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DaVinci Study by Harris Interactive Focuses on Homeowner Preferences PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kathy Ziprik   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 16:12

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Harris Interactive©, one of the world’s leading market research firms, has completed a comprehensive study on homeowner preferences for roofing and exterior home features. Sponsored by DaVinci Roofscapes®, the color leader in the polymer roofing industry, the nationwide study of homeowners age 40 and older with household incomes of $150,000 or more and who own a single-family home valued at $400,000 or more, finds that homeowners* are eager to select durable exterior products for the home that complement their personalities and that color is important to them when deciding to replace those exterior features.

Conducted between November 22 and December 13, 2011, the Harris Interactive survey was commissioned by DaVinci to establish a benchmark for monitoring homeowners’ color attitudes and product opinions related to the exterior of the home. The extensive survey questions dealt with gaining insights into the overall exterior of the home along with specific information on the roof, windows, siding, doors, trim and garage doors.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

v  A vast majority of homeowners (88 percent) across all regions of the country see the exterior of their homes as one entity and not a sum of its separate components.

v  Color preference for exterior features on the home is driven mostly by homeowners’ individual sense of style (45 percent) and their desire to blend in with their surroundings (42 percent).

v  One-third of surveyed homeowners (32 percent) indicate that they are restricted on the color palettes they are allowed to use on exterior features of their homes, usually by a homeowner association or by historical area requirements.

v  Curb appeal is considered extremely/very important to higher end homeowners, particularly those in the Northeast where one-third mentioned curb appeal as being “extremely important” to them.

Colorful Roofs

“We were especially interested to learn what role color plays in the homeowner’s mind

when planning for major home improvement projects,” says Ray Rosewall, CEO and President of DaVinci Roofscapes. “What we discovered is that color does play an important role when deciding to replace exterior features. In addition, color availability from manufacturers for different exterior features plays a role in what brand a homeowner will purchase.

“At DaVinci, we offer 49 standard colors of polymer slate and shake roofing tiles that can be used to create a virtually infinite variety of color blends for a roof. Hearing these study results confirm that we’re on the right track with our color offerings and that homeowners are gravitating to companies that offer a variety of colors for the home exterior.”

Survey results indicate that shades of black, gray and brown are currently the most popular colors of roofing products on homes. “These results match up with our ongoing sales records,” says Rosewall. “When we talk about color in roofs, we’re not talking about orange, pink or purple. We’re speaking about dozens of different gradations and shades of brown that we offer, from light clay to dark autumn, or a multitude of gray shades from light gray to dark weathered gray.”

Roofing Desires

When considering a new roof purchase, homeowners are far more interested in purchasing a roof that lasts than cutting corners by purchasing a low-cost product. Durability was identified as the number one factor when determining which new roof to purchase, followed closely by longevity. Key factors that received the most mentions as having “a lot” of influence in the decision on what type of roof to purchase include:

·       Durability (88 percent)

·       Longevity (83 percent)

·       Low/no maintenance (72 percent)

·       Resistance to weather (71 percent)

·       Has a warranty (69 percent)

·       Fire resistancy (57 percent)

·       Material the roof is made of (55 percent)

·       Price (50 percent)

“Fortunately the family of DaVinci polymer roofing products satisfies the needs ranked

highest by homeowners in this study,” says Rosewall. “Durable and resistant to weather, insects, rot and mold, our recyclable tiles have a 50-year warranty and we offer the most affordable polymer tile on the market today.”

One of the other interesting elements of the survey results include influencers that will encourage homeowners to purchase a new roof on an existing home. Not surprisingly, 65 percent of respondents indicated that they would replace their roof if it became damaged from severe weather. After that, significantly lower numbers of people said they would replace their roof soon because it is old and worn out (23 percent), the roof is near the end of its warranty (13 percent), they want a roof that’s more energy efficient (12 percent) and their current roof looks bad, is stained or discolored (11 percent).

Study Methodology

This 15-minute survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of DaVinci Roofscapes among 1,005 U.S. homeowners age 40+ with household incomes of $150,000 or more and who own a single0family home of at least $400,000 in value in the South and Midwest, at least $500,000 in the Northeast and West (excluding California) and at least $700,000 in California between November 22 and December 13, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through its North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help its company --- and its clients --- stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

About DaVinci Roofscapes

DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning polymer slate and shake roofing since 1999. The roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit www.davinciroofscapes.com.

