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Light Up Your Landscaping Like a Pro

Lifestyles - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:47pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Summer months are quickly approaching, and many homeowners are getting lawns prepared for cookouts, family gatherings and entertaining late-night porch hangouts.

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), proper outdoor lighting is just as essential for a beautiful landscape as are a lush lawn, bright flowerbeds and manicured shrubs.

Jeff Dross, corporate director of lighting education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, recently explained that homeowners are opening up to new ideas with landscape lighting.

Use Indirect Light

Dross says homeowners have begun to shift toward indirect light for their landscaping, which essentially uses a source to reflect the light emitted by the light fixture. This creates more of an atmospheric tone, allowing the light to spread across a wall off the side of a house more effectively. Indirect lighting will illuminate flower beds, gardens, bushes or other decorative landscaping art. Additionally, the light will bounce off the ground and create a nicely lit walkway around flowerbeds.

The Shift Toward LEDs

LED light bulbs are beginning to dominate the landscape lighting industry. For the majority of homeowners, outdoor lights and landscape lighting are typically left on longer than other home lighting, which makes LEDs the more affordable and logical option.

Additionally, LEDs can be manufactured in much smaller sizes, which give homeowners more options to use them in unique spaces. Dross explains that LEDs are so small, they can be used as application lighting, as well as for aesthetic purposes. Hardscape designs are easy to mesh with LEDs, because the style creates both a passageway lighting source and indirect lighting for stone or brick landscapes.

Go Simplistic

One significant trend in landscape lighting is simplicity and cleanliness. What this means is more homeowners are choosing to go with fewer ground fixtures to illuminate their entire home. According to Dross, residents who simply align their light fixtures along a walkway in a very orderly and organized fashion are providing a lot of unnecessary light and wasting energy.

Going for a more simplistic design can still highlight plants and flower beds while giving just enough light to illuminate a backyard or around a patio. Also, homeowners are moving toward fewer lumens in light fixtures. This allows the light beam to spread more efficiently and even out the overall light sources.

To learn more about landscape lighting, visit a nearby ALA showroom, or go to

Manage Emergency Plumbing Leaks With Ease

Lifestyles - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:45pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Water problems top the list of many homeowners' woes, especially water leaks. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that repairing a faucet dripping at two ounces a minute can save 11,000 gallons of water a year.

Catching a small leak immediately and identifying its source are the keys to preventing water waste and water damage, and a few simple tips can help keep a leak under control.

The FloLogic System, developed by FloLogic, Inc., is one way to help identify leaks early. The FloLogic System works by monitoring the water supply in the home, and when the flow through the system exceeds a limit that is set when the system is installed, the system shuts off and alerts the homeowner via an alarm system. This early warning means that homeowners can take some do-it-yourself action as soon as possible and control problems from leaks until a professional arrives.

When a plumbing emergency strikes, don't panic. Follow these steps to help contain your plumbing problem.

* Location, location, location. Find the source of the leak. Sometimes the source is obvious; in other cases it is necessary to trace the water flow to find the problem.

* Selective shut-off. A system such as FloLogic will automatically shut off the water in the event of a leak, and turning off valves for the specific fixture may be enough.

* Drain and dry. Drain out any excess water and dry the pipe once it is empty.

Then, try these quick fixes:

* Go for glue. If a leak is located at a joint between two pipes, pressing flexible epoxy into the hole might do the trick until a plumber can assess the problem. Work the epoxy in your hands, press it into the hole, and allow it to set.

* Pencil tip. If the hole is small, stick a sharpened pencil into the hole, break off the tip so the tip plugs the hole, and wrap the hole with duct tape or electrical tape.

* Screw and washer. For larger holes, try placing a washer around the hole, then drive the screw through the hole.

Visit for more details about the FloLogic water monitoring system and more information about water management in the home.

How to Protect Pets From Fleas and Ticks

Lifestyles - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:43pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - With the arrival of long, sunny days, people and pets alike are eager to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. However, pet owners must be especially vigilant during the warmer months of the dangers fleas and ticks can pose to their four-legged friends.

Flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively, and their saliva can transfer tapeworms, while ticks can spread Lyme disease in pets and cause tick paralysis, a condition that can result in death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.

The following tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) can help protect pets from fleas and ticks this summer:

1: After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly. Brush their coat to remove any debris or insects, especially if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses.

2: Bathe dogs regularly, using a shampoo that can kill pests.

3: Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks, red, itchy skin, or excessive scratching.

4: If your pet has long hair, consider having him/her groomed in the spring and summer to help to prevent insects from latching onto the long hair and help you to spot any that do.

5: Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet.

6: If you notice a change in your animal's behavior, such as lack of appetite or decrease in energy, take your pet to the veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of Lyme disease or other health issue caused by pests.

7: Wash your pet's bedding, crate, toys, food bowls and sleeping areas on a regular basis.

8: Keep your home clean and clutter-free to deter pest infestations and make it easy to spot any pests that do find their way indoors. Vacuum frequently and wash linens on a regular basis.

9: Keep your lawn cut short, and gardens well maintained, to prevent breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses.

10: If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to extract the head and mouthparts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the advice of a veterinarian.

For more information on fleas and ticks, or to find a pest control professional in your area, visit

Compassion flows freely in refugee camp

CNN World - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:36pm
Some of the kids peer out shyly from behind the canvas of their tents. A little girl carries a plastic tub as big as she is, her face set in determination, as she walks toward the women washing clothes under the beating sun.
Categories: International News

Tax audits

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:26pm
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The Alternative Minimum Tax

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:25pm
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Taxes you owe

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:25pm
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Fit Nation: Swimming past African-American issues with fear and competency in water

Health - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:25pm
"I am breaking the cycle of the fear of water by embracing the water as a new mode of exercise."
Categories: Health

Cuba officially off U.S. terror blacklist

CNN - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:24pm
The United States officially removed Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism on Friday, setting the two nations up for a full renewal of diplomatic ties.
Categories: National News

Income tax penalties

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:23pm
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What's behind India's heat wave?

CNN World - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:21pm
Categories: International News

Types of trusts

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:20pm
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Living wills and health care proxies

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:19pm
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Wills and trusts

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:18pm
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Power of attorney

Business News - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:18pm
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Lohan gets off probation

CNN - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 2:17pm
For the first time in more than seven turbulent years, Lindsay Lohan is off probation.
Categories: National News

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