Western Red Cedar Vs. Inland Red Cedar: How to Select the Right Product for Your Building Project

You need wood for your building project, and you’ve settled on cedar. You might think the buying process would be simple from here on out-go down to the building supply store and grab some cedar, right? Not so fast, friend. There’s actually more to cedar than you might realize.

Western Red Cedar and Inland Red Cedar are two similar but not identical wood products on the market. So if you’re a cedar beginner, here’s a Cedar 101 crash course for you.

1. Know your background

The scientific name for Western Red Cedar is Thuja plicata. It’s a variety of softwood that grows in the western U.S. and Canada, known for its extreme durability, natural preservatives, and of course, untreated beauty. The innate characteristics of Western Red Cedar make it well-suited for the best-quality cedar siding, decking, shakes and shingles.

Even once you’ve made up your mind that Thuja plicata is what you need for your building project, there are still a few things you should know. Most Western Red Cedar comes from British Columbia, western Washington and western Oregon. However, some Western Red Cedar also grows further inland. You’ll find it on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, in Idaho, Montana, as well as parts of Alberta and eastern British Columbia.

The cedars from the more eastern, higher-elevation forests are still Thuja plicata – the same botanical species as the cedars that grow to the west – but there are differences in the wood. In fact, the two varieties are sometimes processed, graded, and even labeled differently: the wood from trees grown in the coastal forests as “Western Red Cedar,” the wood from trees grown further east as “Inland Red Cedar.”

Now that you know the background on these woodland wonders, here are things to consider when you’re trying to determine which type to purchase.

2. Take a closer look

Paul Mackie is the western area manager of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, but he also answers to “Mr. Cedar” for his ability to answer cedar questions.

Mackie said that while botanists may not make a scientific distinction between the trees grown inland and trees grown on the coast, you will see a visual difference if you examine both types side by side.

“The inland fiber is different from the coastal materials,” he said. “The inland fiber will be lighter, striped in appearance, and the percentage of clear is much less.”

Cedar decking and siding specialists who look for the highest-grade products source their Western Red Cedar from trees grown in the coastal climate. These coastal trees are giants, growing up to 200 feet tall and more than 10 feet in diameter. Their native habitat is anywhere from sea level to about 4,000 or 5,000 feet in altitude, and in warmer, wetter conditions than the cedars grown on the other side of the mountains. They also offer a more diverse appearance.

“In the coastal fiber, you’ll see a wide range of color occurring in the tree,” said Mackie. “You’ll have everything from a dark chocolate to a light straw color, and all those colors might occur within the same piece.”

3. Does size matter?

The larger coastal cedars also tend to have a higher percentage of “clear” grade material that the best quality cedar siding, cedar shakes, and large beams are made from. In the higher altitude and drier climate regions, Inland Red Cedar just doesn’t get as big. If you need large-diameter beams or timbers, they’re going to have to come from Western Red Cedar that was grown in the coastal forests.

The smaller inland trees are better suited for different products than coastal trees, Mackie said. Split-rail fencing or smaller pieces of lumber are two common uses for Inland Red Cedar.

“There’s not nearly as wide of a product range for inland cedar,” Mackie said.

4. Making the grade

The two types of cedar are also processed and graded differently. Cedar is usually sorted into “clear” and “knotty” grades. “Clear” is the most visually perfect wood, while “knotty” is what it sounds like-it’s quality wood that’s structurally sound, but it has some knots or other visual imperfections. Within the “clear” designation, lumber is further sorted in grades from A through D, with “A and better clears” the highest grade, and “D” the lowest.

According to Mackie, Inland Red Cedar has a lower percentage of clear lumber – so small that most producers of Inland Red Cedar don’t even sell A-grade materials. “D and better clears” is usually the highest grade available for Inland Red Cedar. This is still quality wood, but it’s not as knot- and blemish-free as the “A” or better. Western Red Cedar producers have enough volume to offer a wide range of clear grades, all the way up to the very highest grades of clear vertical-grain heart.

What’s more, two different pieces of wood could be labeled similarly even though they were actually graded by different standards. According to Mackie, different lumber producers grade by different rules. Producers of Western Red Cedar grown in the coastal regions grade by cedar-specific rules-inland mills don’t.

“Many of the coastal mills only process cedar,” Mackie said. “The inland mills might do a run of ponderosa pine, then of white pine, then of cedar.”

Because cedar is just one of many products inland mills offer, they don’t go by the cedar-specific rules. Mackie said that in the “knotty” grades, inland cedar is often graded according to Ponderosa Pine grade rules. It all depends on where the wood was milled and what set of standards that particular producer was using.

5. Making the choice

So, just because two pieces of wood both look like cedar, smell like cedar, and may even be botanical brothers, doesn’t mean that they are identical. If you’re looking for a smaller piece of cedar where durability matters but appearance isn’t as crucial, Inland Red Cedar might fit your needs. If you’re looking for a really large beam or timber, and you need the highest-quality cedar available, Western Red Cedar is your best option.

Know your source, consider your project needs, and you’ll be sure of getting the kind of cedar that’s right for you.

3 Tips for Renovating Restaurants on a Budget

Renovating a business space where people converge such as a restaurant can be such a big undertaking. For one, there is almost very minimal time with which the restaurant can be closed to do the renovation. As a business entity, it has to stay open to make money. Second, restaurants deal with food and there is nothing that does not mix more than a full-blown construction and food preparation. Combined, it’s the best way to get a headache just from a logistical stand point.

But renovating a restaurant is as important as changing its menu. Patrons don’t just eat with their mouths, but also with their eyes and with what they feel, and giving the restaurant a new look and feel answers that need to feel like they are dining somewhere new. So without further ado, here are some ways to take on this major project, without breaking the bank:

1. Board up like a pro

To prevent a logistical nightmare, take the time to board up the restaurant strategically. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to close the restaurant altogether for as long as you plan ahead. You can renovate the restaurant in parts and to do this, your contractor should be able to achieve this properly. The board up should be up to the ceiling and should have its own entrance. It’s basically like building an impenetrable fortress inside the restaurant. Nothing should be able to come out or come in the board up. You can decorate the board up fa├žade so it meshes in the interiors of the restaurant as well.

Speaking of contractors, make sure to hire a team with a project manager. Remember, time is of the essence and having a professional work for you solves half of the problem.

2. Look at other restaurants

Instead of shopping for new equipment, look at existing or closed restaurants. These places are surely looking to liquidate their wares including plates, forks, bowls, and other cooking items aside from the stainless steel equipment. The best part is that they will sell this to you in bulk and in a complete set, thus giving you the chance to get an ample discount on what is usually a very expensive shopping expedition if it’s all brand new.

3. Be smart with the fit outs

Although you can go a bit more creative on the furnishings, the best way to save on renovations is by adhering to standard sizes. This helps you plan out the space smarter and you can be sure the equipment will fit, with no need for costly customization. Apply this on the whole restaurant with the help of 3D rendering to make the sizing precise and accurate, including lighting fixtures, restrooms, kitchen, and point of sale areas and you will really see a considerable drop in your budget needs.

Doing so is also very sustainable as it makes the maintenance of the place a complete breeze as you do not need to search far and wide for items to fix your restaurant with.

Building a New House – Initial Steps in Developing Plans in Florida and Other Areas

Building in Miami or any area of South Florida is completely different from building in any other area of the country. While most of the eastern seaboard of the United States, and much of the rest of the country, builds houses with wood framing and a finish of brick or wood siding, South Florida builds with concrete block and concrete.

