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Applying the Broken Windows Theory to Code Enforcement in Urban Communities

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The 2008 to 2012 global recession resulted in a landscape of abandoned homes in many neighborhoods across the United States due to the crisis that severely impacted the real estate and financial markets. Although very few communities were spared the negative effect of scattered vacant and unmaintained homes, this large spread dilemma impacted many urban areas more significantly as residential property values and socio-economic conditions were already compressed by limited personal household and public resources. But this rise in properties that once were homes to families known and seen to neighbors that now had become edifices of visual neglect, unsafe locations, and prime targets for eventual squatting, created an environment for widespread concern and reaction from all levels of government. At the local government level, one by one, each jurisdiction began adopting new policies and implementing programs in an effort to curtail the problems associated with extended periods of property maintenance neglect caused by the abandonment by owners, and seemingly lackadaisical response by the financial institutions that became responsible for those assets.

Control in a Changing Neighborhood Environment

Code Enforcement agencies immediately responded to the distress calls and complaints from neighbors and community leaders that had become desperate to try to eradicate the problems associated with the conditions of these abandoned homes, but quickly became overwhelmed both by demand for services and funding necessary to provide adequate property maintenance and nuisance abatement. Vacant property registration programs quickly found their way into local legislation that shared common requirements for mortgagees or ‘banks’ to step in after a property was abandoned by their owners and take responsibilities to provide proper responsible party information, local property management, routine maintenance and security. These registration programs, due to the requirements imposed on the banks, actually provided a sense of structure and control that was needed in order for the banks to properly respond and for communities to feel a sense of control. While these programs were highly effective, the slow turnover rate of these properties to new owners, still left neighborhoods with homes that are visibly unoccupied, not well-maintained, and subject to continuous vandalism and trespass.

The economic decline also hit property owners of homes and rentals who walked away from properties where there were no mortgages leaving no interested parties to immediately step in and take responsibility for maintenance adding another level of concern for areas that were already economically depressed and dealing with higher incidents of criminal activity. In a response to citizens to create safer communities and increase livability, one of the theoretical tools used in the practice of law enforcement, the broken windows theory, is making its way into the thinking of how to attain environments free from visual signs of neglect and public nuisances through its application to code enforcement efforts.

The Broken Windows Theory

The broken windows theory is based on the premise that unimpeded disorder in urban communities leads to additional crime and anti-social behavior. This criminological theory was introduced in 1982 by two social scientists, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. Prior to this viewpoint on crime, many police agencies focused their attention unmistakably on crime fighting and addressing more serious crimes while petty criminal behavior seemed more inconsequential, time consuming, and unrelated to major criminal activity. The centerpiece of this ideology is the picture of an abandoned structure with broken windows. The term ‘broken windows’ does not necessarily mean that properties in disrepair lead to more serious crimes being committed by individuals but rather as a metaphor for an urban environment of disorder. Therefore this theory may be easily misinterpreted to mean that if an environment is eradicated of visual blight then more serious crimes will not occur, such as robbery or murder, which has been the center of much debate since the introduction of this theory. In fact, the theory in a literal sense would be demonstrated by the existence of a few broken windows on a structure that remain in disrepair, leading to additional disorderly conduct and more windows being broken, litter being thrown on the property grounds, graffiti, and vandalism, eventually leading to more major crimes such as squatting, drug use, fires, and even rape or murder at that structure. When this theory was applied to law enforcement in New York City in the mid-1980s, the focus on addressing disorderly criminal behavior targeted graffiti, toll-machine jumping, public drinking, panhandlers, and prostitution. While these all seemed to be minor crimes in comparison to the robbery, burglaries, murders, and drug dealing for example, the application of the theory was that cracking down on these small offenses, worked to create a more orderly environment that people would more readily see and that would create an atmosphere where people would be less tolerable of disorderly conduct. Persons that routinely perform minor criminal acts would be held responsible by coming into contact with law enforcement officials more frequently and would not commit more serious crimes. In addition, citizens would feel more comfortable reporting crime to law enforcement more frequently if they felt that there concerns were not viewed as petty or a waste of time. This would lead to citizens feeling more sense of control and order in their communities.

