Friday, December 30, 2011

Utah home sales continue upward trend | Deseret News

SANDY — Utah home sales climbed for the sixth consecutive month in November, rising more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to a report from the Utah Association of Realtors.

For the year, sales were up eight percent compared to the same period in 2010. Since the beginning of the year, more than 30,000 homes have been sold.

“The combination of low interest rates, high affordability and improved employment conditions has brought out many would-be buyers,” said Lori Chapman, 2012 president of the Utah Association of Realtors.

Realtor Lisa Blakemore places informational fliers at a recently listed home in the Avenues.

Tom Smart, Deseret News
Realtor Lisa Blakemore places informational fliers at a recently listed home in the Avenues.

The upward trend in home sales is expected to continue into the new year, the report stated. The number of contracts signed to buy homes rose 31 percent in November compared to the same month last year, while pending sales increased for the seventh straight month.

“Pending sales measure future activity since it typically takes a month or two after the contract is signed for the home to close and officially sell,” Chapman explained.

In November, the number of homes for sale fell more than 23 percent compared to last year. Inventory levels have been falling for a year, with November marking the fewest number of homes on the market since April 2007. In addition, the number of new listings was down about 12 percent.

“Our most recent indicators are pointing to both increases in demand and decreases in supply, a combination that bodes well for housing in our state,” Chapman said. “Our inventory absorption rate is also heading closer to a more balanced range, which is typically six or seven months. As this number heads into that territory, it is more likely that prices will rise.”

The median sales price of Utah homes sold was $170,000 in November, down about 9 percent from last year. For the year, prices fell about 8 percent.

The report stated that the low prices combined with record-low interest rates brought affordability to near record levels. The UAR’s Affordability Index stood at 167 in November, meaning a typical Utah family makes 167 percent of what is needed to buy the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates.

The record was set in September when the index registered 168.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year-end review: Utah's most memorable stories of 2011


SALT LAKE CITY — As we approach the end of 2011, KSL News takes a look back at this year's top 10 most memorable Utah stories.

 

  1. Who can forget the year of the Jimmer? Following a stellar senior season playing basketball for BYU — and garnering hundreds of thousands of fans along the way — Jimmer Fredette went on to win college basketball player of the year and was taken in the 1st round of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.
  2. But not even Jimmer ever accomplished what a group of young ladies from Farmington did in May, all thanks to an outbreak of horse herpes. Rodeo queen contestants had to ride stick poniesduring a rodeo because the virus was making the real horses sick. Their story made international headlines.
  3. Speaking of animals, thousands of birds came down in Cedar City in early December.
  4. And hundreds of pigs were burned in a barn fire in Beaver County in November.
  5. Then there was the eagle hurt in a car accident that was sent back into the wild in San Juan County last April. The man who let her go was Brody Young — the Utah park ranger who was shot several times near Moab, and is now back to work.
  6. A group of Logan bystanders showed amazing strength in September when they lifted a car off of a motorcyclist who was hit and pinned underneath it. Surveillance video captured them pulling 21-year-old Brandon Wright out from underneath the burning vehicle.
  7. There were other amazing rescues, for example that of two men who got lost and ran out of gas while snowmobiling in Wasatch County in March. They built a snow cave and lived there for a couple of days until search and rescue teams eventually found them.
  8. A missing 12-year-old Boy Scout also built a shelter when he got lost in Daggett County in August.He was found safe the next day.
  9. Lehi Police Chief Chad Smith saved a 3-year-old boy from drowning in a swimming pool in July. Smith did CPR and made a lifelong friend.
  10. And who can forget Dale Price? He's the American Fork dad who dressed up in a different costume every morning to wave goodbye to his son as he boarded his school bus? His story made headlines across the world.

I miss Christmas already

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Fear in the New Year

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No Fear in the New Year

Eleven years ago I looked out into the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day with fear in my heart and uncertainty in my life. I had been fired from a "dot.com" company two weeks earlier with only two weeks of severance, no insurance for my two young children and only two months of savings in the bank. My wife and I had just invested every dollar we had and even took out a second mortgage on our home and $20,000 on a credit card to open what would be the first Moe's Southwest Grill in Florida.

