Supplement to the Powell Tribune ■ Thursday, October 27, 2011
Earthy but not
lodgey By ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor
fter more than a year of planning and building, Matthew and Cheryl Elliott moved into their new house in the Greenfield Subdivision last month. Cheryl Elliott said it surprised many of their friends that they chose to move into town from their three and a halfacre rural property. But now that their sons are grown, she said, it was becoming difficult to find time to maintain their rural property. “I guess it’s to simplify things, to put everything on one level and reduce the things we have to take care of,” she said. Elliott said she likes the wide hallways and not having any stairs in the house. Since the Elliotts expect the house to be their retirement home, no stairs is a good thing, she said. “I broke my leg last summer, and we lived in a bi-level,” she said. “Every place I needed to go, I had stairs.” The Elliotts’ original plans didn’t call for building a new house; they planned to buy an existing home. But when they couldn’t find the house they were looking for in a quiet neighborhood, they decided to build instead. During their search for a home, they
Wood cabinets and an island give the home of Matthew and Cheryl Elliott a warm and inviting look in addition to providing plenty of space to put things. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson
did find a house plan they liked, but that house was on a busy street. The homeowners graciously shared their plans, and the Elliotts made a few minor changes. Once it was time to build, “We went to Jim’s Building Service and asked if they would be interested in building a house,” Elliott said. The company has done more commercial building in
recent years, but agreed to take on the project. “We were really blessed,” she said. “Jim’s Building Service took a lot of pride in their work, and they’re craftsmen.” That attention to detail included things such as routing out the wood on the front, back and sides of the kitchen island to look like picture frames,
and installing wooden doors that had a similar design and matching finish throughout the house. Wooden floor registers are set in the hardwood floor so perfectly that they almost disappear. “They put in a lot of detail that a lot of people wouldn’t have done. But it made a lot of difference,” she said. Elliott asked Bill Hobby and Jay Boardman if they would install the tile
in the house. “They came out of retirement to do the tile work,” she said. That work included a walk-in shower in the master bathroom, complete with an in-line floor drain that goes across the entrance to the shower, eliminating the need to raise the floor to trap the Please see Earthy, Page 8
Home designed wITh green In mInd By GIB MATHERS Tribune Staff Writer
he house under construction on North Gilbert Street for Joe and Sharon Keele is about 3,600 square feet and has green design features. “We try to be green build-
ers,” said the contractor, John McClure, who owns McClure Custom Builders Inc., of Cody, with his wife, Robin. Indeed, the two-story home is erected with sustainable buildings materials like walls and ceiling composed of SIPS — Structural Insulated Panels.
These panels are 5 1/2 inches of styrofoam sandwiched between sheets of seven-sixteenths-thick plywood. Width wise, the results are similar to a two-by-six wall but with an R-value (thermal resistance) of over 30. The SIP ceiling has an R-value over 40,
McClure said. The R-value far exceeds that of a traditional two-by-four or two-by-six wall, said the architect, Kane Morris of Point Architects of Cody. “Save 40 percent to 60 percent on heating and cooling costs forever,” said the house’s
SIPS manufacturer Enercept Inc., on its website. “Every nook and cranny is crammed full of insulation,” Morris said, describing the snug seal from styrofoam and plywood. The walls feel solid as concrete blocks bonded with mor-
The two story, approximate 3,600-square-foot home being built for Joe and Sharon Keele on North Gilbert Street should be completed by Christmas. Tribune photo by gib mathers
City tries out LED lights SEE PAGE 5
Manor residents enjoy ‘new’ kitchens SEE PAGE 9
ReStore offers more materials SEE PAGE 12
tar. Light plastic emblazoned with the Enercept’s logo wraps the home’s exterior forming a vapor barrier and on the inside, asphalt coated strips, resembling thick electrical tape, seal all the joints. Depending on the season, the SIPS walls and ceilings keep warm/cool air in, McClure said. The panels are four feet wide like a sheet of plywood, but the length can run up to 20 feet, McClure said. Using the panels entails less scrap compared to conventional framing. That means less waste to haul to the landfill, which is green action in itself, McClure said. The house rises two stories. Above, McClure’s crew attaches tar paper to the roof in preparation for asphalt shingles. Industrial strength fasteners drive staples into the plywood with hollow whacks. Even with a few windows waiting for glass and the open doorways, the place looks cozy and spacious at the same time. “Green” has become the objective in recent years, but it means more than energy efficiency or waste reduction. Once the house is completed, McClure will determine just how snug the place really is with a blower door test. A blower door creates a vacuum so the house can be tested for air leaks, McClure said. “Any air coming out of this house is basically dollar bills coming out,” McClure said. “Green is the color of money.” For those building a large or a small house, it pays to plan ahead by discussing green dePlease see Green, Page 2
Newly remodeled cozy homes SEE PAGE 16
page 2 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
From left to right, Gavin LaFollette, Sam Werner, Levi Bishop and Jonathan Chavez lay tarpaper on the roof of a home under construction on North Gilbert Street. SIPS or Structural Insulated Panels in the walls and ceiling will save the owners 40 to 60 percent in heating costs, according to the manufacturer. tribune photo by gib Mathers
Green: ‘This is our retirement home’ Continued from Page 1 sign with their contractor and architect, because the owner will save money in the long run with lower utility bills, McClure said. Although home owners can get tax credits for insulating their already finished homes, there are no credits for building a new green design house. “I think the government kind of misses the program on that,” McClure said. If people don’t opt for cookiecutter designs, use quality materials and workmanship, there is no reason a house shouldn’t last 100 or 200 years, requiring only minor repairs, McClure said. Other building practices that are not classified as green nonetheless increase energy efficiency. For example, a buffer from winter’s north wind can be created by locating the garage
on the north side of the house. Or if windows face west, install overhangs to reduce the amount of sunlight entering the house during the summer. Trees add aesthetics and shade the home in the summer too, Morris said. Having all plumbing centrally located will save on the cost of building materials, Morris said. The blueprints include a drawing of the fireplace of cultured stone, a manufactured lightweight rock that does not require a concrete base like heavier conventional stone, Morris said. At this point the fireplace is merely framed-in. However, with huge windows admitting golden light and huge yellow wood beams supporting the ceiling it is easy to imagine sitting around a cheery crackling fire with a good book. “It looks awesome,” McClure said.
The conceptual drawing depicts the stone rising two stories with an elk antler chandelier and a trophy elk head mounted about halfway up the chimney. By working closely with the owner, the architect and builder can build a home that embraces the owner’s vision, Morris said. Joe Keele examines the interior framing and wiring recently installed by the electricians. Then he examines the blueprints with McClure. The home’s initial design began in January, Morris said. They’re shooting for a Christmas completion date, McClure said. “This is our retirement home,” Joe said. “They are so dear to us and we thank them for the opportunity to build them the home they have worked so hard and waited so long to actually build,” said Robin McClure.
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FALL home improvement
City property owners asked to release irrigation rights Snyder said Tuesday all property owners had signed the forms. Some of the affected property roperty owners in three subdivisions located on is owned by the city of Powell. land developed by Target City Administrator Zane Logan Powell Valley recently discov- said he didn’t realize the land ered they had irrigation rights where the water tower sits on the west side of town still had they had no way to use. Bryant Startin, manager of irrigation rights. “The city was contacted by the Shoshone Irrigation District, said Target Powell Valley never Lloyd Snyder, who found out did the necessary paperwork that Target Powell Valley never dealt with it,” Loneeded to regan said. “He said lease those rights, we could retain which remained ‘They decided to if we want with the property. do the right thing, them to, but we would Affected prophave to pay for erty is in the Wa- to give up the the engineering ter Tower West water rights and and pay the irriand Greenfield gation fees every Estates subdivi- transfer them to year.” sions on the west land that can use Logan said that edge of Powell, them.’ was pointless beand First Develcause there was opment Park, Bryant Startin no way to get where the Fitch Shoshone Irrigation water to the propBuilding is loDistrict erty, and “by orcated. dinance, we don’t After First Bank of Wyoming assumed assets be- allow surface water for irrigalonging to Target Powell Valley, tion in the city.” Startin said those water rights bank officials realized they were being billed for irrigation rights now can go to land that can benefit from them. for that property. “We’ve got a few areas where Startin said, “They came to us and asked, ‘Why are we paying we had planned to move them to,” he said. for these water rights?’” Startin said he has urged the Startin explained the situation, and “they decided to do the city to require developers to right thing, to give up the water deal with water rights issues as rights and transfer them to land part of the development process. that can use them.” “In the county, they would Lloyd Snyder of First Wyoming Bank later contacted the have to move them prior to that, 130 affected property owners, by state law, if there’s a subdiviadvised them of the situation sion of more than five lots. But and asked them to sign forms in the city, those laws are not applicable.” releasing those rights.
By ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor
Water rights were recently relinquished for 130 properties in Powell subdivisions, including Water Tower West and Greenfield Estates. tribune photos by Ilene Olson
Kitchen staples can be green cleaners for bathroom (AP) — Cleaning the bathroom can be daunting, even if you’re armed with traditional cleaners laden with bleach and strong but perhaps environmentally unfriendly ingredients. But what if you want to go green and still get the toilet bowl, sink and tile to sparkle? Start by stocking up on white vinegar and baking soda. These two staples of the kitchen can help keep your bathroom clean in a way that’s safe for the environment. A little bit of chemistry helps explain why. “Vinegar, because of its acidity, can be good for (cleaning) hard water and soap scum,” said Rebecca Sutton, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a public interest group devoted to protecting health and the environment. Baking soda, on the other hand, is alkaline, said Annie B. Bond, author of books on green living, including “Home Enlightenment” (Rodale, 2008). Mix the baking soda with some water and make a paste, and it can be used as a scrub.
And don’t forget the soap — a mild castile soap made from olive or vegetable oils. Just as the move toward green in general is growing, so is the interest in green cleaning products, said Urvashi Rangan, director of the consumer safety group for Consumer Reports. The number of products on the market has grown. “Within what we have looked at, anecdotally speaking, we have seen some green cleaners start to perform better and better,” she said. What makes a cleaner green? “In my book, green has to be both good for health and the environment,” Bond said. Many conventional cleaners can damage both, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA advises consumers to be alert for “signal words” on labels. Among them: danger-poison, corrosive, severely irritating, highly flammable, highly combustible or strong sensitizer. It recommends products that are biodegradable and solventfree, have a bio base, such as pine or citrus, and are low in
volatile organic compounds. However, labels aren’t always a great source of information about what’s in a cleaner; companies aren’t required to list all the ingredients, although some do. Sutton cautioned consumers to be alert for “greenwashing,” in which a company promotes the one green aspect of the product but doesn’t give the full picture of other ingredients. “A lot of folks, because of the quandary, are moving toward homemade cleaners — vinegar, baking soda, a lot of recipes you can find on line,” Sutton said. The effectiveness of these cleaners largely depends on the size or depth of the job. Rangan said some homemade bathroom-cleaning products are “better suited for people who are not leaving the hard cleaning jobs until the last moment.” Also, she said, vinegar is “not going to kill some of the bacteria you want to kill if, say, you had someone sick in the house.” Alcohol or hydrogen peroxide might better serve that purpose, and “soap gets you a long way,” Rangan said.
