Thursday, September 13, 2007

Worn Tire Ode

Retreads: The Highest and Best Use for a Worn Tire

Although they may look round and black, retreaded tires are one of the greenest, environmentally friendly products a fleet can buy. Retreaded tires have one of the highest post-consumer contents of all recycled products, and are responsible for saving North Americans more than 400 million gallons of oil every year.

Most people don't know that tires contain a very large percentage of synthetic rubber, which is petroleum based. Every time a truck tire is retreaded there is a savings of approximately 15 gallons of oil. In addition, every tire that is retreaded is one less tire for our overcrowded landfills.

"I don't know of any other recycled product that saves as much money for the end user as a retreaded tire. When you add these savings into the natural resources that are saved and the positive impact this has on the environment, using retreads is a win, win solution for both the transportation industry and the environment," said Martin Bozarth, executive director of the International Tire & Rubber Association.

"Tire retreading makes an important contribution to the reduction in the number of tires requiring annual disposal by insuring that tires, especially medium truck tires, provide the fullest possible service life. Retreadable casings should always be directed to the retread market," says John Serumgard of the Scrap Tire Management Council

For more information about the environmental and economic benefits of retreaded tires, visit, or contact the Tire Retread Information Bureau toll free at (888) 473-8732, or by e-mail:

Courtesy ARA Content,

Labels: , ,

Malpractice Insurance Opus

Managerial Malpractice Claims on the Rise

Protect Your Assets and Executives with D&O Insurance

When disgruntled shareholders, employees, customers or competitors allege financial mismanagement, discrimination or other wrongful acts, blame often lands at the feet of corporate directors and officers. Claims of managerial malpractice are on the rise, along with the costs -- legal fees, settlements and judgments -- associated with them.

Just how expensive can a claim against your company and its officers be? The average shareholder claim rose $1.51 million to $8.67 million in 1999, the highest ever recorded. During the same period, the average employee claim climbed to $306,000, up from $287,000 in 1998.

"That fact is, the threat of lawsuits and litigation costs is a basic risk of corporate directorship," says international risk management expert Thomas W. Harvey. "Because directors' and officers' services are considered fiduciary, requiring decision-makers to exercise their powers in good faith and with prudent judgment, directors and officers risk what essentially are managerial malpractice claims."

According to Harvey, president and CEO of Assurex International, the world's largest privately held commercial insurance brokerage group, directors and officers (D&O) claims typically result from disputes over financial or accounting irregularities or company decisions alleged to adversely affect shareholders' return on investment.

For public companies, shareholder complaints are the most frequent sources of D&O claims. Common shareholder complaints involve financial disclosure, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, mergers and acquisitions, stock offerings and spin-off-related issues.

Discrimination is the primary employee complaint, followed by wrongful termination, harassment and breach of contract. Clients cite discrimination more often than any other type of complaint. Business interference tops the list of competitors' claims. For both clients and competitors, contract disputes come in second on the list of typical grievances.

"Directors and officers insurance can help mitigate losses when an organization and its directors or officers are slapped with a legal claim," said Harvey. "For responsible organizations operating in the age of workplace lawsuits, D&O insurance is a must."

The Purpose of D&O Insurance

Available for public and private companies, non-profit and for-profit organizations, D&O insurance:
- Protects directors and officers with insurance covering matters for which they might not be indemnified under corporate by-laws.
- Reimburses the organization after it has indemnified directors and officers in accordance with corporate by-laws.
- Motivates the organization to attract quality outside persons to serve as directors or executive managers.
- Reassures inside directors and officers.

What Type of D&O Insurance is Right for You?

Your organization's structure will determine the type of D&O coverage application form used by the underwriter. Insurance companies that underwrite D&O policies distinguish between for-profit and non-profit organizations, as well as publicly held and private companies when preparing D&O quotes and policies.

The good news for non-profits: D&O coverage is both broad and reasonably priced for non-profit organizations. Minimum premiums begin well under $1,000. Directors and officers of non-profit organizations can obtain coverage aspects and extensions not available to the directors and officers of for-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations' coverage provisions might include full coverage for the organization, employment practices liability, an affirmative coverage grant for punitive damages (unless prohibited by law), defense expenses payable beyond policy limits and in some cases no per-claim deductible.

When it comes to private versus public company D&O insurance, a major distinction is the scope of coverage available for the organization as an entity. Most publicly held organizations are able to purchase coverage for the organization's liability only for shareholder claims in connection with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) liability. Since this exposure is not faced by private organizations (even those with shareholders), underwriters generally exclude the SEC exposure from private companies' D&O policies. But, it is still important that a private organization's D&O coverage not exclude claims brought by shareholders, as many private organizations do indeed have shareholders.