The restaurant was set to open January 13th and we had no earthly idea how we would pay our home mortgage and other bills since I planned on keeping my salary and job while my managers built the restaurant business. Now, it was New Years Day and I had no job, no salary and a restaurant opening that at worst would fail miserably or at best take a year to be profitable.

I thought of all this as I prepared to jump into the icy cold water-to take a symbolic plunge that this would be the year of NO FEAR. Regardless of the circumstances I was facing, this would be the year where I would trust and go for it. This would be the year I would be bold in actions and faith and humble in spirit. No longer could I do it alone. Now I needed a miracle and I decided to act as if my future depended on me and pray like it depended on God.

By jumping into the ocean I was declaring that no longer will I allow fear to cut off the flow of abundant and positive energy in my life. No longer will I allow fear to paralyze me. Instead of fear I would trust.

Now, eleven years later, as I write this I am preparing to jump into the ocean once again on New Year’s Day. It has become my yearly ritual - to remind myself to follow my passion, live life to the fullest, surrender and to stay one step ahead of the fear that hovers around me.

And as I take my leap into the ocean I want to invite you to jump in with me. Perhaps not in the ocean but in the depths of your mind. This jump doesn't necessarily require water but rather a leap of faith in your belief system and a shift in your mindset. The antidote to fear is trust and it is only a thought away.

No one is going to push you over the chasm of struggle to the life that you want. God will nudge you but you must take the leap. You must make this jump in your mind and then with your actions. You must make this jump with trust, determination and faith. After all, they don't call it a leap of fear. They call it a "leap of faith" for a reason.

You will always feel fear. Everyone will. But your trust must be bigger than your fear. The bigger your trust the smaller your fear becomes. And the more you trust the more you become a conduit for miracles. I know. A consulting project presented itself out the blue and we were able to pay our mortgage. A check came in the mail, the right opportunities came our way and somehow, some way my family and I were carried. A year after the restaurant opened I started this newsletter which eventually lead to me writing books, speaking and doing the work I do now.

I know that 2011 was not a great year for many people but I believe New Year’s Day represents a fresh start and it presents a new opportunity to create the life and career you want. All you have to do is jump in with all that you are and all that you wish to become.

Are you ready? How will you make 2012 your best year yet? Share your thoughts on our blog or Facebook page!

-Jon

P.S. People often ask me what happened to my restaurant. Well, thankfully I eventually opened 4 restaurants and sold them seven years ago knowing it was time to focus 100% on the work I'm doing now. Thank you for your support and for sharing this message with others.

Countdown to New Year 2012 in Salt Lake City

Time until Sunday, January 1, 2012 (Salt Lake City time)

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until Sunday, January 1, 2012 (Salt Lake City time)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 11:42:50 PM MST (local time in Salt Lake City)

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Should you buy a home in 2012?

Should you buy a home in 2012?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 1st Day till Christmas - 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional The true meaning for the season!

Merry Christmas to your family from ours. And a very happy new year
Love the Fleming

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pinebrook Subdivision (814696)

Pinebrook Subdivision (814696)

2 Days till Christmas in Utah - Tuacahn - Christmas In The Canyon | Live Nativity

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Since I am spending Christmas with my son in St George this will bring the Christmas spirt to anyone with the Live Nativity. What a beautiful way to spend the season.

Tuacahn's Christmas In The Canyon is presented every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from the day after Thanksgiving to December 23rd. Entrance to Christmas In The Canyon is free to the public. It's Tuacahn's way of saying "Thank you" to the community for its support and to remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. A Live Nativity is presented each night in the Amphitheatre at 7:00 and 8:00 PM. Cost to get into the Live Nativity is $2.00 per ticket or $10.00 per family.