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FCC chairman asked to make key staff member available on LightSquared PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 15:53

Grassley Seeks Fulfillment of FCC Chairman’s Commitment to Make Staff Available to Discuss LightSquared

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has asked the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to fulfill his commitment to make agency staff available to discuss the LightSquared wireless project with Grassley staff.

Grassley wants his staff to have a conversation with Paul de Sa, a top FCC staff member who is described as the “father” of the LightSquared project, before de Sa leaves the agency next month.  When Grassley staff asked to meet with de Sa, the FCC’s legislative affairs director responded that he was “not available.”

In a letter to agency chairman Julius Genachowski, Grassley reminded Genachowski of his written statement to Grassley in October that he would “continue to make staff available to discuss this matter further” with Grassley and his staff at their “convenience.”

“The FCC chairman should make this staff member available to fulfill his commitment,” Grassley said.  “Otherwise, the words weren’t meaningful.  And the FCC’s lack of transparency on LightSquared and the questions it raises will continue.”

An FCC official is quoted in reaction to Grassley’s request to have his staff meet with de Sa as calling it a “witch hunt.”  Grassley said, “Asking to meet with the ‘father’ of this project before he leaves the agency in a few weeks is due diligence, not a witch hunt.  Besides, if this top FCC official has time to meet with the hedge fund owner behind LightSquared, he should have time for a meeting with Senate staff trying to shed some light on a controversy created at the FCC.”

Since last April, Grassley has been reviewing why the agency rushed approval of the LightSquared project without adequately exploring what turned out to be  widespread concerns of interference with the Global Positioning System devices widely used by the military, first responders, aviation, precision agriculture, and consumer navigation.

The text of Grassley's letter to Genachowksi is available here.  The chairman's letter from last October is available here.

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Looking for 2011 Tax Relief? There’s Still Time PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 15:34
Tips for Saving on Your Income Tax

If you’re just beginning to think about your 2011 income tax return, you’ve got a late start – but it’s still not too late to cash in on some savings.

“A lot of the deductions associated with the economic stimulus package will disappear in 2012, so if you want to take advantage of them, you’ve got only until Dec. 31,” says Jessica James, CPA and author of Justice for None (www.AuthorJessicaJames.com), an insider look at IRS tactics in a tax fraud investigation and trial.

But, she says, there’s still plenty of time for some other measures to ease your share of the tax burden. Now is also a good time to resolve to start earlier in 2012 to minimize that year’s tax bill. Here are some tips for both 2011 and 2012 savings:

• Contribute to retirement accounts. If you haven’t already put money into your traditional or ROTH IRA account for 2011, you’ve got until April 17 to do it. If you have a Keogh or SEP (Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement for businesses), and you get a filing extension to Oct. 15, you’ve got until then to make your 2011 deposits. The maximum IRA contribution for 2011 is $5,000, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older by the end of the year. For self-employed people, the maximum for SEPs and Keoghs for 2011 is $49,000.

• Don't fear the home office deduction. In the past, many tax filers didn’t claim a home office deduction because it was seen as an IRS red flag. But the requirements and forms have been clarified so people can do that properly – and not make mistakes that can lead to an audit. Also, the rules have been expanded so more people can claim the deduction. If you use a home office exclusively for business, even if you don’t meet your clients there, you’re eligible. For instance, a handyman who does his work other people’s houses can claim the deduction if he does his paperwork at his home office. Another change is that, in the past, if you claimed 10 percent of your home as an office, that amount would not be included in the $250,000 tax-free profit from the home’s sale that’s allowed for an individual by the IRS. Be sure to make your claim reasonable, or it will get questioned; a $25,000 home office deduction for a business with $50,000 annual gross revenue is not reasonable.

• Maximize your Flexible Spending Account. The Health Care Act will limit the maximum you can put into these pre-tax medical expense accounts in 2013. So 2012 is the last year to use an FSA to pay for orthodontics and other large medical expenses using pre-tax earnings. A medical expense flexible spending account, or FSA, allows you to use before-tax earnings to pay for medical or health care expenses not covered by your health insurance. Assuming a 25 percent tax rate, you avoid $25 in taxes for every $100 you spend from your FSA.

