Barbara Hartwell News » December 2016

Monthly Archives: December 2016


Plumbing, Mold Problems Force Longmont Family Out

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For the second time within the year, the Lilly family is going to move to their new Longmont house.

A headache coming from plumbing, mold problems

John and Edie Lilly, together with their two daughters and their two dogs, already spent their last three months in a two-bedroom apartment following an issue of leaks resulting to a mold contamination which is a health hazard, and forcing half of the family to sleep inside a tent.

Even though the home is still on a one-year warranty, the Lillys claim that the builder, Meritage Homes Corp., which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has failed to satisfactorily alleviate the damages during the first time it became obvious in June and also refused to do more when confronted with ongoing issues by the family.

The Lillys said that the issue already cost them almost $50,000 for doctor bills, mold inspections, mold removals and lawyer fees, aside from rent and mortgage payments, while the 6,000 square foot home is sitting empty at 1633 Dorothy Circle in the Renaissance subdivision of southwest Longmont.

John Lilly expressed how they wanted to avoid any hassles, so they purchased a new house. However, they experienced a lot of problems.

Meritage declined Timescall’s request for an interview. However, they mentioned that they already addressed the problem adequately from their remediation efforts.

In their statement, they mentioned that they have worked rigorously with the family for a few months, where they already had two different industrial hygienists or indoor air quality experts to check the home and deduced that there is no mold or indoor air quality issue; thus, no additional action was suggested.

How the problems started

The problem began last February, a month prior to the Lillys closing on the house, when there was a leak in the laundry line upstairs that caused a damage to the drywall and insulation.

In May, they noticed water was dripping in their kitchen through the drywall. A different pipe sprung a leak in their upstairs bathroom.

For both instances, Meritage sent out people to do repairs. Also, the air quality tests done before and after the work showed clean air.

In June, Edie Lilly started feeling sick. Soon after, the daughter showed the same symptoms.

Four different air quality tests were done by private companies during July, September and November. They found elevated mold levels.

The results, as well as doctor reports, were sent to Meritage, but they refused to do additional testing or remediation.


This is an indication how sometimes not everything is addressed completely by plumbers during installation or the first time repair, which is why it is crucial to for contracted plumbers in an area, or plumbers in Northampton for those in the UK, to be chosen carefully so as to avoid repeated calls and costs.


The Future Of Digital Education Seen From The Chinese Success

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The China Online Education Group (COE) declared the surprising success of online e-learning programs through its 3rd quarter 2016 report.

The numbers from the report

The numbers given by the biggest education platform in China exceeded all forecasts with a year-on-year increase of 180.9% in net revenues, and a 135.2% increase in gross billings.

The amount of paying students also doubled to about 40,000 from 2015, more than $135 billion gross billings were contributed by K-12 students only.

COE offers Chinese students live one-on-one and interactive English classes taught by foreigner teachers, mostly Americans, through mobile or online platforms. This education program is a new effort to offer teaching courses through a completely digitized environment, and benefits from the informatics medium in order to gather every data analyzed and teacher feedback to increase the efficiency year after year. In a latest published case study, the ClickMeeting platform was successfully used by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) to manage some of its events through different webinars.

The future of learning

The Chinese is one example of online e-learning courses and digital learning representing the future of education inside and outside the schools. The incorporation of these courses with the social environments, chatbots and utilization of chats to have Q&A sessions are some of the multiple elements helping the fast e-learning evolution. The need to physically travel to a school or university is already removed due to the emergence of web conferences.

The evolution of e-learning is also appealing to teachers and consultants employed in the education sector, not just to students. The e-learning market continually grew during the last 10 years. It is projected to get to $31 billion in revenue in 2020. Ruzuku, LearningCart, Kajabi and other customized content delivery platforms are getting more famous because they let one individual create and plan their online courses that can be advertised after with Drip and Mailpro. Now, even common people can quickly sell personal businesses, such as workout programs, self-empowerment trainings or spiritual awareness classes, which goes beyond the university teaching.


Clearly, e-learning is making waves worldwide. For those who want to avail of customized e-learning software, click here for more information.