Misapplication of Theory to Code Enforcement

Like the examples given previously regarding abandoned homes, the environment that exists due to persistent poor conditions create unfavorable settings that challenges the norms that we all live by through our codes, creates a feeling of disorder, and promotes an atmosphere that leads to further deterioration and neglect. When public administration practitioners try to apply the broken windows theory to code enforcement, it is easy to mistakenly implement programs where the belief is that increased attention to addressing code violations for minor code violations such as property maintenance, landscaping, and improper parking will lead to more safer and attractive neighborhoods. While there is no doubt that a direct relationship does exist between increased attention on obtaining adherence to property maintenance codes results in more attractive communities, this is not the premise of the theory of broken windows but rather just a causal relationship between the attention of code enforcement regarding a particular area and the result from obtaining compliance. Any area where code enforcement is focusing its attention will most likely attain positive results. However, cleaning up a neighborhood that has not improved its socio-economics may not necessarily lead to an environment where code enforcement staffing levels or attention may be reduced without the risks of recurrence of code violations over time. In fact, if priorities have to shift or resources are reduced and a neighborhood is left unattended, without other controls or incentives in place, code violations will most likely start to increase until more attention is given again. The cause for this is simple as the core of any group, neighborhood, or community is made up of people. The environment or landscape is believed to communicate messages to people as human behavior and various other factors have to be taken into consideration in addition to the built environment to achieve the desired results and maintain them.

Applying the Theory to Code Enforcement

At the core of the theory of broken windows is the effort required to address social disorder. The main premise of the theory is that minor crimes can lead to more serious crimes if left unaddressed. However, the minor crimes that are addressed are those that are considered to be inclusive of disorderly conduct. The regulations, codes, and laws that are put into place by governments, help create the environment of norms that we live by. The typical homeowner association deed-restrictions or rules are examples of a close level of control and order that is put into place in a community by the community members that are designed to establish and provide a safe, well-maintained environment for its residents. While these rules often may be viewed at as extremely strict or limiting on personal freedoms at the home, they do serve as the norms for persons in the community in which they live that creates and informal bond shared by everyone. A simple requirement that every property owner pays monthly dues that includes standard alarm monitoring for each home or requiring a gate card access in order to enter the neighborhood provides an added level of safety that everyone can participate in which deters criminals from targeting homes in that community. When it comes to code enforcement, a simple regulation that limits what residents may store on the exteriors of their homes, may create a safer and more orderly environment that can provide peace of mind to residents in an area susceptible to environmental conditions involving high winds, tornadoes, or storms by reducing airborne projectiles that can cause damage to property or even loss of life. When it comes to urban communities that are dealing with higher incidents of criminal activity or public nuisances and behaviors, applying the broken windows theory to help reduce these activities has to be done in a strategic and targeted manner.

Specific Strategies

Enforcement efforts geared towards addressing instances of disorder should be the principal focus. Likewise, regulations that are put into place to eliminate disorderly behavior, activities, and appearances have to be enforced in a consistent and expeditious manner. While focusing on property aesthetics has a high value, residents and business owners who are exposed to abandoned properties, illegal uses, unlicensed activities, and crime, are much less likely to feel safe or willing to make further investment into their homes and businesses and may rather look towards getting out of that environment when possible. Priorities should always be established in conjunction with stakeholder input in order to focus the attention of code enforcement on solving specific problems that promote disorder. A mutual understanding has to be in place, especially if your jurisdiction has to balance limited resources as not all violations will be able to be given the same high level of attention by code enforcement staff. Together, most community members can develop programs and foster environments of compliance with the code through alternative methods and programs. Here are some programs and ideas that may provide assistance to code enforcement officers by augmenting their efforts to allow them to focus on other priorities:

• Registration and maintenance requirements for abandoned and vacant properties.

• Landlord registration and inspection programs for rental properties.

• Low cost lot clearing programs for owners of vacant lots performed by local public works or vendors on a routine basis.

• Good neighbor post cards for distribution by neighborhood civic associations.

• Volunteers.

• Use of other government field staff trained to identify code violations and provide public information or courtesy notices.

• Cross-training of other staff to increase enforcement authority of agencies with similar code enforcement needs such as public works, engineering, public service aides, fire departments, building inspections, zoning, environmental, health agencies, social services. Examples: A social worker that visits a home that is poorly maintained may be trained to identify minimum housing standards and provide a courtesy notice that will later be referred to code enforcement or a housing assistance program if not corrected. A public works employee that notices a trash pile that was illegally dumped on a privately owned vacant lot who is authorized to request an immediate pickup of the trash or post a notice of abatement for the property owner.

• Homeowner and Business Owner manuals and guides that provide code compliance information, assistance programs, and contact information for other regulatory agencies.

• Signs throughout neighborhood indicating certain restrictions such as prohibited commercial vehicle parking, storage of inoperable vehicles, bulk trash rules and timeframes.