“Stronger isn’t necessarily better, and sterilization and disinfection isn’t always the goal,” she said. “Know when you’ve got an issue going on.” Some solutions for typical bathroom trouble spots: the bAthtub Vinegar will help get rid of the soap scum. If you need to scour, try a paste of baking soda and water. the sink You can brighten the sink and “get the white back” by pouring in vinegar and leaving it there for a while, Bond said. Also, try the soft scrub made from baking soda and water. “It’s not a matter of elbow grease. It’s a matter of letting it set for a period of time,” she said. the drAin “To de-grease and sweeten sink and tub drains, pour onehalf cup of baking soda down drain followed by one cup vinegar; let bubble for 15 minutes; rinse with hot water,” Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices website says. “You might have to repeat the procedure more than once or leave the baking soda and vinegar to ‘cook’ overnight.”
the toiLet “The toilet bowl is difficult, even under the best of circumstances,” Bond said. “Go to a health food store and get a really good bathroom toilet product.” For those who want to try a homemade product, Consumer Reports suggests pouring a
cup of borax into the toilet and letting it set overnight. “In the morning, scrub and flush,” it said. “For an extra-strength cleaner, add one-fourth cup vinegar to the borax.” the FLoor Clean with diluted vinegar and then do a water rinse afterward, Sutton said.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — It’s that time, when homeowners everywhere pull out the rakes to clear away falling leaves. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension service suggests residents can save the time and energy spent raking leaves and, instead, compost them with the help of a mower. The service says homeowners should first check the mower blades to make sure they are sharp and that the leaves are dry to help shred the leaves as finely as possible. Residents should then mow the lawn with the mower at its regular height and pass over the leaves three or four times to help the shredded leaves fall into the lawn, not cover the turf. Turfgrass will still need to have access to sunlight to continue photosynthesis, and store carbohydrates to build a strong root system.
on’t miss a chance to color up your spring landscape. Get busy now planting spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. Look for creative ways to use bulbs in your landscape. Plant a massive ribbon of blue squills or grape hyacinths to create the illusion of a river in your spring landscape. Or fill the front lawn with shorter bulbs for added color. Just wait until they are done blooming to mow the grass at its highest possible setting. Mix bulbs to double the bloom power or extend their flowering beauty. I like to mix the equally assertive daffodils and squills for a double layer of color. Try combining early blooming crocus with mid spring daffodils, late spring tulips, and even later blooming allium for months of enjoyment. And force a few to enjoy indoors or outdoors in areas where you can’t plant bulbs in the ground. Give these bulbs 15 weeks of temperatures between
By MElinda MyErS Special to the Tribune
35 and 45 degrees to initiate bloom. Plant spring flowering bulbs outdoors in fall, so winter’s chill can set the flower buds for the beautiful spring flowers. Those gardening in the south need to look for bulbs that require minimal chilling or are pre-cooled for winter planting. Northern gardeners have until the ground freezes to get their bulbs in the ground. Plant bulbs 2 to 3 times their vertical height deep in properly prepared soil. Add a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer like Milorganite to the soil at planting. Water thoroughly as the bulbs are putting down roots before the ground freezes. Those tired of battling the animals may want to plant resistant bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, Fritillaria, alliums, Camassia, glory-of-the snow, snow drops squills, and grape hyacinths. Or protect animal favorites like tulips, lilies, and crocus with a bulb dip of Bobbex. Start with a pair of waterproof gloves for this task. Bobbex is safe and
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natural, but not a fragrance you want to wear all day long. Carefully remove the papery cover and soak the bulbs for three to five minutes in Bobbex. You will have the best results using the concentrated formula of BobbexR Animal repellent. Allow the bulbs to dry before planting. The scent of Bobbex masks the smell of the bulbs protecting them from hungry critters throughout the winter. Then next spring apply Bobbex to your bulbs and other landscape plants as soon as they emerge and leaf out, protecting them from hungry rabbits, deer, and other animals. So get a jump on the spring season with a bit of fall landscape care. (Editor’s note: Melinda Myers, a gardening expert, TV and radio host, author and columnist, has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books, including “Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening.” Myers, a certified arborist, has a master’s degree in horticulture. Her website is www.melindamyers.com)
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(AP) — After gliding through the treetops on a cable at a park in the Adirondacks, Holly Swanson wondered if she could replicate the fun in her parents’ backyard. Turns out it was easy, she said. After a little online research, she installed a 250-foot zip line between two trees on their property in Brunswick, Maine. “You can drop into the pond, which is a lot of fun,” said Swanson, who lives in Albany, N.Y. The popularity of zip lines or canopy tours at vacation spots in the United States and overseas has created a growing market for at-home versions, said Aaron Sleadd, sales and marketing manager for Sleadd Adventures, in Grants Pass, Ore. “We hear from a lot of people who go on vacation and say, ‘Hey I would like to have one of these in my backyard,’” said Sleadd, who sells zip line kits and safety
equipment. Zip line riders strap themselves into harnesses and let gravity and a pulley slide them from one end of the line to the other. A variety of companies sell zip line kits and the equipment to install them. Installation requires tools to anchor the line and to adjust the tension. The key is getting the cable tight. Sleadd’s company sells the tools and refunds customers’ money if they return them in good condition. Backyard enthusiasts usually stretch the steel cable between trees, Sleadd said. The length of the line determines the height at the start. Sleadd’s company sells a lot of 150-foot and 200-foot lines, which need to be installed at least 15 feet above the ground. Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s Home Expert, said he installed a zip line at his home in less than two hours. “It’s so
simple,” he said. “It’s something that’s fun and unique.” Before adding a zip line, however, homeowners might want to consult with their insurance agent, recommended Jim Whittle, assistant general counsel for the American Insurance Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Adding a zip line may change “the character of the property and the risks associated” with it, he said. To minimize risk, consider hiring a professional to install the zip line, suggested James Borishade of the Association for Challenge Course Technology in Deerfield, Ill., which has set standards for zip-line installation and inspection since 1994. Zip lines have been a big seller for Steven Fischel, president of the online toy store FantastyToyland.com, in Long Island City, N.Y. “Parents are looking to get
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kids outside for some good oldfashioned fun,” he said. When the Danielson family decided to build one on their property outside of Duluth, Minn., they thought big – and high. Darren Danielson, an experienced tree trimmer, worked with his 13-year-old son, Nels, and family friend Roger Mattson to install a 400-foot line. The starting point is about 60 feet high and anchored in a large white pine tree. “The first 200 feet goes over tree tops,” Darren Danielson said. “The last 200 goes down in the woods.” Danielson, a TV newscaster, sees the zip line as a way to create exciting family time. “My kids love adventure – especially in the outdoors,” he added. “This is fun, adventure and excitement all rolled into one.” Nels, who had a zip line birthday party last year, called the experience “amazing.”
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New light bulb regulations take effect in January By CJ BAKER Tribune Staff Writer
eports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” is a quote often attributed to the late Mark Twain, but today it may apply better to incandescent light bulbs. Despite sometimes being described as such, new federal regulations that begin taking effect in January will not “ban” all incandescent bulbs. However, over the next two years, the measures will require manufacturers to make incandescent bulbs that use at least 25 percent less energy than traditional ones. The more efficient halogen incandescents are expected to cost around $1.50 per bulb (versus roughly 50 cents for standard incandescents). The good news is they should pay back that extra dollar in electricity savings within a year, depending on use. Three-way incandescents, bug lights, black lights, appliance lights and other speciality lights are exempt from the new efficiency requirements. A Republican-backed measure to repeal the requirements, cosponsored by Wyoming’s Con-
gressional delegation, failed in the House of Representatives this summer on a generally party-line vote. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the bill in the Senate. Enzi said he hoped new light bulb technology will save energy and consumers’ money, but that it was wrong to force consumers’ hands with mandates. “If left alone, the best bulb will win its rightful standing in the marketplace,” Enzi said in a February statement. “Government doesn’t need to be in the business of telling people what light bulb they have to use.” His bill hasn’t made it out of the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The regulations, passed by Congress in the Energy and Independence and Security Act of 2007, are slated to phase in over the next two years, with traditional 100 watt incandescent bulbs being the first to be banned. In January 2013, traditional 75 watt bulbs will follow, with old 60 and 40 watts bulbs no longer available starting Jan. 1, 2014. Folks looking to move away from traditional incandescents have other options besides the
improved incandescents. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, use about 75 percent less energy than inefficient incandescents. They cost a bit more ($2 a bulb in a larger pack is common), but can pay for themselves with energy savings in less than a year. The savings only grow with time, because CFLs last up to 10 times longer than incandescents, says the U.S. Department of Energy. One downside is that CFLs have small amounts of mercury. It’s recommended that spent bulbs be recycled instead of thrown away and precautions taken if one breaks. The future of energy-efficient lighting is seen in Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs. LED light bulbs are designed to last more than twice as long as CFLs (more than 15 years of standard use is claimed with many) while using even less energy than the CFLs; in an August 2011 piece, Wired Magazine described LEDs as having taken on “the aura of inevitability.” They are substantially expensive up front ($40 for a 60W equivalent bulb isn’t unusual today), but over their life-span, LEDs should eventually more than pay for
themselves in savings. And their costs are dropping. Both the cities of Powell and Cody have been experimenting with LED street lights as a way to save energy and maintenance (see sidebar). On a smaller scale, the U.S. Department of Energy says that switching out 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with more efficient bulbs can save you about $50 a year on your electricity bill. With bulbs becoming more energy efficient, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends looking at a bulb’s lumens — a measure of brightness — instead of wattage — a measure of energy. To replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb look for a energyefficient replacement with about 1600 lumens; for a 75W bulb, about 1100 lumens; the 60W bulb equivalent is about 800 lumens; and a standard 40W bulb is equal to about 450 lumens. New Federal Trade Commission regulations require light bulb manufacturers to put Nutritional Facts-like labels on packages. The labels list the bulb’s life, lumens, wattage and estimated yearly energy cost.
or a brighter future, the city of Powell is looking at changing its nighttime light-
ing. A half-dozen long-lasting, energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights have been installed at Plaza Diane as part of a city test of the technology; a couple of other pole-top LED streetlights have been installed near city hall. While that test continues, the city is hoping to find some grant funding to convert more of its current streetlights to LEDs, said City Electric Superintendent Larry Carter. The technology’s price is coming down and they provide great energy and maintenance savings in the long run, but “the initial cost is ridiculous right now,” Carter said. For example, the six LED lights at Plaza Diane cost about $900 apiece, Carter said. Now try multiplying that by the 138 of those Washington-style fixtures on Bent Street, plus the others installed in some of the newer subdivisions. Standard pole-top LED lights
are cheaper, running around $400 to $600 apiece, “but that’s still a lot,” Carter said. Especially so when you consider that the city has hundreds more of them. The city of Cody recently completed a changeover of its some 1,200 streetlights to LEDs. The city spent about $400 apiece on the units, aided in large part by a $445,000 grant that came from the federal stimulus bill. Cody officials say that by switching to LED streetlights, they’ve cut their annual electricity bill by more than $49,000 — roughly in half. The city expects to save more in reduced maintenance and residents have appreciated the more-focused lighting, Cody Electrical Engineer Bert Pond has said. Carter eyes similar benefits LEDs would bring to Powell, especially on Bent Street, where the Washington-style fixtures “are really a maintenance nightmare.” The metal halide lights typically don’t fare well during the first cold snap of the year, with the low temperatures taking out a lot of bulbs, he said. Conversely, LEDs’ nemesis is heat, Carter said, making Wyoming’s cooler climate “perfect” for them.
