamin, Madison, Wis.

 

Government Affairs Award
The NARI Government Affairs Award is presented to a NARI member or members who have demonstrated active involvement in pursuing the legislative interests of the professional remodeling industry.

David C. Merrick, MCR, UDCP, Kensington, Md.

 

The President’s Awards

Bestowed upon individuals who, in the opinion of the president, have done the most to assist in reaching goals.

David Feldner, CAE, Milwaukee, Wis.

 

George W. Edwards, CRA, CKBR, GCP, Chester, Pa.

 

Mary Busey Harris, CAE, Des Plaines, Ill.

 

Homeowners are estimated to spend a total of $113.6 billion on home improvements in the U.S. through the third quarter of 2012.

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.

Consumers can also call NARI National at (847) 298-9200 and request a free copy of NARI’s brochure, “How to Select a Remodeling Professional,” or visit www.nari.org and click on the homeowner’s guide for more information. For information on green remodeling, visit www.greenremodeling.org.

# # #

 

Click here to find an online version of this press release.

EDITORS NOTE:  HIGH-RES BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS OF WINNING REMODELING PROJECTS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.  Contact Nikki Golden at 630-2204-7651 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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.

 
Physics Engineer’s Formula Provides Key to Biblical Clock PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 23 April 2012 15:33

It’s not the end of the world that fascinates engineering physicist Daniel Friedmann, it’s the beginning.

Forget the Mayan Long Calendar, Friedmann has come up with a formula that converts “Bible time” to years as we know them in calculating the age of the universe, the sun, and life on Earth. The surprise? Friedmann’s calculations consistently match scientific estimates derived from the study of fossil timelines, the solar system and the cosmos.

In his book The Genesis One Code (www.genesisonecode.com), the CEO of the aerospace company known for building the space station’s robotic arm, describes how he developed the formula – 1,000 X 365 X 7,000 –from references in religious texts.

“The formula is simple,” Friedmann says. “The Bible tells us in Psalms that one day for God is 1,000 years for us. We know that 365 days is our solar year, and from other studies of the scriptures we can conclude that one creation day in Genesis equals 7,000 God years.”

“Multiply those numbers and you find that in years as we know them, each creation dayis an epoch of 2.56 billion years,” Friedmann says. The age of the universe, when calculated using the formula, is 13.74 billion years. Science puts it at 13.75 billion, plus or minus 0.13 billion.

Friedmann’s formula produced 20 other Bible/science matches for events described in Genesis, They include:

• According to the Bible, the sun appeared to mark days, seasons and years on Day 4 of creation. Calculating from the end of the fourth day, Friedmann puts the “creation time age” at just under 4.79 billion years ago. Science says the sun is 4.57 billion years old, plus or minus 0.11 billion years.

• Science has determined the simplest form of life first appeared on Earth 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago. Using Friedmann’s formula, calculating from the beginning of Day 5, life appeared 3.52 billion years ago.

• Complex life – most of the major animal phyla – appeared in a fairly rapid “Cambrian explosion” about 530 million years ago, give or take 5 million years, according to fossil records. That was four hours into Day 6, according to Friedmann, 532 million years ago.

• Day 6 was when “God planted the garden in Eden,” according to the Bible. Friedmann calculates plant life appearing a little later in the “day,” starting 426 million years ago and concluding 106 million years ago. The fossil record indicates that the first primitive macroscopic plants appeared about 420 million years ago, with seed plants and conifers diversifying 280 million years ago and flowering plants showing up 130 million years ago.

The creation text, Friedmann points out, comes from books in the Bible whose existence are acknowledged by all three of the Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The polarizing debate has been between the world of science, with its numbers derived from scientific observation; and religion, with the Genesis creation narrative that appears to contradict scientific evidence.

“I focused on the ‘what’ and ‘when’ because those questions can be addressed with a detached, scientific perspective,” Friedmann says.

“Now the debate can focus on the ‘how’ and ‘why.’”