• Need to sell an investment? Next year may be the time. The Tax Relief Act maintains the tax rate cap on capital gains and dividends at 15 percent through 2012. In 2013, the cap for capital gains will increase to 20 percent and for dividends, 39.6 percent. The Health Care Act also created a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment income, effective in 2013. Given those scheduled increases, plan to take advantage of the rates next year.

James is an author pseudonym used because she fears her novel may provoke IRS retaliation. It’s a fictionalized account of her experience as a minor player swept up in an IRS probe that included anyone associated with the primary target, a corporation. She says that, though she was innocent of any wrongdoing, she was coerced into accepting a plea deal by the IRS, which was bent on amassing adjudications of guilt to justify the investigation’s expense. She pled guilty to a count of falsifying a tax return and continues to work as a CPA.

About Jessica James

Jessica James is a CPA and the author of a novel, Justice for None, about her experiences as a minor target in a major federal tax fraud case.  After her ordeal, she decided to write about it as a warning to others who think they can take on the government and win.

 
Raising Resilient Teen Girls PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:34
Five Tips to Combat Effects of Sexual Abuse
By: Kalyani Gopal, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

One in five girls in the United States is sexually abused each year.  Some do not disclose sexual abuse until they are much older.  These children find themselves in foster care if their parent does not protect them from ongoing harm.  The most common perpetrators are boyfriends, step-parents, and relatives, with 80% of the perpetrators being within the birth family.  Studies have shown that in the aftermath of sexual abuse, 50% of sexually abused girls later become juvenile delinquents, run away, are significantly more aggressive, engage in promiscuous activities when poverty is factored in, engage in drug related activities, can self-mutilate, have uncontrolled outbursts of rage, need to always be in control of situations, and become abusive towards boyfriends, or get into abusive relationships. Sexually abused children and teens also develop eating disorders, and have guilt, shame, anxiety and depression, and poor self-esteem.

So how can we make our girls fight back and become resilient young teens?  How do we protect our young girls and teach them the right ways of coping?

Here are the top five techniques that have worked very successfully in my practice with teen girls (www.thesupportivefosterparent.com):

• Develop Body Boundaries: Sexually abused girls tend to have poor body boundaries. TEACH body space, appropriate distance, hugging from the side, not pushing themselves into others’ in the front, and maintaining appropriate distance from males

• Teens and Dating: Sexually abused teens also either get victimized or become aggressive towards their dating partner.  Develop self-worth in young teens, teach them to respect their bodies, teach them about being a woman in this world and be a role model for your teen.  They learn from your actions, not just words.

• Manage Eating Disorders: Eating can be excessive with binging and purging, or refusal to eat at all.  Both forms are ways young girls attempt to control their environment.  This need to control comes from the helplessness and lack of control due to sexual abuse.  Food is a way that a young teen can exert power over adults and cause anxiety in others.  Anorexia and Bulimia are common with these teens.  To develop a healthy sense of control, provide your young teen with healthy foods, give her areas of her life over which she has control and allow her to make decisions about the foods she eats.  Making a fuss about how much she is eating is going to worsen the situation and strengthen the eating disorder instead of reducing it. Rather, make food fun, use humor at dinner and provide her with healthy childhood snacks she loved.  Creating a low tension environment with a relaxed family non-judgmental environment will gradually relax your young teen daughter and she will substitute food with activities that you have introduced her to in which she can exert control and feel empowered.

• Deal with Bouts of Rage: Intense rage reactions are fairly common in children with sexual abuse histories and they can sometimes get violent. Often they are misdiagnosed as being Bipolar and placed on medication to keep them calm.  However, their rage is a primitive reaction to the emotional trauma of sexual abuse and can be explosive.  What works for these teens is trauma therapy and most importantly predictability.  They dislike sudden changes, unpredictable actions, sudden changes in schedules, and power struggles more so than the average teen.  Allowing your teen time to regroup, holding her when she wants you to, and giving her space when she asks for it so that she can bolster her defenses will help her handle stress, get “unstuck” and cope with new situations better.  What will worsen this situation is forcing her to talk to you when she is not ready and forcing her to complete chores and engaging in a power struggle.