Quality vs. price

Because of hurricane winds the structures in this area must be very strong. Where the rest of the country looks down on us because they only use concrete block in their basements, for my money, I really like concrete and block construction. Concrete blocks do not get termites and will not rot. Therefore, a concrete block structure will last for 100 years or more with almost no maintenance. Unfortunately, the vast majority of houses in Miami have wood trusses with plywood sheathing for the roof, then roofing paper and either shingles or concrete tiles on top. This type of construction is not particularly good at resisting hurricane wind conditions. Although the Florida Building Code has tried its best at improving the requirements for installing the roof sheathing and the roof finish, it cannot begin to compare to the strength that the roof would have if a concrete slab were used for the roof structure.

So why, if we know this, don’t we build with concrete slab roofs? Cost – the only reason is cost. It is much more expensive both to design and to install a concrete slab roof, especially on a slope to take a concrete tile finish.

So one of the first things the homeowner needs to establish at the beginning of the design process for a new house is how much the owner wants to spend on the construction. There is the cheap way to build a home and the expensive way. This is an issue that will come up many times during the design and construction process.

The program

But in order to determine a budget, the homeowner first needs to establish the square footage of the new house. To establish the total square footage, he will have to generate a program for the house. The program is a list of rooms with their corresponding sizes.

See the sample list as follows:

Living Room 240 square feet
Dining Room 120 square feet
Kitchen 170 square feet
Family Room 240 square feet
Master Bedroom 240 square feet
Master Bath 64 square feet
Bedroom No. 2 216 square feet
Bedroom No. 3 192 square feet
Bath No. 2 36 square feet
Laundry Room 100 square feet
Linen closet 9 square feet
A/C Closet 9 square feet

Total square feet = 1,636

Circulation and walls at 20% = 1,634 square feet = 327 square feet

Total = 1,634 + 327 = 1,961 square feet

So now we have a basic idea of the major spaces of the house and approximately how many square feet total homeowner will need for the house.

Also, this is a good time to decide whether there will be any outdoor spaces, such as covered terraces or pergolas. In Florida these are particularly good additions to the interior spaces. With wonderful temperatures during the winter there is no reason to spend all the time in air-conditioned interior spaces.

The budget

So what will a house that is just under 2000 square feet cost in South Florida? There is no magic formula to determine this. The cost of the house depends on many things that have to do with the design, such as: the type of roof, the ceiling height(s), the complexity of the design, the finishes, whether it is going to be on a septic tank or sewer, and the type of foundations. Then, there are those costs that have nothing to do with the design, like the location of the house, how busy are the contractors in the area, how well-known and reliable the contractor is, etc. Although the price of a house can vary wildly because of all the items discussed above, at this time a range of $150 to $250 per square foot could be used for a house that is not too elaborate with standard construction. So if we go back to the example. A 2,000 square foot house would cost between $300,000 and $500,000 excluding the land.

The design team

The Miami-Dade County Building Department does not require plans for a single-family residence to be signed and sealed by an architect or engineer. This is not true for all municipalities in the area. For example, Coral Gables does require all plans to be signed and sealed by an architect. But for all practical purposes the volume of information that has to be included in a set of plans in any municipality within Miami-Dade County, most of the time, there is a need to hire several professionals: an architect, an MEP engineer, and a structural engineer. MEP stands for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. The mechanical engineer designs the air-conditioning, the electrical engineer designs the electrical, including the lighting, and the plumbing engineer designs the plumbing. The structural engineer designs the structure and provides the required structural calculations for the building envelope. The architect designs the entire house and coordinates everybody’s work. The coordination of all the disciplines is probably the architect’s most important role as without coordination there could be real conflicts in the construction phase. Although it is legal to produce plans on his own in some parts of the county, it will be an insurmountable task to produce construction drawings for permitting (unless the homeowner has a background in construction with actual experience and the knowledge of the Florida Building Code and the local zoning codes).

What do these design services cost the homeowner? They also vary greatly but there is also a range among good, established professionals. This range would be from 6% to 10% of construction cost for the permit plans for all the disciplines. The services during the construction phase are usually charged separately on an hourly basis or in a separate package.

Style of the house

Another important decision to be made early on is the style of the house. There are basically three styles popular for home design in South Florida – modern, Mediterranean, and Key West.

Once the homeowner decides what styles he wants, it is important to convey the style and the details to the architect. The best way to explain to an architect what he wants is through either images from magazines or actual photographs of other houses.

Choosing an architect

Now that you have the basic items together, the next step is to pick your architect. This is very important as this is the person with whom you will work very closely during the next year.

Take the survey from the existing land from the time you closed on your mortgage. If you have lost it or it’s too old or inaccurate, the architect will arrange for you to get it updated or have a new one done.

Ask to see photos of his/her work. Ask for references. Ask questions. Ask him/her how he would approach the project. Start to sense if this is someone you could work with. Do you like the predominant style of the architect’s work? Does his/her work appeal to you? Ask about the process. Ask what you should expect in the way of his/her services. Ask him to show you the plans for a similar project.

People are individuals and everyone is unique. I remember how many people have hired me because they liked my “Mediterranean” or “Spanish” style or my modern or post-modern style. One person told me that she hired me because I returned her phone calls promptly. Chemistry between people is meaningful. Do not discount your initial impressions.

The construction documents

Normally, construction documents entail several parts: the drawings, the specifications, the instructions to bidders, and the addenda. Normally, when the architect handles the construction bid phase for the owner, he selects the type of contract the owner will have with the contractor. This document is also part of the construction documents.

The drawings are the major part of the work, which along the specifications act as a step-by-step guide for the contractor to use during the construction. Sometimes on large jobs, the specifications are placed in a separate book and called the Project Manual. On most residential projects, the specifications are normally covered as notes right in the drawings. For elaborate interiors a separate package is done by the architect and charged separately.

The construction documents are generated in phases from the general to the detailed. I like to divide my projects into 4 phases: Preliminary design, design development, 50% construction documents, and 100% construction documents. Each phase builds on the previous phase until the architect feels that the drawings are all coordinated among the different disciplines and are ready to submit for permitting.

With careful planning and communication with your architect, his good drawings and coordination and the careful selection of a reputable contractor, your new house project should flow without major problems. Although there are often change orders due to unforeseen conditions or changes the owner wants to implement, most issues should be resolved prior to construction.

For more information on the role of the architect during construction, see my other article on the role of the architect during the construction process posted here.

Furniture Restoration: Gilt, Ormolu And Painted

Gilding is the fixing of gold leaf to a prepared surface and rubbing it into place. Gold leaf will not tarnish: it lasts for years, giving a true gold look to any wood, metal or plaster base. The lavish and decadent lives of yester year found the need to have almost every piece of furniture that they owned gilded, really evident in the 17th and 18th centuries across the globe. Today these fine pieces still have the same allure, but for totally different reasons – being antiques.

Old gold leaf antiques can be cleaned with water containing a few drops of ammonia. New gold leaf can be bought in plain sheets, or in transfers that have a tissue backing. The transfer sheets are much easier to use than the plain sheets. When applying gold leaf to a restored area, make sure that the surface is clean and dry. Paint the base with Japan gold size and leave it to get ‘tacky’. Lay the sheets in place, slightly overlapping at the edges; rub them down carefully, following the direction of the overlap, with a clean cotton cloth until the edges blend evenly together. The knack is to lay the sheets on the surface when the size has reached the correct degree of ‘tackiness’. If the size is too wet, the leaf crinkles; if it is too dry, the leaf will not stick.

Today the value of antiques will depend on whether pure gold leaf was used or wax gild, as was common practise to reduce the cost of making a fine piece of furniture. The other popular alternative, gold paint, although simple to apply, produces a rather garish finish and lacks depth. Wax gilts, available at most art shops these days, come in many tones of gold. They are ideal for touching-up damaged of gold leaf and for applying a broken gilt surface over white or coloured paint. They are simple to apply, ensuring that even most unskilful restorer can restore their prize antique piece. Wax guilt can easily be removed with turpentine substitute, so a good idea is to protect it with a covering of clear alcohol-based varnish. Another alternative is liquid leaf, again easy to apply. It can be brushed on, or drawn on with a pen. It is brighter than gold leaf and does not have the same ‘antique’ finish as wax guilt, hence larger areas may not have the desired effect especially when restoring your antique piece.