About Daniel Friedmann

Daniel Friedmann is CEO of MDA Corp. aerospace company in Canada, specializing in robotics used on the international space station. He has a master’s in engineering physics and 30 years’ experience in the space industry. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific papers on space industry topics. He is also a longtime student of cosmology and religion.

 
Communal Living Attracting More Baby Boomer Women PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 20 April 2012 13:02
Baby Boomer Women
Women are Choosing to Age with the Support of Friends

Some say the ‘60s hippies are going back to the commune. Others call the growing number of female Baby Boomers rooming together “‘The Golden Girls’ phenomenon.”

Author Martha Nelson, who at 65 is on the leading edge of a tsunami of retiring Boomers, says it’s really all about choosing the company of friends.

“As a group, we’ve been empowered more than past generations of women,” says Nelson, whose debut novel, Black Chokeberry (www.BlackChokeberryTheBook.com), is the story of three disparate older women who unexpectedly end up sharing a home. “We’re more worldly, stronger, financially savvy and healthier than our ancestors – through no fault of their own – and we know what we want.”

Increasingly, what they want is to actively age with the camaraderie, laughter, understanding and support of other women who share their ideas of healthy lifestyles, good food from their own gardens, green living, and myriad activities on a moment's notice.

In 2010, 480,000 Baby Boom women lived with a least one unrelated female, according to an AARP analysis. The growing number of U.S. HomeShare programs, which help connect people interested in sharing a house, say their numbers have been steadily rising since the economy belly-flopped.

“This concept is really trending on the East and West Coasts and is very big in Europe,” says Ryan Cowmeadow, vice president of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, an all-volunteer clearinghouse of HomeShare programs.

“Our numbers are up about 15 percent since 2007, and about 75 percent of applicants are female,” he says.

“We’re hoping to see a real surge with the Boomers entering retirement age now. They’re the ones who didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Home-sharing just makes sense.”

Nelson notes that there are several reasons why women more than men are gravitating to communal living as an alternative lifestyle.

“Women typically live longer than men, and men are more likely to remarry quickly after a divorce or the death of a spouse,” she says.

“And fundamentally I think it’s as much about the special bonds women share. We form these wonderful, supportive, 'tell the truth' friendships, which survive the demands of husbands, children and careers. Whether living alone or with a spouse or partner, women cling to their friendships. When a woman considers living alone as she ages, it's a natural progression to seek the company of her best friends."

That’s what happened to Nelson, a former journalist and educator, whose long marriage ended in divorce when she was in her 50s. In regaining her balance as a single woman, she sought time alone to heal, then turned to her trusted friends as she stepped back into life. Her happiest moments came from long conversations over coffee, laughter over meals and movies, and, occasionally, indulgent tears she felt safe to shed.

"I came to fully understand the importance of women friends in my life," she says. "They are the gold standard and as we age, they are critical to happiness, regardless if one is married or in a committed relationship."

The movement for cohousing – where residents have private living spaces but share common areas, such as dining rooms, and tasks, such as cooking -- started in Denmark and is catching on in the United States. There are model programs in Boulder, Colo., and other communities, including three cohousing projects being planned in the greater Nashville area, where Nelson lives.

Practical considerations of creating close living communities include health and safety, care in times of an accident or medical emergency, and saving money, a concern for many women who find themselves single or widowed after long marriages, Nelson says.

But Boomers are renowned for demanding more than creature comforts from life, she adds.

“We want to be happy; we’re healthy, active and we want to enjoy ourselves as we age. We want to travel, go to a movie with a neighbor or housemate, cook a meal, share a garden, and feel that we are contributing to our communities.

“What started with Rosie the Riveter has brought us to this,” says Nelson who is happily married again, but fascinated by the new movement of cohousing.

“We’re strong women and we can choose to live the way we want as we get older. Very often, that will mean with other women in close knit communities."

