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Shovels aren’t the only things residents in snowy regions need this winter.

Upwards of 115,000 people were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices or clinics last year as a result of snow removal-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Before digging out after a snowstorm, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends residents review these safety tips.

  • Push snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow and lift it with your legs. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist.
  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that puts stress on your back. Instead, walk to where you want to dump the snow.
  • Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid having to clear packed, heavy snow.
  • Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish with fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, seek immediate emergency care.
  • Follow instructions while snow blowing. Prior to operating a snow blower, read the instruction manual for specific safety hazards, unfamiliar features, or for repair and maintenance.
  • Never stick your hands or feet in the snow blower. If snow becomes impacted, stop the engine and wait at least five seconds. Consider unplugging the snow blower. Use a solid object to clear wet snow or debris from the chute. Beware of the recoil of the motor and blades after the machine has been turned off.
  • Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running. Shut off the engine if you must walk away from the machine.

Source: AAOS.

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By Suzanne De Vita | RISMEDIA, Monday, December 22, 2014

The New Year compels all of us to relinquish the past and change our circumstances for the better. Hoping to literally wipe the slate clean? Look no further than your household. How many times have you vowed to keep things organized, only to discover that by mid-January, the clutter culprits are back in full force? To quote Obi-Wan: THEY WILL SOON BE BACK AND IN GREATER NUMBERS

Nothing kills New Year’s motivation faster than setting a goal beyond realistic reach, and if you don’t have a knack for organization, tackling your entire home will be impossible. Rather than organizing every nook and cranny, carry out a small-scale purge instead.

  1. Stock up on storage. Unloading more stuff at home seems completely counterproductive, but those bins and baskets will create order out of chaos. Place them at drop points around your house, such as near your main entrance, on your kitchen counter or coffee table, or in your home office. No need for a meticulous system – mail, coupons, takeout menus, instruction pamphlets and more can go in whichever catch-all is most convenient.
  2. Gift yourself a paper shredder. Papers tend to accumulate quickly at home, and sensitive documents can be a gateway to identity theft if not handled properly. And trust me – there’s nothing more exciting than watching your cross-cutting machine lay waste to piles of paperwork. Round up junk mail, bank statements, non-active membership documents, and any private information you’re not required to keep and get shredding.
  3. Pare down duplicates. Two isn’t always better than one. Consider donating multiples of common household items you haven’t had a need for in a year or more. My short list:
  • Spatulas or whisks
  • Cleaning buckets
  • Hand towels
  • Umbrellas
  • Vases
  • Artwork
  • Unused specialty soaps
  • Pot holders
  1. Get smart about space. Who has time for a closet overhaul? If your closets are bursting, don’t try to cram more into them. Instead, work within the parameters of the space. Vacuum seal items that are not in season, and use this space-saving trick for bed linens: store folded fitted and flat sheets and one pillowcase inside the accompanying pillowcase. For clothes, utilize the hanger strategy: flip your hanging garments so that the opening of the hanger faces you. Whenever you wear an item, put it back on the hanger and turn it to face away from you. After a few weeks, donate, toss or sell items on hangers still facing you.
  2. Cut computer clutter. Having too many files not only makes documents harder to find, but can slow down your computer’s processing speed and sap precious battery power from laptops. Remove programs that haven’t been used in six months or more, delete photos that aren’t album-worthy, and reserve space on your desktop for the applications you visit most frequently. View this original post on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2014. All rights reserved.

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, Dec 22, 2014—It’s easy to find a real estate agent. However, finding a great agent is a larger feat. In the following article, Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium tells us four things you should expect from a great agent.

Competence. “A great agent is thoroughly plugged into the market,” says Hetherington. They have a thorough knowledge of financing options, have information you can’t find online, are up on the latest housing trends, and can share data with prospective buyers on the local housing market and home sales.

Efficiency. According to the All America’s Real Estate Book by Carolyn Janik and Ruth Rejnis, good agents take the time to qualify buyers and show properties in their price range. “They plan showing routes carefully and have pre-inspected most properties,” comments Hetherington.

Ethics. Good agents also adhere to a strict code of ethics. According to Hetherington, they avoid high-pressure sales tactics, refrain from showing properties that do not fit your needs or goals, and alert you to problems about the condition of the property. And they show respect for other agents and real estate firms by not “bad mouthing” them.

Timeliness. In today’s high-tech world, it’s easy for a good agent to quickly return your calls, texts and emails. “While agents are people too, and need their time-off, a great agent won’t leave you hanging for three days,” says Hetherington.

For more real estate, please contact Century 21 New Millennium at move@c21nm.com, 800-382-1101, or Century 21 New Millennium.

Source: Appraisal Institute

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2014. All rights reserved.

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, Dec 22, 2014—Looking to redo your bathroom in 2015? You’re not alone! Whether you’re revamping for sale or just want to sink into a spa grade tub,Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium has a few of the top trends for you.

  1. Nature’s way. While swanky tiles may have been the rage in 2014, nature will be making a comeback in 2015. Earthy materials, like stone and wood, will be making an appearance in haute bathrooms across the country this year. Upcycling will also be in this year, so look around for recycled sources. Not sure where to start? Consider using wood-look tiles or wood paneling on one wall for a pop of earthy goodness. Also, add house plants. “This year, we will see everything from potted plants to hanging gardens and even living walls,” says Hetherington.
  2. Water control. One hot trend for 2015 will be minimizing water waste. There are a ton of options out there for getting the most out of your water usage. These include touchscreen operated showers, thermostatic mixers and mixers that control multiple water sources.
  3. Freestanding tubs. Move over, vessel sinks! Nothing says luxury like a deep freestanding bathtub. “From round to square, there are a ton of freestanding tub options for greater relaxation and aesthetic appeal,” says Hetherington.
  4. Larger showers. People will be making more shower space this year, with an increase in walk-in showers with their own walls or sheets of glass.
  5. Unique lighting. A well-lit bathroom is soothing and pleasing to the eye. This year, lighting will get an upgrade with unique styles such as softer accent lights, motion-censored options for midnight toilet runs, hanging fixtures and intuitive ceiling lights.

For more real estate information, please contact Century 21 New Millennium at move@c21nm.com, 800-382-1101, or Century 21 New Millennium.

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