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City of Powell experimenting with LED lights By CJ BAKER Tribune Staff Writer
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Bert Pond, left, head of Cody’s Electric Division, displays a new, LED streelight. Cody city worker Devin Bult, who installed new lights, shows the older model replaced through a federal stimulus grant.
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page 6 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
Preparing trees for winter (AP) — It’s a rite of fall — green leaves turn red and gold and then fall as trees prepare themselves for winter. It’s an excellent time to give your trees a good once over. Are there dead branches or limbs, or large areas of fungus? Is the tree leaning? Are the roots well-grounded? A local arborist can determine whether there are problems that require immediate action. Dead branches — or the entire tree — can come down in a storm. Be proactive, arborists say. “It’s a lot cheaper to have the limb cut off than to fix your roof,” said Jonathan Hammond, owner of Alpine Tree and Shrub Care in Denver. And it’s not just the dead limbs. “Pruning your tree can make it better able to withstand the extra weight of ice and snow,” the Tree Care Industry Association says on its website Treecaretips.com. “Branches can be thinned to reduce their surface area and wind resistance.” The U.S. Forest Service has a guide for pruning trees, including dos and don’ts and when trees should be pruned. But heights and chain saws can be a dangerous combination for amateurs. Sharon Lilly, director of education for the International Society of Arbori-
Water, mulch key culture, said people should call a certified arborist for pruning large trees. “Homeowners can do the smaller and lower stuff themselves,” she said. There are other things that can be done to help trees withstand harsh winters. Give them a “good, long, slow drink,” Lilly said. All trees should get that fall watering, but especially young ones planted in the last three years, and evergreens. “You might even do that more than once going into the winter months,” she said. Watering should be done before the ground freezes so the water can reach the roots. A layer of organic mulch around the tree can help maintain moisture. The mulch also insulates and protects the upper roots, said Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist at the Tree Care Industry Association. And, it will help replenish nutrients in the soil. Think of it as an “early spring snack” for the trees when the area warms up, she said. Arborists caution against placing mulch right up against the tree trunk. Think of shaping it like a saucer instead of a cone, said Vermont master gardener Ann Sherman: The mulched
area should be as wide as possible to cover the underground roots but no deeper than 2 to 4 inches. “The bigger the mulch area, the better the benefit,” Lilly said. Fertilizing trees isn’t necessary unless the soil is deficient in certain nutrients. Andersen said that if a tree is unhealthy, adding fertilizer will prompt it to put out new growth at the expense of its defense systems. “Fertilizer is touted as a cureall or a preventative,” she said. “It’s basically a substance that brings back a more natural balance of the soil.” For branches that have a weak union, or crotch, cabling is sometimes recommended. Lilly said that should be done by a professional, because there are “a lot of ways to do more harm than good.” A professional also can give you guidance on staking a tree to support it, Andersen said. In areas where it snows a lot, small, fragile trees can be protected with a support teepee, essentially a tripod of plywood to prevent the snow from accumulating, she said. Also, some smaller trees can be winterized by temporarily tying some of the
branches together. “It’s almost an engineering exercise, looking at your trees and what the potential loads are going to be and how the tree is going to respond,” she said. Hammond said that load can be heaviest during early season snowstorms, when trees still have their leaves. The leaves act like a net to catch the snow. “If we get an early October snow, it can be really devastating to the trees,” he said. Just as snow is a fixture of winter, so is the salt used to melt it on sidewalks and streets. And that can be harmful to trees. “You will see the result of salt in the spring,” Andersen said. “If they leaf out, they will leaf out with brown leaves that will seem burnt.” If you do get salt damage, Lilly said, the best thing is to “water and water it and wash it through the soil.” Arborists advise that people consider salt-tolerant trees for areas likely to be exposed to salt. “A lot of it is planning your yard,” Sherman said. And, there’s one more thing: Once the leaves fall, clean up your yard, Sherman said. If the tree was infected with a fungus, the spores can survive the winter and re-infect the tree in the spring, she said.
Pruning dead branches such as these before winter begins can improve the overall health of the tree. tribune photo by Judy Killen
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Clear the closet (AP) — Any way you hang it, that strong-shouldered jacket from the 1980s is never going to quite look like the ‘80sinspired jackets popular now. Same goes for the ‘70s maxi and slinky disco-style dresses. That means the time has likely come to get rid of them. Think of this as a time to clear your closet — cleaning and updating in one fell swoop — by strategically paring down your wardrobe, making a few new additions and finding shelf space for those items that truly are timeless. Even something as simple as knit leggings, a staple now, were a fashion “don’t” a decade ago. They could go into hibernation again. And, chances are, anyone who kept their stirrups from the Culture Club-era still can’t make those look modern. Adam Glassman, fashion director at O, The Oprah Magazine, says anything you haven’t worn in two years should be booted from the valuable closet real estate. He used to say one year, he explains, but he is allowing for a little more flexibility in size fluctuation, popular colors and immediate trends. After that, though, the items — unless they’re expensive, toptier designer pieces in beautiful fabrics with precision cuts — should go. It’s romantic to think that other items, even pricey ones, could wear that “vintage” label someday, but, in reality, very few things do. “Very high-end stuff, like (French design label) Balmain, you can save that because, eventually, it could be a collector’s item. I have friends who hold on to Prada like that,” says Glassman. “But that’s a small percentage of what’s out there. You don’t need to save H&M, Gap, Zara.” Most closets are cluttered with stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in a very long time, says Jackie Conlin, a personal style consultant in San Francisco. “Timeless pieces are real gems,” she says. “I like the idea of timelessness, but the way things change so rapidly, a look is going to change and your look is going to change.” She advises a “classic wardrobe with punches of personality,” including a trench coat that, if it’s not a Burberry, is made in the brand’s spirit, in a neutral color, and a tailored and trim silhouette; pencil skirts and pencil black pants; and shift and sheath dresses. Conlin puts a white blouse or man-tailored button-down on the list, but Glassman warns that those can be tricky to keep because, even protected in the closet, they’ll yellow over time. They do agree that keeping traditional handbags, clutches and totes, for instance, and high-heel pumps (probably just the round-toe ones) makes sense as long as they’re in good condition. Heavily embellished accessories, however, might be perfect donations for a little girl’s dress-up box.
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something weird about boots that no one wants to part with. They’ll be run into the ground and be Band-Aided to death,” she observes. “Yes, there are some leather items that look good worn-in, but some don’t, and boots are one of those things.” She also sees too many college sweatshirts. There’s a place for some sentimental items, she says, but not with your everyday wardrobe. Put clean items in breathable garment bags, which limit discoloration, and throw in lavender sachets, which act as an antiseptic and bug repellent, says Fascitelli, who also created the Clos-ette Too line of storage products. Store these bags in a humidity-controlled location. For the things you’re on the fence about, Fascitelli says, ask yourself: Would you buy it now? The answer probably would be no when it comes to that old interview suit, says Conlin, yet there are so many ill-fitting, double-breasted jackets with matching knee-length skirts — both probably misshapen from so many years on the hanger — still out there. Some suits can be resurrected as weekend separates, if the fabrics work with denim or khakis, says Glassman, which will help you feel like you got your money’s worth. People also tend to hold on to their old black leather pants. “I think because it’s leather, which is worth something in people’s minds, they think they should keep it. But,” she says, “there probably couldn’t be anything less flattering. Maybe they cost $400 15 years ago, and people can’t let go of that.” Nothing is worth keeping if you don’t look good in it, adds Glassman. “The most important thing, you really have to be honest with where you are with your size. Don’t think ‘I’m getting back into it,’ or that you may go up two sizes. You are the size you are right now.” If you have, say, skinny jeans that you loved the look of years ago, then go try a new pair in the right size from the same brand, he suggests. (Altering and tailoring are wonderful tools, when used sparingly for special things. But you can end up spending more money than you would on something easily replaced.) Fascitelli says tackling the closet with an honest, trusted friend is the way to go. Then make piles: one to keep, one to store, one to sell on eBay or to a consignment shop, one for relatives or friends (that’s where good stuff that doesn’t fit right can go), and one for charity. Purging seems to be less traumatic when you think it’s going to find a good home somewhere else, she says. Still think you’ll miss your prairie skirt or flannel shirt?
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Tribune photo by Don Amend
Obama offers mortgage relief LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Barack Obama offered mortgage relief on Monday to hundreds of thousands of Americans, his latest attempt to ease the economic and political fallout of a housing crisis that has bedeviled him as he seeks a second term. “I’m here to say that we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job,” the president declared outside a family home in Las Vegas, the epicenter of foreclosures and joblessness. “Where they won’t act, I will.” Making a case for his policies and a new effort to circumvent roadblocks put up by Republican lawmakers, Obama also laid out a theme for his reelection, saying that there’s “no excuse for all the games and the gridlock that we’ve been seeing in Washington.” “People out here don’t have a lot of time or a lot of patience for some of that nonsense that’s been going on in Washington,” he said. The new rules for federally guaranteed loans represent a recognition that measures the administration has taken so far
on housing have not worked as well as expected. His jobs bill struggling in Congress, Obama tried a new catchphrase — “We can’t wait” — to highlight his administrative initiatives and to shift blame to congressional Republicans for lack of action to boost employment and stimulate an economic recovery. Later in the week, Obama plans to announce measures to make it easier for college graduates to pay back federal loans. Such executive action allows Obama to address economic ills and other domestic challenges in spite of Republican opposition to most of his proposals. While Obama has proposed prodding the economy with payroll tax cuts and increased spending on public works and aid to states, he has yet to offer a wholesale overhaul of the nation’s housing programs. Economists point to the burst housing bubble as the main culprit behind the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, the combination of unemployment, depressed wages and mortgages that exceed house values has continued to put a strain on the
economy. While the White House tried to avoid predicting how many homeowners would benefit from the revamped refinancing program, the Federal Housing Finance Administration estimated an additional 1 million people would qualify. Moody’s Analytics say the figure could be as high as 1.6 million. Under Obama’s proposal, homeowners who are still current on their mortgages would be able to refinance no matter how much their home value has dropped below what they still owe. “Now, over the past two years, we’ve already taken some steps to help folks refinance their mortgages,” Obama said, listing a series of measures. “But we can do more.” At the same time, Obama acknowledged that his latest proposal will not do all that’s now needed to get the housing market back on its feet. “Given the magnitude of the housing bubble, and the huge inventory of unsold homes in places like Nevada, it will take time to solve these challenges,” he said.