In addition to enjoying the Live Nativity, visitors can also see the lights and listen to wonderful Holiday music on the Tuacahn Plaza, or sit by an open fire and sip hot chocolate from Tuacahn's Concession Stand. Visitors will find a wonderful selection of Christmas items and Holiday gifts at the Tuacahn Gift Gallery. Near the entrance to the Gift Gallery parents can bring their children to see Santa Claus from 6:30 - 9:00 PM. There's something for everyone at Tuacahn's Christmas Festival of Lights.
Live Nativity
The Live Nativity includes real live camels, and beautiful costumes. Volunteers will staff all of the nativity efforts. "We've had great success working with religious leaders from all faiths in the area, every night, a new set of volunteers will be making this nativity come to life." said Rita Ostler.

Those interested in volunteering for the 2011 Live Nativity should contact the Tuacahn Administrative Offices at 435-652-3200 or by e-mail at information@tuacahn.org.

"Whether you can work on stage or back stage, everybody is welcome," said Ostler, the volunteer coordinator for the Live Nativity. "All contributions are appreciated."

Volunteers can participate for one night or many nights, depending on their circumstances. Roles to be filled include Mary and Joseph, the Three Wise Men, townspeople, angels, and shepherds.

3 Days til Christmas in Utah - Enjoy Utah!: Willard Bay Christmas Lights 2011

Willard Bay Christmas Lights 2011

The Willard Bay Christmas lights are always spectacular, but even more so this year!

For $9 a car, you get admission to see the most googled Christmas lights display in Utah! Included this year with that $9 admission is a horse drawn wagon ride to see the lights! Instead of just seeing the lights from your car, bundle the family up in a blanket and enjoy the lights the old fashioned way.

Light displays are now through New Years, from 6pm to 10pm. Please note that if the attendance is down that night, the wagon ride may close earlier than 10pm.

Read an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about the people behind the lights and how they got started.

How To Get There:

Fantasy at the Bay is located at Willard Bay State Park. Visitors should take I-15 and use exit #357 to enter the display from the Cottonwood Campground. For more information regarding the display, please call Willard Bay State Park at 435-734-9494 or call the display headquarters at 435-237-9506.

Thanks to my dad, Mark at Gines Auto Service, for this information! This is one of his favorite Christmas lights display to see every year!

View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 Days of Christmas in Utah - 48th Annual Torchlight Parade - Park City, Utah

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48th Annual Torchlight Parade

We invite you to join us on Christmas Eve for the Park City Mountain Resort torchlight parade. Santa Claus will ski around the mountain during the day and once the sun sets he will lead more than 100 ski and snowboard instructors down the PayDay run during Park City Mountain Resort’s 48th annual traditional torchlight parade. The parade can best be viewed from the Resort Plaza where complimentary hot beverages and cookies will be served.

Christmas Eve Schedule of Events:

11:00 am - 2:00 pm : Catch Santa as he skis around the mountain

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm : Enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies in the Resort Plaza

6:15 pm : Santa leads our ski and snowboard school instructors down PayDay run in the 48th Annual Torchlight Parade

6:30 pm : Visit with Santa before he leaves on his big adventure

Contact:
435-649-8111

Location:
Park City Mountain Resort main base area - 1345 Lowell Ave

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Days till Christmas in Utah - North Pole Express | Heber Valley Railroad



NEW THIS YEAR!

We are pleased to announce that Heber Valley Railroad has joined creative forces with high school choirs Utah, Salt Lake, and Wasatch Counties to bring you some of our best entertainment yet. Choirs such as Orem High Chamber Choir, Judge Memorial Madrigals & Piping Hot Show Choir, and Wasatch High School Choral Department (to name a few), will rotate through the train performing classic holiday songs and leading passengers in festive sing-a-longs. All of this while Cocoa Chefs serve hot cocoa and cookies to the passengers. Upon arrival at the North Pole Santa Clause will board the train to make this trip truly magical. So throw on your pajamas and bring your family down for a night they will always rememberReserve early, seats sell out fast!

