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JANUARY 7, 2012

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Inside Real Estate:

Ring in 2012 - Page 5 WTHBA Featured Floorplan - Page 7

On The Web: - Page 8 Local Real Estate News - Page 9

June Wagner-Wachtel Where did you grow up? I was born in El Paso, Texas. Because my father was in the service, we led a nomadic life for many years, which taught me to value the essential elements of what a home is beyond the bricks and mortar of a particular time and place. I have lived on both coasts and many states in between. And because my mother’s side of the family is Danish, I spent many wonderful childhood summers in Copenhagen. What do you like about living in the Lubbock area? My husband’s position at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center brought us up to Lubbock from College Station. What truly impresses me about Lubbock is the friendliness of the people and the incredible diversity of its population. How long have you worked in real estate? I grew up in the business, so to speak, and have been involved in real estate in one form or another all my life. My grandfather was a real estate investor in Denmark and, after World War II, saw the potential of the marshy fields surrounding the thensmall airport. Today, that

attention to local market pressures and micro trends in particular neighborhoods. It is important to have professional assistance to negotiate the best possible terms with knowledge, patience, and equanimity.

area is a major industrial park. My mother was also involved in real estate in Florida and had an uncanny ability to spot diamonds in the rough. My brother and I helped her renovate distressed properties; we mowed, painted, pulled up old carpet, and so forth.

Why should someone choose you as their real estate agent? There is nothing like experiencing real estate transactions first-hand to give you empathy and a deep and abiding understanding for the entire buying and selling process from start to finish. I have moved around quite a few times in different parts of the country, both urban and suburban, and have bought and sold homes in these markets in both good times and bad times. I strive to use this understanding to serve the needs of buyers and sellers.

What is a unique property you’ve listed or sold? Every home, like every person, has a unique story, but perhaps the most unusual property I have dealt with was a produce warehouse in Muleshoe. The property was abandoned, a foreclosure, and when I first walked into the place, there was an open can of soda and a cowboy hat on the office desk, as though the manager had stepped away for just a moment. What are the most challenging and the most gratifying aspects of what you do? Buying a home is one of the largest undertakings of a person’s life. It ranks right up there with getting married and making a career choice. It is an honor to participate and aid that process. The most gratifying aspect of what I do is seeing the joy in people’s faces when they achieve the

June Wagner-Wachtel, Century 21 John Walton Realtors

Photo by Misty Setzler

dream of home ownership. The path to that dream has become more difficult and complicated with the new lending regulations, so often my job involves helping people coordinate their paperwork for lenders and counseling patience and persistence

for an often involved process. What tips do you have for someone looking to buy or sell a home? Buying or selling a property is a complicated and often emotionally stressful undertaking that requires

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What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I enjoy spending time with my husband, and we enjoy going to the symphony. I am also an avid reader and a member of several book clubs. In college, I majored in Renaissance English and went on to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I credit this training with teaching me to see the world with a writer’s eye for detail and fostering a sensitivity and appreciation for people from all walks of life.

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Real Estate



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Ring in 2012 with renewed home decor (ARA) – New Year’s is a time when many people commit to starting fresh or developing some positive changes in their lives. As you consider what you will change in 2012, think about where you spend the majority of your time. Your surroundings can greatly influence your mood and actions, and a refreshed interior can help you step forward into a new and improved lifestyle. Enjoying life more in 2012 could start with just a few simple updates to your home. Color Decor trends are constantly evolving, and one of the most obvious aspects of changing style is color. An easy, cost-effective way to instantly modernize your home is to update your walls to a posh hue. Try a shade from Pratt & Lambert’s 2012 Color Trends palette, which features a broad range of colors to fit any style. After tracing the development of today’s styles back to their origins, the brand’s Color + Design team released the 2012 trends forecast. Titled “Trace,” this forecast features five palettes: Essence, Instinctive, Enough, Echo and Expressive. From shimmering ethereal shades, to rich earth tones, to bright vibrant hues, Pratt & Lambert’s 2012 Trends provide the hottest color options to update every room in the home. Use these colors as inspiration for other decorating elements as well to create a cohesive, modern atmosphere. Accents Whether your taste is classic and elegant, natural and rustic, or clean and modern, accessories have a huge impact on the feel of any room. Mirrors, wall hangings, table art, pillows and floral arrangements are just some examples of accents that can completely change the look and feel of a space. Don’t be afraid to combine materials and

