Latest News Updates

Analysis: 2M Americans are Exposed to Lead-Contaminated Water

A glass of contaminated waterMore than 1,100 communities in 45 states have water systems contaminated with lead above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level, according to an analysis.

The EPA’s action level refers to utilities that must take action once there is more than 10% of lead in the water supply. The analysis based its findings from tests through the end of last year conducted by water utilities, which cater to almost 1.8 million Americans.

Contaminated water

Based on the EPA’s 1991 Lead and Copper Rule, water utilities need to fix issues on pipeline systems such as corrosion when the presence of lead is already above the allowable limit. However, some states have relied on their own rules to improve the quality of tap water.

California, for instance, has suggested that tap water should contain 0.2 ppb of lead as the ideal benchmark for safety. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has set this goal since 2009. Recently, the EPA awarded more than $170 million to the state for its water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Public and private sector’s actions

Utilities have an important role in maintaining safe drinking water sources. For instance, a water clarifier is part of an effective treatment system for wastewater and potable water systems, notes Ashton Tucker Water Treatment. Households should be aware of certain steps to prevent children and themselves from drinking lead-contaminated water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that you should only use cold water for cooking to reduce the chances of lead ingestion. If a water filter is no longer enough to remove lead from your tap water, you should consider replacing the pipes within your residential plumbing system.

The public and private sector are equally responsible for ensuring a safe supply of drinking water. What do you think should be done to prevent lead contamination?

March 16, 2018 at 1:14 pmStraight Study

Laser Engraver: Practical and Artistic Uses

Laser engraversPeople who are into artistic crafts own various sets of tools which can help them with their passion. Owning a good pair of scissors, cutters, and various pen colors are just the start. If you are thinking of the perfect gift for your creative friend, loved one, or special someone, then you might want to consider purchasing a laser engraver.

Buying a laser engraver is not only for professionals as there are various ways you can use it both for practical and artistic purposes. Below are some ways you can use it both artistically and practically.

Practical and artistic uses for laser engravers

  1. Glass spice jars

Always putting salt instead of sugar on your coffee because they have the same container and barely readable labels? Use a laser engraver to engrave the name of the contents. Now, there is no more reason to put salt in your cup of coffee ever again.

  1. Dog collars

No one wants to lose their precious mutt, but sometimes, they can just be too hard headedly cute and follow that butterfly down the street. Make it easier for kind-hearted people to give him back by engraving important contact details in case he gets lost.

  1. Wooden pieces

The laser can penetrate through almost anything. Personalize your wooden pieces by engraving your name, add creative interiors using a block of wood, or make customized rolling pins all with the help of your laser engraver. This will cost you less than buying ready-made ones from the store.

  1. Leather engraving

Put your name in your wallet or your leather bag and make it stylishly personalized while at the same time giving others no reason to mistakenly think it is theirs.

  1. Labels

Put labels

 in your cupboard, your garden, your room, and anything that needs labeling, creatively with the help of your laser engraver.

Laser engravers are the investment that you never thought you needed. Purchase one and see how it can make any artistic soul happy.

March 10, 2018 at 1:00 amInfo Tech

Keeping Your Windows Treatments and Blinds Clean

Turquoise blinds of a houseWindow blinds and treatments give a classy and elegant vibe to your windows and immediately improves the aesthetics of your home. Like many home decorations though, they are usually forgotten and never cleaned out.

As a homeowner, you should be responsible enough to clean your window blinds, treatments, walkway canopies, shades, and shutters at least every once in a while.

Vacuum with a Brush

One of the fastest and easiest ways to clean your blinds and treatments is to vacuum it. While vacuuming your carpet at home, make sure to do the same for your blinds using a brush attachment. When using the vacuum brush, make sure to sweep side to side instead of up and down.

Simply Use a Damp Cloth

Go get a washcloth and wet it a bit – not totally wet, just damp. Simply start at the top and work your way down, then get a clean and dry cloth to avoid moisture building up on the blinds. If you have wooden blinds, make sure to use a slightly damp cloth to avoid damaging it.