Ormolu is bronze, cast into decorative shapes that are gilded with gold leaf and attached to parts of furniture. A form of decoration that was developed from ormolu is brass alloy, with the same appearance as gold. The surface of ormolu often becomes tarnished because the brass sweats through the gilding. Clean it by brushing the surface gently with soap and warm water containing a few drops of ammonia. To remove any obstinate dirt from the surface, add more ammonia. Always wear rubber gloves for this work.

To restore faded or damaged antique pieces of painted furniture, scrape the paint down to the surface and fill any deep scratches or holes with plastic wood, or Polymer texturing paste. Rub the area with fine glass-paper and repaint, using matching artists’ oil colours. To achieve a matt finish, only use undercoat paint; cover it when dry with a good-quality matt varnish. Small areas of old paint texture can be matched by using white undercoat as a base. Apply matching colours with artists’ oil paint, which should always be a tone lighter than the original. When the paint dries, it should match the original tones. A varnish may be applied; however, it is best to varnish the entire area rather than the retouched area. This will give an overall even texture to your antique piece. New gloss may be a bit too shiny when dry; if so, rubbing it down gently with steel wool will give it that aged antique look.

Soul Mate Symbols

Over the centuries, various symbols have been used to represent, express and intensify love. Ancient symbols carved from stones that were thought to contain love energies have been used to unite soul mates lost in many lives.

The most common symbols used to depict love, loyalty, and friendship are a horse, a dolphin, and a dog. These symbols, when carved out of any gemstone, make a powerful love or friendship talisman. Similarly, the butterfly is also a symbol of love, transformation and joy. In fact, crystal is believed to be an amplifier that can attract your lost soul mate to you instantly. Fashioned in the shape of a heart, a pendant can amplify love, removing energy blocks so love can flow freely.

The Tarot revolves around powerful soul mate symbolism. The tarot card of love is devoted to people, love and partnership. Cards such as companionship and entanglement also reflect the focus on relationships. There is also a new soul mates tarot card. The key symbols here are used in picture form to communicate ideas about love. The flowers represent growth and feelings, while cranes stand for the human soul.

Palm lines, symbols and patterns are also considered to be indications of deeper mysteries, and in our palms are the powerful symbols that hold the key to reaching our soul mates. Similarly, Reiki, Astrology, Tarot and many other ancient mystic arts contain symbols and indications about the concept of soul mates.

The Cupid’s arrow, entwined hearts, a red rose, ribbons and lace, doves, love knots, etc., are some of the modern day symbols to represent the same concept.

Things You Need to Know Before You File a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit

Hernia is an enlargement or projection of a tissue or a muscle or a membrane within the human body. When a tissue or a muscle or membrane grows out of it normal limits or bulges out it is said to be a Hernia patch. This initially doesn’t hurt the human body but as it enlarges it gives unimagined pain to person affected by Hernia. The level of pain is so immense than nobody on earth can experience the intensity of pain that the person suffering from Hernia is undergoing.

Sometimes when the doctor is operating the person for hernia, his/her ‘memory recoil ring’ fails to open up leading to product failure and putting the patients at great risk of further hernias. This can even lead to further complications, surgeries, and dangerous side effects, including punctured organs and bowel rupture. This can be a major reason for the patient to file a lawsuit in the name of the doctor who have done the surgery and not knowing what to do on in such a condition. Experienced doctors should know what to do if such a condition appears before them and also know how to handle it. If the ‘memory recoil ring’ fails to open up then again it is left to the doctor to know what other alternative should be taken up in such a situation.

Here are a list of symptoms that you may or may not have experienced as a victim of a fault hernia mesh. What starts with as a small abdominal pain grows to become very persistent and causes drainage from the site of surgery. There is paralysis of the bowel accompanied by severe abdominal pain and tenderness. Fluid gets collected in the abdomen which makes the abdomen distended. An abdominal abscess formation also might occur. Internal and external fistulas also mark as a symptom for the hernia mesh. The only way to be able to get out of this is to have a corrective surgery where in the mesh is removed. The expenses involves in this can be quite shocking. In such cases the patient has all the rights to file a hernia mesh lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital the doctor is working for. As this is a matter of life and death Doctor’s specializing in this field should take great care and precaution while dealing with such cases. Filing for a hernia mesh lawsuit will be an excellent idea to get back what you lose. For your hernia mesh lawsuit, your lawyer would be able to file for compensation on every aspect that you have suffered with regards to the surgery. There are a few details that you need to keep in mind before you call your lawyer to file for a hernia mesh lawsuit to claim for the loss incurred to you. You will need to know the date of the surgery for starters and also the manufacturer of the mesh. You will also have to confirm if the side effects that you were having is because of the mesh before you file for a hernia mesh lawsuit.

Ensure Your Kitchen Sink Stays Unclogged With Three Easy Steps

Ever started trying to cook or wash dishes and found out that the kitchen drain was clogged. What a nuisance! Food particles, gunk, cold grease and grime all play their part in stopping up your sink.

Luckily there are easy steps that anyone can take to prevent this from happening. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way. By following this advice and keeping your sink clean you can avoid having to call an emergency plumbing company who will charge you extremely high fees for short-notice service.

Tip #1

Grease builds up in your sink like you would not believe. Many times when grease is being poured into your sink it is hot and is in a liquid form. It is just coming off the stove, oven or microwave. But as it is going in the sink it cools, rather quickly. As it does so it becomes rather thick and over time forms a gooey barrier that keeps not only water from leaving but catches all kinds of debris.

You need to pour a degreaser down your sink on a regular basis, especially after you have cooked any kind of meat. Pour it slowly and make sure a lot of it gets to the drain pipe.

After you pour some degreaser into your sink let it sit there a while. Boil some hot water and then pour it down the drain. Do this one a month and you will find that very little grease is trapped in your drain.

Tip #2

Here is a mix that does an excellent job at cleaning your drain: boiling hot water, apple-cider vinegar and baking soda.

Start by pouring some baking soda down your drain. Make sure it cakes the lining on the inside of your sink. Next, pour a couple teaspoons of vinegar and let it react with the baking soda. As it reacts it will also clean the drain. It will break up food particles, bacteria and left over deposits that did not get washed down. Wait five minutes and then pour the hot water down the drain. Presto! All of the grease and debris is washed away.

Tip #3

Garbage disposals are worth their weight in gold. The problem is we think they can handle more than they actually can. Do not put large chucks of food down your sink. Try to throw as much food as you can away if its trash. The garbage disposal is the last ditch effort but too many people use their sinks as a glorified trash can.

By following these three tips you should avoid having to ever call a plumber out to unclog your kitchen sink.

How to Spot Every Issue on a Law School Exam

For purposes of writing a legal exam, issues are anything that a professor may give you points for noticing or discussing. Generally, unless the question asks only about specific issues, you should discuss all applicable legal theories, claims, causes of action and defenses assertible by or against any and all parties or potential parties. In addition to the subjects of the hypothetical and other obvious parties, be alert for less-obvious parties like the following: the manufacturer of a product that caused an injury; the “innocent bystander” who ostensibly suffered no injury or has no liability; the owner of land where an injury occurs; the government agency responsible for doing an act or protecting obvious parties; and any individual or entity who at any time might have exercised some control or authority over a person, place, thing or policy which has caused an injury.

There are five important things to remember when spotting issues.

First, read the question! Before reading the body of the hypothetical, read the question or questions following it. Some academics call this the “call of the question.” You may find an open-ended question such as “Discuss the parties’ rights and liabilities,” a more narrow question focused on particular parties such as “Discuss A’s rights against B,” or an extremely narrow question focused on only one issue such as “Was there consideration for A’s promise?”