styles, either. An ornate brass mirror can work well to complement the clean lines of a modern end table or the intricate fabric of an antique footstool. Avoid clutter as you add visual accessories by using baskets, chests and other storage pieces to conceal magazines, books and other common items. Rearrange Replacing your current furniture may not be in your budget, but don’t underestimate the effect rearranging your current pieces can have on your space. Simply changing the layout of a room costs nothing and can have a dramatic impact on the functionality and atmosphere of your home. Place larger furniture pieces against the wall to open up floor space and avoid blocking walking paths. Or, you might arrange your sofa or elongated pieces of furniture at an angle in the corner of the room to give the illusion of a longer wall and also instantly create hidden storage opportunities. This update is as temporary as you want it to be, so don’t be afraid to try something new. You might even rearrange every few months to keep things fresh throughout the year. Lighting To instantly give your space a new look, consider changing the lighting. Whether it’s a large hanging fixture, wall sconces, standing lamps or recessed can lights, adjusting your lighting will have a significant effect on the ambience of any room. A mixture of light sources works best for most spaces. While many lights will serve functional purposes, others may serve as pure decoration to highlight an aspect of the room, such as a piece of artwork. And, like furniture, remember that simply adjusting the locations of table and floor lamps can have a dramatic impact your room’s feel.

Bring your home into the new year in style and update your color, accents, layout and lighting to start fresh in 2012. By focusing on a few key areas, you can enjoy an improved living space easily and affordably.

Simple ways to soundproof a home theater Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever before for homeowners to create a mini movie theater in the comfort of their own homes. The affordability of home-theater systems and big-screen televisions, once deemed a luxury only available to the superwealthy, has made it possible for everyone to enjoy theater-style entertainment at home. But one thing that can put a

damper on those home-theater plans is external noise. Movie theaters are soundproof so customers can’t hear noise from the nearby freeway or their fellow moviegoers “oohing” and “aahing” in the theater next door. Private homes, however, are not so soundproof, so homeowners must take it upon themselves to soundproof their homes to create the ultimate home-theater experience. The following are

some of the ways homeowners can do just that. • Add some layers of drywall. An extra layer or two of drywall will block sound coming from neighboring rooms. Simply add a layer or two of drywall to the existing wall. • Install double-paned windows. If it’s noise from outside the home that’s ruining your home theater experience, then consider installing double-paned

windows with acrylic frames. Such a job can be costly, so if it’s going to be a budget-buster, then sound-deadening drapes are a cheaper alternative that can also be effective. • Decorate the home with sound-absorbent items. Another way to soundproof a home is to decorate the house with soundabsorbent items. Furnishings with substantial cushioning, carpeting and fabric on the

walls will each absorb sound, reducing the transfer of sound from room to room. Upstairs rooms should be carpeted to further reduce the transfer of sound. • Install soundproofing tile on ceilings. Soundproofing tile on ceilings is another effective way to reduce the transference of sound from room to room and keep external noise out of the home-theater room.