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page 8 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
The master bathroom features a full-length vanity with two sinks and a tile floor.
earthy: Storage is big plus Elliott likes the most is the ample storage space provided water for a traditional round by closets. Two large closets line the main hallway, each 8 floor drain. Hobby and Boardman also feet long and 2 or 3 feet deep. installed a tile insert in the wood Just around the corner from floor in front of the main en- the kitchen, they come in handy for storing lesstrance. The insert used small kitchen gives appearance appliances, among of a rug in front of other things, and the door, and its ‘They put a lot cupboards lining design is similar to of detail that the walls and in the the tile in the walk- a lot of people front of island in in shower. the kitchen provide Behind the wouldn’t have plenty of space for house, a large patio done. But it dishes, food, pots area is protected and pans and most from the wind by made a lot of any kitchen gadget the front and side difference.’ a home chef could of the house. So Cheryl Elliott desire. The bedprotected, in fact, Homeowner rooms have large that the Elliotts inclosets, and there stalled two fans on are two closets in the outdoor ceiling to help move the air on hot days. the home’s spacious entryway. As she walked through her Plans for the patio include a gas new home last week, Elliott fireplace. “We have our landscaping said, “All in all, it’s just a really plan, but it’s now late enough comfortable house — kind of that it’s going to have to wait contemporary rustic, or maybe classic rustic. It’s a little earthy, until next year,” she said. One of the home’s features but it’s not lodgey.” Continued from Page 1
Refacing kitchen cabinets a cost-saving option (AP) — The kitchen in Abe Abuchowski’s Califon, N.J., home needed updating, but he didn’t want the expense of replacing the cabinets. So he chose a less costly option. “The old cabinets were in really good shape,” he said. “They were high-quality cabinets, solid wood. It was the doors that really needed to be replaced.” Replacing the doors and covering the cabinets’ remaining exposed parts with a matching veneer can be done for about half the cost of buying new, said Kit Selzer, senior remodeling and projects editor at Better Homes and Gardens. The process is called refacing. Abuchowski said there’s another advantage to refacing. “There’s a minimum amount of disruption,” he said. “It’s a simpler and quicker installation,” agreed Brett Bacho, president of Kitchen Magic, the company that did Abuchowski’s kitchen. Bacho said that refacing cabinets typically can be completed in three to five days. For refacing to be a viable option, however, the cabinets must be in good shape. “If we had bad cabinets, just putting the new fronts on them wasn’t actually where we wanted to go,” said Claudia Phelps, who had the cabinets in her Washington, D.C., home refaced about 10 years ago. She said her cabinets were “very well built” and worth saving. Refacing also might not be a good choice if you want to do major changes to your kitchen’s layout. “You do nothing to improve the function or the convenience of the kitchen,” said David Alderman, owner of Dave’s Cabinets in Chesapeake, Va. Nor, he noted, does refacing increase storage. It is possible, however, to add cabinets that match the refaced ones. Both Abuchowski and Phelps did that. Many people also choose to replace their countertops at the same time the cabinets are refaced. Cabinet companies say it’s impossible to estimate the cost of refacing cabinets without seeing the kitchen and talking to the homeowner about the job. “We’ve refaced kitchens for as little as $4,000 to $5,000, and for as much as $80,000,” Bacho said. Doors can be made of a vari-
ety of woods, for example, such as cherry, oak or maple, or of an engineered material like laminate, including some that look like wood. Abuchowski chose a laminate. “It’s very easily cleaned and it will stay looking newer longer,” he said. In refacing, the cabinet doors are removed, and the sides and exterior face of the cabinet are prepared for the veneer covering. After that covering is measured and applied, the new doors — made to fit the existing cabinets — are installed. Some companies replace the full drawers, others just the front. But the inside of the cabinet usually is not changed during the refacing process. “You could definitely paint the inside to go along with the outside,” Selzer said. She advises going with a professional unless you’re a very skilled do-it-yourselfer. For those who want to try it themselves, there are how-to videos on YouTube or step-bystep instructions on the Web. Otherwise, many companies do refacing, from big ones like Sears to smaller ones like the one Alderman owns. Of course, there is an even cheaper way to give the cabinets a fresh look. “Virtually any cabinet can be painted,” Selzer said. “It just takes the right product to do it.” She said there are kits on the market that provide the materials you need, from preparation to stain to glaze, along with step-by-step instructions. “Really what you want to do is be patient with it and give yourself time,” she said. That means giving each coat enough time to dry. When people paint cabinets, Selzer said, they are likely to choose white. “For new cabinetry,” she said, “people are looking for the wood look.” A good reason to paint, she said, is for the enjoyment of a fresh-looking kitchen. Upgrading cabinets, either by replacing or refacing them, can make your house more marketable if you’re considering selling it. “Just a few years ago,” Selzer said, “people were buying houses with rundown kitchens knowing they were going to replace them. Now there’s a little more conservative attitude about it. People look for a kitchen and a house that has move-in qualities.”
This view of the great room in the Elliotts’ home opens up as one turns the corner from the hallway into the kitchen.
Abundant storage is one of the features Cheryl Elliott likes most about her house. Here, she opens one side of the closet in a spare bedroom. tribune photos by Ilene Olson
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tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011 poweLL tribune • page 9
FALL home improvement
Celebrating 2 years in Powell!
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Rocky Mountain Manor resident LeGene Vaughn makes a pie in her newly-renovated kitchen. Unlike some residents who utilize the manor’s meal plan, Vaughn uses her kitchen daily, and said she appreciates the improvements. tribune photo by tessa schweigert
Manor modifications BY TESSA SCHWEIGERT Tribune Managing Editor
grew up on the farm without electricity or running water, so I appreciate all this stuff,” laughed Wilma Groen, a 103-year-old resident of the Rocky Mountain Manor. Over the past year, Groen and her neighbors at the manor have enjoyed upgrades to their bathrooms and kitchens in the 52-unit facility. With all the major modifications complete and minor finishing touches expected by the end of November, the extensive renovation project is coming to an end. “It makes a lot of difference for most of the residents ... To see how much it improves their lifestyles — it’s incredible,” said Marla Pierson, manager at the manor. Kitchen renovations include new ovens, sinks, faucets, cabinets, flooring and refrigerators. The kitchen updates are in addition to bathroom renovations — new shower units, toilets, sinks and grab bars. Some of the kitchen updates simply make life easier for residents at the manor, where the average age is 80. For instance, the units used to have small fridges, the kind college students use in a dorm room. Residents had to stoop down to use the little fridges, but now, rooms are equipped with regular, fullsized refrigerators.
Local businesses involved in kitchen renovation projects Since the Rocky Mountain Manor’s renovations first began, a goal for project leaders is to keep the money local. “The money that goes into local businesses spreads. It’s really, really important to use those local businesses ... hopefully it helps our community grow and get better and create more jobs,” said Marla Pierson, manager of the manor. The manor’s kitchen remodeling projects involved the following local businesses: • Jensen Custom Cabinets • Middleton Homes Construction • Steve’s Electric • Discount Appliance • Powell Valley True Value • Aldrich Lumber
Other updates actually make residents safer. Kitchens used to have electric ranges that were activated with push buttons. Easy, yes, but too easy — sometimes a person walking by could accidentally bump the button and unknowingly turn on the stove, creating a fire hazard. The new ranges have “helped cut back on fire calls,” Pierson said. The manor is using $100,000 in Moyer Foundation money for the new ranges and other kitchen renovations. The bathroom renovations are paid for through a $224,000 Community Development Block Grant through the
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Wyoming Community Development Authority. The city of Powell served as a sponsor for the grant. “With the grant money, we don’t have to pay it back, so it helps us keep the manor affordable for our residents,” Pierson said. Monthly rent, including utilities, ranges at the manor from $342 to $660, depending on the size of units. Out of the 52 units, 21 residents currently qualify for low-income assistance, so some pay as little as $25 per month. The manor’s recent facelift also has helped attract new residents to the manor. Currently,
there’s no vacancy. “We’re 100 percent full, and we have been for months,” Pierson said. With 60 residents, “we’ve got a full house.” In addition, there’s also an active waiting list, she said. With the manor’s meal plan, some residents rarely use their kitchen space to cook, but others, like LaGene Vaughn, regularly use the new ranges. “I love to cook. I do the cooking myself,” Vaughn said. Living at the manor, “I’m not limited with what I cook, which is an attraction for me.” As for the new range, cabinets, sink, counter and flooring — “it’s above and beyond what I really expected. Considering it’s a small area, it all worked out just fine.” Bill Pearl, who has lived at the manor for six years, said the kitchen improvements, coupled with the bathroom renovations, have made the manor a better place to live. “This is a mighty nice place. I really enjoy it,” he said. Many of the appliances and old fixtures had been in place since the manor was built in the mid-1960s. Pierson said the modernization project likely will continue attracting residents to the Rocky Mountain Manor. “These renovations we’re making today will help keep the manor full for years to come,” she said.
