Archive for May, 2009

Check Off This Hurricane List!
May 30, 2009

Another blog about hurricane season beginning Monday!   Don’t ignore the prep time…

Do you need flood insurance? (click here for story, coming soon)

Other than getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.  Here is  a checklist (from Floodsmart)

1. Safeguard your possessions.

  • Create a personal “flood file” containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact information.
  • A room-by-room inventory of your possessions, including receipts, photos, and videos.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

2. Prepare your house.

  • Make sure your sump pump is working.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan.

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
    Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visit www.Ready.gov.

Click here to view flood maps for your area

Click here for FAQs about Flood Zones

Save on Hurricane Supplies This Weekend
May 29, 2009

sales taxHurricane season begins Monday, and it’s time to stock up!  At least if you do it this weekend you can save a little bit.  The state’s annual sales tax holiday for purchases of hurricane preparedness supplies is set for Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a 4 % state sales tax for purchases made from 12:01 a.m. Saturday through 11:59 p.m.   Local and municipal sales taxes must still be paid.

During the two-day holiday, tax-free purchases are allowed for the first $1,500 of the sales price of each of the following items:

  • Self-powered light sources, such as flashlights and candles
  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, and weather-band radios
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Batteries – AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt (automobile batteries and boat batteries are not eligible)
  • Cellular phone batteries and chargers
  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Portable generators
  • Storm shutter devices – Materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purposes of preventing window damage from storms (La. R.S. 47:305.58)
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  •  Blue ice products

The tax holiday doesn’t extend to items purchased at airports, hotels, convenience stores or entertainment complexes.

For more information, please call the Louisiana Department of Revenue Public Affairs Division at 225-219-2156 or 225-219-2158.

 Louisiana Department of Revenue

Swine Flu, Would You Have Gone?
May 23, 2009

Swine-Scared Bride and Groom

Swine-Scared Bride and Groom

They tried to make light of the situation when they lost about 20 of their wedding guests in Mexico to a swine flu scare.  Courtney and Brandon Jiura  got married in Cabo a few weeks ago amid a media-frenzied fear of the deadly swine flu circulating.  Courtney grew up with my husband in Denver, so when I saw these pictures, I had to ask if she minded me sharing them!  One of her bridesmaids made these masks for the trip.

Brave Wedding Guests in Cabo San Lucas

Brave Wedding Guests in Cabo San Lucas

 

Fortunately none of the wedding guests got sick, nor did they wear these masks for anything other than pictures.  Those who went all say they had a blast, but  the other wedding guests who cancelled their flights are among many Americans still taking the scare quite seriously.  Companies are still cancelling any and all flights for employee trips and are giving a paid week off to any employee who has been specifically to Mexico.  And the number of U.S. cases is growing.

The World Health Organization says swine flu has sickened more than 10,000 people in 41 countries and killed at least 80.

Here’s the latest from the CDC on the Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection in the U.S. (As of May 22, 2009, 11:00 AM ET)
States*/ Confirmed and Probable Cases/Deaths
Alabama- 66 cases 0 deaths
Arkansas- 3 cases 0 deaths
Arizona- 520 cases 2 deaths
California- 553 cases 0 deaths
Colorado- 59 cases 0 deaths
Connecticut- 81 cases 0 deaths
Delaware- 94 cases 0 deaths
Florida- 129 cases 0 deaths
Georgia- 27 cases 0 deaths
Hawaii- 33 cases 0 deaths
Idaho- 18 cases 0 deaths
Illinois- 877 cases 0 deaths
Indiana- 106 cases 0 deaths
Iowa- 71 cases 0 deaths
Kansas- 34 cases 0 deaths
Kentucky- 22 cases 0 deaths
Louisiana- 86 cases 0 deaths
Maine- 9 cases 0 deaths
Maryland- 41 cases 0 deaths
Massachusetts- 197 cases 0 deaths
Michigan- 176 cases 0 deaths
Minnesota- 39 cases 0 deaths
Mississippi- 7 cases 0 deaths
Missouri- 24 cases 1 deaths
Montana- 10 cases 0 deaths
Nebraska- 29 cases 0 deaths
Nevada- 32 cases 0 deaths
New Hampshire- 23 cases 0 deaths
New Jersey- 47 cases 0 deaths
New Mexico- 97 cases 0 deaths
New York- 327 cases 1 deaths
North Carolina- 12 cases 0 deaths
North Dakota- 5 cases 0 deaths
Ohio- 14 cases 0 deaths
Oklahoma- 50 cases 0 deaths
Oregon- 101 cases 0 deaths
Pennsylvania- 73 cases 0 deaths
Rhode Island- 9 cases 0 deaths
South Carolina- 36 cases 0 deaths
South Dakota- 4 cases 0 deaths
Tennessee- 89 cases 0 deaths
Texas- 900 cases 3 deaths
Utah- 122 cases 1 deaths
Vermont- 2 cases 0 deaths
Virginia- 25 cases 0 deaths
Washington- 494 cases 1 death
Washington, D.C.- 13 cases 0 deaths
Wisconsin- 766 cases 0 deaths
TOTAL*(48) 6,552 cases 9 deaths
*includes the District of Columbia
**one case is resident of KY but currently hospitalized in GA.

NOTE: Because of daily reporting deadlines, the state totals reported by CDC may not always be consistent with those reported by state health departments. If there is a discrepancy between these two counts, data from the state health departments should be used as the most accurate number.
swine map

You Need More Postage and Less Hydroxycut
May 11, 2009

Postage prices go up today … the damage is 2 cents this time.    First Class Mail has jumped from 42 cents to 44 cents.  The designers at SpudArt.org have translated the increase over the years below… (yes, just for my blog, just kidding) 🙂

Graphic created by: Spudart.org

Graphic created by: Spudart.org

 

The increases apply to services as well. Click here for details.

 Now to the weight losers and metabolism boostes…

FDA Recalls Hydroxycut

FDA Recalls Hydroxycut

My friend Randi Rousseau is particularily upset about the recently discovered side effects of Hydroxycut.  She took the dietary supplement every morning (one reason she is always so peppy, but now she’s thinking of coffee instead).   The FDA has recalled 14 Hydroxycut products citing serious liver injuries and even death in at least one person.

Click here to read details on Hydroxycut Recall from the Food and Drug Administration

Prime Goes Down and Our Cost Goes Up!
May 8, 2009

As many of you, I made the mistake of thinking when the prime interest rate went down- so would my credit card interest rate… ha! Wrong.  But about a year ago, when I was still in California and still paying off a credit card, my (now) husband suggested I call my credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. I thought he was kidding, but he had just done the same. Ask and it shall be granted? Too easy.  Sure enough though, I got my interest rate cut almost in half… just by calling and asking!  Good things come to those who know about them. .. and don’t take no for an answer.

Watch story here: Lower your credit card interest rate

Once you get your credit rating, you can find out online if your credit score qualifies you for a lower rate. Click here for CardTrak.com

Consumer Reports has some good credit card advice here