Now that you know the question(s), read the hypothetical with each question in mind. Obviously, you don’t want to reread or scrutinize a hypothetical more often than is necessary. If a question asks only for A’s rights against B, don’t waste time thinking about A’s rights against other parties.

Your first read of a hypothetical should be just a quick scan to get a general understanding of the facts and the chronology. The second time you read it, spot issues and note them in the margin. As you go through the hypothetical, circle dates, transactions, terms and parties that suggest issues or elements of legal rules. Mark up the hypothetical to your heart’s content – your professor’s not going to see it, and any notations you make will facilitate your outlining process. Finally, read the hypothetical a third time, making absolutely certain you are familiar with all relevant facts and have noted every conceivable issue.

Second, think like a lawyer. Adopt an attitude that is at once aggressive, objective and creative. Remember that in many cases, the only thing distinguishing a superior answer from a mediocre answer is that the superior answer discusses more issues. Analyze the facts from every perspective, putting yourself in the shoes of each party’s lawyer in turn. Imagine that real clients are involved, and that they want to win! Muster every argument which each party could advance in its favor.

Also, think about the objectives of the parties. What does each party want, and what will he, she or it have to establish to get it? For example, in the sample contracts exam on page 81, Mary’s objective is to establish that a valid contract was formed between Doug and her so she can recover damages from Doug for his breach. Doug’s objective, on the other hand, is to establish that no contract was formed so that he can avoid paying damages. Simplifying the parties’ objectives in this manner will often help you to think of arguments and legal theories which they might advance.

Third, consider every fact. Professors will rarely insert extraneous facts in a hypothetical, so if you come across facts that do not immediately suggest an issue, look at them from different perspectives and go through your checklist until you find an issue. Dates, places and events are facts worthy of particular mention.

Fourth, pay particular attention to adjectives and adverbs. Often, these will provide a clue to a potential issue. For example, if a party to a contract is described as “young,” she may be a minor and therefore lack capacity to contract. If a hypothetical indicates that a party was driving a car “quickly,” he may have been exceeding the speed limit and therefore breaching a duty owed to a potential plaintiff.

Fifth, use your checklist. After you have gone through the hypothetical three times, run through your checklist quickly to see if there are any potential issues that you have omitted. You may have already jotted down the first letters of each item in your checklist. If so, check off each item on the list as you come to it, so that you’re satisfied either that it’s not present in the hypothetical, or that it’s present and you’ve covered it in your outline.

How To Make A Cheap And Easy Gourmet Wine Gift Basket

Buying a gourmet wine gift basket can be expensive. You can easily make a beautiful, custom, personalized, gourmet wine gift basket cheaply. You can use champagne too.

Gift baskets are always popular and a great idea to give as a gift. People love to receive gift baskets. Making your own gourmet wine gift basket is cheap and easy. You can fill your gift basket with a variety of good wine or champagne and inexpensive items; you have lots of choices.

I’ve put together a few great ideas for making gourmet wine gift baskets, complete with instructions on how to make them. You can make inexpensive wine gift baskets or expensive wine gift baskets depending on your budget. You can easily customize each basket to your recipient.

You can add one or two bottles of expensive or inexpensive wine. You can save money on your wine purchases by going to a wine shop and asking to see the less expensive good wines or you can go to Costco for some great wine bargains, but still very good wines. The wine for your gift doesn’t have to be expensive.

You can find many inexpensive items for use in making your gift baskets or filling your gift baskets, at ‘dollar’ stores, craft stores, party stores, discount outlets, flea markets, close-out stores, etc.

For wine gift containers you can use: any type of basket, wicker basket, straw basket, bucket, champagne bucket, antique trunk, hamper, Asian-style trunk, picnic basket, or seasonal container. Make sure it’s sturdy enough.

For gift basket liner you can use: tissue paper, shredded paper, shredded newspaper, tea towels, dish towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, colored towels, colored napkins, placemats, or fabric pieces.

For gift basket filler you can use: shredded colored paper, straw, crumpled newspaper comics, a bed of wrapped chocolates or other wrapped candy.

For items in the container it’ll depend on the specialty or theme of the gift basket – in this case a gourmet, wine gift basket. Here is a small random sampling of what you can include besides the wine.

Gift certificate for massage or spa visit, scented oils, scented massage oils, gift certificate to favorite store, gift certificate for restaurant, loofah, fragrant candle, matches to light candles, CD of nature sounds, favorite artist CD, DVD of newer release movie, handwritten poem, perfume, cologne, watch, framed photo, inspirational book, spa pillows, bath pillows, spa supplies, bath and body products, facial and body scrubs, handmade soaps, fragrant soaps, shampoos, hand and foot lotion or fluffy towel.

Fancy chocolates, boxed chocolates, chocolate bars, giant-size boxed candy, gourmet chips, pretzels, gourmet nuts, gourmet pasta, gourmet olive oil, pre-packaged food items, gourmet crackers, wrapped gourmet cheeses – two or three different kinds, fruits, any foods you like, Italian recipes, Mexican food recipes or other ethnic recipes, wine glasses or champagne glasses.

For gift basket wrapping you can use tulle netting or I like to use cellophane wrap. You can buy it in large rolls. Look for specialty packaging outlets where you can buy it wholesale. Tie off the wrapped basket with ribbon. Wired fabric ribbon is best if you have it.

For bows: You can use pre-packaged bows but making your own bow is easy and the best presentation if you can do it. Use a large or huge bow.

Assemble all your gift basket items, tools you need, etc. Now line your selected gift container. Then stuff the selected filler into the wine gift basket to give added height to your items. Place, layer and arrange your selected items on the filler in the gift container. Put the larger items in the back, the smaller items in front.

Fill in the holes or prop up with more filler (shredded paper, Easter basket grass, wrapped chocolates, napkins or holiday napkins etc.)Also you can use ‘picks’ of artificial flowers to fill in space.

Place your cellophane or other wrap under the gift basket. Center the gift basket on the wrap. Bring the cellophane or other wrap over the top of the gift basket and tie it with ribbon and or a beautiful bow! Use ribbon and bows to match your theme colors.

Tuck a card in the ribbon and that’s it!

You can find fabric or wired ribbon cheaply at Costco– especially in the fall prior to Christmas but often throughout the year in some stores. You can shred paper in a paper shredder.

If you’re going to need a lot of cellophane you can purchase it wholesale through the packaging specialty stores throughout the U.S. but should be easily found in craft stores.

General tips: Try to use non-perishable items except for fruit for fruit baskets. Use freshly packaged food items, because even packaged crackers and cookies can go stale in a couple of months.

You can find filler flower ‘picks’ at garage sales for pennies. If you buy wholesale they are usually around a dollar each.

Tips: It’s best not to use fragrant items in your wine gift basket. You can easily check out gourmet wine gift baskets on the Internet to see what typically goes in them.

Also there’s nothing like learning how to make wine or other gift baskets from a video or DVD for making cheap and easy gift baskets. You can view it over and over again and share it with your children, other family members and friends. You can even charge for classes with your new-found knowledge and/or start a home based business. In any event, making a gourmet, custom, personalized wine gift basket is cheap and easy.

Sewer Odor Experts for Roof Top Sewer Vent Stack Filters

Every state, city, and village either has odor ordinances or treats obnoxious odors perceptible beyond property lines as public disturbances/nuisance. All plumbing vent stacks produce odors unless they fitted with a filter. OSHA warns that levels of 300-ppm (H2S) cause the olfactory nerve to lose sensitivity. At first a “rotten egg” odor is detected but on the second or third breath the odor is no longer noticed. All major odor problems have associated fines or other penalties.