Dry Cleaning

If you have fabric blinds at home, you can take them to the dry cleaners for a thorough and damage-free cleaning. If you want to take off a certain spot on your fabric window blinds, just use a sponge and water to clean it out. Don’t rub the material – just dab it gently to take the dirty spots out.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals can only damage your blinds further. Avoid using alcohol, baby wipes, and basically anything with alkaline on your blinds. You should also steer clear of spot removers and strong detergents. This can cause discolouration and even damage to your blinds.

If you are in doubt, then your best option would be to leave it to the professionals to have it thoroughly cleaned. That is your best option for removing dirt and dime on your blinds.

March 5, 2018 at 10:47 amDirections

Five Things to Remember When Reusing Your Greywater

sink, drain and flowing waterWhere does the water from your kitchen and bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines go? Recycling or reusing this gently used water has many benefits. Just remember the following basic guidelines when reusing your greywater:

1. Don’t Store the Wastewater for Long

You should not store your greywater for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, the nutrients in the wastewater will begin to break down. The quality of the water will deteriorate creating bad odours.

2. Minimize Contact With Untreated Greywater

Depending on what you allow down the drain, your greywater can contain bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. If mishandled, these pollutants can pose some risk not only to public health but also to the environment.  Accordingly, grey water systems should be designed to reduce contact with untreated wastewater.

3. Choose the right Greywater System

The type of system you use may impact how you can reuse your wastewater. Accordingly, consider how much greywater you require, and how and where you intend to use the water before you design your system. For instance, only treated water should be reused for surface irrigation. Untreated water requires sub-surface irrigation.

4. Consider Your Plants and Soil When Irrigating With Greywater

Whether you’re using a greywater treatment system or a diversion device, you need to consider the plants and the soil in your garden. Balance the level of water reuse with the amount of water, nutrients, and solids, your plants and soil can absorb.

5. Keep Your Wastewater System Simple

Grey water systems need not be complicated. Keep yours as simple as possible. Simple systems without pumps last longer and need less maintenance.

The demand on our potable water resources keeps on rising. Also, on the rise is the cost of safely treating wastewater. Such increases have consequently made water conservation and wastewater recycling or reuse increasingly important. Correctly recycle your greywater to reduce your potable water consumption, lower your water bills, reduce the amount of sewage you generate, and protect the environment.

March 5, 2018 at 8:52 amDirect Service

Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know

A businessman got bankruptFiling for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a tricky endeavor for people looking to seek relief from an enormous amount of debt. This underlines the need to do it properly and increase the chances of approval.

Most people consider themselves great money managers, even when the odds are weighed heavily against them. Studies reveal that over 52% of employees stress over their finances. A further 45% of them admit that finances are the leading stressor in their lives.

However, given the sensitive nature of the matter, people rarely open about their financial woes until it is too late. If your financial woes drive you to look for a Chapter 7 attorney in Salt Lake City, here is what you need to know:

It doesn’t cover all your debt

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a debt relief program by the federal government that seeks to ease the lives of people drowning in debt. Under this provision, you get a waiver of the unsecured loans such as the credit card debt, payday loans, and personal loans. However, it does not cover student loans, child support, alimony, and back taxes.

It is often a measure of last resort when you run out of options and are unable to service a bludgeoning debt. As such, you need to convince the federal government of your plight and pass a series of assessments over a period of six months.

It’s possible to derail the process by misconduct

While filing for bankruptcy gets creditors and bill collectors off your back, you should not take it as an easy way out. The government makes every effort to ensure that only the people who need the waive get it. As such, they will take a fine-tooth comb through your life until they are satisfied that you are up against the wall.

You should not try to transfer or hide any assets that you may have to qualify. Such underhand tactics are frowned upon and could land you in legal trouble while hurting people who genuinely need the waiver.

Filing for bankruptcy is a measure of last resort for people drowning in a debt they can’t hope to clear. As such, you should apply for a Chapter 7 when backed against the wall.

February 26, 2018 at 4:00 amFinance

Improve Your Business Goodwill with These Tips

A businessman checking something on paperGoodwill is intangible – but it’s an asset that you’d want to build your business. Here are some tips on how to get this done:

It’s All in the Packing

It’s not just the product – it’s how you present the product. Good restaurants know this, which is why they pay attention to how the food is served. As a merchandiser, you should invest in an automatic cartooning machine that gives you the freedom to embellish your containers as you see fit. A good container delivers a safe product that will keep your customers happy.