For a list of Choirs or to see when your favorite choir will be on the train please click here

We are pleased to announce we will be continuing our local special during The North Pole Express. For details please click here

First-Class Seating:

All first-class passengers enjoy a souvenir boarding ticket, hot cocoa with whipped cream and served in a souvenir mug, a cookie, and a special gift from Santa.

Dates:

All First-Class Trains are sold out at this time.

Departures:

5:00 pm (returns at 6:30pm)       

7:30 pm (returns at 9:00pm)

Fares:

$47 Adults

$44 Seniors (60 )

$36 Children (3-12)

Regular Service:

All regular-service passengers enjoy hot cocoa, a cookie, and gift from Santa.

Dates:

All Regular trains are sold out at this time.

Departures:

5:00pm (returns at 6:30pm)

7:30pm (returns at 9:00pm)

Fares:

$32 Adults

$29 Seniors(60 )

$21 Children (3-12)

Matinees:

All All matinee passengers enjoy hot cocoa, a cookie, and gift from Santa.

Dates:

All Matinees are sold out at this time.

Departure:

2:00pm (returns at 3:30pm)

Fares:

$29 Adults

$26 Seniors (60 )

$18 Children (3-12)

GROUPS:

Private coach and groups rates (20 passengers) are available.  For more information please call Group Sales at (435) 654-5601 ext 109.

Important to Know about the North Pole Express:

  • Please arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the departure time.
  • Wasatch County residence please call the Ticket Office for details on the Local Special and limitations
  • No outside food or beverages allowed on train.
  • No car seats or strollers allowed on train.
  • Restrooms are not available on board during the North Poles Express. Please take advantage of the depot restrooms before boarding.
  • Due to the historic nature of our rail cars, wheelchair access is limited. Please call ahead for additional information.
  • We are unable to accommodate dogs on the train.
  • All rides and excursions depart form the Heber City Depot unless noted otherwise.

Utah man accused of running foreclosure aid scam

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Beware of loan scams call is you have questions or concerns!!

The Associated Press
 
SALT LAKE CITY — A man who owned a loan modification business in Lehi and St. George is being accused of defrauding homeowners to pay for personal expenses including entertainment and his wife's plastic surgery.


Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says 34-year-old David Shawn Moffitt faces nine felony counts of communications fraud, theft and racketeering.


Prosecutors say Moffitt charged between $2,500 and $3,000 to modify loans so clients would not lose their homes, and promised full refunds if they were not satisfied.


But prosecutors say Moffitt refused refunds to up to 200 eligible clients and kept the money for himself at a time when employee paychecks were bouncing.


Moffitt's attorney, Stephen Howard, says he hadn't reviewed all the charges and didn't have immediate comment.

 

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

6 Days till Christmas in Utah - Holdman Christmas Lights - Pleasant Grove, Utah

Valley Fair Mall Display

The display at Valley Fair Mall is very easy to get to and plenty of parking. The display is set up outside on the west side of the mall in the new fountain area. You can't miss it.

Click here for google maps and find the best way to get here. It is located just off of I-215 at exit number 18 at 3500 south. If you are heading north on I-215 you will want to get off on Exit 18B that sends you west on 3500 south.

Shows run every single night from 5pm to 10pm on the top and bottom of the hour. 3 songs per show with 2 of them being different and each one ending with Wizards in Winter.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

7 Days of Chritmas in Utah - Christmas Utah Light Show Murray Utah

The 2011 Light Show is Here!

OUR FINAL SHOW

The 2011 show will run from November 25th through New Years Day.

Show Hours are:

Sunday - Thursday: 5:20 pm until 10:00 pm

Friday - Saturday: 5:20 pm until 11:00 pm

After Christmas Day the light show will end

From I-15: Take the 5300 South Exit. Drive east on 5300 South for about one mile until it ends at Vine Street. Turn right (South) on Vine Street. Drive through two stop lights. (The second light is 5600 South.) Turn left (East) on Whispering Pine Drive, the first street past the church. Drive to the end of the street and turn left (North) onto Whispering Pine Circle. Be sure to tune your car stereo to 99.9 FM when you enter the subdivision.