When you are experiencing sewer or septic smells inside a home or business not near a plumbing fixture these odors are most likely coming from your sewer vent stacks on your roof. All plumbing vent stacks produce odors including that “rotten egg” smell caused by hydrogen sulfide gas unless they are fitted with a filter. One of the most common problems is the sewer gas (H2S) is drawn into the fresh air intakes on the roof from the air conditioning systems. On roofs industrial buildings code also require fresh air intake for building air balance against all the stale air exhausted through roof vents. The potential problem can be identified through basic smell of odor when on the roof or around the perimeter of the building as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas is heavier than air and thus falls to “nose level” quickly when the wind blows just right. A professional can use a H2S measuring device to detect and measure sewer gas concentration being omitted from specific roof vent stacks. The vents omitting gas is a natural occurrence on most homes and buildings because that’s the way they are designed.

Raising roof vent stacks does not solve the problem it only displaces it on a windy day to blow over the exterior wall to open windows, the patio, the fireplace, the garden, pool area, sidewalk, front door, driveway, or parking lot. On a non-wind day sewer gas is heavier than air and will settle on roof and cause intermittent sewer odors in the home or building.

Installing a One way valve on the sewer stacks will reduce the sewer gas that vents to the roof through the opening and closing of the valve. The Mechanical Engineers design the sewer venting system for it to be a sealed system in the home or business but unrestricted venting to the atmosphere. This type of system defeats the original design intent for all building designs. The system operates on demand of actions in the home or business such as the flush of a toilet or turning on a sink. Since this type of system is capping the vent stacks, it is pressurizing the sewer system in the home or business. It is creating more of a potential for sewer gas odor problems. Any type of bad plumbing seals or gaskets that that may have a small leak will cause the problem to intensify. The vent is now mechanically opened and closed by a valve. It can fail in open position too. This introduces sewer gas to the roof, when it fails.

Charcoal vent stack filters on the sewer stacks is one odor filters on the market but is less effective when introduced to moisture which causes it to solidify or cake up. Sewer gas from the vent stacks is extremely high with moisture since the systems primary function is to drain water in a sealed system underground away from the building. In my opinion this product is not the right product for this application.

I recommend for homes odor eliminator vent stack filters that use Zeocarbon. Zeocarbon is a mixture of carbon and zeolite rock, which has been independently demonstrated to work up to 7 times longer than regular carbon alone. Vent stack filters using this technology are unique in that they actually regenerate themselves for up to 5 years. These systems use sunlight. The exterior, interior, and zeocarbon replaceable bags themselves are impregnated with titanium dioxide (approximately the same quantity and type in most popular toothpastes on the market). When exposed to direct sunlight the titanium dioxide produces ozone, which directly destroys odors and regenerates the zeocarbon. When combined with “no flow periods” common to most households, this design allow us to operate up to 5 years without refilling the units. Many units completely block any regenerative UV sunlight though the use of opaque rain caps and guards that promote the development of odor producing bacteria. However because the zeocarbon can only absorb so much gas, this type filter is designed with a low cost, easily replaceable insert bags. Another good thing on this type filter is the restriction on the airflow is so slight (it has a pressure differential measured at only 1.5″ w.g./ft@50 fpm) that it does not interfere with normal venting of the plumbing system. This type filter is made with animal resistant self-cleaning screens coupled with the frost proof insulating solar heat absorption design characteristics, protects the vent stack from plugging in all seasons.

The zeocarbon filter not only traps sewer gases at the roof vent, so they cannot escape into the air at all, but it also means less air pollution from GREENHOUSE GASES. It particularly traps ammonia, carbon dioxide (global warming) and hydrogen sulfide (the rotten-egg smelling gas), which the filter traps on an 18-24% wt/wt basis, and used zeocarbon acts as an excellent source of nitrogen when mixed with soil. Even though the filter is installed directly on the vent pipe, it’s frost proof design is such that it not only does not impede air being drawn into the vent, it prevent hoar frost plugging and keeps out insects and critters. This filter is also for vents that are directly connected to aerated or non aerated septic tanks, septic mounds, drain fields, landfill vents, compost vents, etc. In many instances, city-sewer connections bring gas into the home’s plumbing vents which vent the gases out the roof vent and often down into the back yard where they can be drawn into the home. This type filter has proven beneficial in those cases too!

I recommend for mobile homes, restaurants, daycare centers, nursing homes, and schools, odor eliminator vent stack filters that filter the harmful sewer odors by oxidation. Oxidation is accomplished with chlorine dioxide technology. Because chlorine dioxide reacts selectively and primarily with only the most offensive odor producing compounds (hydrogen sulfide, organic sulfurs, organic amines) the Odor Eliminators will normally provide a much longer service life than products such as activated carbon. With a properly designed filter that allows the original design of the system plumbing system to function does not pressurize the lines like some of the other products on the market. Moisture does not have a negative effect on the Eliminator therefore unwanted reactions do not occur and power is not needlessly spent allowing chlorine dioxide to be available and ready on demand. The result is safe, extremely effective, broad-spectrum malodor control. Chlorine dioxide remains available and ready on demand.

Polishing is accomplished with technology that protects against the escape of malodors can not be oxidized. It incorporates polymeric adsorption and electrostatic bonding technologies. Polishing and oxidizing are accomplished simultaneously. The result is safe (utilizing the same material approved for food storage by the USDA), extremely effective, broad-spectrum malodor control. (Request Form No. 502 from USDA for more detailed information.)

After you have installed roof stack vent filters, inside odors are most likely coming from leaking wax seals or gaskets on your plumbing fixtures. In this case the odor is concentrated typically in an isolated area, the bathrooms. It can be intermittent due to several building mechanical system designs. Bathroom fixtures have a p-trap built-in the fixture so if the fixture becomes loose from the floor or the wall the wax seal or gasket can leak. This type of leak will allow sewer gas to leak directly into the room. Most bathrooms have an exhaust fan which intensifies the introduction of the gas into the room by pulling the gas from the source, the leaking seal at the floor moving it to the ceiling exhaust vent prior to exhausting the gas from the space. This condition is detected through smell or a professional can use a H2S measuring device to detect and measure sewer gas concentration. The remedy for this problem is to replace the bad fixture seals. Contact your preventive maintenance group or to arrange for a local technician help with this problem.

Bathroom odors can also be traced to urine absorption into the tile or tile grout.

Many businesses try to mask the odor by installing a deodorizer mister in the bathroom to spray a scented to product to mask the odors in bathrooms. With proper maintenance of fixtures in the bathrooms and the correct initial designed systems operating correctly this problem should be eliminated. If this condition is corrected overtime it can worsen and affect other parts of the business.

Odor and constant smell can be due to the build up of urine saturating tile grout around urinals and tile grout. There are spray products that eliminates this problem by using it in a regular maintenance program.

When you have floor sinks, drains and floor / wall clean outs dry of water especially in basements of homes and businesses in the production or mechanical areas you will often detect an offensive odor. A dried out p-trap allows the sewer system to vent freely into the space. In the case of a restaurant or any building with an exhaust system that may be in a negative air balance the problem is intensified. The exhaust system can draw the sewer gas into the facility. The affect on an isolated area is not uncommon or if it is near a return on the HVAC system circulate it through out the building. The most efficient way to identify if you have this problem is to do a smoke test on the sewer system. Prior to doing the smoke test we would first recommend verifying all floor sinks and drains have water in the p-traps. This would include the units in isolated rooms such as the mechanical areas and the units installed behind or under equipment. The wall clean outs can be visually inspected but are difficult to detect leakage without a H2S meter or a smoke test. The dried out p-trap when identified can be fixed by adding water to fill the p-trap. Contact your preventive maintenance group to help with this problem.

To fix floor drains and floor sinks add water to the traps on a regular basis or add a trap primer to the system.

To fix floor and wall clean outs check for bad seals in a random fashion. Replace where worn.

