Cancer Risks Associated with Home Improvement

Posted by on Jun 6, 2019 in Home Improvement

If you’re making the decision to sell your house, you’re also probably trying to up the property value as much as possible. After all, no one wants to lose money on a deal. Here are a few ways to make your house more desirable for future homeowners!

  • Freshen up the paint

Older paint jobs can look chipped and stale after a while. And, if you still have wallpaper from the ‘70s hanging out on your walls, it’s time to ditch it for a new paint job. This doesn’t have to be expensive- paint yourself to save money on labor.

  • Remodel the kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and outdated appliances aren’t as attractive to potential buyers as new ones are. Even minor upgrades can make a huge difference.

If you’re okay with spending a little more money, switching your countertops to marble or granite can transform the kitchen and make it that much more classy. Kitchen islands are also growing in popularity- adding one makes this space look so much more inviting.

  • Check your faucets

Chances are, the pipes and faucets in your house are the same ones that were installed when the house was originally built. Over time, rust and limescale can build up and make your bathroom look dingy. Replacing these things can be pricey, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

  • Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal

The lawn area is the first thing potential buyers are going to see- make sure it exceeds their standards! Plant flowers, water the grass and mow the lawn. But, before you do all of that, get rid of the weeds. Weeds are a death sentence for any lawn undergoing renovation.

In addition to pulling the weeds up, you might decide to use an herbicide to completely destroy the invading plants. If you use one, be careful. Some herbicides, like Roundup, have been linked to certain cancers and other diseases.

These diseases have become so prevalent to users of Roundup that the Driscoll Firm, P.C. has taken on multiple class-action lawsuits against the creators of Roundup, Monsanto.

If you’ve already used this product to try and make your lawn look more attractive, you’re at risk of developing different cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, or leukemia. That’s not to mention the other, non-cancerous diseases that are beginning to pop up in users of Roundup.

If you’ve already been exposed Roundup, get in contact with an attorney who will fight the good fight and help you get the help you deserve.

Before putting up any signs advertising your house, be sure it’s a house that you’d want to buy! Don’t cut any corners, doing so will come back to haunt you later.

These tips are just the first of many steps you need to take before putting your house on the market. There’s no shortage of ways to make your house the best on the block. Making your house as updated and modern as possible will surely lead to house hunters knocking on your door.

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Benefits of Marriage Counseling

Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 in Family Life

I’ve been married for more than twenty years now. Sometimes people ask me what the secret to success is, and I tell them that friendship is always more important than love in marriages. Famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Figuring this out takes time. Even if you have found your best friend, life changes us and people may be light years different than they were just five years ago. Keeping that relationship strong through the changes of life requires constant, honest communication. Staying close through hard times takes a renewed commitment every day. Sometimes, life can get extremely hectic, and subtle ticks in a relationship can turn into huge problems over the course of a few months. You may not know how to communicate without hurting your partner. You might feel like you don’t know how to be intimate anymore. Thankfully, there are people like Kathleen Snyder who counsel married couples through these hard times. There’s no shame at all in seeing a marriage counselor. My wife and I have considered seeing one several times. Making an effort to see a counselor doesn’t mean your marriage is weak. It means that you care about the relationship, and want to make it stronger.

Therapy usually ends up happening in two main parts. The first part is conflict resolution. If you feel like your relationship with your partner isn’t going well, there are likely some conflicts at play. A counselor seeks to find these conflicts if they’re subtle. A counselor will also create clear boundaries on how the conflict should be addressed. They can help partners vocalize and communicate as to how the conflict can be resolved in a way that works for everyone.

Once the major conflicts in a relationship have been resolved, a counselor can work to help rebuild the friendship that is so crucial between partners. A counselor uses their creativity here to come up with ways to enjoy new experiences together, and rebuild that lasting bond that fosters intimacy.

A lot of the fights that occur between marriage partners are normal. It’s very typical to disagree about certain things within a marriage. Disagreement can be healthy and constructive. It’s usually the way we express ourselves that cause feelings of loneliness to sprout.

Marriage counselors like Kathleen Snyder are great for any couple that is looking to move past feelings of isolation in a marriage. They do important work that can revitalize marriages that might otherwise fail. Marriage counselors aren’t miracle workers, however. If one partner is not interested in rebuilding the relationship, most counselors will be unable to help. Counselors are only of help when partners are willing to try new things and experiment in order to heal. Counselors are also unable to help those involved in violent relationships on part of one partner or both. Relationships cannot heal if the conflict at home escalates into violent behavior. Anger management is the first step to recovery in situations such as these.