Knitwear finds cozy spot in decor London-based knitwear designer Melanie Porter turned her skills to home furnishings when she acquired an antique chair that needed reupholstering. “But I couldn’t find a fabric I liked, so I instinctively turned to knit,” she says. Several years later, her growing collection includes a funky ‘70s-era chair covered in the Union Jack, a cushion festooned with ruffly knit “corsages,” and several pieces upholstered in a cozy, creamy fisherman knit. Porter notes, “It’s a technique that allows me to position color and texture in precise positions; felting the knit makes it hardwearing.” Like a soft, comfy sweater,
the array of knitwear-inspired home decor now on the market is easy to love. Knitting’s a trendy hobby, so it makes sense that furnishings designers want to play with the materials and motifs, too. Some of the best designs come out of Europe. Claire Anne O’Brien draws on her Irish roots to craft chunky, colorful stools that exaggerate the scale of several knitting stitches. She has experimented with chenille loops in a series of plush, modular semicircles. And her “Chairwear” pieces are exactly that — furniture dressed in sweater slipcovers, complete with turtlenecks, buttons and cuffs. Pudelskern, a design house
in Innsbruck, Austria, creates lamps out of flame-resistant wool. The “Granny” is a pendant lamp cable-knit out of Tyrolean mountain sheep’s wool. Available in ecru and raspberry, it would look just as great in a mountain chalet as an urban loft. “Woozily” is a lampshade crafted from one long, thick wool rope. Available as a pendant, floor or wall lamp, its tumbly tangle of fibers resembles a skein that some large and mischievous tabby got hold of, with a happily elegant result. At night, the effect of light through the soft maze is magical. And the “Feeler” knitted floor lamp looks like a sweater sleeve with a light bulb where your hand
would be. Bauke Knottnerus’s Phat Knits takes enormous noodlelike threads and knits them into giant floor mats. Closer to home, Ferm Living offers cotton rope knitted into casual yet stylish baskets and floor pillows in warm tones of mustard, teal and charcoal. CB2 has plump, pellet-filled knitted poufs in similar hues, including blood orange. As Melanie Porter muses, knitwear’s appeal in modern interiors harkens to the past. “It’s got this ability to evoke memories, a sense of security and the home,” she says. Now if we can just get the cat to shove off.
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PAGE 10 • POWELL TRIBUNE THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011
FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
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Home improvement horror: couple discovered their home was built illegally
Residential and Commercial
t was supposed to be a fairly straightforward home improvement. Alan and Charlotte Lynn were preparing to either add on to their Ralston home or put a mobile home on their property so their daughter and son-in-law could come live with them. As a part of those preparations, the Lynns hired an engineer to find the best place to relocate their improperlysited septic system and to do a survey of the property. “The perk test (for the sewer site) passed,” the Lynns later recalled in a June letter to Park County Commissioners. “The survey did not pass.” The engineer found that their Clark Avenue home — specifically a 1992 living room addition — was illegally located in Railway Street, an unused but still-existing public right of way. That halted any construction plans in their tracks. The Lynns would need a vacation — not the kind involving sun and sand, but the legal process of acquiring the land from the county — to ever legally improve their property, get a loan against it or sell it. The couple bought the home in 2006 looking to downsize on their fixed retirement income. They were assured by the prior owner that there were no issues with the deed. “We were stupid when we bought the place,” said Alan Lynn in a recent interview. By “stupid,” he means the couple believed the seller was telling them the truth. “We were raised a man’s word was his word; you didn’t need contracts and paperwork,” Alan Lynn said. The other “problem” was that the couple paid for the home in cash. “We’ve never left a bill unpaid,” Lynn explained, but if the couple bor-
rowed bank money to buy the property, a survey would undoubtedly have been required as part of any loan. “The guy would have never sold this place,” Lynn said. “He would have been the one to have (dealt with) all this.”
was met with no objections from Park County commis20 years experience sioners, staff or the public. The street and other alleys were originally created in 1906 to provide a continuous route around the town of Ralston, but most have never been developed, said Park County Road and Bridge Project Manager Mike Collier. 20 years Portions of some of the alleys of experience have already been vacated by the county. Even if the county wanted to build a Railway Street today, the right of way is only 30 feet wide, not large enough to build a road to New Construction and Remodels county standards, Collier said. • Framing • Roofing • Siding • Decks Though there were no complications, the Lynns still had Harold 213-0305 • Sheri 271-7030 to go through the formal vacation process. That includes gathering signatures from area residents, presenting a petition to commissioners, having county staff review the proposal, advertising the pending vacation in the Powell Tribune, mailing notices to neighbors and other legal measures. The vacation was made official earlier this month, but the ending isn’t entirely a happy one. “At least it will be our house and so on, and sit on our property, but now after what all this costs, we (don’t) have $ the money to go ahead and do what we had intended to do,” Lynn said, though he adds that his daughter and son-in-law Complete form and bring to your werethisinstead ablewith toyoufind a local CarpetsPlus Color Tile® store and submit at time of home in Powell. purchase between 9/1/11 a and 10/17/11. “We learned lot but we’re too cotton-picking old to® learn Brand Purchased: UltraTouch Fashion Carpet EcoChoice® Carpet like that,” said Lynn, who’s First name: “pretty bitter” about the whole thing. Last name: He said he’s heard that he should pursue legal action Address: against the man who sold the house, but State: “what good would City: ZIP: that do?” he asks. “That man’s older than I am. You going to Daytime phone (with area code): put him in jail the rest of life?” E-mail: Lynn has pretty straightforward advice to those looking Follow us for the latest offers, trends and tips! Minimum purchase of 50 sq. yds. required of UltraTouch® Fashion to avoid his family’s situation. Carpet or EcoChoice® Carpet made with Anso® nylon. Limit one rebate In addition to the living “People buying a home 242 East www.theﬂ Second Street per purchase. Offer good 9/1/11 - 10/17/11 at participating locations. facebook.com/carpetsplusct twitter.com/colortile oorview.com room being in the unused should be doggone sure Powell • 754-5122 street, the Lynns learned the there’s a survey done; if Monday-Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm barn had been built on their they’re going to borrow Saturday, 10am to 3pm neighbor’s property; that re- money, then it’ll get done,” quired a separate boundary said Lynn, noting that “We’re line adjustment. not the only ones this has ever Vacating Railway Street happened to.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was nearly unchanged last week after rising sharply lin early October. Freddie Mac reported the rate on the 30-year loan edged down to 4.11 percent last week from 4.12 percent. The week before, it fell to 3.94 percent. That’s the lowest rate ever, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The average rate on the 15year fixed mortgage ticked up to 3.38 percent from 3.37 percent. It hit a record-low of 3.26 percent two weeks ago. Low rates have done little to revive the lagging housing market, which has struggled with weak sales and declining prices. Many can’t qualify for loans because their credit is weak or they can’t afford a down-payment. Most of those who can afford to refinance already have. The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes fell in September
and is on pace to match last year’s dismal figures — the worst in 13 years. The National Association of Realtors said last week home sales fell 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million homes. That’s below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market. Sales of new homes are on pace to finish the year as the lowest on records dating back a half-century. Prices have been sliding because the market is flooded with houses being sold in foreclosure. Many borrowers are unable to take advantage of the low rates because they can’t meet banks’ restrictive lending standards, or are unable to scrape together a down payment. The low rates have caused a modest boom in refinancing, but that benefit might be wearing off. Most people who can afford to refinance have already locked in rates below 5 percent.
There have been a few modest signs of life for housing. Homebuilders started projects in September at the fastest pace in 17 months, the government said. Most of the gain was driven by a surge in volatile apartment construction. Still, single-family home construction, which represents nearly 70 percent of the market, increased only slightly. And building permits, a gauge of future construction, fell. The Federal Reserve has been trying to reduce longterm rates by buying longerdated Treasurys. Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Buying by the Fed pulls the yield lower. The average rate on a 30year fixed mortgage fell below 4 percent for the first time in history this month, just as the 10-year yield hit its own record low. Rates have edged up since then. Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks
‘People buying a home should be doggone sure there’s a survey done.’
Rod Werbelow 307.202.1388
Alan Lynn BY CJ BAKER Tribune Staff Writer
200 INSTANT REBATE CLAIM FORM
First name: Last name: Address: City:
Daytime phone (with area code
Is this what your extra Rate on 30-year fixed mortgage falls to 4.11 percent E-mail: bedroom looks like? in the past year. Just five years ago they were closer to 6.5 percent. The low rates being offered don’t include extra fees, known as points, which many borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. The average fees for the 30year and 15-year loans were unchanged at 0.8 point. To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday of each week. The average rate on a fiveyear adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.01 percent from 3.06 percent. It hit a record-low of 2.96 percent two weeks ago. The average rate for the oneyear adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.94 percent from 2.90 percent. It fell last month to 2.81 percent, the lowest on records dating back to 1984. The average fees on the oneyear and five-year loan were unchanged at 0.6 point.
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CiTy oF PoWELL Corner of Clark & Third Street Powell, Wy ~ 307-754-6922
• New Construction • Additions • Garages, Living Areas • Remodel • Wall-a-Porch • Chimneys, Fireplaces, Wood Stoves • Driveways • Tool/Storage Sheds • Concrete (not sidewalks) • Siding, Windows • Electrical (all)
• Water/Sewer Lines • Demolition • Dog Kennels • Patios, Decks • Solar Systems • Under or Above Ground Tanks • Porches • Signs • Water Heaters • Furnaces • Mobile Home Set-Up
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• Car Ports • Fences • Swimming Pools/Spas • Parking Lots • Roofing Contact the County for projects outside of the city limits. Park County Planning and Zoning at 754-8540 or 527-8540
Sprinkler SyStemS do not require a permit.
tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011 poweLL tribune • page 11
FALL home improvement
New home construction levels out in Powell
Fiscal Year - July 1 to June 20
The number of single-family home building permits issued by the city of Powell has leveled off in the past three years after dropping from the high annual levels reached in the building boom of the early 2000s. In each of the past three fiscal years, city officials have issued 10-15 permits, down from the nearly 30 issued in 2004 and 2008. The city issued 11 permits
in fiscal year 2010-11, and 10 permits the year before. In fiscal year 2008-09, the city issued 15 permits. City permits for constructing new single-family homes have followed a boom-bust cycle for decades, according to City Hall records. In the 1970s, dozens of new homes were built each year, but the bottom dropped out of the oil market, and by the 1980s, new construction slowed to only
2002 --- 3
a few new homes each year. Housing sales rebounded as the 1990s ended. In fiscal year 2001-02, city officials issued three permits for new singlefamily homes. The next year, that number jumped to 23, and 28 were issued the year after that as new subdivisions were developed, many on Powell’s west side. The most recent peak year was 2007-2008, with 27 permits issued.