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Real Estate



Featured plan – Mike Thoma Construction

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#49 Tuscan Villas Circle – Tuscan Villas The Lubbock AvalancheJournal, in cooperation with The West Texas Home Builders Association, sponsors this week’s featured “Energy Star Rated” home built by Mike Thoma Construction at #49 Tuscan Villas Circle. This home is located in one of Lubbock’s newest and most innovatively designed gated subdivisions, Tuscan Villas. From the time you turn into Tuscan Villas’ lavishly landscaped and gated entrance off Indiana Avenue, you will be wowed by the attention to detail designed so that you cannot help feeling like you are truly a world away from the daily grind and in your very own peaceful Tuscan Village. Follow the red brick road to the end and take a left around the corner and it will lead you to this majestic stone and bricked two-story home with three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and threecar garage. The majestic 16-foot entrance and professionally landscaped lot shaded with mature trees and lined with garden areas magically frame this house in true Tuscan villa style. Upon entering the home, you will be impressed with the 16-foot entryway with a dramatic sweeping staircase and upstairs banister which looks back out onto the idyllic front yard area and charming neighborhood scene. As you move past the majestic iron and glass door, you will be awed by how the dramatic living and dining rooms with 16-foot ceilings are bathed in natural lighting and artistically adorned with tile, carpet and wood inset floors, found throughout the first floor. The eclectic polished slate-clad fireplace is to the left and ahead is the dining room. Ahead on

your right you will note a large breakfast bar looking out from the extravagantly equipped gourmet demonstration style kitchen, with island, pantry with furniture grade shelving, and granite topped cabinets which will please the chef in anyone. The conveniently designed kitchen comes equipped with all of the latest KitchenAid appliances, such as two convection ovens (one electric and the other gas), gas cook top, and microwave, all of which are set like precious gems in natural stone granite bars and countertops looking out onto the breakfast and family room, which cradles the large and very functional patio area. This east-facing, stained patio is lovingly designed for entertaining. The three-car tandem garage is finished with “Rock Solid Flooring.” This house also comes equipped with security system and automatic garage door openers. Note the exquisite stained cabinets and woodwork lovingly crafted by hand throughout the entire home. Such fine quality workmanship cannot be duplicated by machines. The half bath by the stairway is highlighted granite countertops and oil rubbed bronze vessel sink. The family room is conveniently located at the back of the home with a framed high definition flat screened television between two wall niches. The massive master bedroom suite, with stepped coffered ceilings, the thoughtfully planned palatial master bath, equipped with quality furniture grade cabinets, and custom framed mirrors are an unparalleled marvel to behold. The dazzling master closet is well planned with wood lined separations, cabinets, and

shelving designed to minimize clutter. The spiraling stairway in the front entry leads to a thoughtfully placed loft room overlooking the airy formal living area. There are three bedrooms, one with a separate bathroom and two with true Jack and Jill bathrooms in addition to large walk-in closets. All bathrooms have been artistically laid with mosaic tile. As if it was not enough to have such an elegant and uniquely designed home,

this home has the Energy Star Rating which is one of highest designations to achieve in cost efficient homes. Not only does this home have foam insulation throughout, zoned heating and air conditioning, and argon gas filled windows, it also has a checklist of energy efficient items that the Federal Energy Star Rating

Program not only requires but also rigorously tests for in each designated home before it can be occupied. What many people are saying is true – when you get a Mike and Leslie Thoma Construction Home, you are not only getting a home built with unparalleled quality, equipped with the latest technology, but also a home that is “one-of-a-kind,” designed and lovingly built by a variety of talented

artists, from the plumbing rough out to the last roofing tile laid on the home. Come see this 3,260 square foot home Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m., and you will want to make this dream home in this serene, upscale gated community your own… AND… you will be pleasantly surprised to find how financially in reach this dream could be! Call (806) 535-8834 today for details!