Underwriters of private company D&O insurance offer several coverage forms to cover the organization's liability to the same extent as the liability coverage provided to directors and officers. However, since for-profit D&O policy limits are provided on an aggregate limit basis, payment of covered claims made against the organization erodes the coverage limit available for directors and officers.

Don't Forget Employment Practices Liability Coverage

A benefit of covering private organizations as an entity on a D&O policy, in addition to protecting the directors and officers, is the ready availability of Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage. EPL insurance protects employers from workers' claims of discrimination or wrongful termination based on race, sex, age or disability. EPL insurance also protects organizations from third-party liability claims filed by customers and outsiders.

How to Maximize Your D&O Coverage: 15 Buying Tips

D&O insurance coverages are highly negotiable. Your insurance agent should make every effort to customize D&O coverage to meet the unique needs of your organization and its management structure. Market conditions should be taken into account as well.

Assurex International offers 15 tips to maximize your organization's D&O insurance coverage.

1. Make sure the policy is non-cancelable, except for non-payment of the premium. Require the insurer to give a minimum of 90 days written notice of non-renewal.
2. Strive for an affirmative coverage statement regarding punitive damages.
3. Be clear on the extent of entity coverage afforded, for settlements, judgments and defense expenses. As an alternative, pre-set an allocation percentage (ideally 100 percent) for the entity. Generally, for publicly held entities, the only entity coverage available is for SEC-related claims. While broader entity coverage is available, D&O entity coverage is still evolving.
4. Is the policy endorsed to extend to EPL claims? This extension is valuable only if the entity is specifically covered for EPL claims.
5. If your organization is publicly held, have your agent investigate a coverage carve out in the exclusionary language for pollution-related claims, covering shareholder suits against directors and officers.
6. Generally, exclusionary language for Professional Services or for Errors or Omissions is too broad. Request coverage carve out for failure to supervise, if the exclusion cannot be removed entirely.
7. Secure a written commitment from the insurer for multiple-year pricing, or language that restricts possible premium increases to significant financial changes, a major acquisition or significant claims activity.
8. Seek automatic coverage for newly acquired or created organizations, with no additional premium payable with policy renewal or anniversary.
9. Make sure there is a specific provision for the insurer to advance defense costs to the insured.
10. Arrange for pre-approval of the insurer's choice of defense counsel.
11. Secure coverage for non-officer employees named in a covered suit with officers and/or directors.
12. Be sure a minimum of 12 months is allowed for the Extended Reporting period (discovery clause).
13. Have legal counsel review the D&O policy application forms before submitting them.
14. Extend coverage to include outside directorships.
15. Have your insurance broker obtain a carve out from the usual insured versus insured exclusion to cover claims brought by bankruptcy trustees, federal or statutory receivers, and debtors-in-possession. This is valuable in situations involving bankruptcy of the insured organization.

D&O insurance will not necessarily protect your organization against intentional wrongdoing such as fraud, theft or blatant disregard for employees' rights. However, whether your organization is private, public or non-profit, D&O insurance should be a component of your overall insurance and risk management program.

Assurex is the world's largest grouping of privately held risk management and commercial insurance brokerages. Visit Assurex online at

Courtesy ARA Content,

Labels: , ,

Online Degrees Poem

Are Online Degrees Valid To Prospective Employers?

Online distance learning has gained rapid popularity with the advent of the internet, which has proven to offer great supporting facilities and convenience for online education. However, just like everything else with pros and cons, the internet has also opened doors for the widespread sale of bogus online degrees. According a report by USA Today, there were already 400 diploma mills in the year 2003 and the numbers are rising. In fact, many of these unscrupulous operations are run by organizations in an industry that is worth $500 million a year.

However, amidst the negative hype about online education, there are actually many distance learning colleges offering valid degrees and diplomas. These institutions do not sell bogus certificates, but actually aim to provide quality education as alternatives for on-campus higher education. Valid online courses with online video lectures as well as online library facilities and test examinations conducted are often deployed to ensure that students truly qualify in their areas of study and graduate legitimately. Sadly though, many employers only see the negative side of things, and easily brush off online education degrees as equivalent to bogus degrees.

