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Happy 239th Birthday America....almost! July is the month we celebrate our Declaration of Independence – but not too many people are aware of the fact that the formal Declaration of Independence was not signed until August 2nd, and even then, not by all the delegates (five signed later and two never signed at all!). On July 1st, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. On July 2nd, delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence, then spent the next two days debating and revising Thomas Jefferson’s wording. July 4th was set for the vote on the final draft, but it was such a hot day and the meeting hall was full of flies, so the delegates cut the meeting short, agreeing to the terms with a show of hands (all except New York which did not cast its vote until July 9th). It took more than two weeks to draft the document, which was retroactively dated to the previous meeting! The delegates did not meet again to sign it until August 2nd. So.... celebrate America’s birthday all summer long in San Antonio-party-city-style with a traditional barbecue, but remember a few safety first grilling guidelines...

• Never store extra gas tanks or flammable liquids near the grill, indoors or in a hot car. • Place barbecue a safe distance away from your home, making sure it’s not under an overhang. • Clean grill thoroughly before igniting it. Grease and food that is leftover from your last cookout may catch fire.

Everyone loves a backyard barbecue, but no one wants a fun-filled day of grilling to end in disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five households own a gas grill and an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. Here are a few simple tips for before, during and after you barbecue to ensure your safety. Before grilling: • Check gas hoses for cracks and holes. Replace damaged hoses and ensure line is free of bends before turning on gas. • Ensure tank and hoses are far enough away from grill to avoid heat and grease coming in contact with them. • Make sure propane tank is standing upright.

During grilling: • Open lid prior to lighting grill to prevent buildup of gas. • Keep fire extinguisher handy. • Never leave grill unattended. • Use separate utensils and plates for raw and cooked food. • Ensure poultry and ground meat is cooked to at least 165 degrees to kill food borne illnesses. Whole meat, such as steak, chops and roasts should reach 145 degrees. After grilling: • Keep hot food above 140 degrees. • Turn the burner on “high” for 5 minutes when finished to burn off any excess grease and drippings. • Turn off gas on the knob on the front of your grill as well as the source of the gas supply. • Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard food left out more than 2 hours. Never leave a hot grill unattended!

Happy 239th Birthday source: history.com I Grilling Guideline source: homecarebuzz.com

Do You Work in a Solar City? Since 2002, the U.S. has increased its installed solar photovoltaic capacity by a factor of 200. Which cities are leading the way? The U.S. now has more than 200 times the amount of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity than it did in 2002, according to a new report from Environment America, and the top 20 cities for this capacity contain more solar power today than the amount installed for the total country six years ago. “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution” looks at which metropolises were in the lead of PV capacity in 2013, and what cities top the country when it comes to capacity per capita. The top cities may not necessarily be the locales you expect, but this data may highlight potential markets that are hot for building PV installations. Do you work or live in one of them?

By Charlotte O’Malley and Katie Weeks

Source: Environment America Research & Policy Center

How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression “When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: What would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?” wrote Henry David Thoreau in The Atlantic in 1862. Thoreau extolled (and extolled and extolled—the piece was more than 12,000 words long) the virtues of walking in untamed environments. In the decades since, psychologists have proved him right. Exposure to nature has been shown repeatedly to reduce stress and boost well-being. But scientists haven’t been sure why. Does it have to do with the air? The sunshine? Some sort of evolutionary proclivity toward green-ness? A group of researchers from Stanford University thought the nature effect might have something to do with reducing rumination, or as they describe it, “a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses.” Rumination is what happens when you get really sad, and you can’t stop thinking about your glumness and what’s causing it: the breakup, the layoff, that biting remark. Rumination shows up as increased activity in a brain region called the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a narrow band in the lower part of the brain that regulates negative emotions. If rumination continues for too long unabated, depression can set in. For a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Stanford scientists examined whether a nature walk could reduce rumination in 38 mentally healthy people. They picked city dwellers because, the researchers predicted, they would have “a somewhat elevated level of rumination resulting from the ongoing and chronic stressors associated with the urban experience.” As in, “Christ almighty, is this the Metro escalator or the ice road to Stalingrad? Move along, people!”


After some preliminary tests, half the participants walked for 90 minutes through a grassland dotted with oak trees and shrubs (“views include neighboring, scenic hills, and distant views of the San Francisco Bay”). The other half took a jaunt along El Camino Real, a four-lane, traffic-clogged street in Palo Alto. The nature walkers showed decreases in rumination and in activity in their subgenual prefrontal cortices. The urban walkers showed no such improvements. In general, decreases in rumination are linked to socalled “positive distractions,” like taking part in a hobby or enjoying a long chat with a friend. You’d think that walking in uninterrupted nature wouldn’t provide many diversions from a whorl of dark thoughts. Surprisingly, the opposite seemed to be true: Natural environments are more restorative, the authors write, and thus confer greater psychological benefits. This effect should work with many types of natural landscapes, particularly those that engender “soft fascination,” the “sense of belonging,” and the “sense of being away,” the researchers note. So while your back yard might do, those little sidewalk parks that have sprouted up at Manhattan intersections might not. In part because of studies like this, architects and designers are increasingly taking green space into account in their blueprints and plans. But that might become harder to accomplish: More than half the world’s population lives in cities currently, and by 2050, about 70 percent will. That’s yet another thing Thoreau warned us about: “Nowadays almost all man’s improvements, so called, as the building of houses and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap.” Source: citylabcom