From the North East Salt Lake Valley: Drive south on 900 East to 5600 South, just south of Sports Authority. Turn right (West) on 5600 South and drive to Vine Street, the first light. Turn left (South) on Vine Street. Turn left (East) on Whispering Pine Drive, the first street past the church. Drive to the end of the street and turn left (North) onto Whispering Pine Circle. Be sure to tune your car stereo to 99.9 FM when you enter the subdivision.

From the South East Salt Lake Valley: Drive north on 900 East to 5600 South, just north of Fresh Market (Albertsons). Turn left (West) on 5600 South and drive to Vine Street, the first light. Turn left (South) on Vine Street. Turn left (East) on Whispering Pine Drive, the first street past the church. Drive to the end of the street and turn left (North) onto Whispering Pine Circle. Be sure to tune your car stereo to 99.9 FM when you enter the subdivision.

The street gets very crowded with long lines of traffic, especially on weekends as well as the week before Christmas. For the best experience I recommend parking at the church on Vine Street and walking the short distance to the display. This will save you a long wait in traffic and allow you to experience the show unhurried. This will also lessen the burden on my neighbors.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

8 Days til Christmas in Utah - Garnder Village The Elf on Display

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top 5 Indicators that Will Give Americans Confidence About the Housing Market | Trulia Pro

With the U.S. economy still struggling, over half of Americans (54 percent) aren’t sure the President can stabilize the housing market over the next year, according to Trulia’s latest consumer survey on American attitudes on housing policy.

Harris Interactive conducted this online survey on Trulia’s behalf and asked more than 2,000 Americans what signals will give them confidence that the housing market is getting back on track.

Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist, says,  “Americans won’t believe our economy is improving until they see real proof.” Luckily for agents, the proof that consumers are looking for lies in key data points that agents can present to clients to help give them the confidence to buy:

1. Fewer defaults and foreclosures

“Fewer defaults and foreclosures” tops the list as a key factor indicating recovery, suggesting that consumers will be more confident in the market’s recovery if they believe that their neighborhood as a whole is doing better.

“As long as there are foreclosed homes and lingering for-sale signs in neighborhoods across the country, people are faced with constant, everyday reminders that the housing market is still struggling,” says Kolko. For real estate professionals, showing potential clients and customers local statistics on decreases in defaults can be a major tool in building the confidence consumers need to make a market move.

2. More home sales

The survey data showed home sales matter the most next to defaults and foreclosures. With 38 percent of the votes, this data indicates that statistics showing increased home sales can be a major tool to get consumers to believe in the market’s recovery.

Soon, communicating local home sales data is about to become even more important because of a lingering National Association of Realtors’ revision to 2005-2011 national home sales data which will likely show national numbers have been to high due to inflation.

For agents who have local areas where sales have increased, data driven presentations can motivate clients who may be straddling the fence on the decision to purchase.

3. Fewer vacant homes

While empty homes mean opportunity, they are a downer when it comes to consumer confidence. ”Neighborhood vacancies are like second-hand smoke, hurting everyone around them,” says Kolko.

Survey data showed, with 32 percent of the responses, declines in vacancies are top confidence builders for consumers.

For agents, this means the value of placing a “sold” sign is not only a great moment for the buyer, but for the neighborhood as a whole. To track vacancies by states, check the U.S. Census Bureau’s quarterly release on home vacancies, which breaks down the information by both state and Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

4. Lower Mortgage Rates

The survey data says “lower mortgage rates” are another of the top five confidence builders and received 25 percent of votes. That means it’s important, not only to offer clients updates on the day-to-day changes in rates, but also to show the bigger picture.

When it comes down to visual representations of today’s market opportunity, mortgage rate changes over the past 30 years is probably one of the most dramatic graphs an agent can present to a client. To make your own graph of mortgage rates and see the dramatic change, visit Bankrate.com’s Graph Rate Trends Page.

5. Higher Homeownership Rates

Lastly, the survey showed nothing sells ownership like ownership. Higher Homeownership Rates received 23% of the votes when it came to building confidence among consumers.