2003 --------------------- 23
issued by City of 2004 ------------------------------- 28 Powell 2005 -------------------- 22 to build new single-family homes.
bold carpet makeS a comeback After years of being ripped out and kicked to the curb, carpet is making a comeback. And not just the neutral-toned carpets of recent years, but ones that are boldly colored or patterned. The softer, cozier feel of wallto-wall carpet is appealing to homeowners used to treading on tile and wood, said Emily Morrow, director of color, style and design for Shaw Floors, a company in Dalton, Ga., that specializes in carpet, laminate, tile and hard wood flooring. “They’ve experienced those hard surfaces, and they want to surround themselves with the comfort” of carpet, she said. While hardwood or tile can be great for entryways or other high traffic areas, some rooms – bedrooms, play rooms, studies and family rooms – cry out for carpeting, said Eric Ross, an interior designer in Franklin, Tenn. “Carpet is really trending up,” he said. “You’re going to see more and more of it.” Manufac-
turers have responded by creating carpets with rich colors, patterns and textures designed to be a focal point, rather than just a neutral backdrop. The new choices are available at a variety of price points. “It has gotten exciting again” after years of playing it safe, Morrow said. Clients are using carpet to make a statement, agreed Linda Merrill, an interior designer in Duxbury, Mass. “If carpet is the right choice for a specific space, they feel freer to pick something a little more exciting,” she said. “There are a lot of different colors and different options.” More vibrant carpets often create a more customized feel, Merrill said. With the slumping real estate market, homeowners are indulging their personal tastes and worrying less about how their choices will affect the resale value of their home, she said. Some of the over-the-top ideas from television shows also have freed people to experiment more
with decorating, she said. And the pervasiveness of patterns and bright colors in house wares and home furnishings in recent years has made people more open to color. “We see so much pattern in so many things,” she says. “We’re just bombarded with it.” The bold choices signal a shift away from the neutral palette that dominated earlier in the decade, says Annie Elliott, an interior designer in Washington, D.C. “In the past several years, we’ve been moving away from subtle muddy tones to brighter colors and bright patterns,” Elliott said. She has found that homeowners sometimes make bold flooring choices because they are less confident decorating their walls. “People don’t trust themselves” to buy art, she said. “People are realizing an easier way is using a patterned carpet to enliven a space without putting pressure on the walls.”
2006 ------------------ 21 2007 --------------- 17
2008 ----------------------------- 27 2009 ------------ 15 2010 ---------10 2011 ----------11
SaleS of previouSly occupied homeS fell in September WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes fell in September. Home sales are on pace to match last year’s dismal figures — the worst in 13 years. The National Association of Realtors said last week that home sales dropped 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million homes. That’s below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market. The housing market has been hobbled by foreclosures, weak demand and falling home prices. Last year 4.91 million previously occupied homes were sold, the lowest level since 1997. Activity among first-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of all sales, the same as August. First-time buyers are critical to a housing recovery because their purchases of low and moderately priced homes allow sellers to move up to more expensive homes. Homes at risk of foreclosure edged down to 30 percent of sales, from 31 percent in August. Many of the sales went to investors, who are buying homes under $100,000. Their purchases made up 19 percent of all sales last month, down slightly from 22 percent in August. The large number of unsold homes and foreclosures on the market are sending prices lower and hurting sales, analysts said. “Home prices continue to languish and now appear to be dropping again,” said Steven
Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics. Many people are reluctant to purchase a home more than two years after the recession officially ended. Even the lowest mortgage rates in history haven’t been enough to lift sales. Some can’t qualify for loans or meet higher down payment requirements. Many with good credit and stable jobs are holding off because they fear that home prices will keep falling. Most economists say home prices will keep falling, by at least 5 percent, through the rest of the year. Many forecasts don’t anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013. The Obama administration is trying to expand a program that allows homeowners to refinance their mortgages. But economists say that will do little to help the depressed housing market. Wealthy buyers are still purchasing homes priced at more than $1 million in the affluent Northeast and growing Midwest. And investors are scooping up dirt-cheap homes in the battered South and West for less than $100,000. They are specifically targeting foreclosures in hard-hit areas, such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tampa, Fla. Alistair Bentley, an economist at TD Economics, said few people are interested in buying or selling while the U.S. economy struggles. As long as this continues, he said, investors will be “crucial to the housing recovery.” The high rate of foreclosures
has made re-sold homes much cheaper than new homes. The median sales price dropped roughly to $165,400 in September from August. A new home is now roughly 30 percent higher than the price for a previously occupied home — almost twice the normal markup. A key reason was the rise in foreclosures and short sales — when a lender accepts less than what is owed on the mortgage. Those homes sell at an average discount of 20 percent. Even homes that are under contract and near closing are falling apart at the last minute. Contracts cancellations remained high in September, with 18 percent of Realtors saying they had at least one contract scuttled. That’s unchanged from August and a record high. Homes sales fell across most of the country. In the Northeast, sales rose 2.6 percent. But they declined 0.9 percent in the Midwest, 2.6 percent in the South and 8.8 percent in the West. New maximum loan limits by government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac likely contributed to the large sales decline in the West. On Oct. 1, the maximum loan in high-cost areas fell from $729,750 to $625,500 and, in some areas, to $550,000. That means some buyers are unable to get mortgages in high-cost California cities where homes are more expensive, such as San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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page 12 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
Plump pouf a decor’s fall fave Shelter magazines, catalogs, stores — everywhere we look this season, there’s some sort of pouf. While ottomans tend to be more structured, with a solid form and usually some legs, poufs or hassocks are actually just big upholstered cushions, and aren’t usually used as tables the way ottomans often are. But poufs are the perfect squishy footrest, and thus suit family rooms or relaxed living rooms. Easily moved about, they make great extra seating. With a versatile, portable accessory like this, you can afford to play a little. Look for unusual designs, colorful hues and interesting shapes; poufs add a nice punch to a space for not a lot of money, unless you choose something by a designer. If you want the genuine Moroccan-made article, check out Tazi Designs and Living Morocco. Tazi has an array of colorful leather poufs with a Moorish motif. A black leather one features white silk
stitching; a bronze leather one is equally dramatic. Living Morocco has several striking models in black and red, or green and white. From Morocco With Love has several affordable versions in supple rainbow hues; check out their website for an interesting film showing Fez artisans at work. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola has created a beautiful, albeit pricey collection of sprawl-worthy giant poufs covered in her popular Mangas pattern; the word means “sweater,” and with their nubby knitted wool texture, the pieces do look cozy. Janet Shea, an interior designer in Hanover, Mass., likes the versatility and user-friendliness of poufs. She likes them in a living room, but loves putting them in kids’ spaces. “I’ve used them in a couple of preteen girls’ rooms I’ve worked on. They’re great for lounging, watching TV and playing video games,” Shea said. “So much better than sitting on the bed or floor.”
Design firm FiveTimesOne has a cool group of felted Merino wool poufs that look like polished travertine, marble, and stone pebbles and boulders; in a contemporary space, they’d be standout pieces. Poufs are great if you’ve got toddlers — they’re cruisingfriendly, and fun to flop over. John Derian offers Moroccan poufs in bright hues such as turquoise, sunshine and violet. Homegoods offers a big comfy marshmallow pouf that’s covered in soft candy pink loops — perfect for a girl’s room. They’ve got some snazzy embellished Indian-sari-style poufs, too, that any college girl would love. Restoration Hardware has a Union Jack upholstered cube pouf that packs a mod graphic punch but would also be at home in a traditional setting. Some poufs come filled, but you can use just about anything to fill the cover — old clothing, sheets, newspaper or purchased foam trimmed to size.
975 L ane 10-1/2 • PoweLL, wyoming • 307-754-4891
Quality Home Inspections Along with building materials, the ReStore often receives donations of furniture and other household items, such as this china set that was on sale last week. tribune photo by don amend
ReStore can help before or after a home improvement project ordered, or cabinets that didn’t fit because of a change in plans. Other times, unused construction items are donated. “We just received a donation of a lot of mortar, and we sold it already,” Schmeiser said. A donation of landscaping material also disappeared quickly, Schmeiser said. The store does a particularly brisk business in windows and doors, according to Schmeiser, and cabinets also are in demand. “A lot of doors and windows get donated and a lot are sold,” she said. “As soon as we get cabinets in, we sell them.” Light fixtures are steady sellers as well. Sales of some items are sporadic, such as bathroom fixtures, according to Amy Trenk, an employee at the ReStore. People donate toilets, and they won’t sell for quite a while, and then several will be sold in a short time, Trenk said. Not all of the items sold are used for their original purpose, Schmeisser said. “People come in and buy old windows that they turn into picture frames,” she said. “We had some doors that were made of nice wood that people made shelves from.” Even an item such as a light fixture that may be out of style, or an orphan left over from a set,
By DON AMEND Tribune Staff Writer
uppose you are adding a room in the basement, and you need just a couple of sheets of drywall to finish a wall. Or maybe you finished converting a spare bedroom into a sewing room or den and eliminated a closet in the process, leaving you with a spare door or some shelving you don’t need anymore. In either case, the opening of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore last spring might be just the answer. If all you need is a four-foot-long 2x12 or a way to get a leftover bundle of insulation out of your storage shed, a visit to the ReStore probably can help you out. The ReStore, which opened on Gateway Drive near the west water tower in April, stocks a wide variety of donated items and materials that can be useful to someone doing a small project, or maybe even a large one. Items are donated by individuals as well as businesses, contractors and organizations. Basic building materials, light fixtures, furniture, and even some appliances can be found at the store, and the staff, many of them volunteers, makes sure they are good quality. “We are not a junk store,” said Jaime Schmeiser, assistant director of Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity, which operates the ReStore. “We accept good used items, and we get a lot of brand new things.” New items are often donated because a mistake was made, Schmeisser said. The ReStore sometimes receives new carpet because the wrong color was
might be attractive to someone remodeling a room. A chair or couch donated because the owner didn’t like it may be just what another person wants. “Some people like those things for their uniqueness,” Schmeisser said. Even seemingly useless products, such as a can of paint only a quarter full, can find a buyer if it’s just enough to paint a cabinet door or a small piece of furniture. Schmeiser said the ReStore has seen a steady stream of customers and browsers since it opened. “We even have regulars who come in just to see what’s available,” Schmeisser said. Landlords who are fixing up or remodeling rentals are frequent customers. Using the ReStore does more than save money on a project. It also puts to use materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. Information on the store’s website (www.mountainspiritrestore.com) says that, since the store opened, it has kept almost 47 tons of materials out of the Park County landfills. In addition, income generated by the ReStore is used to support Habitat for Humanity’s original mission. The Christian organization is dedicated to providing decent, affordable housing to people in need.
Rick does all he can to make sure his clients know about the house they are buying or selling. He is thorough, speaks in clear terms and cares about his client’s needs. He goes beyond the call of duty by giving freee information to buyers and sellers even they are not clients. If there is something he does not know, he works to find it out. He cares enough to make sure everyone knows what they need to know to make an informed decision in their home purchase. You will not find a more conscientious home inspector east Visit www.summitinspections.info • Find out how to inspect your home for free of Yellowstone ... or anywhere. • 8 common, easily fixed home issues found in the basin Contact me if you would like to find out about advantages of seller pre-inspections and the deal I am running on them right now.
