Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category
CUMMING, Ga. (AP) — The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not.
It’s a lesson Angel and David Dobs discovered when their homeowners association north of Atlanta denied their request to install solar panels on their roof. Neighborhood officials said the panels would look out of place and might lower home values in a community that regulates details as fine as the coloring of roof tiles, the planting of trees and the storage of trash cans.
“It’s like living under communism — someone gets to dictate every possible thing you do,” David Dobs said.
Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice. A recent attempt in Georgia to expand the right to go solar had support from environmentalists and some Republican lawmakers concerned about private property rights but it succumbed to opposition from developers and real estate agents.
Roughly two dozen states now forbid or limit homeowners associations or local governments from banning solar panels, according to a database run by North Carolina State University. Similar disputes have prompted lawsuits in Nebraska and California.
Angel and David Dobs supported the Georgia legislation after their run-in with the homeowners association. David Dobs had viewed the project as his personal contribution to prevent global warming.
Leaders of the Vickery Lake Homeowners Association in Cumming say the dispute is about architecture and aesthetics, not the merits of solar power. Homeowners automatically accept the community rules when they purchase a home there.
“We’re not going to debate whether it’s a good idea to have green energy or not,” said Jim Pearson, the association’s president.
These debates are likely to keep flaring as more people install solar energy systems because the equipment is getting cheaper and governments subsidize the cost. Taxpayers can now deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing solar panels from their federal tax bill. Other states and local governments offer additional incentives.
The fight is not new. Some solar rights laws date back to the 1970s, while other states have added similar measures more recently.
California’s law, first enacted in 1978, prevents homeowners associations from forcing residents to make aesthetic changes to photovoltaic panels that raise the cost by more than $2,000 or decrease a system’s efficiency more than 20 percent.
Most disputes in California are worked out privately, but a few have reached the court system. Last year, a California appellate court upheld a decision forcing a couple to remove solar panels that were installed in their yard without the approval of their homeowners association. They were allowed to keep other panels on their roof.
“They don’t like the way they look,” said attorney Michael McQueen, who represented the couple and others in similar disputes. “And (homeowners associations) are all about looks. Is your lawn green? Are your hedges trimmed?”
Ricardo Cestero, an attorney for the homeowners association, said neighborhood leaders were concerned the ground-level panels were not set back far enough from the street, were inadequately protected from damage and might cause erosion.
Texas adopted a law last year preventing homeowners associations from totally blocking solar panels. The law makes clear that residents can install them on roofs or in fenced-in yards or patios, subject to some limits.
In Georgia, the fight between the Dobses and their homeowners association started in 2010. David Dobs said the rules required that he and his wife seek permission to build solar panels.
He first proposed installing 30 panels on two areas parallel to the slope of his roof. People could have seen sections of the three-by-five-feet panels as they walked or drove along the street.
The homeowners association rejected that request and three others from Dobs.
Board member Jim Graham said that to win approval, the panels would probably need to be out of view, perhaps mounted in a backyard and obscured by a fence — though fences too are subject to association approval.
Graham said that if people don’t like the rules, they are free to buy elsewhere.
“They chose to come into this community,” he said.
Lawmakers in Georgia tried to resolve the problem with legislation giving homeowners associations the rest of the year to decide whether to ban solar panels. Any neighborhood that did not set a ban by next year would be unable to stop a homeowner from installing solar panels in the future.
There were limits. Homeowners associations could restrict the panels to roofs or fenced-in backyards and patios. They could require that panels be installed parallel to the slope of a roof and ban any backyard solar equipment that rose higher than the surrounding fence.
Even in states that give homeowners the right to install solar panels, homeowners associations still ban them.
Neighborhood leaders in a Salem, Ore., subdivision rejected Larry Lohrman’s request to install solar panels on his roof because their rules banned the equipment, Lohrman said. He successfully argued that a 1979 solar rights law made that ban illegal, and he and a neighbor helped the association draft guidelines governing the installation of solar panels.
His panels were installed and started producing power in 2010, though Lohrman said he nearly abandoned the effort in frustration during the year it took to write the new guidelines for his homeowners association.
“They’re just afraid that someone’s going to put up this big, honking ugly thing that reflects light and just looks ugly,” he said.