In view of the confusion, the National Education Board of the U.S. government has authorized 6 accreditation agencies to provide institutional accreditation to education institutions, as a measure to differentiate legitimate universities from the crooks. This means that students choosing their universities will be assured that these universities would have met minimum criteria set forth by these agencies for learning institutions. Additionally, there is also The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) which provides accreditation specifically for distance learning institutions. The DETC is an accreditation agency that is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Furthermore, there is also specialized accreditation for specific programs of different areas of specialization. These programs which are found to have attained excellence will be awarded accreditation by various professional accrediting agencies depending on the area of specialization. For instance, the International Association for Management Education (AACSB) gives accreditation to accounting related programs while health programs are accredited by the American Health Information Management Association. It is also important to know that only accreditation agencies recognized by the Department of Education or CHEA are considered accreditation agencies which are acknowledged.

What does accreditation mean to a student? An institutional accreditation agency evaluates the various aspects of universities or colleges against minimum standard criteria to determine if the particular institution meets their list of basic requirements. College accreditation is necessary to ensure that the education, facilities and support provided by a college or university adheres to basic levels. On the other hand, specialized accreditation evaluates excellence in individual program regardless of which institution the program is being delivered within. In this type of accreditation, course content and program curricula is evaluated against pre-set standards of the institution.

All accreditation does is to assure employers, students and parents that the graduates who are awarded degrees from accredited colleges have undergone adequate training in their respective areas of specialization. This also means that colleges that are not accredited by the proper accreditation body would not have met the standards imposed by the agencies. However, courses taken by prospective employees that are accredited by the respective agencies would have met standards imposed on the respective specialized areas.

It is totally up to the judgment and decision of the employers on evaluating the validity of an online or on-campus degree. With the recent hike in bogus degrees, employers can’t help but be stringent in their applicant screenings and consider those with degrees that have been accredited. This may prove tedious and sometimes employers may get confused. Therefore, if your accreditation is provided by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education, then you will need to explain to prospective employers on the background of the accrediting bodies. This way, you can avoid employers from sidelining your application based on something that they may be unclear about and increase your chances of being short listed for a job interview.

Rose Musyoka is an article contributor at http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.comwhere you find answers, information and advice on distance learning colleges, accredited online degrees and online courses.

Labels: , ,

Business & Marital Partners Serenade

Business Partners & Marital Partners, Will the Marriage Survive? (Part I)

With today's economy, and the layoffs occurring as a result of these economic conditions, more and more people are opting to start their own business. Due to the low start up costs, the prevalence of home-based businesses is on the rise, many of these started by husband and wife teams.

With the move from the corporate world to the home-based, couples are finding that a new set of problems are occurring. In the corporate arena, two major areas of importance are profits and communication with employees. This is done through evaluations, reviews, meetings, or a company newsletter outlining company policies and news. All administrators realize that a happy and informed employee is more efficient and productive; in effect, increasing their profits.

Research on martial separation and divorce indicates two of the main causes of separation and divorce are communication and money, very much like corporate concerns. In the past, spouses worked in their respective jobs, and came home to discuss what was going on in the work place. In effect, they were sounding boards for one another. With the move to the home front, especially with starting up businesses together, the sounding boards are gone.

In effect, placing couples in a start-up business can cause a myriad of problems, previously seen only in the corporate world, in addition to the normal stumbling blocks of starting up a business. Too many couples working together are not practicing good communication skills. Lack of communication, can cause one spouse to feel that he or she is carrying all the business and monetary responsibility.

Keep Your Marriage Solid

If you and your spouse have decided to run a business together, be sure to discuss and outline the following:

Delineate responsibility. Decide who is going to handle what business matters. In addition, be sure you both know how to accomplish these functions. Unfortunately, illness occurs - you need to be able to back up each other in all aspects of the business. For example, if one of you does all the bank statements, be sure your spouse understands how this is accomplished, so if necessary, they can also handle this responsibility. If you have a set procedure you follow and a way you want it done, make up an outline, so it is accomplished in the manner you want.

Marketing, return calls, daily correspondence, invoicing, weekly and/or monthly expenses, supplies, calendaring, appointments, deposits, bank statements, implementation of the business plan, attendance at meetings (e.g. Chamber mixers, National groups, User groups, etc.) all need to be taken care of. You will have to split these responsibilities between you. Again, be sure you know how each is implemented, so in an emergency, you can back each other up.

Delineate responsibilities according to likes and dislikes and who will do the best job. We all have our little niches, and if it is something we like and do well, we can accomplish it better and more efficiently. Once the responsibilities have been delineated, make up a schedule for each item you both need to deal with. Again, you must be able to act as each others back up.