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011 POWELL TRIBUNE • PAGE 13
FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
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Panels attached to Carl and Betty’s energy-efficient home in Clark absorb solar power that is then used as electricty. Courtesy photos/Carl and Betty Cook
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ith the Beartooth Mountains as a backdrop, the home basks in the sunlight, absorbing solar energy that will be converted into electricity. When Clark’s legendary high winds sweep through, the energy-efficient home stands strong. Exterior storm windows coupled with double pane interior windows help keep those whipping wind gusts at bay. The solar-powered, well-insulated house is Carl and Betty Cook’s ideal home. A sign at their driveway reads “My Fantasy,” which is how Betty describes their home on 40 acres. Her dream was to live in the West, where she could ride a good horse in solitude amid a mountainous landscape. On many days, she does just that. When they moved from the East, the Cooks set out to build a home that was energy-efficient and fit their needs. “We wanted to maintain a good standard of living, but we didn’t want to be wasteful,” Carl said. For those setting out to build a home, Carl first emphasizes the importance of hiring a reliable and honest contractor. The Cooks ran into costly problems and a legal dispute with an untrustworthy contractor that resulted in a misdemeanor criminal conviction for his actions. Carl encourages verifying a builder’s history to make sure he is reputable and upstanding. “You have to protect yourself,” Carl said. “Ask questions, keep receipts, do research … especially in today’s economy, you’ve got to protect yourself.” Constructed from structural insulated panels (SIP), the house is very well insulated, Carl said. A structurally insulated panel consists of a thick foam core sandwiched between two boards. “It looks like an ice-cream sandwich,” Carl said. “They’re very strong.” The ceiling panels have 10-
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Crews construct the Cook’s home with structural insulated panels. During the home’s construction, the couple lived in an apartment on the property for a year. They have been living in the new energy-efficient home for about three years. During hot days, “the house inch thick foam, while the exterior wall panels are 8 inches stays cool. The heat doesn’t thick. They purchased the pan- penetrate, even when the sun’s els through R-Control, Big Sky beating down,” Carl said. That sunshine is especially Insulations in Belgrade, Mont. With the SIP walls and ceil- welcome at the Cook residence. ing, “there are no gaps, no Twenty-four panels affixed to seams — it’s a really well engi- the home’s roof absorb the solar energy to be used as electricity. neered house,” he said. A clear, sunny day in the sumUnderneath the home, the rim joists and foundation walls are mer produces up to 45 kilowatts sprayed with foam insulation to of electricity for the home, they the footers, Carl said. The foam said. Of course, it varies from fills in the gaps so air can’t pen- day to day. On average, they receive around 30 kilowatts of etrate, he said. With frigid winter tem- solar power a day. “It depends on peratures fast how clear the sky approaching, is and how much the Cooks know ‘You have to the sun is out,” their house will Betty said. stay warm. A protect yourself. An inverter conhighly efficient Ask questions, verts the direct propane furkeep receipts, do current electricity nace heats the from the solar pan1,600-square- research … ’ els into alternate foot house. Carl Cook current power that They also have Homeowner is then used in a HearthStone the Cook’s home. wood-burning In the year since stove made of soapstone, which “stays nice they’ve used solar energy, and toasty for hours and hours,” they’ve saved 7 tons of fossil fuel, Carl said. Betty said. With solar panels, it’s best if One winter, the furnace went out during a particularly cold the house faces dead east, which night. Even though it dropped the Cook’s home does, Carl said. Excess electricity goes back to 20 degrees below zero with blowing wind outside, the house to a net meter, which is used by Beartooth Electric, the service stayed 56 degrees inside. The quality insulation has provider in Clark. “Under Wyoming law, the proven itself in the winter and electric company has to buy summer alike.
25 Years Experience
back all unused kilowatts at the end of the year at their cost,” Carl said. The silicone solar panels are German made and the Cooks purchased them through Sundance Solar of Red Lodge, Mont. Since using solar energy, the couple has only paid the monthly base charge of $34 to Beartooth Electric. Other users may pay up to $400 or more per month for electricity. “We haven’t paid an electric bill for a year,” Carl said. Though the upfront cost of a solar energy system may be steep, the energy and cost savings make it well worth the investment, Carl said. Also, a federal tax credit of 30 percent is available through 2017, helping curb that cost. In addition to energy-efficient appliances throughout the house, another energy saving measure is their on-demand hot water heater. “It only comes on when you tell it to,” Betty said. While there is a little delay to getting hot water through the faucet, the wait is worth the savings. The couple encourages people who are considering a home build to look at the wide range of energy-efficient options available. Especially young families building homes can reap financial savings over the years, making it well worth the initial investment, Carl said.
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firstname.lastname@example.org M e m b e r a n d s u p p o r t e r o f S p o r t s m a n f o r F i s h a n d W i l d l i f e ( w w w. w y s f w. o r g ) a n d B i g G a m e F o r e v e r ( w w w. b i g g a m e f o r e v e r. o r g )
page 14 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
tOp 10 tIps ...
Gutter CleAninG ❶ always let someone know you are cleaning your gutters. ❷ Use a ladder with a shelf and a plywood platform for stabilization. ❸ clean off roof first. ❹ Wear rubber-soled shoes or Korkers (shoes with grip spikes) for stability when walking on roof. ❺ Use a small plastic spade or gutter scoop. ❻ Wear gloves and proper eyewear. ❼ Unclog downspouts with a garden hose that has an adjustable spray. ❽ Install a downspout chain to eliminate annoying rain dripping sounds. ❾ Watch out for hazardous power lines. ❿ clean gutters twice a year.
Debris such as fallen leaves should be cleaned from gutters twice each year. tribune photo by Judy Killen
Gutter cleaning tips from a pro Fall is the time of year to get your house in order before winter sets in. For most homeowners, this means it is once again time for a good, old-fashioned gutter cleaning. According to Robert Lenney, a gutter-cleaning expert whose company has cleaned out more than 5 million feet of gutter since 1996, it’s the semi-annual project that strikes fear into the heart of all urban and suburban warriors who face that dreaded request, “Honey, it’s time to clean out the gutters!” “At its best, gutter cleaning is a tedious and disgusting task. At worst, it can be scary and downright dangerous. One slight misstep and you are heading to the hospital with a broken bone and bruised ego,” says Lenney. Ladder Safety: Always let someone know you will using a ladder to work on your roof or gutters. Use a safe and sturdy ladder, preferably with a small shelf strong enough to hold a 5-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris. Make sure to secure the bucket with a lanyard. We recommend a four-legged step ladder for a single story home, and an extension ladder for a two-story home. An orchard ladder is not recommended because there are only three legs for support and they can become unbalanced. A wooden ladder is also not recommended because they are often wobbly and difficult to safely balance. Fiberglass ladders seem to be the sturdiest, but are also the heaviest. If you are cleaning gutters for hours upon hours, muscle fatigue can set in from moving the heavy ladder numerous times. If this is the case, you should try using an aluminum ladder, which is the second-choice option for strength and support. Inspect the ladder for defects, dents or loose parts before climbing. If your ladder is fastened together with screws and bolts, make sure all parts are tightened. When opening up a step ladder, make sure the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place. Before climbing the ladder, lightly jump on the first rung a few times to make sure the ground is secure. Sometimes the soil is soft, or there might be a gopher hole underneath one of the ladder legs. Either condition could cause the ladder to collapse
with the combined weight of the ladder and a person. A piece of half-inch plywood can be placed under the ladder legs to keep it level and steady. When climbing the ladder, always remember the “Three Point Rule.” As much as possible try to have both legs and one hand firmly secure on the ladder at all times to provide stability and balance while cleaning. Conversely, do not lean out from the ladder balancing on one leg while using two hands to clean debris from the gutter. Oftentimes, it is this stretching and reaching for that last scoop of debris that lands a person in the hospital. Lastly, if at all possible, have someone hold the ladder to provide additional safety while climbing. Garden hose: To use a garden hose with normal water pressure (30-40 psi - the standard for municipal water services), simply attach a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle. This type of spray nozzle allows you to adjust the water pressure with the use of just one hand. This style of spray nozzle comes with a handy pistol-grip trigger, allowing it to be easily hung over the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder, or while using a gutter scoop. This type of spray nozzle can be purchased at any hardware store. Spraying out the gutter is generally best when most of the larger debris has already been removed. It’s difficult to spray out leaves and pine needles that have piled up over the summer and fall. Spray toward the downspout so the small, murky debris flows down the downspout. If the downspout is connected to an underground drain that goes out to your street, the base of the downspout needs to be disconnected so the debris can be released at this point, preventing a potential clog further down the system under your lawn or driveway. Gutter scoop: Scooping out the leafy debris seems to be the best overall method for cleaning out the gutter. An excellent tool for this job is the bright orange plastic “Gutter Getter” scoop, which can be purchased at most hardware stores. This tool is unique because the front scooping edge is very thin and it forms itself to the bottom of the gutter trough, making it easy to scoop out even the toughest of debris in any size gutter system. Stay away from using a metal
scooping tool because the bottom of the gutter and seams can be damaged. Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce areas to rust, and if the bottom of the gutter is already rusting, the rusting process could speed up. Using a metal scooping tool can also damage seams in the gutter because the motion of scraping out the bottom of a gutter with a metal tool can damage the caulking that seals two ends of a gutter together (called a seam). An extension pole can also be attached to the gutter scoop for reaching farther to clean the gutter, reducing ladder moves. Wear gloves: Gloves can help protect hands against dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contains bird and squirrel droppings that are ridden with bacteria. Gloves can also prevent painful cuts from the torn metal shards of an old, ragged gutter. Cotton gloves can soak up dirty water that exposes skin to bacteria. Leather gloves are not as maneuverable and tend to shrivel up when they dry after cleaning. Rubber gloves can get poked or torn by metal shards in the gutter. Thick, suede glove material is recommended because it is superior to cotton, thin leather or rubber gloves. Protective eye wear: Eye protection is a must because one never knows what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning gutters. People have experienced rats, birds, frogs, wasps and bees leaving at high speeds once they start removing a clog, and the last thing they want to have happen is an eye injury. Rake off roof: Rake all debris off the roof first. Otherwise, the next rain will wash all the debris down into the clean gutter, clogging it up again. Also, debris left on the roof can lead to water damming up in valleys or around the chimney, which can cause erosion and roof leaks over time. Rubber shoes: If walking on the roof is necessary to perform gutter cleaning, it is good to use rubber soled shoes. Rubber soles tend to adhere best and prevent slipping and falls. Roof tops tend to be moist in the morning, so it is best to walk on the roof after the sun is well up in the sky and has dried up all the moisture. Late mornings or early afternoons are the best times to walk on a roof.