In code enforcement, if code officers were to become very nitpicky in what codes are enforced and community members were to feel that inadequate attention is being given to more serious ones, it probably wouldn’t take long before complaints to the local government come pouring in from voters and a refocus sought by local officials and political leaders. As with the application of the theory to crimes, it is not just focusing attention on minor crimes, likewise minor code violations, but the type of minor issues chosen to be addressed that is key. The goal is to link code enforcement efforts with a theory that is based on crime prevention through the appearance of a well-maintained and orderly environment. While residents who are aware that minor code violations are treated seriously should become hesitant to commit more serious violations, chances are that this may not be the case. The elimination of minor violations may not prevent more serious crimes or code violations from occurring when you take into consideration the factors related to the more serious offenses such as economics and opportunity. In criminology, one of the most significant deterrents to criminal behavior is the lack of opportunity and reduced chance of getting away with a crime. This is why it may be more unlikely that a person will illegally park a car in their gated community if they feel the chance of it being towed is extremely high. If your jurisdiction does not have enough staff to address all minor violations in a quick and expeditious manner all of the time, chances are that those efforts will only be effective during focused operations such as sweeps, but will not be sustainable to create long term change. So the best approach to applying the broken windows theory to code enforcement would be to focus attention on those violations that would be considered to promote disorder and look for other opportunities to augment your program to address minor violations.

Here are just some examples of code violations that when left unchecked, may allow similar behavior to proliferate and contribute to more serious violations:

• Unmaintained abandoned homes

• Storage of Junk Vehicles

• Graffiti

• Illegal Dumping

• Open storage of junk items

• Bulk trash improperly placed throughout neighborhood

• Unauthorized use of vacant lots for social gatherings of other unpermitted activities

• Public nuisances and noise disturbances

• Unlicensed rooming houses and substandard housing

• Illegal uses such as unlicensed social clubs operating from residences

Similar to law enforcement crackdown on activities such as drug dealing and prostitution, code enforcement also has to concentrate its effort towards solving and eliminating certain problems affecting a community to promote stability and a safe environment. Significant reduction of the above problems may promote and foster a sense of community pride and change behaviors and attitudes towards residents own compliance efforts and encourage investments in property enhancements.

Conclusion

The broken windows theory has had numerous critics, since the years it was introduced, by other theorists and social scientists either totally contradicting the theory or discrediting its actual application in being responsible for reducing crime. A study done by Robert J. Sampson and Stephen W. Raudenbush provided the argument that crime was not caused by social disorder but that the lack of cohesion of residents and their tolerance of lack of control of social spaces within a community actually contributes to the crime rate. However, as in law enforcement’s efforts to reduce crime, there usually is no silver bullet approach and crime prevention requires numerous strategies from Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) to Community Policing. In code enforcement, economic rejuvenation and surges in the real estate market and lending has helped to eliminate blighted properties not directly related to addressing indirect code violations. Also, changes in personal financial situations often may have a direct effect on a person’s ability to correct or prevent code violations. Since it is typical that the majority of persons correct code violations once they are made aware that a problem exists, attention is the most important factor with keeping properties in compliance with maintenance codes. If an effort to reduce crime through applying the broken windows theory is sought, the use of code enforcement should be focused on addressing those violations that contribute to a disorderly environment versus the common code violation for aesthetic violations. Use of police records to identify locations of high volumes of police calls may show properties, that from the outside, do not appear to have any major violations, but the illegal use of the property may be a contributing factor to crime occurring in the community or at least a location that may be taxing law enforcement resources. While any effort to improve the appearance of a community will reap rewards, the reduction of crime and feeling of safety for members of a community is directly related to the removal of those specific areas or ‘hotspots’ that are the contributing to the disorder and criminal element. The elimination of those properties that are the most blighted and in major disrepair or abandoned, will reap benefits beyond just the improvement of the quality of life of the adjacent neighbors, but an increase in real estate value as just the mere existence of abandoned homes and deteriorated structures has a direct and negative impact on the community and how it is perceived by others.

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Beginners Tips For Greenhouse Gardening

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Greenhouses make a great addition to any garden. They allow you to grow plant varieties that would not be suitable for outside areas, and to extend the growing season for other species. But for those first considering setting up a greenhouse in their garden, it can seem daunting to know where to begin. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Heat

On sunny days, your greenhouse will heat up nicely as the sun’s rays are refracted through the glass. But you’ll also need other means of heating for colder times. Electric heaters are the easiest to install, but you could also use gas (although this method will require you to vent the greenhouse for fumes. You will also need some way of preventing the temperature becoming too high in the greenhouse. Avoid installing air conditioners for cooling, as these dry the air. Passive vents or exhaust fans will do the job, or consider constructing your greenhouse with windows at either end that can be propped open, to allow air to flow through.

Light

In winter the amount of light coming into the greenhouse is often not sufficient o support the plants, particularly if they are juveniles. Installing fluorescent or LED lighting above your grow beds will help ensure they have enough light.

Water

While the exact amount of water required in your greenhouse will vary depending on the species of plants you’re growing and the temperature, as a general rule, plants and growing beds ill dry out more quickly than beds outside in the garden. So give plants a good soaking whenever you water. Avoid spraying the foliage too much, as this is one way disease can spread between plants.