Associated Press reporter Kate Brumback contributed to this report. Follow Ray Henry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rhenryAP
InfoTube thinks some logical thought should prevail on this issue. On one hand, we want to encourage US independence from fossil fuels that harm our environment and fund terrorism. On the other hand, homeowner association rules are in place to protect the beauty, value and function of a neighborhood.. Restrictions against solar panels are common in most associations and those rules were in place when the homes were initially purchased.
A Green or Living Roof… is a concept that has been around for centuries and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Cities such as Atlanta, Portland and Chicago now offer incentives to encourage builders to put green roof’s on their buildings. The green roof on the Chicago City Hall (shown below) is one of the earliest and best known examples in the USA.
Why are Green Roofs Good for Man and Earth?
1. Adding Green Roofs to Buildings in Urban Area’s has a dramatic effect on high temperatures, which are increasing. A green roof can decrease cooling costs by 50-90% depending on the amount of glass used in the building. On average, the use of green or living roof materials in cities can reduce overall summer temperatures by 4-7 degrees. Imagine a July high temp of 82 vs 90.
2. Living roofs dramatically reduce storewater runoff and they filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rainwater. They can retain up to 75% of rainfall and reduce the need for expensive underground sand filters that meet storm water regulations.
3. Green Roofs Filter pollution and carbon dioxide out of the air, which lowers respitory diseases such as asthma. Check out the green walled homes built in Austria below.
4. Living Roofs create a Natural Habitat for Birds, Bee’s, Butterflies and Insects in Urban and Rural Settings. They increase our agricultural space and can be used to grow food, herbs, fruiting tree’s and shrubs.
5. Green Roofs Require Little to No Maintenance…and Mowing can be fun
6. Living Roofs dramatically improve a roof’s insulation value and cuts heating and cooling bills about 25% on average. The roof’s also last two to three times as long as a standard asphault shingled roof.
Flower Tower Building – Paris, France
7. Green Roof’s Increase Real Estate Values and Earn LEED’s points
The idea of Green roof’s may be centuries old..but in the 21st century they are becoming new again. They increase life, and the beauty of it…in addition they make financial and environmental sense.
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net. If you are installing or caring for a green roof…please send us your pictures or share you story with us. We are always looking for new ways to improve quality of life and the value of real estate.
Okay, sure… not ALL of the beds in these cities are infested. But if you’re planning on hotel stays in any of these destinations, you might want to do an inspection around the headboards before you lay your body down.
Pest control corporation Rollins (which owns seven companies – including Orkin) reports a 34% rise in bed bug biz from 2010 to 2011.
Here’s the list, including the change from the previous year’s ranking:
3. Detroit (+1)
4. Denver (+2)
5. Los Angeles (+20)
6. Columbus, Ohio (-3)
7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (+43)
8. Washington, D.C. (-3)
9. New York (-2)
10. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+6)
11. Houston (-1)
12. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif. (+35)
13. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio (+1)
14. Boston (+4)
15. Dayton, Ohio (-7)
16. Las Vegas (-1)
17. Honolulu (+55)
18. Baltimore (-6)
19. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+9)
20. Philadelphia (-9)
21. Atlanta (+24)
22. Lexington, Ky. (-13)
23. Syracuse, N.Y. (+25)
24. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (+27)
25. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+19)
26. San Diego (+13)
27. Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. (-3)
28. Omaha, Neb. (-11)
29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-16)
30. Pittsburgh (-3)
31. Indianapolis (-12)
32. Milwaukee (+6)
33. Charlotte, N.C. (+13)
34. Phoenix (+19)
35. Louisville, Ky. (-3)
36. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (-16)
37. Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (+30)
38. Knoxville, Tenn. (+4)
39. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich. (-17)
40. Nashville, Tenn. (+15)
41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (+24)
42. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa (-13)
43. Salisbury, Md. (+46)
44. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (-23)
45. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (-22)
46. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. (-20)
47. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (-17)
48. Salt Lake City (-8)
49. Charleston/Huntington, W.Va. (-13)
50. West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce, Fla. (+6)
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net. Visit our website to list property, search for a home, purchase an InfoTube or InfoBox or place a property listing on the MLS or Realtor.com. If you have a home to sell….we can help and save you money!!