Marketing is a major obstacle. Most individuals do not like to use cold calling as a medium to promote their business. Be sure both of you are involved. Do not let one person handle this. In addition, develop a marketing strategy. Will you market daily, weekly, monthly? What kind of marketing will you do-advertising, cold calls, direct mail, etc. Again, be sure you both are involved. This is important because money and marketing are tied together. The more you market, the more aware the marketplace will be of the services you offer. If only one individual is marketing and monies are fluctuating, there is more tension between the partners to make the business successful. No one individual should have to carry this on their shoulders, or perceive that they do. In addition, with both spouses marketing, one person cannot blame the other for the success or failure of the business.

The Most Important Tool

Remember, the most important tool you both have is communication. Don't expect your spouse to read your mind. Keep the marriage and business separate. It's difficult, especially if you are home-based, but it can be done. If you have a problem with the way your spouse is accomplishing a task in the business environment, discuss it immediately. Do not wait. Do not let this build into anger that is transferred to your personal relationship. Remember that keeping your business and personal relationships separate is very important to the survival of both your business and your marriage.

In Part II of this article we will discuss how to implement this strategy.

Chuck & Sue DeFiore are authors, publishers, coaches, consultants and investors; and the Founders of the HBS Forgotten Segment Support Group. Visit their Home Business Solutions Web Site - Where you'll learn about the Perfect Home-Based Business. Lease Purchasing is a specialty Creative Real Estate niche that allows you to control property without purchasing it and generate multiple streams of income and profit; plus build long term net worth.

Labels: , , ,

GPS Unit Buying Tips Verse

Tips on Buying Your First GPS Unit

An introduction to GPS technology, the various types of GPS systems on the market, and tips on choosing a unit that is right for you.

Anyone that enjoys the great outdoors has probably heard of GPS devices. They can come in handy when you are hiking, boating, biking, or doing just about anything else in the great outdoors. Twenty years ago, you had to rely on a compass the position of the sun and stars and your own common sense. Not anymore! Now you can have a handy little device that can pinpoint your exact location at any given time of day.

If you are in the market for a GPS device, it is important that you understand how it works. Since the GPS devices rely on air signals, you must have a GPS receiver and a clear view of the sky for them to work. When your device is turned on it is actually linking up with 27 orbital satellites in place around the planet. Four of the nearest satellites are located and the distance from them to you is calculated via the hand held device. The process is called trilateration. Based on that, the GPS device can determine where you are on the planet. Pretty neat huh?

When you look at the different types of GPS devices out there, you may wonder which one is right for you. Prices can range from $100- 5000 dollars, so it is important to do your homework. Find out what features each device has, and determine whether you need them or not. The following is a list of tips to get you started when you are shopping.

- Research the name brand. Though GPS technology is fairly new, the manufacturer should have a long track record of creating quality electronics.
- Don’t buy the cheapest or the most expensive GPS device out there. The cheapest may not meet your expectations and the most expensive one probably has too much extra stuff you will never use.
- Look for a large display, lighted if you are going to be traveling at night.
- If you plan on traveling by foot look for a model that is lightweight, and water resistant.

Once you decide on a model that you are interested in, head over to your local sports supply store. Get prices on the model above and below it for a good range. You can also try to look at auction sites like to find a good deal. If you are lucky enough to find one that is used, make sure to test it out first to make sure that it works properly.

Deciding to buy a GPS system is a personal one, so make sure that you understand the ins and outs of the technology. If you do a variety of different activities a good basic, waterproof model will do the trick. If you have friends or family members that own a GPS system, ask them if they are happy with their purchase. That way you can get an honest opinion on the different brands out there. An online opinion site like is also a great place for honest answers.

Adrienne MacDonald is a freelance author and contributing writer to – site that provides free information on global positioning systems.

Labels: , , ,

Outdoor Photography Ode

Tip: Better Outdoor Portraits

This is an easy technique I read about a long time ago, and it works really well. I use it a lot when shooting weddings and portraits.

Outdoor portraits can often end up with a washed-out and boring sky when you set your camera to correctly expose the person’s face. But if you set the exposure to capture the sky perfectly, you end up with a very dark or even silhouetted person. We all know you can use fill flash outdoors to correct this, but even then the exposure can be a bit unpredictable if left up to the camera.

The technique I like to use is:
- take a meter reading from the sky
- set your camera to Manual mode
- set the aperture according to the depth of field you want
- set your shutter speed to correctly expose the sky (based on the earlier reading)
- turn your flash on and set it to E-TTL (or whatever the equivalent is on non-Canon cameras)

You may need to tweak your aperture setting (or ISO, if shooting digital) if the required shutter speed is faster than your flash sync speed.