Soil

One of the key components in the success of your greenhouse gardening is your soil. Most greenhouse novices begin growing in beds or pots (or a combination of the two). As such you need to have soil that drains sufficiently to prevent water logging, but also retains moisture well so that the water is available for the plant roots to access. The soil should ideally be slightly acid and, crucially, contain a lot of organic material. One of the ways to ensure this is to add compost.

Compost

Because the soil won’t be getting organic matter – the rich topsoil full of nutrients and bacterial activity – from natural sources as the soil outside may, from, for instance, leaf litter, animal droppings, decaying plant material, you need to add a good proportion of compost to your growing beds. Some recommendations call for all much as a third of your beds to be made from compost. This will give the plants the most nutrient rich growing medium in which to thrive. Whenever possible choose an organic fertilizer, or, better yet, start your own compost pile using scraps form the kitchen and plant cuttings from the garden.

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Gardeners Mantra

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How many times have you planted a new plant, tree or bush hoping for a fully developed plant in no time? Many gardeners both seasoned and new love to see the fruits of their labor. However, many gardeners are impatient and wish for fast growth on short oder. For those that get frustrated waiting for that favored plant, tree of bush to take off, they often find themselves pulling up the plant, taking it back to their favorite nursery or throwing it away only to start over thinking they’ve done something to kill it or stunt it’s growth when often times, this isn’t the case.

What’s a gardener to do? Many who are trying to start a new area or add to an existing have to follow the gardeners mantra regardless of region or location in the country. While different locals offer different planting seasons and plant types that thrive in their respective area, all plants need a little time to get established and take off. It’s well known that all gardening and landscape work is based upon seasons and so is the growth potential for any plant, tree or bush.

So, what is the gardeners mantra?

Three steps to every plants success is this. First year SLEEP, second year CREEP and the third year LEAP. It’s that simple of a statement which basically says, you’ll need patience.

Stage One: First Year SLEEP

All plants, trees and shrubs initially go into a shocked state upon initial planting into a new location. Like any living organism, it’s ability to try and survive is innate and any plant has techniques to insure it lives on to produce. So, while a good gardener does everything possible to help the process through root stimulator and nutrients, the plant still has to go into a somewhat dormant state before getting fully established.

For the first year in a new garden, expect only to see the plant in the state that you planted it. Any leaves or flowers will look exactly like it did when you first took it out of the bucket and put it in the ground.

Stage Two: Second Year CREEP

Once the plant, tree or shrub makes it through the first cold season of fall and winter, it’s ready to start to change. The second year is when it starts to work on it’s foundation system, roots. This second year, more work is being done below ground to insure that future growth can be maintained and it’s feeding system is in tact. Second year growth on exposed plant material will be limited and therefore why it looks like it’s not doing much. It then “creeps” along on growth and takes it’s time getting use to it’s surroundings and environment.

Stage Three: Third Year LEAP

This is the year the gardener is rewarded with all of the hard work. Now that the plant, tree or shrub is established and has a strong foundation, it will literally leap into a major growth spurt. Knowing that all water and nutrients will make it to it’s extremities, it will flourish beyond your expectations and begin to bring forth the expected shade or flower to please the gardener who so painstakingly helped it along.

This is the good year as well as many good years to come. Every plants life cycle has great potential, but the third year and beyond is the time when every gardener gets the reward of the plant, tree or shrub they were expecting. Patience and time is the sub-mantra of the prepared gardener, but the main mantra every gardener should adopt is:

First Year SLEEP, Second Year CREEP and Third Year LEAP!

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Hydroponic Gardens – Picking A System To Suit Your Requirements

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Hydroponic gardens consist of raising plants in a growing medium other than soil. Most times, this means suspending a plant’s roots in a tray of water that is concentrated with nutrient solution. The roots then absorb the essential nutrients that they need in order to provide maximum growth. Because of this, hydroponics gardening plants generally utilize the nutrients more efficiently and then produce bigger blossoms and larger yields. By doing some research online, you can find several successful systems for producing a successful hydroponic gardening system.

Many indoor gardeners employ the Ebb and Flow method (also known as the Flood and Drain method). With this hydroponic gardening system, a submersed pump floods the grow tray with a nutrient rich solution at regular intervals. A mechanism monitors the surrounding environment to help determine the amount of nutrients to provide to the plants for optimum growth. With this hydroponics grow system, gardeners can use a variety of different growing mediums. Gravel and Grow rocks are also helpful when placed in the bottom of the grow tray to help the plants get the nutrients provided by the solution. Or, for smaller plants, gardeners may choose to use individual pots that they can easily move around if needed. Beware of power outages, though. Since some equipment runs on electricity, a power outage can cause the roots to dry out quickly.