This indicates that seeing reminders of sales activity in their area and ownership benefits are keys to motivate clients to make a move.

QR Codes: Give Them a Reason to Scan | Realtor Magazine

That is right my Real Esate Friends they are coming and coming fast

Qr_pdf

QR Codes: Give Them a Reason to Scan

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QR (Quick Response) codes must be used correctly to serve as valuable marketing tools.

QR codes should direct consumers to a mobile landing page, otherwise they load slowly, do not format correctly, and do not allow for easy browsing.  They also must be accompanied by a clear call to action, encouraging consumers to scan for a discount or to receive useful information. After consumers scan the QR code, there must be an exclusive offer or important content or information waiting for them. 

Although QR codes can be had for free, experts say it is important that they come with reporting tools, which can help real estate agents gauge the success of their marketing campaign.  Free codes also prevent changes in content, requiring that a new QR code be created. 

Finally, agents should keep the URL short to make the code easier to scan.

Source: "The 5 Rules of QR Codes" RISMedia (12/11/11)

 

Let me know if you are looking for a good mobile scanner I can get you some great app links

9th Days of Christmas in Utah - Terrace Plaza Playhouse » Blog Archive » Scrooge, A Christmas Carol 2011

Scrooge 2011

We have a delightful show this year with an energetic cast that will fill your heart with joy as we portray the true spirit of Christmas through this telling of Dickens beloved story.

If you have family or friends in the play, make sure to check with them to see which cast they are in before you buy tickets.

Holly Cast
Friday – November 25 (Opening Night)
Monday – November 28
Saturday - December 3
Monday – December 5
Saturday – December 10
Thursday – December 15
Saturday - December 17
Tuesday - December 20
Thursday - December 22
Ivy Cast
Saturday – November 26
Friday - December 2

Friday – December 9
Monday – December 12
Friday - December 16
Monday - December 19
Wednesday – December 21
Friday - December 23 (Closing Night)

This is great fun for the whole family

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This would be great news - BofA developing foreclosure rental programs to deal with distressed properties « HousingWire

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Friday, December 9th, 2011, 3:35 pm
Bank of America (BAC: 5.28 +0.96%) is looking at a new program to rent a home back to the borrower after foreclosure.

"There are programs that we are quite interested in," said Ron Sturzenegger, who leads the bank's legacy asset servicing division, in an interview with HousingWire. "We are talking with investors that would come in and buy these houses and would lease them back to who would now be the now tenant."

In February, BofA formed the division to handle the servicing for delinquent mortgages, loans no longer being written, and to sort out outstanding representation and warranty claims. Currently, more than 35,000 employees at the bank are sorting through 1.1 million loans 60 days delinquent or worse, according to its third-quarter financial statement.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is working on an REO rental program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It received more than 4,000 ideas on how to do it.

But private banks own $50.4 billion worth of REO properties, too, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and millions of these homes are sitting vacant.

Sturzenegger described how their idea would work.

"We are looking at programs where you can capture somebody before the REO process and offer a deed-for-lease. We would go to the customer and say, 'We'll do a short sale. Will you be interested in leasing your property back? We're still going to sell the property. You will no longer be the owner. But you can be a tenant now in that same property and save you from moving on,'" he said.

Sturzenegger stressed the bank would still sell the REO as before in areas where there is a market for them and they can still get reasonable bids. But some areas are so saturated with inventory, there isn't enough investor or homebuyer demand and properties can sit for years uninhabited.

Rick Sharga, the executive vice president at Carrington Mortgage Holdings, said in an interview that many firms, including Carrington are preparing to participate.

"We already have the infrastructure and assets in place to participate effectively," he said. "Everyone is waiting on final direction from the FHFA."

Sturzenegger stressed the private program at BofA is in its infancy.

"It's in the very early stages," he said.

Jacob Gaffney contributed to this report.

Write to Jon Prior.

Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

10 Days of Christmas in Utah - Zoo Lights

ZooLights!