RnB Beat Production

RnB (also known as R&B or Rhythm and Blues) is a very popular music genre that combines jazz, blues and gospel influences. It was first performed by African American artists. Because of the popularity there are many musicians producing RnB beats trying to make a living out of it. A beat or instrumental is a song without the lyrics. Singers and rappers need these beats to show their skills to the world.

How to produce RnB beats.

First of all, here is some basic information about industry standard music. But keep in mind that there are no rules, just guidelines.

In almost all cases an RnB beat consists of a chorus and a verse. The verse sounds softer and the lyrics are different from every other verse in that song. The chorus is the louder, active and wider part of the beat that contrasts the verse melodically. Sometimes an RnB beat starts with the chorus to get the attention of the listener. The chorus returns a few times and the singer or rapper repeats the same lyrics in every chorus. This part usually sticks in people’s minds. An RnB beat could look like this. verse 1 – chorus – verse 2 – chorus – verse 3 – chorus – chorus.

Now Let’s break apart a musical arrangement.

Most RnB music consists of the following instruments.


– Kick

– Snare/Clap

– Hi Hat

– Cymbal/Crash

– Synthetic drums like the Roland TR 808


– Bass guitar

– Bass Synthesizer (modern sound)

– Double Bass (vibe beats)

Chord Layers:

– Piano

– Guitar

– Synthesizer


Ad libs (these are musical phrases in between the lyrics of the vocals):

– Synthesizer

– Flutes

– Harp

An RnB beat that really does something to people must have a beautiful chord progression and a few modulations. Without this it would sound dull and cheap. A nice sounding RnB chord progression would look like this.

iii9 – VI7 – ii9 – V7 – ii9 – V7 – Imaj9 – VII7

This is a jazz inspired chord progression with seven and nine chords.

Music software

There are many types of software on the market to make RnB beats. Fruity Loops suits very well for inexperienced producers. This beats making software is very easy to understand but there are some limitations. For a more professional music production producers use software like Logic Pro or Cubase. This software makes it very easy to put tracks of different instruments next to each other and make a fine mix. There is also the opportunity to add a plugin to each track. These plugins are little programs that can help the instrument on that track to sound better. Think of plugins like an equalizer, compressor, limiter or a noise gate. Very popular plugins are effects like reverb, chorus, distortion or auto tune on vocals.

So these were the basics to create an RnB beat. Remember that there are no rules but just guidelines and without the knowledge and creativity it is very hard to produce high quality and popular music.

Elements of Romance in BaZi Astrology

One of the popular uses of BaZi Analysis is for the purpose of compatibility analysis. Now, compatibility analysis doesn’t just refer to compatibility between two people who want to get married, although that is the predominant type of analysis that usually interests most people. Compatibility analysis can also extend to business partners and employees. However, as most people are interested in the relationship compatibility variety, that is what I’ll be discussing today.

There are many things to write about compatibility but I’ll stick to a brief overview and focus on the example we have today.

We first need to understand what is the meaning of the word ‘compatibility’. Compatibility in BaZi does not mean attraction – rather, it means that you have a connection with each other. At a basic level, you ‘get along’. This variety of compatibility is quite different from the western concept of ‘The One’ or soul-mate that many people are familiar with when it comes to romantic relationships. In BaZi, many people can be ‘The One’, so the focus in BaZi is not on WHO this person is, but what qualities this person has, so that you can ‘pick them out’ when they arrive on the scene so to speak.

Of course, in BaZi, there are also attraction factors – elements in a person that draw us to them. But attraction is not the only reason why you settle down with someone or chose to spend the rest of your life with someone. Attraction factors explain why we are drawn to someone, whilst compatibility indicates whether or not we can be in a long-term relationship with someone. When it comes to relationships, attraction and compatibility have to be considered along with the overall question of whether or not the person is suited to a long-term relationship or marriage. Sometimes, some people just aren’t the marrying kind or they just aren’t in the right frame of mind, or time in their life, when they should be getting married. All these are considerations that come into play when a BaZi consultant is looking at a compatibility analysis between two people and is asked about the issue of romantic compatibility.

When two people meet…

Let’s take a look at the BaZi of this couple and see how BaZi can be used to determine compatibility. The lady is a Jia Wood Day Master and the man is a Ren Water Day Master. When we are looking at a relationship, we must remember that in BaZi, compatibility and attraction don’t always equate. Now, why is this Jia Wood lady, attracted to this Ren Water guy?

One way to understand why a person is attracted to another person is to literally understand what is on their mind. What is the wavelength so to speak and what kind of signals are they receptive to. The biggest influence on any person’s BaZi chart is the month of birth, known as the Ti Gong or Yue Ling. The element that dominates the month of birth determines many things about the person – their basic nature, their innate character, their likes, their dislikes and most importantly, dictates their attitude towards life and what matters most to them.

Now, if there is a favourable element in the month, then that indicates that they will be attracted to the ‘right’ people so to speak. But if the element is not a favourable element, then the attraction is not a positive one. What do we mean by positive attraction? It means the relationship is a favourable one and the person you are attracted to is a positive influence, or whose presence in your life brings about positive benefits.

Now, let’s take a look at our Jia Wood Lady. She is born in the month of Hai (Pig). Hai (Pig) is part of the season of Winter, when Water is very strong. So, Water attracts her, particularly Ren Water, which is the type of Water that is the Hidden Stem inside Hai (Pig). And what Day Master is her companion? Ren Water.

Of course, one cannot just extrapolate that because someone is attracted to Ren Water Day Masters, that anyone who is Ren Water is attractive to this Jia Wood Lady. It’s not as simplistic as that – there’s more to the magic of attraction than just having an element on your mind. The Jia Wood Lady’s chart is cold, being Wood born in Winter. So what this chart needs is some fire, to help warm it up and bring it to life.

Her attraction to this particular Ren Water gentleman can be explained by looking at his chart. The Ren Water gentleman’s Day Master is seated on Wu (Horse), which contains the Hidden Stem of Ding Fire. So, our Jia Wood Lady is attracted to this Ren Water gentleman because his chart contains elements that she likes, and also elements that attract her because these are elements that she already has on her mind. In BaZi, we call this affinity.

Furthermore, if you look at the Jia Wood Lady’s chart, you will notice she is going through Ren Yin (Water Tiger) Luck Pillars. Ren Water has protruded and become evident – thus, the person whom she is attracted to has come into her life. In BaZi, we call this affinity. It explains why people are attracted to certain people, or why certain people at certain points of time in our lives, frequently cross our paths, or for that matter, never seem to cross our paths.

Affinity is not always good. You can have an affinity with something that is negative. Affinity does not justify something as good or bad, but simply is a BaZi term for explaining a connection, a synchronicity if you like.

I want a D-I-V-O-R-C-E…

Now, this relationship between the Jia Wood lady and Ren Water guy did not last. In fact, they got divorced. Why? First and foremost, these charts belong to individuals who are not the marrying kind, in the sense that their personality and characters make it difficult for them to be in a lasting relationship.

The Jia Wood lady is a strong Jia Wood, being born in the season of Water, which is her Resource star. Her husband star, which is Xin Metal, is not strong enough to control her. Thus, the relationship is one where she is extremely headstrong and he is desperately trying to control her. Imagine a Swiss army knife trying to chop down a California redwood – that is what their relationship is like. Furthermore, the Jia Wood lady’s spouse palace has a combination-destruction relationship between the Yin (Tiger) and the Hai (Pig). This indicates that her relationships start out well, and then peter out or go to pot in the end.

But it takes two to tango as they say. Mr Ren Water’s chart is also problematic from a relationship perspective. In his chart, his Ren Water Day Master is weak, being born in the month of Mao (Rabbit) which is the peak of the season of Wood. When Wood is strong, Water is weak. His spouse star however, which is the element of Fire, is born in the season of Resource, as Wood feeds Fire. So in his chart, the weak Ren Water is struggling to control the strong fire – a bit like using spit to put out a barbeque fire. Generally, in a compatibility analysis, the strength of the Day Masters of the two parties in question is usually considered. This is a good way to assess the ‘readiness’ of the parties for a relationship. Generally, the male must be strong enough to control the spouse star, whilst the female must not be too strong, so as to counter the spouse star.