The water culture technique is an ideal way for providing nutrients to your hydroponics grow system. Using this raised gardening method, plants are placed on a Styrofoam sheet which is floating in water that is rich in nutrients. A pump then bubbles the nutrient-rich solution towards the roots so they get a great mixture of essential nutrients and oxygen. The ideal vegetables to grow in the water culture method are lettuce and other small plants that grow rapidly in water. Plants that do not grow well in water should be grown using one of the other hydroponic gardening systems. The water culture method is also popular for classrooms to teach young students about the growing process.

Perhaps the simplest method for a hydroponic gardening system, or raised gardening, is the Wick method. With this hydroponics gardening method, there are no expensive equipment to buy and no moving parts. The gardener simply places one end of the wick into a solution rich in nutrients and the other end of the wick is placed into the growing medium, where the plant roots are. The nutrient solution is then transferred into the growing medium. For diagrams and free plans about how to build this type of hydroponics grow system, visit simplyhydro .com. One disadvantage of this hydroponic gardening system though, is that it is not ideal for large plants, as they use up the solution and water faster than the wicks can supply the nutrients.

You can discover either hydroponic gardening systems or raised gardening methods that provide a wide array of benefits to passive or avid gardeners. With a hydroponic gardening system, you can be as involved or as uninvolved with the growth of your plants as you want to be. Gardeners have been able to find many hydroponic gardening system diagrams and plans in books and on the internet, including many free ones at “simplyhydro .com”. Finding a hydroponic gardening system that suits your needs is not a difficult task.

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The Power of Focus In Your Podcast Marketing

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Today, I want to share with you the POWER of FOCUS.

What does that mean?

Let’s say you want to focus on Gardening. OK, that’s a good niche. It’s a popular niche. I’m just using that as an example. You could choose boxing or car repair – whatever you have identified as your niche (we also talked about that before as well).

But “Gardening” is really a general category. It may be specific as compared to something else, but the category “Gardening” is a general category.

Your podcast could simply be about “Gardening” and then you could cover different aspects of gardening.

Or you could zero in on one aspect alone and become the expert of that area.

For example, there could be Indoor Gardening; Outdoor Gardening; Rock Gardens; Vegetable Gardens; Flower Gardens; Patio Gardens and I could go on and on.

How can you market this to your specific target audience?

Well, for a lot of podcasters, they want to use advertising. Which is fine – if you do it correctly.

What I see with most new business owners, and podcasters as well, are ads that look like their competitors ads. And they all look almost exactly the same!

They will say things like, “The Best Service” and there will be their picture there or their logo. There will be a list of services or products they offer and then a link to their podcast. They will list things, let’s stick with gardening as the example, they will list things like:

Landscape bricks; four different types of mulch; top soil; pre fertilized soil; fertilizer; bird netting; animal netting; vegetable seeds; vegetable transplants; planters; etc.

Then, there will be their podcast website saying something like “We discuss all these topics and more to help you grow your garden!”

You can put whatever niche you want in there and put whatever products and services you would normally advertise for. You may have even tried ads like that.

The problem, as we covered about the archer shooting arrows in the fog, you are not really aiming at anything!

Here is what you need to do. Pick ONE Topic and use that in the ad.

One area. ONE, not two. Just ONE.

For example:

Patio Gardening. Have several podcast episodes that deal only with that aspect of your niche.

Use that information in your ad.

You can put something like, “We are the patio gardening experts. If you are looking at establishing a patio garden, listen to our podcast to receive great tips on establishing your patio garden.”

Then, in the podcast, you can have a call to action such as, “Give us a call and we will help you get set up for success” or something similar. I’m just doing this off the cuff. You can phrase it appropriately for your niche.

But that would be it! Nothing else. No other products or services.

You can put a picture of a patio garden in the ad and set it as the photo for your episodes. You can put that photo on your website.

Then, you split test the ad…

If you get no responses with listing the website; change it to an email address and run it again.

If you get some responses with one way of running the ad, change the product or service description JUST A LITTLE BIT, maybe a word or two at the most. Then run it again…

Change the photo. Then run it again.

Change the colors used. Then run it again.

If the responses go down, change it back and run it again.

You do this until you have the ad that gets you the best results for “Patio Gardens.”

Then, you do the same process all over again with another area. In Gardening, you might run, Vegetable Gardens. Pick one type of vegetable and start the process all over again.

If you did one week of episodes in each area with a small ad each week, by the end of the year, you will probably have 8-10 well-tested ads that are generating you some great responses.

These can be used over and over again.

If you are marketing in the city, patio gardens are probably the way to go. You can have guests on the podcast to give tips on setting up the patio gardens!

Instead of marketing to all of the different types of gardens available and hoping somebody listens to you, speak ONLY TO ONE PERSON. And do not confuse them with too many options. Confusion will equal no action at all!

Speak to ONE Person in ONE Category of ONE Niche and offer ONE Product.

Let your competitors run the long list of services. Become known as the SPECIALIST, in this example, of “Patio Gardens.” Every time someone thinks about starting a patio garden, they should be thinking of your podcast!