December 3rd - December 31st

(Closed Christmas Day)
 

Hours:

Sunday - Wednesday... 5:30 to 8 pm (grounds close at 9)
Thursday - Saturday....... 5:30 to 9 pm (grounds close at 10)
Christmas Eve ............. 5:30 to 8 pm (grounds close at 9)
Christmas Day ............. Closed

Admission

Adults ......................  $6                 Member Adults .......................  $5
Children (3-12) ......  $4                Member Children (3-12) ......  $3
Seniors (65 ) ..........  $4                Member Seniors (65 ) ..........  $3
Toddlers (2 & under) FREE        Member Toddlers (2 & under) FREE
 

Where wildlife meets wild lights!  ZooLights! returns to Hogle Zoo for it's 5th holiday season, with more sparkling lights, over 250 animated light displays and more nightly fun than ever before! View glittering animated animals made out of lights, warm up under heaters and enjoy a hot chocolate and deep fried s'more along the way.  Take a ride on the Conservation Carousel (weather permitting) and then stop in to see Santa in EdZoocation Station!  Stop into the Wild Zootique to finish your holiday shopping and pick up some hologram glasses to see the lights as never before.
 

Help Us Switch on the Lights!

December 3rd at 5:30 pm come see santa flip the switch and light up the zoo to officially start the 5th year of ZooLights!
 

Join the Reindeer Parade!  

Join the reindeer parade each evening at 5:40 in the Entry Plaza as two of Santa’s tiny reindeer make their way to Santa’s Station - then visit with the Jolly Old Elf himself!  Santa's Reindeer will leave ZooLights! with Santa on Christmas Eve.
 
 

Nightly Entertainment and Activities

Each night of the week will be a different performance or activty.  Check out our calendar of events for all the details!  All activities are free of charge with ZooLights admission.

Sundays - Eco Explorer Station
Mondays & Wednesday - Holiday Ornament Craft Night
Tuesdays - Glow in the Dark Temporary Tattoos
Thursdays - Ice Carving in the Entry Plaza
Fridays & Saturdays - Vintage Carolers

Recycle Your Old Holiday Lights!

Don't let your old lights end up in a land fill! Holiday lights are made up of glass, wire, and plastic, none of which are biodegradable. Bring in your old lights any night of Zoolights and Five Star Holiday Décor's light recycling program will break down donated lights to their component parts so they can be recycled effectively.  As a thank you for recycling, pick up a Five Star Holiday Decor coupon booklet with deals on their holiday lighting services.  For more information on this and other Five Star Holiday Decor programs, click here!

Holiday Gift Ideas

Give a gift that will keep on giving!  Shop for fun toys for our Zoo animals or buy a Zoo Membership for your family or as a gift for someone else.  Enrich your life and theirs with the season's most unique gift of all, perfect for families and the person that has everything! Click here for some great holiday gift ideas.

Family Friendly Early New Year's Countdown

Get the kids in bed on time while still letting them ring in the new year, with our early countdown at 9 pm at ZooLights!  Kids can do a new years craft, get a noise maker, and count down with our lighted countdown display.  Come early to see all the lights and enjoy the last night of ZooLights. 

 

Visit ZooLights! via Limo!

Ride in style to ZooLights with Divine Limousine and get free admisison!  Purchase any 3hr package (Monday - Thursday) or 4hr package (Friday & Saturday) and your ZooLights admission for up to 2 adults and 4 children is included.  Rates start at $90 per hour.  Visit www.divinelimoutah.com for more information and to book your ride to ZooLights!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Earnhardt's new lady brings him luck | Motorsports | Sports | Toronto Sun

Earnhardt's new lady brings him luck | Motorsports | Sports | Toronto Sun

11 Days of Christmas in Utah - Children Theatre

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Buy_it_


Thursday 15th 7pm
Friday 16th 7pm
Saturday 17th 1pm
Saturday 17th 4:30pm

Monday 19th 7pm
Tuesday 20th 7pm
Wednesday 21st 7pm
Thursday 22nd 7pm
Friday 23rd 4:30pm SOLD OUT
Friday 23rd 7:30pm
Saturday 24th 1pm Limited Availability

Toyland, Dee & Dum vs. Silas Barnaby
Script by Joanne M. Parker
Music by Victor Herbert & Glen MacDonough

Directed by Jennifer Hohl

MUSICAL
Age Recommendation 3+

Babes in Toyland is an operetta composed by Victor Herbert with a libretto by Glen MacDonough (1870–1924), which weaves together various characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes into a Christmas-themed musical extravaganza.