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011 POWELL TRIBUNE • PAGE 15
FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
Winterizing tips to save money percent. ing time, vent the exhaust pipe “Everyone thinks fireplaces directly outside without elbows. warm a house, but they actually Use rigid, non-corrugated metaking a home energy cool it,” said Sandra Frost, crop al ducts. Inspect the vents reguefficient can protect the systems educator at the Univer- larly because dryer fires are all environment and save sity of Wyoming Cooperative too common, Smith said. the homeowner money. Extension Service. Use Energy Star office equipThat was the gist of the proUnless the area around the ment like computers and printgram hosted by the University fireplace is properly insulated, ers. “An Energy Star labeled of Wyoming Cooperative Ex- it will lose heat, Smith agreed. computer uses 70 percent less tension Service last week. The fireplace flue is de- electricity than computers Insulate attics with R50 signed to allow smoke to without this designation,” said insulation, said University of escape. When the fireplace the booklet. Wyoming Cooperative Exten- is not in use, close the flue so There are tax credits for sion Service livestock systems warm air does not escape up some Energy Star products, educator Dallen Smith. said the Department the chimney, said the Essentially, the higher the R- booklet. of Energy. value, the less warm or cool air The best way to Check windows, is lost to the outside. warm up a car is by doors, plumbing, etc. In this region, attics should on windy days with driving it. “No more have R49 to R60 insulation. a incense stick or than 30 seconds of Cathedral ceilings should have smoke pen. How idling on winter days R30 to R60. Walls should re- the smoldering inis needed. Anything ceive R13 to R21 insulation. cense or smoke pen more simply wastes Exterior sheeting on exterior near the window, fuel and increases walls should be R5 to R6, said etc. If the smoke emissions,” said the DALLEN SMITH “Energy Savers Booklet,” from moves horizontally, booklet. the U.S. Department of Energy. you have a leak, the Speeding and rapIf the room has a cathedral booklet said. id acceleration can or exposed ceiling, insulaInstall double-pane win- lower highway gas mileage by tion should be in the ceiling. dows with low-e coating, as much as 33 percent, said the If the building booklet. Smith said. has a closed atUse the grade of motor oil Low-e coating tic, insulation glass reflects the recommended by the manufacshould be placed ‘My philosophy is heat back into turer, the booklet said. along the ceiling if you are not using the room during Common sense solutions can joists. And don’t the winter, the be employed that don’t require forget to insu- the lighting in the booklet said. a trip to the hardware store. late around floor room, turn it off.’ Deciduous Turn the computer off when joists, Smith said. trees planted on it is not in use. Not only will that Loose fill insuDallen Smith the south and save on electricity, but when lation like fiberwest side of the the computer is off, it is not UW cooperative glass, rock wool home can keep it vulnerable to computer viruses, extensions educator or cellulose is cool in the sum- Smith said. ideal in walls or Clean or replace filters on mer and catch where it is difficult to install the sun in the winter after the furnaces once a month or as other insulation, said the book- hardwoods shed their leaves, needed, said the booklet. let. Turn the lights off. Smith said. Fix the leaks. The big heat“My philosophy is if you are Other than a spa pump and leaking culprits are windows, heater or pool pump, the only not using the lighting in the 10 percent; floors, walls and appliance that uses more en- room, turn it off,” Smith said. CoNtaiNerS: 95 gal. to 1-1/2 ceilings, 31 percent; ducts, 15 ergy The bookletKaRts has plenty of than the refrigerator is the Residential percent; plumbing, 13 percent; clothing dryer, said the booklet. winterizing and energy saving doors, 11 percent; fans/vents, To assist the dryer’s effi- ideas. Copies are available at 4 percent and fireplaces, 14 ciency and thus facilitate dry- the Extension office, Frost said.
BY GIB MATHERS Tribune Staff Writer
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AIR LEAKS “Checking for any kind of air leaks is a prime project for this time of year,” said Kit Selzer, senior remodeling and projects editor at Better Homes and Gardens. Caulk can be used to seal leaks around doors or windows, or around pipes or ductwork. “Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls,” the Energy Department advises. Weather-stripping can be placed at the bottom of a door or in a window sash to help produce a seal. There are many different types, from felt to vinyl and metal. A professional can advise what is best in each case. CHIMNEYS Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. “You want to make sure there’s nothing built up in the chimney or any debris that’s worked its way in,” Selzer said. Why?
“Dirty chimneys can be a fire hazard,” the Chimney Safety Institute of America says on its website. Creosote, a residue from wood burning, builds up over time and is combustible. Make sure the damper is closed, except when using the fireplace. Also, check to make sure a chimney cap is in place so birds or other wildlife don’t make the chimney their home. EMERGENCY KITS It’s good to have an emergency kit throughout the year, but it can be especially important in the middle of a snowstorm when the power goes out. “When preparing for emergency situations, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency says. In addition to these basics, the agency also recommends that emergency kits contain a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, first aid items, moist towelettes and a whistle, among other items. You also might want to have some ice melt on hand to treat icy sidewalks and driveways. FANS Ceiling fans circulate air in summer and winter. In winter, you’ll want to reverse the fan’s direction to eliminate downdraft. In most cases, you’ll want the fan to run clockwise during the winter months. GUTTERS “It’s a common thing for clogged gutters to freeze if they don’t drain properly,” said Pat Sandor, a “How To” expert at Home Depot. “Those can back up and cause damage to the home.” So before winter, clean all debris from gutters and downspouts. Selzer also advises looking for gaps in the gutter where water can drip through, freeze and cause icy patches.
HEATING Regardless of what type of heating system you use, it’s a good idea to have it checked before the start of each winter to make sure it is working correctly. “They’re checking filters, they’re checking connections,” Selzer said. If you have oil heat, make sure your tank is full before the cold weather arrives. INSULATION The Energy Department estimates that you can save up to 20 percent on heating and air conditioning bills by adding insulation to attics, under floors and in other areas where air can leak. There are several different kinds of insulation, ranging from batts or blanket insulation to loose fill or foams that can be sprayed in place. A department website, Energysavers.gov, has a map that shows how much insulation is needed in different areas of the country. An energy audit will be able to tell you if you have enough. Selzer said that adding insulation is generally considered a do-it-yourself job. “A lot depends on how you can access your attic areas,” she said. Sandor also recommended putting an insulation jacket on your water heater. OUTSIDE FAUCETS Don’t forget to turn off water to the outside faucet and allow the faucet to drip dry before the below-freezing temperatures hit. You can get a little hood, basically a hard plastic shell over foam, that you can put over the outside faucet to help prevent it from freezing, according to Sandor. WINDOWS Winter is time to pull down those storm windows. If you don’t have any, a cheaper alternative to buying them is to put plastic sheeting over the window to try to block drafts. Another easy way to make windows feel less drafty is insulated curtains, according to Selzer.
City of Powell lists 250+ contractors The city of Powell’s list of registered contractors remains strong with more than 250 names on the list. The city registers contractors in four categories: general contractors; limited contractors, usually subcontractors who specialize in a particular area; and contractors who do electrical work and plumbing.
The city began requiring contractors to register in 2004, and that year 171 were listed. The number has grown each year, with numbers reflecting major construction projects. In recent years, the list has swelled as contractors register to work on school construction, building the Powell Aquatic Center and remodel-
ing as well as other commercial projects. Although local contractors likely will register every year, some may be on the list only once as they work on particular projects. Homeowners who want to hire a contractor may check at City Hall to find out whether the contractor is registered.
(AP) — The hot, hazy days of summer are a perfect time to start preparing for winter. Many must-do projects, such as caulking, cleaning gutters, adding insulation or preparing emergency kits, will make your home more energy-efficient, help prevent weather damage and make things easier should the power go out. “It is never too early to save energy and save money at home,” said Joelle Terry, spokeswoman for the Energy Department. “Whether it’s choosing energy efficient products, sealing air and duct leaks, or adding insulation, American households could save more than 20 percent on their household energy bills by making energy upgrades to their homes.” Many winterizing projects, like caulking, can be done by the homeowner; others, such as checking the heating system, usually require a professional. Here’s a look, alphabetically, at some things experts recommend doing to prepare for winter:
Can you dig it? Maybe, but call first so we can give you the number of the free locate service in your area. Playing it safe around electricity is so important, we caution you to always follow the 10-foot rule around overhead power lines and to steer clear of downed power lines. Your safety matters to us.
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page 16 • powell tribune tHURsday, OctObeR 27, 2011
FAll home improvement
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Low Big R Prices This view of an apartment remodeled by Jay and Jan Olsen about three years ago shows the open area created by knocking down a wall that used to be in front of the kitchen area. The Olsens moved the refrigerator to where the kitchen door used to be, and added a closet for a washer and dryer next to it. tribune photo by Ilene Olson
Remodel converts neglected building into comfortable apartments renovations to it.” The building had two apartments upstairs, and two downears ago, Jan Olsen and stairs. One of the upstairs her husband, Jay, decided apartments hadn’t been lived in for several years. that, since “The apartment they were self-employed, they needed ‘Older apartments upstairs had brown to put something liked teeny rooms. appliances,” Olsen “Brown apaway for retireA little apartment said. pliances — those ment. They began were before the doing that by buy- feels a whole green ones. And ing older apart- lot bigger if it little round pipes ments and houses, remodeling them, doesn’t have a lot held the sink up.” But the building then renting them of walls. you want had its charms, too, out. the least amount such as wood floors, “We just decided two bathtubs that we’d start buying that you can get were “kind of curvy, the dumpiest house away with.’ kind of neat,” and a in town, if it was solid, fix it up, and Jan Olsen round ceiling that rent it out,” she Remodeler is “really cool,” all of which they kept said. “Jay had marand enhanced durvelous structural ability, and I ing the remodel. cared what it looked like.” “The round ceiling, we kept That proved to be a good forthat for the flavor,” she said. mula for success. But they got rid of things, too, A few years ago, the couple decided to buy an apartment starting with the brown applibuilding on the southeast corner ances and a couple of walls. “Older apartments liked teeof Third and Cheyenne streets. Though it was old and hadn’t ny rooms,” Olsen said. “A been remodeled for many years, little apartment feels a whole the building was solid, Olsen lot bigger if it doesn’t have a lot of walls. You want the least said. “It was built in the 1940s,” she amount that you can get away said. “We had to do some major with.”
By ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor
They knocked out the wall between the living room and kitchen in both upstairs apartments, then built washer/dryer closets in the kitchens. The Olsens completed renovations on the top two apartments by early 2009. But work on the other two was put on hold when Jay died unexpectedly in February 2009. Jan Olsen is working on one of the basement apartments now. The other still is in the planning stages. “We did the top two; now it’s up to me to finish the bottom two,” Olsen said. “He had the plan, thank heavens, but I’m having to hire more out than I had planned to.” But Olsen has done a lot of the work herself, too. For instance, she used a cement cutter to cut out the floor in a basement apartment in order to replace the sewer line. “It was leaking under the cement; it was very bad,” she said, adding, “It’s much better now.” Olsen said she and Jay found providing nice homes for renters benefits landlords and renters alike. “The nicer you take care of a place, the nicer the renters get,” she said. “The majority of them have been extremely nice.”
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Kaylee and Pete Baxendale and their son Jaxen live in an apartment renovated prior to 2009 by Kaylee’s parents, Jay and Jan Olsen. Above, Kaylee reads to Jaxen in his bedroom. tribune photo by Ilene Olson
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