Invest in Your Workers

Don’t try to cut corners with workers and make sure they’re properly trained to keep customers happy. Good workers present a low turnover in your staff, which means that they’ll be more adept at serving and working with repeat clients. A good way of making sure your workers remain loyal and cheerful is by offering them a livable salary.

Follow Up After the Sale

It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with your clients after the sale. How do you do this? A simple email, text message, or a social media message can help perk up interest in you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – just create a message that ascertains whether they’re happy with their purchase. In extension to this, you should invest in good customer service.

Establish a Relationship

Don’t just communicate with your clients whenever they set foot on your business – that’s bad marketing. Instead, you’d want to create a continuous presence in their lives. A good example would be maintaining a Facebook or Twitter account. By doing this, you maintain a background presence that makes it possible for them to constantly “check out” what’s new with you.

Of course, those are just some of the techniques you can use to build goodwill. Once you’ve managed to establish a good reputation, getting new clients becomes easier.



February 22, 2018 at 1:36 pmStraight Market

Report: Brisbane Most Vulnerable to Long Drought, Water Shortage

Water dropBrisbane emerged as the most vulnerable to a potential water drought and shortage among capital cities in Australia, according to a Cross Dependency Initiative report.

On the other hand, Adelaide and Perth have the best chances of staving off a water crisis due to resources such as desalination plants. Still, these cities may only handle water demand for residential use, according to Rohan Hamden, Cross Dependency Initiative’s climate change adaptation specialist.

Vulnerable Cities

While Brisbane may be the most vulnerable mainland state capital, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart are even more at risk. According to the report, the absence of desalination facilities in these cities would render them defenceless against a possible drought. In Adelaide and Perth, the desalination plants would provide each person with 342 litres and 397 litres of water per day, respectively.

The water supply per resident in Melbourne would be 209 litres, while those in Sydney would each receive only 99 litres daily. Hamden said that desalination plants have been a worthwhile solution, but local governments have to consider a holistic approach particularly for water infrastructure to address potential supply risks. If historical patterns serve as an indication, he added that a 39-year drought that occurred in the year 1174 could happen again in Australia.

Water Safety Standards

The subject of a likely water crisis not only involves a steady source of supply but also ensuring safe and clean drinking water. Australia recently launched the Good Practice Guidelines for Water Data Management Policy, which reflects global initiatives on clean water and sanitation.

When planning infrastructure projects, the policy reinforces the need to use materials such as stainless pipe and tube fittings that are compliant with the WaterMark Certification Scheme.

Local and regional governments in Australia need to invest in water infrastructure projects aside from desalination facilities. Is your city capable of responding to a potential drought?



February 20, 2018 at 8:01 pmHealth & Lifestyle

Critical Questions You Need to Ask Before Working with a VA Lender

a banker handing a client a loan document to signThe VA Loan Program has been helping veterans, and active service members purchase homes and refinance their home loans since the ‘70s. But to use the VA loan and maximize its benefits, you need to find the right VA-approved lender.

Below are some crucial questions you need to answer when shopping around for prospective lenders.

What’s the VA Lender’s Background on VA Loans?

Although VA loans might not be the best option for all military borrowers, they’ve helped plenty of military people fulfill their dreams of homeownership.

But because they offer such excellent benefits — reduced rates, 0% down payment, and no PMI, among others — they are likewise considered a very specialized product, which means that they can’t be offered by just any lender.

Basically, you would need to find a lender that’s officially approved by Veterans Affairs because VA loans come with very specific requirements and guidelines that are slightly different from those that come with other types of loans.

Could the VA Lender Connect You with a Real Estate Agent Experienced with VA Loans?

For plenty of military homebuyers, working with real estate agents who have ample experience with VA loans is very crucial. This is because they fully understand the unique requirements of military homebuyers and know how to maximize the benefits that VA loans could provide.

What Do Real Clients Say About the Lender?