Like I said, you can offer other services and products as well – but your advertising, at least initially, needs to focus on ONE THING – drive traffic to your podcast with marketing targeted to your desired audience.

Take a look at your niche you have chosen and figure out what the ONE area is you will market. Then start formulating your ad.

By staying focused on speaking directly to that one person in one segment of your niche, with only one message, you will begin to see the download numbers start to increase in your podcast stats and possibly drive extra traffic to your website!

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Consult Them in Confidence for Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance Services

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When you install all those precious carpets, some thought should be spared for their long life that requires careful cleaning. The cleaning service refers to several aspects of daily life like the mattress, tiles everywhere, vinyl, upholstery, and curtains. Some cleaning work attempted in a DIY approach with internet help may be possible. The safest approach when it comes to expensive stuff is professional carpet cleaning carried out by the experts with their time-tested methods and approved green materials that do no harm the carpet or the environment. They would flit around silently and complete the task without interference in the working or home schedules, leaving the scene neatly arranged like before.

Fourteen years is a long time

The learning from experience has been a bitter-sweet journey and crossing a decade did bring a quota of happiness well deserved after all the ups and downs. Meanwhile, as we witnessed changes in technology, machinery, and materials, success brought a big boost. So many years later and it seems like several decades, we go about attending to emergencies, routine cleaning and maintenance services and repairs with a greater confidence, armed with technical know-how.

Certification does help and it is easier to convince of our authenticity. As the society grows more and more specialized, you are required to be an expert rather than a handyman. The IICRC certification gives an air of invincibility and licensing too has its many advantages.

Assurance of thorough carpet cleaning services

Some companies make sweet promises, but leave you disappointed in the end. Avoiding shortcuts and leaving things half done is not the policy that results in retaining customers and earning more referrals that they aim for. The result of such patchy work with inferior equipment and cheap chemicals would be carpeted that retain the wetness over several days. They can certainly assure of absolutely fast and reliable carpet cleaning services with the best machinery and chemicals.

The very powerful Amtex truck-mounted machine is the latest in the equipment and the cleaning is done through several stages. The cleaning temperature is extremely high with a strong vacuum action, carpets get cleaned faster and dryness is quickly achieved. The result is a longer life for the carpets. That is not only a promise but a guarantee. If at all unsatisfied, they will re-clean and even refund if something is yet amiss.

Stubborn stains may be bothering you

Hidden away for years perhaps are stains on the carpet that seem to be forever, particularly for those who attempted cleaning by themselves. If referred, our workers would probably get rid of them quickly and leave the carpet as good as new. If you never got the carpets cleaned professionally, give it a try and watch the carpets being transformed anew. Some terrible stains just won’t go and you will be informed accordingly. Did you know of the several cleaning services that may be most appropriate?

Standard Carpet Cleaning

Steam cleaning takes care of the usual soiled carpets through several stages by the high powered machine.

Deluxe Carpet Cleaning

Excessively soiled carpets require the deluxe service that involves pre-vacuuming, carpet agitation, stain treatments, fiber rinsing, and high powered steam cleaning.

Master Carpet Cleaning

An intense cleaning session for the ultimate results! If it is the favorite carpet or very heavily soiled, go for it. Pre-vacuuming, carpet shampooing, stain treatments, multiple fiber treatments including stain protection and powerful truck mounted steam cleaning are the procedure.

Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning

Using little moisture, this procedure results in very quick drying and is most suitable for businesses. The results are better too, and carpets remain clean longer.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

Exposed to greater wear and tear that results in heavy soiling, commercial carpets require an intensive cleaning procedure.

Emergencies and repairs

Offering services round the clock, the workers are geared to attend to flooding and other crises that may occur at the dead of night. Perhaps everybody has faced such an occasion with water entering the house and soaking the carpets and the furniture.

In such a situation, avoid getting things done by yourself. Armed with the right machinery and a strategy that has been applied successfully many times, workers will drain out the water and save the carpets from damage. In addition, insurance claim processing may require with their assistance too, being well versed in such matters.

Should you need carpet repair services?

If the carpet has developed tears and strings getting pulled through long use, workers have the best solutions. Frays and burn marks, stains and re-seaming, re-stretching, installation of carpet trims, patching and re-laying, they do them all in a jiffy. Carpet cleaning and other services would be well done, leaving them in excellent shape for the longer future.

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Kitchen Gardens, A Source of Health

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Food, the principle source of energy for our body is also a source of disease and uneasiness. Safer the food is healthier a person will be. Due to industrialization and environmental degradation the quality of available food is also degraded. Excessive use of insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers has increased the food quantitatively but not qualitatively. When a consumer eats a food which is produced by excessive use of chemicals then the health of consumer is on the edge of vulnerability. So providence of safe and healthy food is a big issue, organically grown fruits and vegetables are most beneficial for health and for producing organically grown food, kitchen gardening or home gardening is the most reliable activity. It is a hobby and also a need for health conscious people.