The 20 Hottest U.S. Real Estate Markets in June 2015 Realtor.com’s Cicely Wedgeworth looks at a preliminary analysis of June home sale data, which suggests good news ahead for the housing market. The median list price for a home in June increased 7% year-over-year, to $233,000, while median days on market is down 7% year over year, to 66 days. But where is demand the highest? To find out, the firm reviewed the number of listing views on its site, relative to the number of listings in the largest markets, while also looking at days on market. California dominated the top 20, with nearly half of the list to itself, led by San Francisco, which unseated Denver for the top spot. Vallejo and Santa Rosa were also near the top. Texas did well as well, with Dallas, Midland, Austin and San Antonio gracing the top 20, while Michigan notched two cities, Ann Arbor at No. 7 and Detroit at No. 9. Texas and Colorado’s markets have remained resilient despite the declines in oil because of their diversified economies. Michigan, on the other hand, performs well because of the combination of economic recovery and very strong affordability. Summer is officially here, and just like the heat waves sweeping through much of the country, the real estate market shows no sign of cooling off any time soon, according to a preliminary analysis of June data for realtor.com®. “Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply,” said our chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, who conducted the analysis. Based on data for the first three weeks of June, the median list price increased to $233,000, up 7% year over year and 2% over May. Median days on market is still at 66 days, down 7% year over year and flat month over month. Helping create more opportunities for buyers, the listings inventory is now growing faster, at 4% over May but still down over last year. More and more Americans are spending time searching for the perfect home, our data show. On realtor. com, traffic and searches continue to set new highs in June, Smoke said. Unique users for the month are now on pace

for at least 40% growth year over year, he found, while visits and searches are expected to be up more than 50% and 30%, respectively. To see where demand for housing is greatest, Smoke and his team reviewed the number of listing views relative to the number of listings in the 300 largest U.S. markets. To see where houses are flying off the market, they looked at the median number of days that homes spent on the market. Combined, this exclusive analysis—the realtor.com® Hotness Index—identifies the 20 medium-size to large U.S. markets where buyers are eagerly seeking homes and sales are closing quickly. California again dominated the hottest markets list, with almost half of the country’s 20 hottest real estate markets. This is because supply is tight and the state’s strong economy is fueling demand. San Francisco captured the No. 1 spot from Denver, while Vallejo and Santa Rosa also made the top five. Texas is represented four times: Dallas (No. 5), Midland (No.17), Austin (No. 18) and San Antonio (No. 19). Colorado sees Denver (No. 3) remain in the top three. Michigan is again represented twice, with Ann Arbor (No. 7) and Detroit (No. 9) both climbing in the rankings. Here’s the full list of the top cities in our analysis: San Francisco, CA Vallejo, CA Denver, CO Santa Rosa, CA Dallas, TX San Jose, CA Ann Arbor, MI Boston, MA Detroit, MI Santa Cruz, CA

Sacramento, CA San Diego, CA Fargo, ND Billings, MT Columbus, OH Stockton, CA Midland, TX Austin, TX San Antonio, TX Fort Wayne, IN

Source: realtor.com

Americans’ Internet trends:
 2000 – 2015


The Pew Research Center’s unit studying the internet and society began systematically measuring internet adoption among Americans in 2000. The latest analysis of how those trends have changed over 15 years makes for some interesting reading: Age differences: Older adults have lagged behind younger adults in using the internet, but now a clear majority (58%) of senior citizens uses the internet. Educational / income differences: Those with college educations are more likely to use the internet. Similarly, those who live in households earning more than $75,000 are more likely to be internet users than those living in households earning less than $30,000. Still, the class-related gaps have shrunk dramatically in 15 years as the most pronounced growth has come among those in lower-income households and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Racial and ethnic differences: African-Americans and Hispanics used to be somewhat less likely than whites or English-speaking Asian-Americans to be internet users, but the gaps have narrowed. Today, 78% of blacks and 81% of Hispanics use the internet, compared with 85% of whites and 97% of English-speaking Asian Americans. Community differences: Those who live in rural areas are less likely than those in the suburbs and urban areas to use the internet. In spite of that, 78% of rural residents are online.

Texas leads US real estate markets with the most military buyers, 2011-2013.

1. Washington, Arlington, Alexandria – DC / VA 2. Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington – TX 3. Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale – AZ 4. New York, Northern New Jersey, Long Island – NY / NJ 5. San Antonio, New Braunfels – TX 6. Houston, Sugar Land, Baytown – TX 7. Chicago, Joliet, Naperville – IL 8. Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News – VA 9. Riverside, San Bernadino, Ontario – CA 10. Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Marietta – GA Source: Metrostudy

Source: Pew Research Center surveys, 2000-2015


Call me with your real estate related questions.

In this fast-changing city and metro area in which we live,

Whether it’s your first time, or you’re moving up or downsizing, I represent sellers and buyers of fine homes, as well as investment and commercial properties.

it behooves us to stay in touch with the old as well as the new. Change touches all of us. Thus the mission of Simply San Antonio is to highlight change and how it affects us, as homeowners, so that we can make the most of the present and keep a watchful


eye on the future.

David Simon

Realtor®, SRES (210) 573-0643 dsimon@phyllisbrowning.com

14855 Blanco Rd, Suite 403, San Antonio, Texas 78216 Your referrals are always welcome.

Profile for Elm Grove Publishing

Simply San Antonio No.3  

Focusing on information and advice San Antonio homeowners can really use.

Simply San Antonio No.3  

Focusing on information and advice San Antonio homeowners can really use.


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