Benefits Of Playing Unblocked Games

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Contrary to what most people say, there are actually a number of benefits in playing unblocked games. While games can be addicting, it is the parent’s responsibility to guide their children and ensure that playing will not get in the way of their children’s schooling.  Games advocates also contest that playing games is way better than getting addicted to cigarette smoking and other unhealthy vices.

Here are some of the known benefits of playing RPG and other online games:

  • One of the benefits of playing online games is that you train yourself to strategize and think critically. You look for ways to solve puzzles and to defeat your enemies making it a great exercise for the brain. When you try to solve puzzles, your brain cells get exercised and compared to doing nothing and being idle, playing online games is by far better.
  • When you play unblocked games during breaks, you get relaxed and you release the tension building up from the challenges in school or at work. When you are relaxed, it gives your brain the rest it deserves and you become ready for the upcoming challenges for the day.
  • Playing also sharpens the mind. Since you need to be aware of all the tiny details that’s going on in the game, your mind becomes sharper and you get mentally quick. You develop the skill of being conscious f your surroundings and that is something which can be very helpful during emergency situations.
  • Playing games also enhances your logic and creativity. These are essential skills that are also important in your everyday life and can be used in simple daily situations.
  • When you play online games, you get to interact with different players across the world. This enables you to broaden your network and connections which can come handy in the future. Besides, having friends with different cultures can be cool and interesting.

There are other benefits of playing unblocked games. You just have to control your playing time and make sure that it does not interrupt your daily activities in a negative way.


Home Improvement Sector – Unexploited Market In Cuba

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Last December 17, 2015, President Barack Obama of the United States and Cuban President Raul Castro decided to normalize the relations between the two countries. Progress was achieved at the diplomatic front but it seemed that the commercial front is lagging behind. If both sides do not achieve any significant economic gains before the end of the Obama presidency, the momentum towards the lifting of embargo and fully normalizing the relationship will be lost.

The surge of excitement among US businesses after December 17 was palpable because there are lots of opportunities in the unexploited market of Cuba. For half a century, trade was forbidden between the two countries. Cuba badly needs the trade and investments coming from US businessmen particularly since the leaders are eager to expand commercial ties. However, only a few deals have been signed.

For example, the case of Home Depot Inc illustrates both opportunities and obstacles. At least 90% of Cubans have their own homes but most are in need of repair. Across the island, you will find dilapidated homes that are badly in need for a new coat of paint. Havana has tried to ease the problem by allowing people to do repairs and painting jobs by themselves. The government of Cuba has provided grants and loans to finance home improvements. In 2015, the increase in new housing units through private contractors has translated into a huge demand for building materials and construction tools, a significant opportunity for Home Depot.

The Obama administration has allowed Home Depot to sell construction materials to private Cuban construction cooperatives, contractors and private home owners but in spite of the opportunity, Home Depot is cautious about entering Cuba. The home improvement firm is waiting for the right environment before it enters the Cuban market but it runs the risk of being left behind by competitors from Canada, China and Europe.

A new coat of paint can do wonders for a home or building. However, to ensure that the paint job will enhance the home’s resale value, it must be provided by professionals. Plastering in Sydney is prepared to provide the services to ensure the best outcome possible.


Reasons For Choosing Frameless Sliding Shower Screens

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There are different types of frameless sliding shower screens designs that you can choose from. The cost of each design depends on a number of factors such as the thickness of glass used, the expertise and qualification of the installer, the additional job requirements and adjustments, if ever there are any and of course, the degree of difficulty of the project will also affect the cost of your installation. Although the cost of sliding shower screens without the frame can be quite pricey, a lot of home owners still opt for this type of shower screen because of the following reasons:

Convenient and easy to use

With a frameless sliding shower screens there is no longer the need to install doorknobs and frames. All you have to do is slide the shower screen and you can already set a partition between the bathing area and the dry parts of your bathroom. Sliding a shower screen makes it easy to use that even children, the elderly and those with motion challenges can still use the sliding shower screen without much effort. Because of this, a frameless sliding shower screen is one of the most convenient and easy to use shower screens in the industry today.