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How to Deter Burglars and Avoid Robberies

Posted by on Jul 5, 2018 in Home Improvement, Safety

According to the FBI, the rate of burglaries fell by over 30 percent between 2007 and 2016. Whether or not this drop in crime has anything to do with law enforcement or stiffer penalties is uncertain, but there are ways you can reduce the chances of being burglarized. Here are some of the strategies security experts recommend to homeowners to deter burglars and robbers:

Install Security Devices

If you own a home, one of the best things you can do to prevent burglaries from happening is to install a home security system. Over the years, technology has allowed remote sensors to become virtually unidentifiable to the naked eye. If you do install a security system, it is best that you advertise the fact somewhere in front of your house to alert potential criminals to stay away. Should they decide to try and enter your home, the police will automatically be contacted as loud alarms warn the neighborhood. At this point, the burglars are trying desperately to get as far away from your home as possible and they certainly won’t be back to try their luck again.

Keep Travel Plans Offline

Social media is great for sharing pictures and stories, but you should not share your travel itinerary online. Criminals are more likely to strike when they know you aren’t home, and posting your vacation days on Facebook is similar to taking out an ad in the newspaper. Discussing travel plans with a friend in a public place is also a bad idea. If a criminal overhears your conversation, they could easily follow you back home and come back when you’re gone.

Reinforce Your Locks

Deadbolts and security chains can help reinforce your door in its most vulnerable spots. Handles with locks that prevent the knob from turning do not stop forced entries very well. However, a door that has a deadbolt can withstand a significant amount of force without breaking. Grade one or grade two locks should be used for doors that can be accessed outside your house as these are more difficult to lock-pick.

Dogs

Dogs are great deterrents because criminals don’t know if your dog is nice or mean, and they’ve been effective at deterring criminals for over 100 years. If a burglar is going to pick a random house, they are significantly less likely to pick a house with a dog. That’s because dogs are unpredictable, and they’re also smart. They may seem friendly to every stranger you pass on a walk, but they can sense when something isn’t right, and they feed off of their owner’s energy.

Consider Using a Safe

If the above deterrents don’t stop a burglar from gaining access to your house, a safe is a great way to make sure the criminals can’t easily steal your most valuable possessions. Safes are heavy and it’s unlikely that a burglar will take the time to carry the safe to a distant location. Instead, they will probably just grab what they can and get out before they get noticed.

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Natural Ways to Make Your Teeth Whiter

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Health

It can be argued that white teeth are way more attractive compared to yellow teeth, and that is why we have this social stigma that white teeth are better. So, a lot of people do their best to make their teeth whiter.

But why do teeth become discolored anyway? Changes in the color of teeth may be caused by different factors, such as coffee, tea, soda, tobacco, improper oral hygiene, and even childhood medications and illnesses. It is important to know these causes because this is the first step into healthier and whiter teeth.

Proper Dental Care

To achieve whiter teeth, the most basic thing you can do is to have proper oral hygiene. Whiter teeth are generally considered healthier teeth, but not always. When they are, they are often the result of good dental care.

Brush your teeth two times a good, floss, and even use mouthwash if you want. Make sure that you are brushing properly, to achieve the ultimate goal of dental maintenance – cleaning your teeth and preventing the buildup of bacteria and debris such as food.

Homemade Solutions

You can also make solutions with natural ingredients that are good for oral health. The good part is that these solutions can be made at home, so they are not inaccessible. There are various solutions out there, including those that include baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, and even coconut oil.

These solutions have properties that not just clean your teeth of debris like food particles. They can also serve as natural antibiotics that will kill bacteria, prevent bacteria buildup, promote gum health, and remove teeth stains.

Healthy Diet

Some products are just harmful for your teeth and may cause discoloration, such as those mentioned earlier – tobacco, coffee, and sodas. Products with high acid content should also be avoided, because acid is a factor that can really discolor your teeth. Aside from carbonated drinks like sodas, products with high acid content include processed food, candies, and even certain fruits, particularly citrus ones.

The secret to whiter teeth is very simple – you just have to have good oral hygiene and avoid products that may cause discoloration.

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Division of Property and Debt in Divorce

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Family Life

Divorce can be a legal nightmare, especially if these are contentions in the agreements between the couple involved. One of the most common issues involve division of property and debt, which is understandable, because each person will fight for his or her best interest in mind.

It is a good thing that there is a legal way to divide assets and liabilities, preventing unfair distribution. There are two legal concepts that can be utilized – community property and equitable distribution.

Community Property

According to the website of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, there are two separate categorizations of property in divorce – namely community property and property of a single spouse.

Community properties are properties owned by both the husband and wife. These include the earnings and everything that has been acquired with those earnings in the span of the marriage. Debts that have accumulated during the marriage are also considered community properties, unless the debts are specified to be for one spouse only. Generally, community properties are equally divided upon divorce.