About Martha Nelson

Martha Nelson is an award-winning former investigative reporter, columnist and editor at two New York newspapers. She also is a former educational and nonprofit executive, consultant, and chef. She retired in 2010 and settled in to write Black Chokeberry, a coming-of-age novel about three women confronting crisis and change on the other side of 50.

 
6 Ways to Cut Your Insurance Costs PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 15:50
Financial Planner Offers Premium Solutions to Gas Price Pain

There is nothing that makes your wallet squeal louder today than pulling into the gas station and dropping $50. Gasoline prices have risen more than 12 percent over the past 12 months, and some experts are predicting they’ll reach $5 per gallon in the next six months.

The average household now spends $50 per month more on gasoline than last year, notes financial planner Rick Rodgers, author of The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning (www.TheNewThreeLeggedStool.com).

“But that’s not the whole picture,” Rodgers says. “Higher fuel prices affect a lot of other expenses in the family budget, from heating to food. The government estimates the average household is spending $150 per month more this year because of higher oil prices.”

You can try to ease the pain at the pump by using your car less, but you should also look for other places to offset that extra $150. Car insurance is a good place to start.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the national average auto insurance premium is $850 per year. Can you reduce that? Rodgers says you probably can. He offers six ways:

• Shop around regularly. Your insurance agent doesn’t have a lot of incentive to reduce your premiums.  I recently met a consumer who told me he had been with the same agent for 15 years. After he shopped his insurance with another agent, he saved $1,600 on his premiums for all his coverage. The internet makes it easy compare costs for the same coverage, or you can get an independent insurance agent to shop for you. Contact the Independent Agents Association at (800) 221-7917. (Be sure the company you go with has a good credit rating and claims-paying history.)

• Bundle your coverage. Bundling is combining different types of policies (auto, homeowners, liability, etc.) with the same company. The theory is that the company will discount the premiums if they have all of your business. The most common combination is packaging your auto insurance and homeowner’s policies together.  Or, find companies that will bundle auto insurance with renter’s or tenant’s insurance.  Bundled packages usually result in a 10 to 15 percent savings.

• Ask for discounts. You may qualify for discounts, but you won’t know until you ask. They’re commonly offered for good driving records, anti-theft devices, vehicle safety features (anti-lock brakes, air bags, automatic seatbelts), low annual mileage and insuring more than one car. The spunky Flo from Progressive claims discounts are also available for buying your policy online, paying in full up front, and being a loyal customer.

• Take a defensive driving class. Even if you’ve been driving for years, you can learn a lot from driver education and most insurance companies recognize the value of a refresher course, which can help you avoid accidents. The amount of discount varies by insurance company and from state to state, although most insurers offer a 10 percent discount on your premium for three years.  AARP offers a driver safety program for those over age 50, and it’s available online.

• Increase your deductible. Do your auto and homeowners policies have low deductibles?  If so, you may be able to reduce your premiums 15 to 30 percent by raising the deductible on your collision and comprehensive coverage.  Make sure you have an emergency fund set aside to cover the cost of repairs before you make the change. But your homeowners policy may be the first place to consider raising the deductible, since statistics show the average homeowner files a claim only once every nine years. Be sure to check with your mortgage holder first; some specify maximums.

• Change Cars. This is probably the most difficult savings tip to implement but may have the largest impact on your premium.  Used cars are cheaper to insure than new ones (excluding antiques); sports cars are more expensive to insure than minivans. Insurance companies like cars with safety features and low repair costs.  Insure.com surveyed 900 vehicles in the 2012 model year and lists the rankings from the most expensive to least expensive on their website.  Six of the 10 cheapest were minivans.

About Rick Rodgers

Certified Financial Planner Rick Rodgers is president of Rodgers & Associates, “The Retirement Specialists,” in Lancaster, Pa. He’s a Certified Retirement Counselor and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers. Rodgers has been featured on national radio and TV shows, including “FOX Business News” and “The 700 Club,” and is available to speak at conferences and corporate events (www.rodgersspeaks.com).

 
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