Agents say that the majority of home sellers have gotten more “real” about their real estate in 2012. More than half (51%) of sellers are willing to price their homes more competitively this year vs last. And, nearly half (45%) are more willing to change the appearance of their homes to appeal to and entice buyers.
What is the best use of a seller’s time and money? De-clutter, de-personalize to make their home appeal to the broadest cross-section of potential buyers.
- 94% of sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates.
- 78% are willing to “de-personalize” their homes.
- 59% are bringing in new home decorations or furniture to make their home updated and appealing.
De-personalizing and de-cluttering a home makes it easier for a buyer to imagine him or herself living in the property. In order to sell your home in today’s competitive marketplace, it is crucial for seller’s to realize that the property is no longer their “home”…it is an expensive product that is For Sale.
Always remove family photo’s and personal artwork. They do nothing for the appeal of the home. They simply distract a buyers focus and perhaps give the buyer too much information about the seller’s personal life. Never good.
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net. 5 FSBO houses on InfoTube.net SOLD this week. Things are improving for those seller’s who work smart to attract buyers. Visit our Facebook page for informative, fun and revealing news.
We would like to say a big THANK YOU to the folks at Lowes Hardware for putting InfoTube back on the store shelves.
Lowes has been a supporter of InfoTube since the early 1990’s, but they made a decision to stop stocking The InfoTube a few years back, when the real estate market hit the skids.
Now, in support of our effort mutual efforts to Support American products and American workers, Lowes has restocked the shelves with InfoTubes, in anticipation of the spring home selling season. As a result, we have been able to add workers and our customers love the convenience of shopping at Lowes. (Lowes will also continue to sell our popular InfoBox, too.)
We appreciate everyone at Lowes and we appreciate all of you. Please look for our products trademarked Red Lids and Caps when you shop…and ask for InfoTube and InfoBox products by name.
Say NO to Chinese imports. Together, we can rebuild our country… one little product and one worker at a time.
The male-dominated industry has never seen anyone quite like Lynn Tilton, a New York financier who since 2000 quietly has been amassing an empire, acquiring or investing in more than 70 companies, with holdings totaling $8 billion.
Lynn Tilton, New York financier and owner of MD Helicopters, gives out signed photos of herself to well wishers as a line formed in front of her exhibit booth at Heli-Expo recently in Anaheim, Calif.
Rotor blades and turbine engines were supposed to be the showcase at the annual helicopter convention in Anaheim, Calif., the last week of February, so pilot James Costa wasn’t sure what to make of the crowd surrounding a woman in a leopard-print dress and knee-high boots.
She had long, blond hair who was signing glossy photos of herself as a line formed in front of her exhibit booth.
“I thought she was a stripper,” said Costa, a helicopter pilot from Tulare, Calif., before he found out that the woman was Lynn Tilton, owner of one of the nation’s largest helicopter makers.
“Very cool,” Costa said in disbelief. “You know, she brought that company back from the brink of destruction. She’s our rock star.”
The male-dominated industry has never seen anyone quite like Tilton, a New York financier who since 2000 quietly has been amassing an empire, acquiring or investing in more than 70 companies, with holdings totaling $8 billion.
“She doesn’t fit the usual pattern of an executive,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for Teal Group. “but she has stayed in this game a lot longer than people thought.”
Part Warren Buffett and part Dolly Parton, the 49-year-old native of the Bronx borough of New York owns or has an equity stake in companies that are as eclectic as her wardrobe — and include brand names such as Arizona Ice Tea, English Leather cologne and Isotoner gloves.
Through her private-equity firm Patriarch Partners she also owns companies with some of the world’s most iconic names, including mapmaker Rand McNally, firetruck manufacturer American LaFrance and Italian factory-machine maker Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali.
In 2005, Tilton acquired Mesa, Ariz.-based MD Helicopters, a company founded by Howard Hughes.
Although diverse, the companies had a common trait before Tilton began investing in them. They produced well-known products but were about to go out of business.
“We turn dust to diamonds,” she said at the Anaheim Convention Center. “We buy what everybody else tosses away.”
Although some of her companies have had to lay off people because of the economy, they employ a total of 60,000 workers in the U.S. The return on her investments has averaged 25 percent annually, she said.