Furthermore, Mr Ren Water has two spouse elements, and one of those spouse elements is in a Fu Yin relationship with his current pillar. A Fu Yin indicates a sad event in the person’s life and in the case of Mr Ren Water, it relates to his relationship, hence his divorce. In Mr Ren Water’s case, his wife chose to divorce him by SMS and it would seem, has a pre-nuptial agreement to protect her multi million fortune. Who is Mr Ren Water? He is none other than Kevin Federline and his Jia Wood wife is the pop star Britney Spears.

Selecting a Police K9 Handler – Unit For Administrators

*Part 1 Selecting the Police K-9 Handler*

I have worked/trained with a multitude of Criminal Patrol Team members from all over the State of Ohio and the United States during my duties. They all have something to say and I am a sponge when it comes to criminal patrol work. I felt I needed to pass this information on to Law Enforcement and its Administrators. This column is based on the assumption that our readers are Law Enforcement Administrators who are starting a new team from the ground up. Any good administrator is going to research before they act on decision making. I hope this article helps them with this process.

The worst mistake Administration can make when selecting a K9 Handler is to base the selection totally on seniority. The selection process should include many interviews. You can start the interview process by seniority and work your way to the youngest unit. The interview process will be a very stressful time for both the administrators and the units interviewing. The end of this column will have a list of questions for Administrators interviewing potential K9 Handlers.

Officer Safety:

Officer safety is a major component when attempting to select a Police K9 Handler. The Police K9 Handler has an added risk when conducting normal business. They must be able to focus on not only their safety; but, the safety of their K9. Their normal business is running backwards focusing on their K9 during a drug sniff of a motor vehicle. This places the speeding traffic at their back if they conduct K9 Sniffs roadside. The average Criminal Patrol Unit has a large ego and may take added risks because of this ego. The interviewing Administration needs to ask the question, “Would you be able to let a drug load drive away because you can’t get back-up? Or, would you improvise and try to do it by yourself?” They need to be able to focus and make smart decisions. A load of drugs or something similar is not worth attending another Law Enforcement Funeral. There is even more added risk when your Department is attempting to secure a Dual Purpose Utility K9 Handler. When Officers find it unsafe to follow an assailant they call K9. The interviewing Officer should be made aware and asked if they were aware of the dangerous position their signing up for.

Team Capability:

Obviously, we are attempting to build a Criminal Patrol Team. Therefore, we need to select a K9 Handler who will be able to work in a team. We do not want a loner to have our Department K9. This portion of the selection process can be evaluated by speaking with the Officer’s direct line supervisor. They will have the best knowledge of how the Officer works with the Team. (This would be his shift of fellow Officers) He or She could be asked, “How do you show Teamwork during your shift? Plus, how will this make you a good Police K9 Handler?” The answer we are looking for is they will go out and work looking to get into cases. As called upon they would assist the other Officers as much as possible or whenever possible. If someone sounds like they may need something they would ask or stop by to see if something was needed of them. This obviously makes for a good team who watches each other’s backs.

Willingness to Learn:

The field of Police K9 Handling is an ever evolving career. The Officer interviewing has to understand they will be continuously learning for the length of their K9 career. Every Officer knows we have to keep educated on laws and tactics. These laws and tactics are doubled when we handle a K9. The Officer must have the willingness to learn. This means they may have to spend their own time after their shift keeping abreast on changes in case law, K9 tactics, etc. If they are to become a good K9 Handler they must sacrifice a lot of their own time for the position. What the K9 does and what they do with the K9 is their responsibility. They should be a flexible Officer always seeking more training and knowledge. Some questions which should be in the interview are: 1. Will you be willing to spend some of your own time learning or updating your K9 Knowledge? 2. What tools do you think you have to update your K9 Knowledge and Tactics? The answer for number two we are looking for is, “Fellow K9 Officers during training, Magazines especially designed for K9 Handlers, K9 Workshops, and there are several password protected websites for Law Enforcement. The bottom line is if they already know everything, according to them, then they are a liability!

Search and Seizure:

The interviewing Officer should be put through a list of scenarios which cover the Officer’s knowledge of search and seizure. The actual scenarios should be a statement of what happened during their traffic stop and they need to explain what they would do and why? There is one scenario which needs to be in every interview: The scenario should be: An Officer calls for the K9, the K9 Unit arrives, and the requesting Officer states what he has. In which isn’t enough reasonable suspicion for your State Law to conduct a sniff of a motor vehicle or detain the suspect. What would the prospective K9 Handler do? Obviously, the answer Administration is looking for is to exhaust all legal actions and then kick the suspect vehicle loose. They should be asked to explain the various exceptions to the search warrant rule. This displays the knowledge needed to handle a Detection K9.

Self Motivation:

The K9 Handler has to be self motivating. They will be out there attempting to locate criminals and no one should have to tell them to get to work. The Officer should understand already the position they are applying for is a prestigious position. There can only be so many K9 Officers at a Police Department. If we all had dogs we would have no one to transport the Suspects. The Officers direct line Supervisor can advise if the Officer is a self motivator. Or, does someone have to light a fire under their bottom to get them going? However, do not take the line Supervisors word is bond. This means the Officer might be so focused on Criminal Interdiction that they do not focus on the smaller things. The Supervisor may have bad things to say about the Officer as a whole; but, they might be a great Police K9 Handler. Keep in mind to look at the total picture before writing someone off for a Police K9 Position.

Public Speaking & Professionalism:

The general public focuses on the K9 Units. An example would be 10 Police cars could drive into a Gas Station one of which is a Police K9 Car. The other people at the Gas Station gravitate towards the Police K9 Car to ask questions. Therefore, the subject you select for K9 Officer will be in the public lime light daily everyone will focus on them all the time. We want someone who will act in a professional manner and appear professional. This includes the vehicle they drive. We call our Police Cars our mobile offices. Have you seen some of these mobile offices? You can’t even see the radio console from the empty candy wrappers and coffee cups. The Officer we select should be professional and appear professional. One way to check this is after the interview or during the interview to have a supervisor take a walk past their Police Car. Every Police Car is a little dirty with some signs of the lived in look. What we are looking for is the Police car that has not been cleaned for six months. With the way the economy is today the general public is looking at us more than ever. We ask them yearly for increases in taxes, levies, etc. How will it look to them if the Police K9 Unit we just spent $40,000.00 on, including the car, was viewed as disgusting or unprofessional? Word spreads fast when it is about money and the Police. Try to pick the most professional officer you can with the totality of the circumstances.

Also, speaking of the general public, they love to see K9 Demonstrations. This can be a way to grow the program through donations. Which means the Officer you choose as your K9 Handler must be able to speak in public in front of large groups of civilians who know nothing about Police K9. The question definitely needs to be asked of the potential handler, “Can you speak in public in front of large groups of people?” If they cannot you may need to put them on the back burner as your second K9 Unit.


Ask the Officer if he is aware of the added family burden of caring for a large Police K9. Has he talked to his family about having a Police K9? Do they understand that a Police K9 is not like having a family dog? You as the administrator may even want to take a trip to the Officer’s Home and speak to the family about what adding a Police K9 to the household entails. They need to understand having a Police K9 is just the same as adding another small child to the household. It is another mouth to feed, a kid who can’t go to the bathroom in the house, and someone who can’t be left home alone to fend for himself. Also, there will be no more last second take off for the weekend vacations. Care would need to be taken to kennel the dog at an approved kennel. The Officer should also have sufficient property to allow a large K9 to exercise and have room to move.