The manual exposure gives perfect exposure for the sky, whether it’s a deep blue with white fluffy clouds, a sunset, a looming storm, or whatever. The flash will light your subject perfectly, giving a nicely balanced overall picture. You might need to experiment a little to determine whether you need to use flash exposure compensation - I get good results from my EOS 20D/580ex combo without any compensation.

One problem that might occur is that your on-camera flash can make the subject look a bit flat, giving the photo a ‘fake’ overall look. A diffuser like the Lumiquest Big Bounce can soften the edges of shadows and make your lighting look a lot more natural, especially if you can combine it with an off-camera flash cord. Even better would be a mobile studio light with a softbox or umbrella. Just make sure you get the lighting direction from the flash right so that it doesn’t contradict the direction of the lighting in the background - that can look awful!

Darren is the owner of One Stop Under, a web site for professional and serious amateur photographers. For photography news, links and more tips like this one, visit

Labels: , ,

Drinking Water Poem

It's Not Just Water Under the Bridge

Americans want better drinking water -- and are doing something about it

Did you know nearly 90 percent of Americans have a serious drinking problem? The problem? Significant concern about the quality and taste of their drinking water.

That's according to the results of a new 2001 National Consumer Water Quality Survey which analyzed respondents' perceptions about their household water supply and other home water quality issues.

This study, conducted and released in May 2001 by the Water Quality Association, found that nearly nine out of 10 American consumers have serious, overall concerns about their drinking water. In particular this included:
- Two-thirds have aesthetic problems with their water: its smell or taste, hardness or appearance
- More than half are concerned about possible health contaminants
- Almost half are worried about sediments in their water
In addition, nearly half of all respondents (49 percent) believe federal drinking water laws should be stricter, and one in every three Americans (32 percent) believes household drinking water isn't as safe as it should be.

The study also noted a significant increase in both the uses of bottled water and home water treatment devices (the latter now up to 41 percent compared to 38 percent in 1999, and up from 32 percent in 1997). Respondents said they purchased and used filtration devices because they not only wanted to improve the taste of their tap water, but also because they believed it was safer.

"Water, Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink"

The above cry was from a thirsty sailor at sea made famous in S.T. Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and that cry now echoes the feelings in close to half of America's homes, as evidenced by their purchase of some type of water filtering device. That number doesn't even include all the consumers who purchase bottled water, which is now close to being a $5.2 billion-a-year industry, according to the New York-based consulting group, Beverage Marketing Corp. However, home water treatment systems are gaining in popularity because of not only the high cost of bottled water, but also the ongoing maintenance of purchasing and transporting large bottles or heavy cases of the wet stuff.

This is why today's consumer has so many options to get better tasting and healthier water, thanks to a vast number of home water filtration devices now available. These come in varying degrees of style, convenience, filtration features, prices, and have different features and levels of necessary maintenance.

All are good for improving water taste and decreasing odors, with some also designed to filter out lead, chemicals and potential health risks like bacteria. Before purchasing a unit, check with your community's local water utility or have your water quality checked. Then you can look into a water treatment system that will meet your filtration, budget and lifestyle needs.