• How to Handle Panic Attacks: Bouts of anxiety with fear of choking up, nausea, trembling, fearing that the walls are closing in and that she is going to die are all too common for our sexually abused teen.  Create resilience by identifying the triggers that have caused the anxiety and combat these triggers by pairing them with healthy effective empowering activities. The negative effect of these triggers will disappear over time, and your teen will become resilient and strong.

Successful parenting of your sexually abused female teenager will depend on CONSISTENCY, CALMNESS and CREATIVITY; the three Cs of parenting children with boundary issues.

About Dr. Kalyani Gopal

Dr. Kalyani Gopal is a licensed clinical psychologist with special interests in child sexual abuse assessment and treatment, attachment issues, and foster care assessment, adjustment and training. She serves on the Lake County, Ind., Child Protection and Child Fatality teams, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Service to Lake County award in 2004.

 
Reactions to the President's State of the Unon Address PDF Print E-mail
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Written by various   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 10:36
Below is a comment from Senator Chuck Grassley regarding tonight’s State of the Union address by President Obama.

“Americans are looking for leadership.  The 13 million people who are unemployed need to know that leaders in Washington can come together to get people back to work and move the country in the right direction.

“Washington needs to focus on fostering opportunities with an environment where the economy can improve and jobs can be created.  Tax certainty and low taxes are a major factor, and one of the biggest tax increases in history will happen at the end of this year if Congress and the President don’t stop it.  America’s fiscal problems don’t come from a revenue shortage, but from too much spending, and government spending needs to be reduced.  A massive federal debt gets in the way of economic growth.  So does the heavy hand of government regulation, and it must be lifted.  America also needs new export markets for our products and services, and the economy is helped by affordable energy, so domestic production has got to be a priority.  The President’s decision last week, to deny the Keystone pipeline project, prevents energy-related infrastructure development that creates jobs, in this case as many as 20,000 jobs.  The decision also stymies an energy partnership with a friendly neighbor, and whether or not the United States approves the Keystone project, the oil will be produced, and if it doesn’t come here, China likely will get it.  The result of this decision is just the opposite of what our national priority ought to be and that’s opportunity.

“Since 2009, President Obama’s theory of economic stimulus and government intervention has failed in terms of job creation, economic growth and fiscal responsibility, so we need a new direction.  At the same time, President Obama seems determined to test and even exceed the powers of his office.  America has a system of checks and balances that’s generally worked for more than two centuries.  The President’s interest in putting the executive branch above the other branches of government is unconstitutional and counter-productive.  It’s something Americans rejected 235 years ago.  Today, finding common ground with the elected representatives of Congress would be more productive than trying to govern by edict from the Oval Office.”

 

Harkin Statement on President Obama’s Third State of the Union Address

The state of our union depends on the strength of the middle class

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s third State of the Union address.  Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, as well as the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Tonight, it was encouraging to hear the President outline his blueprint for getting our country back on track with policies that invest in America and promote a better, more fair tax structure.  This is a blueprint that will make America strong for the decades to come.

“It is clear from my travel in Iowa and hearings in Washington that there is no greater challenge facing Congress in the year ahead than to protect and restore the middle class, which is being crushed by widespread unemployment, rising income inequality, and a system that no longer works for them.

“As a woman from DeWitt, Iowa told the Committee back in June, ‘All we have ever wanted is security and a little comfort: to know that our bills are paid, our needs are met, that we can have a real getaway every now and then, that our children can pursue higher education without the burden of student loan debt, and that someday we can retire and enjoy our final years together in the way we choose.’  In short, she wants to be part of the working middle class.

“While Congressional Republicans have advocated failed trickle-down economics for the rich, it is time for percolate-up economics for the middle class.  As we say in the Midwest, you don’t fertilize a tree from the top down, you fertilize the roots.

“I have argued that the more urgent task is in creating jobs and rebuilding the middle class.  This means continuing to make investments in areas like education and workforce training as well as securing pensions and ensuring college is affordable.  Our country must rebuild our physical infrastructure to include 21st century transportation and energy systems and we need policies to reverse the long-term decline in manufacturing jobs.  These are the investments that will make America competitive in the global economy with a stronger, educated workforce, and these will be the investments at the heart of legislation I plan to introduce in the coming months to rebuild the middle class.  