Easy to maintain

One positive attribute of a frameless sliding shower screen is that, it does not require special cleaning liquids and materials that could potentially harm the user and your family. All you need to do in order to clean and maintain a frameless sliding shower screen is to wipe it with wet cloth to remove the glass moisture and dried soap suds. You also do not have to clean the glass every day since it does not attract germs and dust.

Modern appearance

One of the positive attributes of frameless sliding shower screens is its contemporary appearance. It has a minimalist design that exudes elegance and modern style that is hard to miss when one visits a bathroom with frameless shower screen. There are framed shower screen, semi-framed and the frameless type. Choose which among the design is most suitable to your bathroom’s design.


Changing Your Lifestyle With Home Automation

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If you are a fan of The Jetsons, a space age show that is quite a favorite in America, then you might remember how the smart homes are operated in there. The robots are utilized as household helps while the appliances inside the house can be controlled through speech recognition. The smart home that we used to dream of in The Jetsons is now becoming more and more possible because of the introduction of modern solutions such as smart access, smart lighting as well as smart gateways. We might hear the term often but what does smart entails?

Before heading on to the topic of smart homes, let us first get the foundation clear to have a better idea of the landscape. Home automation is not considered as a new discovery since it has been a floating idea for a number of decades. The fact is that it has already been installed in our daily lives as we do our everyday routine. If you look at your surroundings, you will see the basic of home automation through the appliances you operate such as microwave ovens, air conditioning, washing machines and many more.

With the discovery of The Internet of Things or more commonly known as IoT, home automation has become a greater possibility because it has opened up to a lot of ideas. Nowadays, homes are not only connected but also secured and these are all easier to operate because of technology. IoT is simply a mixture of different technology interfaces that are operating together to make sure that human efforts are not needed in performing daily tasks.

Specifically for 2016, IoT has broken the conversation barriers and these things are now made possible. New names are cropping up with their innovative technology that will make homes more compatible when connected to different mobile devices, no matter the time, no matter where you are and with less effort.

The technology might be viewed by many as a luxury but because of the rise in adoption, a trickledown effect was witnessed in the ecosystem. Based on the latest report made by Nasscom, IoT in the Indian market is expected to increase at $15 billion in 2020 from its current value of $5.6 billion. Consumers are now able to make their homes automated through the packages for home automation that are offered by various companies.


Return On Investment With Marketing Attributes – Calculating Risks, Investments And Profit

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Return on marketing investment is attributing net of spending for marketing campaigns to profit. It has more variables than the basic Return On Investment or ROI calculations because marketing is slightly a different kind of investment. For solutions catering to this kind of need, marketing ROI calculators have developed applications that need more variable input in order to arrive in a return on investment. It measures the market’s response to a marketing campaign, translated into profit. With that being said, it also aids in making informed decisions on which campaigns are effective and which campaign is considered losing. A losing campaign is just considered a useless spending and could have been a profit if it was slashed as soon as it shows signs of losing. Thus, it is also a tool to justify certain marketing expenses.

Marketing investments or marketing funds are considered a ‘risk’. These are expenses for the current period, expected to yield sooner, and not for long-term analysis and goals. This idea of determining sales and profit from the market response is not new. If a marketing ROI calculator returns a positive value, it means it is a good campaign. The higher the positive number is, the higher the gain and proves how effective it is. If the marketing ROI calculator gives a zero result, it means the campaign is not effective. Nothing was lost, but the time, effort and resources utilized were put to waste. When the calculations return a negative result, it means that the company lost this particular investment, a red flag which means that it needs to be stopped, and the investment lost must be regained.

Marketers around the world find this tool very useful. It determines the fruit of their hard work and puts pressure on them to show more returns on their respective marketing campaigns. Previous ROI calculations can be stored for historical reference to determine which campaigns should never be undertaken again. It saves businesses and it promotes business growth. In the development of technology, web ads are now considered a marketing tool but its scope is too broad that gaining from it is a hit or miss. But with the use of a marketing ROI calculator that transforms current traffic, average sale and conversion rate to useful ROI information, web ads can be a sure-fire success.