Some of the more popular options, and their 'pros' and 'cons' include:
- Water pitchers or carafes: These allow you to directly pour water into them, then wait while the water runs through a filter.
Pros: This is the largest portion of water filtering category, because pitchers are cost effective (they start at under $20), and require little maintenance and no installation. Brita, Culligan and Teledyne are some of the more popular models and all provide varying shapes and sizes of pitchers as well as different levels of filtration.
Cons: Pitchers can take up considerable room on the countertop and in the refrigerator. Plus, there's often a lot of neglect refilling them (like the, "Hey, who didn't fill the water pitcher?" factor). It can take more than 7-10 minutes to filter just one or two gallons.
- At-The-Tap systems: These models are faucet attachments that convert tap water directly into filtered water.
Pros: Also cost-efficient, tap attachments are usually available from $30 -- $100, and now, too, offer different levels of filtering. They provide filtered water with just a knob turn, and are fairly easy to install. PUR, GE and Culligan are among market leaders.
Cons: Perceived as big and clunky, faucet attachments tend to stick out, and usually do not mesh with most kitchen decor. They also provide a very slow flow rate, often under a half-gallon per minute.
- Filtering faucet systems: One of the most recent introductions, these are single-unit faucets with filters directly built in the faucet.
Pros: These systems provide significant convenience -- Moen's PureTouch system, for example, filters cold water directly through a separate port and provides filtered water at the touch of a button. It also has a visual indicator to let you know when its filter needs to be replaced. These and other filtering faucets provide great tasting water with style and functionality, including some models with pullout and multi-function spray patterns. The filters tend to be easy to change, as they are often located right in the spout.
Cons: Initial cost on these units starts at $175, depending on choice of style, function and finish. But over the long run, they can actually save money compared to purchasing bottled water. In fact, they can produce filtered water for 95 percent less per gallon than the bottled kind.
- Undermount systems: These models directly connect to the water supply lines and fit under the sink in the kitchen or bathroom.
Pros: These systems often feature larger, longer-lasting filters, which can also filter out more impurities. This means fewer filter changes, and increased filtration to eliminate more chemicals and contaminants. They sometimes provide a faster flow of filtered water as well.
Cons: You have to go under the sink to change filters, and they require installing a separate water spigot -- usually an unattractive, generic-looking fixture. However, Moen's new AquaSuite provides filtered water with a stylish faucet fixture available in 12 durable finishes (this system also provides great tasting water in the bathroom for taking medicine, brushing teeth or meeting those late night "can I have a drink of water?" requests).
- Reverse osmosis systems: Available as under-the-sink or whole-house conditioning systems, these are multi-filter devices which push the water through a series of membranes to achieve filtration and require a separate water spigot.
Pros: These systems provide a very high level of filtration, particularly when coupled with whole house conditioners, to achieve one of the highest levels of mineral and bacteria filtration. This combined system, available from manufacturers like RainSoft or EcoWater, can include filtered water for not only drinking purposes, but even for bathing and washing clothes.
Cons: A complete system is very costly, starting at well over $1,000, although there are less expensive ones for drinking water only (their manufacturers usually recommend complementing these with whole-house softeners if you have hard water). These also require more maintenance than other systems and can waste two to five gallons of water for every purified gallon produced.

"So, What's The Right System for Me?"

When purchasing a water treatment system, remember to keep in mind the unit's ease of maintenance, as well as the length of time between filter changes and amount of water they filter. Look for units that signal when their cartridges need to be replaced, provide easy-to-find replacement cartridges, and can even supply replacement parts, if necessary.

It's also important to look for units that are certified by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), which qualifies filtration claims made by manufacturers. Different levels of filtration are available among these systems and vary, depending upon the homeowners' choice of filtering needs and costs.

While the primary consumer concern is to eliminate water odor and improve taste, which usually means filtering out chlorine, other materials buyers want to filter out can include minerals and chemicals (lead, lindone, atrazine, mercury, turbidity, arsenic), microscopic cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), and other bacteria.

The National Consumer Water Quality Survey noted that 95 percent of its respondents said they were satisfied with the effectiveness of their home water treatment system, with another one out of 10 looking to add a system. So it looks like the people have spoken -- no matter how you filter it, the drinks are on the house.

For more information about Moen's PureTouch filtering faucet and PureTouch AquaSuite, contact Moen Incorporated at 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free 1 (877) DRINK-H2O (877-374-6542) or visit its Web sites at or

Courtesy ARA Content,

Labels: , ,

Child Homework Serenade

Homework Help for the Attention Deficit Child

Does the homework battle so typical with your hyperactive or A.D.D. child have you at the end of your rope? Relax. We have some tried-and-try ADHD information that should get your A.D.D. child on the right homework path.

The hyperactive or A.D.D. child especially needs consistency, a work place free of distractions, solid encouragement and praise - along with established consequences if the positive homework tips fail.

Establish a Set Homework Routine:
- Because the A.D.D. child functions best in a consistent environment, homework should be done in the same place, at the same time and for a set amount of time every day.
- Work with your child to develop that routine. Some Attention Deficit and hyperactive children work best immediately after school while others need an hour or two to settle down before jumping back into studies.
- To help the A.D.D. child better focus, the work area should be free of distractions, such as televisions, video games, music and other people. The kitchen table might not be the best place if there is too much activity in that room. The bedroom can offer distractions if the television or stereo have a way of "turning themselves on" when you are not there to monitor.

Mandatory Homework Time:
- We are strong proponents of establishing an allotted amount of homework time on school days. This set amount of time gives consistency to the hyperactive or A.D.D. child and discourages rushing through homework.
- Talk with your child's teachers about the average recommended homework time for the child's grade level. In general, elementary school children should spend about 30 minutes each night on homework. Middle school and high school students should spend about one hour on homework.
- If the child does not have homework that evening or they finish before the allotted time, the child can read until their mandatory homework time is over.