Real Estate



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Southwest Lubbock Homes This week’s selections from feature family homes built in southwest Lubbock. These homes offer a variety of pricing and styles. 1. An absolutely fabulous Parade Home built by James Hill awaits a new owner at 4011 109th Street. This home has everything you could ever dream of – a huge gourmet kitchen with a big island and gorgeous granite as well as top of the line appliances. The hearth room is gorgeous, and the master suite is unbelievable with his and her closets and a coffee bar area between bedroom and bath. This backyard paradise has a wonderful kitchen, fire pit and pool space too. MLS# 9972456 2. The home at 4202 #31 78th Street features a gated area with lake view, two living areas, and a formal dining room. This 2,870 square foot garden home

has lots of storage! There is Appalachian time-worn hickory wood floor in the living and dining rooms. Each isolated bedroom has its own bath, and the master has a fabulous closet. Some extras include one living area or office upstairs plus a third bedroom and bath. The many windows bring in lots of light, and there are beautiful custom drapes in living and breakfast area. MLS# 9975618 3. An incredible entry way with a spiral staircase greets you in this stylish home at 8605 County Rd 6920. This home has a high pitched roof and tall ceilings throughout. Other features include hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a gas cook top, and a wine cooler in the bar area. All of the fixtures are oil bronze, and all of the baths have natural marble. This large house has two staircases and two fireplaces. MLS# 9976527

4. Located across from the community pool, this is a beautiful model home in Vintage Township. The living room has a coffered ceiling, while the kitchen ceiling is vaulted. Granite countertops, under cabinet lighting, and lots of built-ins are just a few of the amenities this home at 4703 120th Boulevard has to offer. Two bedrooms reside downstairs, while another two sit upstairs. With lots of storage and a big front porch, this is a home to fall in love with! MLS# 9978810 5. Tucked away on quiet double cul-de-sac, 4307 94th Street is a stunning home in Kings Gate. This four bedroom, four and a half bath, and two car garage home features two living areas downstairs and a loft area upstairs. Three patios off of kitchen, master bedroom and the back add to the spacious 3,741 square foot home. A few of the amenities

of this home include granite, hardwoods, plantation shutters, a wet bar, storage, a work bench, and a new air conditioning unit. MLS# 9980603 6. This home in Regal Park has an awesome open floor plan. The fabulously redone kitchen has granite counters, an island, and stunning venetian plaster walls. An air flow tub, separate shower, and a walk-around closet with a lighted vanity make up the master bathroom. In the backyard, you will feel secluded with the 8-foot privacy fence, rear entry three-car garage, a large covered patio, two large trees, and a hot tub. MLS# 9980928 For more information and pictures about these and many other fin homes in the area, including new listings, go to and enter in the MLS# provided.

Go online & view hundreds of listings in the Lubbock area, read home improvement articles, real estate tips, & local news. “Your best source for housing in the lubbock area”

Why now is the right time to plan outdoor updates (ARA) – Does the bitter cold weather have you dreaming of warm days spending time with friends and family in your backyard? The cold may keep us indoors, but professionals in the landscape and remodeling industry are still thinking about the outdoors and use the winter months to plan spring projects, and so should you. Winter months provide the perfect opportunity to prepare your outdoor space for the warmer months. Planning and prepping now will ensure that you get full use of your outdoor space for the entire season once warm weather arrives. Get a head start by planning some of these spring projects now: Grass Before you know it, you’ll be peeling off your wool socks and walking around your yard feeling the soft grass between your toes. To ensure a lush lawn, spend time this winter researching grass seed options so you can repair any sparse areas in your yard. Planting grass seed early gives

Stop dreaming of warm weather and put that energy into planning your outdoor space. From decking to landscape updates, your efforts during the winter months will bloom into big results once the spring thaw hits. the seed plenty of time to germinate which will give you a healthy, green lawn in the spring. In addition to research, you can also chat with someone at your local nursery for help choosing the appropriate type of

Did you know? Women & Home Repair Women make up a fastgrowing segment of the home improvement market. According to research by Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Investor’s Business Daily, 53 percent of married women are responsible for basic household maintenance and repair. Women also comprise 50 percent of all residential buyers at major home improvement stores and generally spend more than men when shopping. Women also make 85 percent of all remodeling decisions around the home. Lighting Controls Lighting controls are an excellent option for saving

energy, and it is not necessary to invest in a comprehensive control system where the entire house is rewired. There are simple and less-expensive methods for controlling light to save energy, such as motion sensors, photocells that operate according to light levels, timers and dimmers. Thanks to breaking technology, lighting has become more efficient than ever before. Visit an ALA-member lighting showroom to receive professional tips on energy-saving. To find a local ALA-member showroom, go to

grass to plant in the early months of spring. Bulbs Some bulbs grow best when planted in the early spring when the ground is still cool. Do some research

to figure out the best bulbs for your region so you can determine the ideal planting time. There’s nothing better than having a yard full of colorful flowers providing great curb appeal early in the season.