Properties of a single spouse are properties owned by only the husband or wife. These include acquired assets prior to marriage, such as pension proceeds and even entire businesses. Assets that have been meant for one spouse only, like gifts and inheritances, are also included. These properties are kept by its rightful owner upon divorce.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution is another way to divide property. It ensures that the division of marital assets is fair for either spouse. But this does not necessarily mean that the division is on a fifty-fifty basis. There are a lot of factors to consider, but they have the same core idea – looking at the future financial situation of either spouse to create a fair and just division of properties. The factors may include each spouse’s earning capability, level of contribution to acquired marital properties, and future financial needs.

Depending on what state you are in, division of property and debt may be done either through community property or equitable distribution.

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The Potential Beauty in Scars

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Personal Injury

Scars tend to be seen in an almost uniformly negative light. They are associated with blemishes and disfigurement, and are consequently treated as something to be hidden, corrected, or removed. For someone with major scarring from a traumatic accident or another case of more serious scarring, scars may be a source of lasting pain stemming from their connection to the trauma or the severity of the physical scarring, and plastic surgery or other procedures may be required to correct scarring in such cases to prevent more emotional and psychological damage for the patient. Such cases are extreme, however, and as Tucson personal injury lawyers may tell you, such surgeries can be financially traumatic as well.

On the other hand, there are less extreme degrees of scarring that come along with daily living and which usually do not require a doctor’s assessment. These scars are physically harmless besides the initial discomfort of the injury, but still hold the potential of inflicting emotional damage on the person who bears them, mainly owing to the predominantly negative connotation attached to scars. These scars, however, those that are not attached to trauma and have no medical need to be corrected, should and need not cause shame or embarrassment, though they so often do. There is a recent movement to reclaim our imperfections as indications that we’ve lived. As New Yorker writer David Owen notes, our bodies become “historical document[s]” where our “moments are memorialized in scar tissue.” Scars are unique to our experiences, unique to each individual. We change with each of these experiences and so do our bodies, signaling something potentially emotional or deep from the very surface of our skin. Dealing with scars is not always a matter of their physical correction, but a correction in our thinking that has conditioned us to hate any malformations in our body, anything outside of an unblemished ideal. Life is messy, though, and our bodies reflect this beautiful sort of chaos, providing us with lasting reminders of our lives and how we lived them.

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There will always be Unscrupulous People Who will Take Advantage and Try to Profit from the Misfortunes of Disaster Victims

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Fraud

Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season and the second-costliest hurricane in the history of the United States, caused major damages to hundreds of houses in Atlantic City, N.J. One of those damaged, or was underwater, was Darrell’s mom’s house. To fix everything, his estimates amounted to more than a hundred grand, though, the amount that he received from FEMA amounted only to $14,000. This was despite the damage from the floors to the furnace (including water heater and boiler) that was documented by a FEMA adjuster. However, a report that came out two weeks later indicated that there was no damage to the boiler.

In October of 2015, three years after Hurricane Sandy, FEMA offered to review around 144,000 insurance claims filed with the National Flood Insurance Program due to alleged fraud and abuse by government contractors. After six months into the review, new allegations of fraud surfaced, this time, however, fingers pointed to FEMA, whose review process are alleged to be rife with abuse.

FEMA, acronym for the the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a major agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is to “support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.” (https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/80684) To accomplish this mission, FEMA provides disaster recovery assistance (or grants) to every person and household, regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

Disaster assistance may include grants that will help pay for emergency home repairs (which include foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, roof, windows, furnace, air conditioning system, and septic or sewage systems), temporary housing, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by a disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses (in short, losses that are not covered by homeowners’ insurance.

With natural disasters and the federal government’s efforts in helping victims recover and rebuild, however, are unscrupulous people taking advantage of victim assistance, stealing from the government the funds that ought to go to disaster victims. The continuous committance of fraudulent acts has led the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice to create a Fraud Task Force charged with deterring, detecting, and prosecuting individuals who try to take advantage of victim assistance programs during disasters. This “Task Force tracks referrals of potential cases and complaints, coordinates with law enforcement agencies to initiate investigations, and works with the appropriate U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to ensure timely and effective prosecution of disaster-related fraud cases.” Furthermore, this Task Force acts quickly and aggressively to bring to justice whoever would try to profit from the misfortunes of disaster victims.

Since the creation of this Task Force, more than 900 individuals have already been charged with disaster-related fraud (in relation to Hurricane Katrina alone). While there are still many pending cases, some other cases have already been dismissed after having proved the authenticity of the claims of those charged.

According to a Wisconsin criminal lawyer, due to the aggressiveness of authorities in bringing to justice fraudsters, federal charges are brought against anyone suspected of having stolen from the government. For those wrongly accused, however, so much is at stake. Clearly, having a highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer who can plan a defense that anticipates the tactics prosecutors are likely to use against him/her could really be necessary.