"Chunking" and Scheduled Breaks:
- The hyperactive and A.D.D. child often experiences difficulty with long-range tasks. "Chunking" homework for the hyperactive or A.D.D. child helps break the homework task into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- You can break a 20-problem math assignment into four chunks of five problems each, with a small break in between chunks. If using the mandatory homework time schedule, set a kitchen timer to ring every five to 15 minutes, depending on the child's attention span. At every break, give your hyperactive or A.D.D. child a few minutes to move around or grab a snack to refocus their attention.

- As with any parenting issue, rewarding good behavior and disciplining poor behavior motivates kids toward good behavior. The A.D.D. child needs all the rewards they can get, along with firm and consistent consequences.
- A “homework contract” is an effective motivator for the A.D.D. and an especially valuable tool to encourage the A.D.D. child to accept responsibility for their work.
- The homework contract clearly states that when the homework is completed, the child will earn a reward. The contract also clearly outlines consequences for not completing homework.
- You can offer daily modest rewards like earning time to play Gameboy, the right to choose a favorite dinner or a modest treat or special privilege. Or, you can develop a point system for larger weekly rewards. You can give out one point for every night of completed homework for the child to cash in for a trip to the zoo after earning five points, for instance.
- Effective consequences for not completing homework are losing phone, computer, stereo and television privileges for the evening. To add a little more discomfort to the situation, have the child stay inside for the evening without friends.
- It is important that you remain calm, firm and consistent on nights when Attention Deficit Disorder child decides to get into a power struggle over homework. It may take a couple consequence days before the child realizes that completing homework makes for a better night than not doing homework.
- It is also important that you reward for effort and not just grades for the A.D.D. child. The goal is to develop a solid homework habit. With a homework habit established, better grades will automatically follow.
- Don't forget to offer the intangible rewards of smiles and praise when your child puts the effort into completing his homework. A "way to go" goes a long way in positive reinforcement for Attention Deficit Disorder children.

Additional Homework ADHD Information:
- Using an assignment book for the A.D.D. child helps parents keep track of the child's daily and weekly homework. If the teacher does not use an assignment book, develop a system with the teacher so you know the child's homework assignments.
- If the A.D.D. child insist on heavy parental homework help, require that the child attempt problems at least twice before asking for homework help. They may need homework help, but make sure he puts a genuine effort into solving the problem first.
- Attention Deficit and hyperactive children may not be able to receive "A"s on every homework and school assignment. Instead of getting hung up on the traditional grading scale, give you’re A.D.D. child an "A" for effort.

Jeannine Virtue is a freelance journalist and mother of an Attention Deficit Disorder son. To learn more about natural and effective alternatives to Ritalin and other ADHD medications, visit

Labels: ,

Incorporating Opus


7 Advantages to Incorporating

There's no question that hard work and a little luck is what it takes to BE successful. But a little knowledge, especially when it comes to setting up your business, will help you STAY successful.

While many business owners give a lot of thought to location, store décor, customer service, hiring employees and management issues (and rightly so); choosing the proper business structure (such as sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company) doesn't get the attention it deserves. Many entrepreneurs don't realize this, but the business form they choose can often times be the difference between success and failure, especially in today's competitive and litigious marketplace. If you want to succeed, you need all the advantages you can get. High on the list of safe bets is the corporate form of business.

Incorporating, while definitely not for everybody, offers several distinct and money-saving advantages over the other types of entities. Here are seven of those advantages:

Asset Protection - If you operate as a sole proprietor or partnership, there is virtually unlimited personal liability for business debts or lawsuits. In other words should you go out of business or be a defendant in a lawsuit, your personal assets such as homes, jewelry, vehicles, savings, etc. are up for grabs. This is generally NOT the case when you incorporate. When you incorporate you are only responsible for your investment in the corporation. The limited liability feature of a corporation, while not a guarantee, is DEFINITELY one of the most attractive reasons for incorporating.

Easier To Sell - Corporations are generally much easier to sell and are usually more attractive to buyers than either a sole proprietorship or partnership. The reason for this is because a new buyer will not be personally liable for any wrongdoings on the part of the previous owners. If someone buys a sole proprietorship, for example, the new owner can be held personally liable for any mistakes or illegalities on the part of the prior owner…even if the new owner had NOTHING to do with the situation! This is usually NOT the case with a corporation.

