Radon: Is It In My Home?

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Cracks inside the walls and floors of your home can allow radioactive radon gas to creep inside and affect your air quality and health.

Radon – an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas – is inhaled into the lungs, where it can damage the DNA, potentially increasing cancer risk, says Douglas Arenberg, MD, associate professor of medicine in the pulmonary and critical care department at the University of Michigan Health System.

Exposure to radon gas, which can seep through cracks in the walls and floors of your home, increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

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The Burden of the Student Loan Beast


Student debt is exploding, burdening some 40 million borrowers with an often crippling obligation that can take decades to pay off.

 

“The reality of student debt is honestly just now starting to sink in. We see the percentage of home ownership by the age of 30 dropping from 33 percent to 23 percent among individuals with student debt,” said Daniel Haitz of the college planning website eduSquared. “That’s a startling trend that has only occurred in the last 10 years. What’s crazier is that student debt in America grew at 7 percent last year and isn’t showing signs of stopping.”

From 2008 to 2014, student loan debt surged by 84 percent, according to a study by Experian. The $1.2 trillion in student debt now surpasses home equity loans and lines of credit, credit card and automotive debt.

“Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.” J. Reuben Clark (in Conference Report, Apr. 1938, 103)

For those considering financial aid, there are ways to tame student debt. Some of the best solutions are the most simple.

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Videotape Your Home for Insurance

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Video tape the contents of your home every few years for insurance purposes.

No one wants to think about being in a situation where their home is destroyed, but being prepared is important. Would you be able to give the insurance company a list of items you have in your home if something happened tomorrow? Chances are you would forget many items if you were listing them from memory.

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A Lone Spouse on a Home Loan

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It takes two to make a marriage work, the saying goes. But sometimes it’s better when only one of them applies for a jumbo mortgage.

There are a number of reasons why one spouse stays off a home loan, says John Walsh, CEO of Milford, Conn.-based Total Mortgage. That person’s high debts, low income or poor credit history could be deal-killers or trigger a higher interest rate.

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Heating Efficiency

 

Saving money on energy costs and utility
bills is a high priority for homeowners.

Furnaces can suck up electricity and gas, especially if they’re heating more space than needed. In an attempt to lower energy bills, it’s often tempting to close air vents that you aren’t using. But does it really work, or is this energy-saving trick just a myth? Can you save money by closing heating vents?

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Light Therapy May Help Banish Winter Blues

The January blahs may have nothing to do with the three pounds you gained in December or the Christmas thank-you notes that remain unwritten. They may signify you’re not getting enough sun, and the solution may be as easy as turning on a light.

Light therapy is as simple as it sounds: sitting near a bright light often enough and long enough for the brain to think that it’s getting orders from the sun, which is in short supply in winter months.

Also called phototherapy, light therapy is surging in popularity, thanks to a spate of studies that show it to be effective in improving mood, reducing fatigue and improving focus. The practice has also benefited from a decline in prices that have made light therapy lamps affordable for more people.

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‘Granny pods’ Can Be the End of Nursing Homes

A MedCottage, offers seniors a way of maintaining independence and protecting their health while staying close to loved ones – in some cases, just a few steps away.

Caring for an elderly relative can be challenging on many levels. Once someone can’t live on her or his own anymore, traditional options include moving the relative to the home of another family member, or into a nursing home. But a Virginia company called N2Care has a third way. Its signature product is called a MedCottage.

a MedCottage, offers seniors a way of maintaining independence and protecting their health while staying close to loved ones – in some cases, just a few steps away.

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Labyrinths Offer Homeowners a Pathway to Peace

BN-LR973_1217LA_M_20151214165655Labyrinths are popping up in backyards.

Labyrinths-circular paths for walking meditation that have been widely adapted by churches, hospitals and retreat centers-are now popping up in upscale American backyards. “There are 3,740 labyrinths in the U.S.-it’s really blossoming,” said Lauren Artress, author of “Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice.” Some are simple, such as the 30-foot spiral of desert stones that Andrew Weil, the physician, author and founder of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, built at his home in Tucson. Other, more lavish walkways evoke the 13th-century labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral in France.

Unlike a maze, which is designed to confuse with multiple paths and dead ends, a classical labyrinth has just one winding path to the center and one path out. “As a relaxation technique, a technique for promoting mindfulness, it’s very useful,” Dr. Weil said. “You go around and around and back and forth, but eventually you reach a central point…Seeing the goal there, but not getting to it directly-there’s something metaphoric about that.”

Getting that Zen-like peace can require commitment. Elaborate labyrinths, with lush landscaping, intricate stonework and irrigation, can easily start at around $40,000.

“It’s very much a part of my life now. If the mood strikes, or I’m having a rough day, it’s the best place to go-with grief you never know,” said Ms. Corckran.

Everyone is different and looks for peace where ever they can find it. The gospel of Jesus Christ offers the most rewarding peace and it is free. Prayer can be enjoyed anywhere and at any time.

If you like the idea of experiencing the Labyrinth effect but don’t have the space or money, you could always go to Ikea!

Latest Cyberthreat: Stealing Your House

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Sybil Patrick’s vacant brownstone in Harlem was fraudulently sold to unsuspecting buyers by swindlers who had forged the deed.
Photo: Pearl Gabel for The Wall Street Journal

 

NEW YORK-The clues were there for months, but property investor Sybil Patrick didn’t put them together. The locks to a vacant Harlem brownstone she owns were changed. Belongings weren’t in the same place she left them.

Then one day last spring, Ms. Patrick, a 79-year-old former nurse, showed up to tend the front yard. The superintendent next door asked why she was visiting a house she had already sold.

“I told you I was never, ever going to sell,” she recalled saying.

But it turned out the superintendent was correct: The house had been sold, without her knowledge, about a year earlier for roughly $750,000.

Deed fraud, helped by proliferation of online records, is reaching ‘epidemic’ levels in Manhattan and becoming more common elsewhere in the U.S.

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