Many people depend on online reviews when trying to make buying decisions and a VA loan is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. Do your research and read testimonials and reviews of your prospective lender’s clients.

Make sure to read real testimonials and not those that look cherry-picked. Consider looking through trusted and reputable third-party review websites if you’re uncertain of the authenticity of the reviews on the lender’s social media accounts or official website.

Selecting the right VA lender could mean the difference between buying the house of your dreams and getting stuck a so-so house. Try to meet up with prospective lenders multiple times to get a feel of how they work with their clients.

February 20, 2018 at 8:04 amFinance

What You Need To Know Before Getting A Car Title Loan

Man handing over car keysAt some point in people’s lives, there may come a time when they would need to spend a certain amount of money, money which unfortunately they don’t have on hand. A medical emergency perhaps, or major house repairs that aren’t covered by their savings.

When this happens, one option for getting the money needed is to turn to cash loan service providers like Utah Money Center. In Salt Lake City, there are different kinds of loans available for those who need to borrow money fast. One of these is a car title loan, which is a small and short-term loan in which the title on a vehicle is used as collateral.

Here’s everything you need to know about a car title loan and when it’s ideal to apply for one.

How does it work?

Borrowers need to pledge their vehicle as loan collateral by giving the vehicle’s title to the lender until the loan is repaid in full. In order for you to borrow against your car, you need equity in it. In most cases, borrowers need to own the vehicle free and clear (with a clear title to show for it), but there are cases when lenders approve loan applications even if borrowers are still paying off a standard purchase loan.

How much can you borrow?

The loan amount is based on the car’s value or the equity in it. In general, the greater the car’s value, the bigger the amount that you can borrow. However, the full value of a car is rarely given because the higher the amount lent, the more difficult it will be for borrowers to pay it back. Lenders may give only the amount that they can get for the car if they have to repossess and sell (it if the borrower is unable to repay the loan).

What is the usual loan period?

Car title loans are often due for complete repayment within 30 days. In cases where borrowers are unable to repay within that period, they can extend repayment by rolling over the loan. This means they get a new 30-day loan, but they would have to pay new loan fees and additional interest.

What do you need to apply?

Applying for a car title loan requires you to complete a loan application, after which you will need to present your car, a photo ID, proof of insurance, and the clear title. You may also be required to provide duplicates of your car keys.

When applying for a car title loan, make sure you review the loan terms. Ask the lender to tell you the total cost of the loan as well as the annual percentage rate or APR. Lastly, borrow only what you can repay in full by the date the loan is due so that you avoid paying for a loan rollover or worse, losing your car.

February 9, 2018 at 7:53 amFinance

Report: Construction Spending hits Record Amount in Southwestern Utah

Two engineers planningConstruction spending in Southwestern Utah, including for industrial supplies online or offline, reached a record amount in 2017, according to an NAI Excel report.

The report based its analysis on residential and commercial construction projects such as houses, hotels, offices and retail buildings.

Slow Recovery

NAI managing director Neil Walter described the record-high construction spending in Southwestern Utah as a “slow moving” expansion since 2010. Aside from building activity, the level of spending has been beneficial to the real estate market as well.

Property prices have climbed, while vacancy rates for residential and commercial buildings have remained at favorable numbers. Multifamily vacancies, for instance, have stayed below 1%. The declining vacancy rate also led to the expected addition of around 900 more housing units in 2018. Another benefit of the high construction spending involves jobs. The Department of Workforce Services expects the creation of more jobs this year, due to a positive outlook of most construction firms on the strength of the construction sector in the state and nationwide.

Construction Outlook

A majority of the construction firms in the U.S. expect higher demand for all services in 2018, according to Stephen Sandherr, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) CEO. For this reason, these companies intend to hire more people to meet the projected growth in demand.

The AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate’s survey showed that 75% of the respondents plan to expand their workforce this year. American contractors believe that the private office market will account for most of their projects. Transportation- and retail-related construction projects ranked next to their list, followed by water and sewer infrastructure.


A record-high increase in construction spending arguably benefits economic and job growth, as well as provide business to enterprises that depend on building projects. Where do you intend to launch your next project this year?

February 8, 2018 at 9:00 amDirections