Deck Sitting on your patio or deck enjoying warm, sunny days or cooler evenings is something everyone looks forward to. Adding a new patio or deck to your home or replacing an existing one adds value to your real estate investment. When it comes to outdoor decks, homeowners have been consistently choosing composite decking over wooden decks over the past several years because composite decking is high performance and low maintenance, unlike wood decking which can splinter and crack, and often requires staining and sealing. Composite decking is long-lasting, durable, made of recycled materials, and resists mildew, warping and insects. According to Remodeling magazine 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report, adding a composite deck to your home has a 70 percent return on investment. You can find free online tools to help you plan your new decking project during winter months. Visit to learn which decking

materials are best for you. Create free deck designs with the Online Deck Designer, and be inspired by other deck designs in the photo gallery. Before you know it, you’ll have the perfect plan for your dream deck so when warm weather hits, you’re ready. Trees and Shrubs As you’re deciding on the outdoor living space, consider a plan to plant trees and/or shrubbery to provide a more natural outdoor atmosphere. The right type of landscaping will not only be visually appealing, but will also provide privacy and shade. Planting your selections early can have many benefits including time for each tree or shrub to establish a strong root system so that it flourishes for many years to come. Stop dreaming of warm weather and put that energy into planning your outdoor space. From decking to landscape updates, your efforts during the winter months will bloom into big results once the spring thaw hits.

Real Estate



Local Real Estate News – Lubbock Association of Realtors

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About Realtors: a difference that matters BY Debora Lopez, President Lubbock Association of REALTORS®

broker who is a Texas Realtor and one who is not.

I am excited and honored to serve as President of the Lubbock Association of Realtors in 2012. As a proud Lubbock Realtor for more than twenty-five years, I love living and working with the people to make their home owner- LOPEZ ship dreams come true. I would like to tell you a little about what being a Realtor means. Many people use the word Realtor to describe someone who is a real estate agent or broker. However, there is a difference between a real estate agent or

Ethical Practices All real estate agents and brokers must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission to assist consumers with buying and selling property. However, only those licensed agents and brokers who choose to become Realtors commit themselves to a higher standard of professional conduct known as the Realtor Code of Ethics. The code consists of 17 articles that outline a Realtor’s obligations to clients, the public and other Realtors. Each article is broken down into several standards of practice that outline the conduct expected of a Realtor. The Code of Ethics is more than a list of goals. It is actually enforced through the Realtor organization to ensure the interests of clients, the public

and other Realtors are protected. As a matter of fact, anyone can charge a Realtor with violating the Code of Ethics, and procedures are in place to determine if the code has indeed been broken. If the Realtor is found to have violated the code, punishments range from mandatory education to hefty fines and sometimes even suspension of membership in the organization. Head of the Class Another distinguishing feature of Realtors is how much value we place on education. You may have seen a business card or Web page and noticed a string of letters, such as GRI, CRS or ABR, after a Lubbock Realtor’s name. Those letters represent professional designations offered through the Realtor organization or affiliated institutions. As a buyer or seller, you can benefit from a Lubbock Realtor’s

in-depth industry knowledge gained from earning designations. Each designation represents a different type of expertise such as buyer representation, affordable housing, property management and others. Working Together for Texas Having a Lubbock Realtor represent you in a real estate transaction is to your advantage. But even if you aren’t currently buying or selling property, you also benefit from the actions of Lubbock Realtors on a much larger scale. Lubbock Realtors work with other Texas Realtors together to promote the interests of homebuyers and property owners—and nowhere is this more evident than at the state Capitol. When the 82nd Texas Legislature concluded in 2011, Texas Realtors counted several successes on behalf of private-property