Before my list of potential questions during the Police K9 Interview I need to get one point across. I believe rotating K9 Handlers is a very bad idea! What I mean by rotating handlers is allowing a handler to work for three years (Short period of time) and then rotating another person into the K9 Handler position. We have just spent how many thousand dollars training this handler? Then we decide to throw this away and start all over again? Why not continue the knowledge building of the current handler? This is a bigger asset to the Department. It is also a lot better in Court to be able to state, “I’ve been a K9 Handler for 5 years, 10 years, etc. If you have someone else who would make a great K9 Handler add another K9 position!

Potential List of Questions for Police K9 Interviews:

1. Why do you want the K9 Position?

2. What does the K9 Position mean to you?

3. How long do you plan on being a K9 Officer?

4. What are your plans for the rest of your career?

5. How would you keep abreast on changes in K9 Case Law and Tactics?

6. What tools do you have or could you have to update yourself on K9 Case Law and Tactics?

7. Would you be willing to spend some of your own time on increasing your K9 knowledge? (Case Law // Tactics)

8. How do you show teamwork during your normal duties now?

9. Would you be available for call-out if given the K9 position?

10. Do you understand the care of the K9 is your responsibility 24/7?

11. Do you understand how much work having a large K9 is?

12. Do you have any other animals at home? If so, how will you cope with the entry of a large K9 into the family?

13. Have you spoke to your family about the position you applied for?

14. Does your family understand Police K9 and the amount of work it is?

15. Do they understand the stress placed on the family when a large K9 is introduced into the household?

16. What did they say?

17. Do you have enough space for a large K9 in your household?

18. How will you house or store the large K9?

19. Will the K9 have enough space for proper exercise?

20. Are you able to speak in front of large groups of people?

21. Do you think you are able to perform demonstrations in front of large groups of people?

*Your Scenarios will vary from State to State with regards to Search and Seizure. However, the scenario which has to be given is the following:

-The Task Force received reliable intelligence that a large load of drugs is in a certain vehicle coming into the area. They give you the vehicle description, driver, passengers, etc. They advise to find your own probable cause for the stop. You locate the vehicle, stop the vehicle for a traffic violation, and make contact with the vehicle. The vehicle has three suspects inside presumed armed and dangerous. You then have a rash of serious calls and have no back-up what so ever available. What would you do? *The answer we are looking for is to set the ego aside, gather intelligence, kick it loose, and call the next jurisdiction. Or, exhaust all means of back-up including the Task Force who put it out, gather intelligence, kick it loose, and call ahead of it. Then go home safely at the end of their shift! A load of drug is not worth dying over!

The next two parts of this series are on the way! I hope this Series assists Law Enforcement in putting together a good Criminal Patrol Team.

How to Increase the Memory Power of Your Brain in 3 Easy Ways

Learning how to increase the memory power of your brain is one of the best things you can do to change your life. All knowledge is nothing but memory. If only people were scientifically taught to memorize in schools we would not have to spend time reading blogs. It is a well-known fact that all the memory giants have worked on their memory and get it to the point that makes us go WOW. I am going to talk about seven easy steps of increasing the memory and making you sharp.

As youngsters we know that we had much better functioning of brain. It is a myth that old age brings down your cognitive capabilities. It is primarily because of the lack of use that memory is declining and not because of age. Let me give you an instance, before the advent of cell phones I used to remember at least 10 phone numbers in my memory. Now I don’t remember more than two numbers. This does not mean my brain is less capable of memorizing.

The single most important change one can make to improve memory is doing yoga. I am not going to leave it at that. I am going to tell how to make sure you actually do yoga. I do yoga and I observed that once I lay down the yoga mat I start working. So I only think of one thing in my mind and that is to lay down the yoga mat and I just don’ bother about the yoga itself. The interesting thing is once I lay down I make it a point to not get up. It sounds silly to you probably but I will tell you why it works. Your mind is averse to the thought of doing exercise because exercise is a process of bearing a short-term inconvenience for a long-term benefit. So when you just think of laying down the mat which is not really inconvenient you can easily push yourself to that and the rest happens automatically.

The second most useful thing you can do is to learn meditation from a proper source. Pick any successful man you will find that he does some sort of meditation. This helps a LOT in terms of improving memory. I will just give a few pointers to meditation. Meditation is NOT concentration. It is in fact de-concentration. A good place to start is read books by Osho.

Solve puzzles! This piece of advice should be followed depending on the type of lifestyle you have. If you are person who does a lot of mental work you probably need not solve any puzzles. Before you make a decision on this please differentiate between a mental problem and emotional problem. I mean being a manager(in general) is more to do with emotional intelligence compared to a researcher or a scientist. You be the judge of it. A great place to start are a Rubik’s cube and Sudoku.

Just making these three changes will help you observe changes in your mental abilities. If you are already doing it and looking for information which blows your mind completely I suggest you look at the website given below.

The Forgotten Rooms When Staging Your Home For Sale – The Basement

In 1973 a film entitled “Don’t Look in the Basement” was released. It was originally entitled “The Forgotten” in reference to the ignored patients of an insane asylum, but someone thought it would attract more movie goers with a new title. After all, basements can be creepy.

Dark, dank and dirty is what usually comes to mind, never mind those hidden corners where something just might pop out!

Well, perhaps “The Forgotten” was an appropriate name after all, since basements are one of those areas in a home that is often overlooked when staging a home for sale.

Basements, whether finished or unfinished, add valuable square footage to the house.

Basements should receive as much attention as the rest of the house when it comes to the Must Do’s of staging:

  • Begin by decluttering. Discard, sell or donate any items you haven’t used in years. Basements tend to collect items we think we might use someday, such as old faucets, old appliances (left), toys, luggage pieces, etc. So ask yourself “will I ever really use this?”
  • Consider renting a storage space for items that you are keeping but won’t use or need in the next 6 months, especially if you are considering renting storage for unneeded furniture and items in the rest of the house. It may be worth it.
  • At the very least, buy moving boxes and begin packing. Or purchase plastic storage bins with covers as you can probably use them for storage in your new home. Stack the boxes or bins neatly, or even better, purchase metal shelving to stack them on.
  • The basement should be cleaned thoroughly. You want to remove the “yuk factor” when buyers view the space. Sweep and mop the floor, or vacuum the carpeting. Make sure you remove cobwebs and dead bugs from corners and along the ceiling.
  • Clean the windows and remove excess vegetation from outside the windows to let in as much light as possible. Open the curtains, if any.
  • Wipe down exercise equipment, ping pong table, and anything that has collected dust.
  • Install extra lighting, even if it’s a bare bulb and pullchord, in dark corners or areas.
  • Paint the floors of an unfinished basement (check with your paint store for the best product). It makes the room brighter and cleaner in appearance. And it doesn’t have to be the typical gray.
  • A fresh coat of paint on sheetrocked walls also goes a long way in making the space appear clean and as valuable as the upstairs space.
  • If your basement doesn’t have walls separating each room, it’s important to designate areas, each with a purpose. For example if you have exercise equipment or children’s toys scattered about, designate an area for each so that it appears that the basement has an exercise “room” and a children’s “playroom”.
  • If the washing machine and dryer is in the basement, set up this area as a laundry “room”. Make sure this area is sparkling clean, since no buyer wants to do laundry in a dirty area. Set up an ironing board and iron and/or a table to fold clothes. Store laundry supplies neatly on shelves or in a cabinet.

The same goes for other areas in a basement: home office, media room, workspace, arts and crafts space. Make sure each area is clearly designated.

Buyers expect the basement to be dark and dirty. Why not surprise them with a clean, bright, organized and neat space? The buyers will also perceive that you are the type of homeowner that takes care of things and doesn’t neglect the ongoing maintenance of the house.

Basements are one of the often overlooked spaces when staging a home for sale. Since basements add extra square footage to the house, it’s important that they look their best to potential buyers. Here are some things you can do to get them in “show ready” condition.