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Your Safety Net: Claiming Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Workplace Injury

You can experience many difficult consequences from falling ill or becoming injured due to workplace accidents. Aside from the obvious physical challenges brought about by illness or injury, going through such an experience is also sure to cause economic hardship. An illness or injury requires medical attention that could cost you thousands of dollars. It also means losing an opportunity to earn wages as you take time off to recover.

In such situations, you’re going to need to have a safety net to ensure that you and your family are well taken care of for the time of being. This is where workers’ compensation benefits come in.

In North Carolina, almost all employers are required by law to provide their workforce with workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The few exceptions to this rule include, in general, those that employ only a small amount of people into their organization. Businesses that have more than 3 people in their workforce are expected to weekly payments amounting to 66 2/3 percent of your weekly wage.

Filing for workers’ compensation begins with notifying your employer about your current situation. Submit a report of your illness or injury and include documentation from your doctor to this paperwork. Your employer is then expected to fill out and file all necessary forms to be submitted to the North Carolina Industry Commission or the NCIC.

Your employer or their insurance company will be responsible for the initial review of your claim. Should they deny your petition, the will need to send you and the NCIC appropriate notice to give you time to prepare an appeal. The appeal will be made through a hearing with the NCIC or, if necessary, the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In this process, it will be easier to have Raleigh workers’ compensation claim assistance from an experienced attorney.

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The Risk of Injury Faced by Bicycle Riders

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Bicycle Accidents, Personal Injury

For thousands of Americans, riding a bike to work or for exercise is a way of life. Like a motorcycle rider, however, a bicyclist must know that absence or lack of bodily protection puts him/her at high risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.

In 2013, 900 bicyclists died, and about 494,000 were rushed to emergency departments due to injuries sustained in accidents. In 2014, the Educational Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety program, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced, was said to be a very big factor in reducing the number of fatal bicycle accidents, making it go down to 720, a 20% reduction.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveal that:

  • The most common victims in fatal bicycle accident are adolescents and young adults, aged from 15 to 29 and adults 45 years and older
  • Victims in non-fatal bicycle-related injuries are usually children aged between 5 and 14 and those between 15 and 24 years old
  • The two top contributing factors to bicyclist deaths are alcohol-impairment and failure to wear a helmet
  • The states of California and Florida are the top states where the highest number of male cyclists get killed every year

Thousands of bike accidents lead to fatalities or serious injuries every year. Thus, in an effort to keep bicyclists safe, many states have implemented the bicycle helmet law for children and adults due to the added safety that a helmet can provide. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also made known its Safer People, Safer Streets initiative this 2015 in an effort to improve non-motorized safety.

According to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., the trauma suffered by bicycle riders can never be undone, however, the parties responsible for causing the accident, which resulted to a victim’s injuries or death, need to be held responsible for their actions or inaction. Thus, bicyclists, who are injured because of the negligence of some drivers or someone who never did a good job, such as in maintaining and keeping roads, sidewalks or parking areas safe, may be able to recover damages for whatever injuries they suffer. Being represented by a highly-competent personal injury or bicycle accident lawyer may be necessary for the victim’s better chances of getting the compensation that he/she is legally allowed to claim and receive.

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Facts About The EB-5 Visa

Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Law

The EB-5 Visa is one of the many ways to get a Green Card in the United States. All an individual has to do is invest in a business and they can become a permanent resident of the country in no time. Every year, there are approximately 10,000 visas allotted for foreign investors and for their families. In 2015, there were 9.764 visas were used and 93% going to investors from Asia. More specifically, 84% were granted to Chinese investors and 3% granted to Vietnamese.

Aplying for a Green Card is a long and tedious process. You can avoid the time delay and strict requirements that are usually faced by applicants.The EB-5 visa applicant will be granted conditional residence status. After two years of stay, the foreign national will then apply to remove this status. Upon meeting the visa requirement, the foreign national will then receive full LPR status. Otherwise, their conditional status is either terminated, required to leave the US, or be placed in removal proceedings.

In 1992, Congress set up the Regional Center Pilot Program in order to create an additional pathway to LPR status via the EB-5 visa. For the regional centers, the investment requirement is the same for the standard EB-5 investors. Visas from the Regional Center Program has grown over the years. In 2014, 97% of all EB-5 visas were issued from the Regional Centers.

When applying for an EB-5 visa, bear in mind that the average waiting time for processing is 13 months. The application will wiat in queue at the USCIS for about 8 – 15 months. Afterwards, it will take an additional six months or more for the review. Upon approval, the applicant will be notified and make an appointment in the nearest embassy or consulate in their country for interview. Once approved, they will need to present the documents upon their arrival in the US.

Two years after the approval of visa, the company where the applicant investeds will provide proof of job creation. You will need the Form I-829 to do this. Once reviewed and approved by the USCIS, the conditional status is changed to permanent and the Green Card issued to the applicant. The card is renewable every 10 years.

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