In kitchen gardening plants are grown for consumption in house, majorly kitchen gardening is considered as growing of vegetables for consumption in house, but kitchen gardening is more than production of vegetables only. Kitchen gardening or home gardening is an art, technology and technique of maintaining nature and growing fruits, vegetables, spices, condiments and medicinal herbs in a family house, for in house consumption or in either way for kitchen use. It is said, that there are certain limitations for practicing kitchen gardening, that, this system must comprise of a family house, having a recreational area or a garden, for practicing this technique but, our point of view is, that it can also be practiced on roof-tops by using containers and pots.

If there is no availability of space on the ground then this healthy gardening activity can be practiced on house tops by the use of pots and containers. Requirement of spare time for garden establishment and management is a considerable factor; a person can only spend time in this gardening activity if he has interest in it, so to develop interest in gardening is a key factor for establishment and management of kitchen gardens. For practicing garden activity one should know the skills to establish and manage a garden. So, space, time, interest and skills are some major aspects needed for establishment of kitchen gardens.

While thinking about a kitchen/home garden, the main motive which comes in one’s mind is providence of healthy and nutritious food but benefits of kitchen/home gardens are far more than that. Garden plants and their various colors stimulate healthy brain activity. Green colour can also act positively in enhancing brain efficiency. Children and youth should also be involved in such practices; by this they can increase their exposure to fruit and vegetable consumption. For increasing children and youth involvement in garden based activities there is a need for garden based educational programs. These garden based educational programs will increase healthful eating behavior in children as well as in youth, leading to self-aware and healthy generation.

Kitchen gardening technique can also be practiced by housewives. They can adopt this technique as a hobby; by practicing kitchen gardening they will be able to reduce daily expenses and can ensure the providence of healthier, nutritious, cheaper and quality vegetables for their family.

So it can be concluded that kitchen gardens or home gardens can play a vital role in reducing health hazards and can ensure providence of healthy and nutritious vegetables.

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Carpet Cleaning: Tips For Choosing The Best Carpet Cleaner

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When the time comes to have your carpet professionally steam cleaned, your first impulse will probably be to choose to hire the cleaner with the lowest prices. Be careful! The majority of these companies have cut corners somewhere! When businesses like these advertise ‘unbeatable prices,’ you need to ask yourself three important questions.

Have they cut extremely vital operating costs, such as insurance?

An adequate level of business insurance coverage is not cheap. Consequently, this is commonly one of the first things to get cut if a business is struggling. If this business cannot afford insurance to cover them if an unfortunate accident should occur on your property, can they afford to pay for any damage to your home or your loved ones if they should have an accident? Business insurance is not required by law; any person with a legitimate business license can legally do business without insurance. Always ask your carpet cleaner for proof of insurance!

Is this company using substandard equipment?

Anything other than steam cleaning is not going to do an adequate job of cleaning your carpet, upholstery or area rugs. Dry carpet cleaning such as encapsulation cleaning, dry foam cleaning, and bonnet cleaning will only disguise the dirt in your textiles. In addition, these sub-par cleaning systems do not kill germs, viruses, or diseases because they use only small amounts of warm water. These dry cleaning methods are designed for use on commercial carpeting in commercial establishments such as stores, schools, and churches. Steam cleaning on the other hand is considered the gold standard for textile cleaning. Most steam cleaners produce water above 180+ degrees F for superior cleaning and germ killing capability. Steam cleaning equipment is extremely costly and in order for companies employing steam cleaners to stay in business, they have to charge more than the commonly advertised ‘Whole House For $99’ special. Before hiring any carpet cleaner, ask if they do steam cleaning. If their answer is “no” then you’re better off finding a different company.

Will this company use bait and switch tactics on me?

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Unfortunately, homeowners are still swindled out of hundreds of dollars every day. What happens is, the customer falls for the attractive pricing and decides to hire the carpet cleaner. Then, when the technicians are done cleaning, they spring a bunch of hidden charges on the homeowner resulting in a much larger bill than originally agreed upon. Then, since the work has already been completed, the homeowner feels pressured to pay the price even though they feel taken advantage of. Another position that these companies use is intimidation. As soon as they walk in the door, they start with their extremely high-pressured sales and suggestions for the homeowner. They start adding on service after service and are very pushy with their suggestions until before you know it, the price is three times higher than originally agreed upon. Always demand a written quote before any (not just carpet cleaning) technician does any work in your home. This way, if the company tries to increase the price on you after the work is completed, you have physical evidence that would hold up in a court of law suggesting that they are using bait and switch tactics. A legitimate carpet cleaning company should be able to give you a fairly accurate estimate over the phone and should be able to provide you with an exact price, prior to beginning cleaning.