rights and the interests of Texas homeowners. Bills that give homeowners association members more rights became law during the session. A law was passed that increases restrictions on the government’s use of eminent domain. And legislation prohibiting private transfer fees and requiring better disclosure also became law this session. A Difference That Matters So, Lubbock Realtors are more than just real estate agents and brokers. They are professionals who abide by a strict ethical code, are obliged to treat all parties fairly, pursue education beyond what the law requires and work for your benefit at the state Capitol. I hope you’ll consider hiring a Lubbock Realtor for your next real estate transaction. It’s a difference that matters—for many reasons.

Put these home improvements on your 2012 calendar (MS) – With the deep freeze factor at its annual high, the potential benefits of making energy saving improvements really hit home. Yet saving energy and money and adding comfort to your home should always be in season. Industry experts at Icynene ( recommend you put these home improvement tips on your 2012 calendar: Winter • Install affordable plastic window-sealing kits, especially where you feel drafts. • Install foam gaskets behind electrical outlets and switches to reduce air leakage. • Close the fireplace damper tightly when it’s

not in use. If you use your fireplace regularly, consider adding a well-designed insert. • Replace or clean furnace filters at least once every three months. Spring • Consider larger home improvements, like replacing windows that are best completed when the weather is nice. Consider adding spray foam insulation to your attic or in other areas of your home where the summer heat can infiltrate. You can start saving up to 50 percent in energy costs all year long. • Is your air conditioner old or on its last legs? Before things heat up, consider investing in an energy efficient Energy Star-rated

unit. Consult an expert to ensure the size of the unit is properly matched to the needs of your home. Summer • Add window coverings to block sunlight during the day, so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. • Replace inefficient incandescent lighting with more efficient compact fluorescent or LED lighting that also produce less heat. • Check your hot water tank. If it’s warm to the touch, it might need some extra insulation. Check your home improvement store for inexpensive precut tank jackets or blankets. Fall • Check insulation

Pending home sales rise again in November, highest in 19 months Pending home sales continued to gain in November and reached the highest level in 19 months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 7.3 percent to 100.1 in November from an upwardly revised 93.3 in October and is 5.9 percent above November 2010 when it stood at 94.5. The October upward revision resulted in a 10.4 percent monthly gain. The last time the index was higher was in April 2010 when it reached 111.5 as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. The data reflects contracts but not closings. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gains may result partially from delayed transactions. “Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high. Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage. “November is doing reasonably well

in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead,” Yun added. Pending home sales are not affected by the recently published rebenchmarking of existing-home sales because the index uses a different methodology based directly on contract signings, and is adjusted for seasonality. The PHSI in the Northeast rose 8.1 percent to 77.1 in November but is 0.3 percent below November 2010. In the Midwest the index increased 3.3 percent to 91.6 in November and is 9.5 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 4.3 percent in November to an index of 103.8 and remain 8.7 percent above November 2010. In the West the index surged 14.9 percent to 121.2 in November and is 2.9 percent higher than a year ago. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

levels where you can, like the attic or the floor of a room over the garage. If you didn’t get to it in the spring, install spray foam insulation to seal around openings and penetrations

that let air flow in and out of your home. • Use caulking, sealant and weather-stripping to create a barrier against air and water around door frames, windows and base-

boards. Choose the right caulking for the surface. • Insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss. It may enable you to reduce the temperature setting on your hot water tank.

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Lubbock AJ Real Estate Section 2012-01-07  

The Avalanche-Journal's Real Estate Section comes out every Saturday. It contains local Real Estate related news, editorial stories and feat...

Lubbock AJ Real Estate Section 2012-01-07  

The Avalanche-Journal's Real Estate Section comes out every Saturday. It contains local Real Estate related news, editorial stories and feat...