Tax Savings - When you incorporate there are numerous tax advantages at your disposal that are virtually impossible to accomplish with other business entities. When you incorporate you create a separate and distinct legal entity. Because of this, there are many transactions that you can structure between you and your corporation to save big money on taxes. For instance, if you own a building you can rent office facilities to your corporation and claim depreciation and other deductions for it. Your corporation can then claim the rental expense. You are prohibited from doing this if you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership.

Privacy and Confidentiality - The corporate form of business is a great way to keep your identity and business affairs private and confidential. If you want to start a business, but would like to remain anonymous, a corporation is the best way to accomplish this. States such as Nevada offer even more privacy protection for corporations and their shareholders.

Easier to Raise Capital - When you're looking to raise money through investment or borrowing, a corporation can actually make finding and getting the money you need easier. If you want to take on investors you simply sell shares of stock. If you want to borrow, a corporation can add clout when dealing with banks or other lending institutions.

Perpetuity - As I mentioned in #3, when you incorporate you create a separate and distinct legal entity. This separate and distinct entity (the corporation) can endure almost forever irrespective of what happens to the shareholders, directors, or officers. This is NOT the case with sole proprietorships, partnerships or even limited liability companies. For example, if an owner, partner, or member dies the business AUTOMATICALLY ends or gets wrapped up in legal red tape. Corporations, on the other hand, have unlimited life.

Increases Credibility - Let's face it. Most people feel more secure and confident dealing with a corporation as opposed to a sole proprietorship. Having INC. or CORP. after your company's name adds a touch of professionalism and credibility to your business dealings.

As always, be sure to consult with your attorney or business advisor before undertaking any important legal or financial decision. While there are many advantages and money-saving reasons to incorporate, as I've said before, it's not for everybody. However, you do owe it to yourself to find out more.

Alex Goumakos is a CPA, business advisor and guest consultant of Active Filings LLC, a professional incorporating company that provides services in all US.

Labels: , , ,

Ebook Verse

More Than An Ebook

The following in an excerpt from the E-Book of the same name.

Utilising the Full Resources of the Internet to Promote your Fiction

Fiction writers appear to be the despised members of the internet writing community. Our product doesn't promise the reader financial success or the prospect of an early retirement. We don't claim to know the one true secret of how to make a million or how to drive thousands of people to your website each day. Other people aren't likely to use our books in a marketing campaign or pay to give them away as freebies.

Imagine the emails you could receive: 'Easy Assonance in Eight Easy Steps', 'Build your own sonnet in less than 14 Days' or 'Sign Up Now: This Short Story deal terminates tonight!!!'

It would be great, wouldn't it?

Alas, this is not our lot in life - I sometimes wish it was or I wouldn't be driving around in a small Fiat Punto.

To write fiction is to suck the marrow from life, to engage our minds in the pursuit of literary excellence, to lay ourselves open before our readers.

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.
-- Henry Miller

This sounds far from the hard-hitting world of internet commerce. And it is. The marketing gurus have used the internet to their advantage. It is time that we fiction writers do the same.

I've written this article to encourage everyone who writes fiction to fully utilise the resources that we have available to us on the World Wide Web.

It's a companion piece to my earlier article based on my book 'Writing Fiction for the Internet' ( In that volume, I described the basics of building a website and marketing your book across the web.

I want to help you to think creatively. I want you to push yourselves to think of new and exciting ways of promoting and displaying your work.

I'll show you how to use colour, sound and images to enhance your book.

I'll help you to find the sites you need and pass on tips that I've learned along the way.

At the end of it all, I hope that you will have a book that will grab people's attention.

As an example, I'd like you to look at my own website.

This is the part of a collection of pages that I set up to promote my own novel, 'St Brodag's Isle'. Let the page load and see what happens.

I've included music to give the page a Celtic feel. I actually wrote the music myself and I'll tell you later how to download the programme to achieve this. I tried to write a piece that would evoke in the mind of the listener the 'Riverdance' music. I'll leave it up to you to decide if I achieved that or failed!

I've also picked on a recurring motif within my novel, the kittiwake, and highlighted it here. A kittiwake is a small gull-like bird that nests on steep sea cliffs. I found this little animation on the internet. I'll give you the links to such sites later.

I'm combining words, pictures and sounds on this web page.




That's the sort of combination I'd like you to try soon. As writers, we're adept at handling words. It's time for us to broaden our horizons.

Andy Walsh is a househusband and writer living in Cumbria in the UK. He writes novels, short stories, articles and poems some of which you can read at

Labels: , , ,