“Making money and making the world a better place don’t have to be mutually exclusive objectives,” she said.
Within the aviation industry, Tilton often has been described as the “dominatrix lady” because of her penchant for black-leather dresses and high-heel shoes.
“Well-behaved women seldom make history,” she said when asked about the initial impression some people might have. She has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and an MBA from Columbia.
She acknowledged that she has used the image to her advantage because many people upon first meeting her underestimate her abilities.
Before she began signing autographs, Tilton already was shaking up the helicopter convention. As four executives of the world’s largest helicopter makers, including Bell Helicopter Textron and Sikorsky Aircraft, finished up their presentations, Tilton, who was running late, walked up to the podium wearing that leopard-print dress.
“I don’t have pretty slides,” she said. “But I’m wearing a sexy dress. I hope this will do for some of you.”
Then, taking a more serious tone, Tilton said that the industry was “not a chosen one that defies gravity” and warned the audience that more improvements were needed, including making helicopters safer.
Tilton, who has three siblings, said she grew up in a dynamic family. Her father was a professor, and her mother later became publisher of a newspaper in Teaneck, N.J.
At 23, Tilton became a single parent, and for the next several years she “worked 100 hours a week on Wall Street” to support herself and her daughter. “Compared to then, this is nothing,” she said of her workload juggling more than 70 companies.
Tilton worked at top Wall Street companies including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch before becoming an expert on distressed loans. She later would obtain a patent for a method of turning around bad bank loans.
Tilton had enough money to retire comfortably at age 40 but decided to form her own company to “give back to the world.”
Her most challenging and endearing acquisition has been the helicopter company, one of the few that she personally has overseen and managed, Tilton said.
Because of parts problems, the company stopped producing helicopters in 2005, putting more than 250 jobs in jeopardy just before Tilton acquired an equity stake.
After going through three chief executives in one year, she personally took charge, handling the company’s reorganization while acquiring faltering businesses.
At the same time, she began to be the “face of the company” as she led the sales force and was able to regain the attention of its customers.
“She’s turned things around at MD, and I think that’s helped her gain some respect,” said Matthew Arnold, chief executive of Alabama’s Marshall County Economic Development Council, which has worked with Tilton on aviation matters.
The company expects to deliver 70 new helicopters this year, up from 52 last year.
“My ultimate legacy would be if I could keep people from going home and telling their families they’re unemployed,” Tilton said.
By Peter Pae Los Angeles Times. Source for this article is the Seattle Times Company.
InfoTube.net salutes Lynn Tilton and applaudes her effort to employ Americans and rescue US companies. If I can be of service to you Ms Tilton, please let me know. It would be an honor to work for you and I would do it for FREE. Tommi Crow
Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Traditions the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.
Make this year different. Make it the year that Americans give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it on Facebook and to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net and for supporting our American workers!!!
This photo, sent by an InfoTube customer, perfectly illustrates the reason that the United States is going down the drain.
Does NYC know that Pittsburgh, PA is a steel town? Does Mayor Bloomberg realize that tens of thousands of taxpayers in Pittsburgh are unemployed, many losing their homes? Does the New York City purchasing department know that Pennsylvania is located right down the road from the state of New York?
If “they were cheap” is the answer…I don’t care how cheap Indian man hole covers are. If they were FREE, US workers and taxpayers can’t afford them.
In addition…wasting oil to freight heavy man hole covers half way around the world is slap in the face to US families and business. The economy has been crippled by $4.00 a gallon gasoline and the billions of dollars that have been borrowed to fight wars for oil!
I say Enough! We believe that Americans have to start producing what America buys. It’s really that simple.
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net. We hope you join in us in our fight to Save American Jobs!!! (Click here to read our David and Goliath success story).
Demand American products when you shop. Together, we can turn this around. Just look at what one, young woman did to turn the new bank charges for ATM’s around!!!!
Tommi Crow, owner of Crow Erickson, Inc and inventor of the InfoTube and InfoBox battled Home Depot and Lowes…and WON!!! Now, she and her company get to keep selling their American Made products and her US workforce will stay employed.
To Read About this David vs Goliath Victory …CLICK HERE!!!!