“The fact is, the state of our union depends on the strength of the middle class.  The middle class is the backbone of this country, and it is time for Congress to have the backbone to not only defend it, but rebuild it.”


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Braley Response to State of the Union Address 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after attending President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight:

“I’m glad the President so strongly emphasized strengthening the middle class tonight.  I was especially encouraged by his focus on economic fairness, creating jobs, and investing in education.

“The American middle class is being squeezed more than ever, yet Wall Street bankers and big corporations are making record profits.  It seems like there are two sets of rules – one for the elite, and one for everyone else.  America has always been about opportunity.  We need to level the playing field and keep the promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.  An easy first step in strengthening the middle class is to pass a yearlong extension of the payroll tax cut.

“Our schools, colleges, and universities are avenues of opportunity.  We need to strengthen education if we are going to succeed in the global economy.  China and India are churning out well-educated and skilled workers.  We need to meet their challenge.”

# # #

 

Governor Quinn Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

CHICAGO – January 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today released a statement regarding President Barack Obama’s fourth State of the Union Address.

“We in Illinois applaud President Obama for the vision he laid out in tonight’s State of the Union. The President put forth a blueprint for a growing economy that gives all Americans equal access to the success through hard work that has always made this nation great. We agree with the President that we can’t wait – we need to keep pushing to restore our economy and the American middle class.

“In Illinois, we are focused on the same issues that the President laid out tonight: creating manufacturing jobs and training our workforce for the 21st century; making education more accessible; modernizing our roads and bridges; and prioritizing housing for our families.

“And as the President said, an America built to last calls for responsibility from each of us and fairness for all. We commend the President on his vision, and look forward to working together as a nation to restore our economy and create opportunities for all Americans.”

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Lt. Governor Simon Statement on State of the Union

CARBONDALE - January 24, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon pledged to work with President Obama and Illinois schools to send more students into the workforce with college credentials that qualify them for in-demand jobs.

"President Obama's blueprint for our economy is built on a strong, skilled American workforce," Simon said. "A growing number of jobs require employees to hold more than a high school education, but not necessarily a bachelor's degree. Illinois community colleges are poised to help more students earn career certificates and associate degrees that translate to good-paying jobs. I will work with the colleges, state leaders, and President Obama to ensure that we offer clear paths to employment. If our students work hard in school, we want them to find a job here in Illinois that will enable them to raise a family, own a home, and save for retirement. Our focus on college completion will help create an America that's built to last."

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Tea Party Response to State of the Union

Dear Friends,

Tonight Obama did what he has done for the past 3 years: showcased the class warfare rhetoric WE HAVE REJECTED while showing no interest in providing some semblance of leadership.

He just isn’t going to get it. WE ARE DONE listening to Obama pit employees against employers, job creators against those looking for opportunity. He says he will fight obstructionists with action, but has yet to engage in substantive discussion. Instead he does his politicking in front of the camera with carefully-crafted speeches.   Republicans have passed legislation to address major issues, but they just sit and rot away in the Democratic Senate without any consideration by the President.
NO ONE IS BEING FOOLED BY HIS EMPTY PROMISES OF HOPE AND CHANGE. WE MUST STAND UP AND DEFEAT OBAMA IN 2012! DONATE NOW AND JOIN TEA PARTY EXPRESS’ 2012 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN!

Tonight he even went as far to say, ‘No bailouts, no handouts, and no cop-outs.’ However, after 3 years as President, he has embarked on a path of bailing out company after company, giving handouts to his friends like Warren Buffet and George Soros through crony capitalism, and blaming everyone but himself for the horrendous state of our economy. There are no twisting words here - Obama has not only failed at showing any leadership, but has done so while blatantly deceiving hardworking Americans with empty promises.
We must continue to be committed to reducing the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government. An important part of our economic recovery is a pro-growth agenda – something we WILL NOT get from this President. We do not need more government spending, but the creation of an economic environment of lower taxes and a less stringent regulatory system.
It starts by reforming our corrupt tax code with a flat tax, a fair tax or a combination of the two like 9-9-9. It starts by approving much needed shovel-ready jobs like the Keystone XL Pipeline. It starts by pursuing bold ideas that will restore the fundamentals America was built in. IT STARTS WITH YOU!

 
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