Choosing a carpet cleaner may seem a bit scary to you at this point. Relax; as long as you follow the above guidelines, you will be thrilled with whichever cleaner you choose.

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Gardens That Need Less – A Book Review

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If you are like me, then you want to grow your own organic vegetables, and have your own really cool garden, but, you also know that you hardly have time to spend making it perfect. But did you know that there are many time-saving ways to have your garden and eat well too, without it taking hours a day – it’s true. Let me explain. You see, what you need is an education in gardening and some sure fire tips to make you the local gardening expert. So, I’d like to recommend a very good book to you:

“Low-Maintenance Gardening” by Fiona Gilsenan – 1998 (A Sunset Book).

Are you interested in gardening, but also realize the need to save water? Perhaps you travel a lot and know that your lack of attention could cause the plants to all die? Have you considered the local critters in the area that might eat up your garden or the problems with insects that feast upon your plants? Well, if any of these things are serious issues for you to consider then you need to get this book.

One super feature of this book, is that it breaks things down by region so no matter where you live, there are tips and information for you. There are also many time-saving methods outlined in the book, to insure that you spend your time wisely. The book also has hundreds of easy to manage plant species that you can plant that work well together and require very little care or water.Whether you are looking for an oriental garden, vegetable garden, decorative garden or a total xeriscape, this book will be perfect for you.

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Considerations in Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Service

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Choosing a commercial cleaning service seems like a no-brainer but if you choose the wrong one, you’ll feel the effects in no time. Although many cleaning services are quite reliable, there are some that don’t have such a good reputation and a lot of experience. Before you choose your commercial cleaning service company, you should consider a few things. When it comes to cleaning your office, you have to make sure everything is done properly, but above all, you need to know that your confidential data will stay confidential. The cleaners are usually there after regular business hours so there will be little or no supervision. This means you have to choose the commercial cleaning service company you can trust.

In this article, you’ll learn what the commercial cleaning services offer you as their client and how this can affect your office appearance. In addition, we’ll give you some tips to help you choose the best commercial cleaning service for your business and to establish a good business relationship with your cleaning company.

When it comes to business, appearance is everything. If your office is dirty and messy and some clients decide to drop by unexpectedly, this can seriously hurt your business. You need to make sure your office always looks clean and neat. Other than the appearance, if you haven’t yet hired a reliable company to clean your office, the health and safety of your employees will be compromised. If there’s dust or mold around the office, the working environment isn’t safe and this can cost you if someone files an insurance claim. On the other hand, if you hire the right cleaners, you are making sure that there are no health risks that could affect your employees.

Other than maintaining your image and keeping your office safe, there are a couple more things to think about when choosing your commercial cleaning service. If you’re running a successful business, you probably have a lot of competition. You have to be sure that your sensitive business information will be kept safe so you have to choose a cleaning company you can trust. Also, if you have expensive equipment around the office, the cleaners need to know how to handle the equipment without causing any damage. You should make it clear what things they shouldn’t tamper with but you should also do a little background check on the company to see if there were any complaints.

Another thing you should think about when you’re choosing the proper cleaners for your business is whether the cleaning products they use are environmentally friendly. The ”green” products can help decrease the health risks associated with the use of certain chemicals while the prices shouldn’t be much higher.

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Organic Gardening – Reasons Pepper Plants Can Turn Yellow

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One of the most common problems that the home gardener have with their pepper plants is the yellowing of their leaves. This can be caused by a few different reasons. The first is the lack of nitrogen and magnesium, another reason is chlorinated water, soil splash on the lower leaves from watering and a fungal problem.

The first reason, the yellowing of leaves is most of the times caused by a lack of nitrogen and magnesium in the garden’s soil. This can be simply a result of the nutrients being leeched from the soil due to excess water. Pepper plants only need 1″ of water per week. Another reason is the plants may need an application of fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to get past this problem.

Normally you wouldn’t want to give pepper or tomatoes a high dose of nitrogen, it will usually result in lush foliage and not a strong harvest. You need to get the plants healthy again, so if they need a dose of nitrogen do it sparingly.

Another thing that works for me is to apply an epsom salt spray to my pepper plants. Epsom salt will supply magnesium and calcium that can be absorbed by the leaves for a quick recovery. You may want to try this foliar spray. I mix 3 tablespoons of epsom salt to one gallon of water and spray the foliage.Then I apply a slow release organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to the soil around the plant. At this time I remove any flower buds so the plants can solely concentrate their energy on there foliage. There is still plenty of time for a productive harvest.

If chlorine is the problem, you can simply rid the water of chlorine by just running the water into a bucket and letting the bucket stand for a few hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

Lower leaves that turn yellow on your pepper plants can be simply caused from soil splash when watering. They will yellow and wilt. Remove these yellow leaves and your plants should do just fine.

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