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April 2010

Apr.17 12:51:05 PM

April 17, 2010

2010 U.S. Census: Have You Been Counted?

Yesterday was the date by which Census officials hoped you’d return your Census forms that enable the government to count each and every resident of the United States. Did you return yours on time?

If you haven’t, consider that when you take the time to fill out your Census form, you’re really donating those 10 minutes to your community. How? Because federal funds for hospitals, schools, emergency services, bridges and tunnels, job training centers and senior centers are dispensed based on the information gathered in the Census. If you don’t get counted, your community loses out.

Census data also help determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As of today, the national participation rate is 69 percent. That means, for the remaining 31 percent of the population that hasn’t returned their forms, beginning in May, Census takers will have to visit every home to take the answers verbally. It costs $57 to employ a Census taker to come to your house and record your answers versus the 42 cents worth of prepaid postage to mail back your response.

According to the 2010 Census Web site, it’s not too late. If you haven’t mailed back your form yet, take the 10 minutes and put it in the mail today. Have questions or wish to give your Census information over the phone? Visit the 2010 Census contact page for more information.

Apr.08 07:52:20 PM

April 08, 2010

Celebrate Spring With A Scrubdown

Now that our days of hunkering down – sheltering from one of the nastiest winters we’ve seen in quite a while – are behind us, it’s time to throw our homes a good old-fashioned party. And nothing says party like…spring cleaning.

Okay, maybe not. But, you’ll definitely feel good once this party’s over, and you won’t have to clean up afterwards (because you already did it!).

Cast those heavy winter sweaters, coats and other outerwear into storage. Make sure everything is clean and dry, and place them in clean, dry storage containers that can be kept cool and dark. Make sure no rogue mittens are floating around the house somewhere. Most importantly though, be sure to place the containers somewhere you’ll remember for next winter so you’re not caught unprepared when the cold weather returns.

Swap out storm doors and windows for screens and let the cool breezes blow! As you switch, inspect glass and screens for damage, and give any glass that will be stored a good cleaning.

We’re always on the clutter control detail, and spring is the best time of the year for clearing stuff out. Determine what you want to part with and how you want to get rid of it: donating it to a local charity that will come pick it up or allow you to drop it off; giving it away through groups like freecycle; selling it online on ebay or craigslist, or locally at a consignment store; or holding your own yard sale. Most importantly of all this: follow up. Don’t throw things in a pile with the thought that eventually you’ll hold a yard sale. Now that you’ve determined what you want to get rid of, take the steps and actually get it out of your home.
And, for what you’re going to keep: get it organized. Hang sleds and other winter equipment up on heavy-duty hooks in the garage. Put holiday decorations and lights, snow shovels, etc. up and out of the way.

Check your appliances. Now’s a great time to check the performance of major appliances in your home. Before air conditioning season kicks into high gear, have the system inspected by a professional. Some tasks can be handled by you – such as cleaning out dryer vents and vacuuming refrigerator/freezer coils and drain pans. Give your dishwasher and washing machines a scrub-down and inspection as well.

Next: Green clean that won’t cost a lot of green.