Babes in Toyland features some of Herbert's most famous songs–among them "Toyland", "March of the Toys", "Go To Sleep, Slumber Deep", and "I Can't Do The Sum". The theme song "Toyland" and "March of the Toys".

 

Utah children at risk for homelessness due to home foreclosure rate and 'moderate' planning efforts, national report says | Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's high rate of home foreclosures is placing children at a greater risk of homelessness, a new national report has found.

The report, “America's Youngest Outcasts 2010,” compared states according to a number of measurements that can contribute to child homelessness or contribute to their well-being. Utah ranked 27th nationwide.

In the category of home foreclosure ranks — the Beehive State ranked 45th, with 1 being best and 50 bei
In other measurements, however, Utah ranked sixth for child well being for relatively low rates of chronic illness, learning disabilities and low rates of "very low food security."

Yet the state ranked 43rd in terms of the extent of child homelessness. The report, created for the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness, said nearly 30,000 Utah children were considered homeless.

Utah's composite score has slightly improved since 2006, when it ranked 37th overall. It improved to 24th in 2007 but climbed to 27th in 2010.

Matthew Minkevitch, executive director of The Road Home , which houses and provides intensive case management for the homeless families and individuals in the Salt Lake Valley, said the report's findings suggest the state has much more work to do on behalf of homeless children.

"I hope that we can regain some of the momentum that we had generated in years past, in order to address this emergent need. We can do better as a community, and I am hopeful that we will work together on this issue to create more housing opportunities for families living with modest incomes," he said.

While Utah is in the midst of a 10-year comprehensive statewide plan to better serve homeless families and individuals — primarily through a strategy that moves them into permanent housing as soon as possible and then surrounds them with needed services — the report ranked the state 34th for its policy and planning efforts. Utah's strategy and practices, in recent years, has won positive acclaim from leaders in the national government and nonprofit organizations.

Minkevitch said he was unclear what time period the report had evaluated but in recent years, public-private partnerships in Utah have been highly effective in reducing chronic homelessness and increasing shelter capacity.

"Now we need to take our collaboration to the next level," Minkevitch said.
"Hundreds of families in need are counting on us, and I have faith that our community will rise to meet the need."

Homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson said many agencies and nonprofits define homelessness differently. For instance, one education report considers a child as homeless if they are doubling up in a single-family residence.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Safeguard Your Online Reputation - You are in Control!!!

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When you meet a prospective client and they say your reputation precedes you, you want it to be a positive one. Building a strong reputation is essential to an agent’s word of mouth business and isn’t built overnight. A bad review or an errant tweet can be harmful both online and off. While you can’t control your online reputation, you can have a say in it. Here are five things you can do to protect it along the way.

1. Don’t post anything you don’t want written in ink

As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared. The Internet’s not written in pencil, Mark, it’s written in ink. -The Social Network Movie, 2010

While you can technically delete tweets, status updates and blog posts, that doesn’t mean they disappear from your permanent record. Ever heard of the wayback machine? It’s a project aimed at capturing an archive of the Internet, with records back to 1996. There are also handy little apps that take screen captures, so don’t think removing erroneous updates means they won’t ever surface again. You can, and should set your privacy settings on social networks, but don’t assume this is enough. Be cautious of what you post – you never know when or where it will be shared.

2. Don’t drink & tweet

While this one seems like a no-brainer, we’ve seen celebrities, congressional aides, and even your fellow agents fall into this trap. It’s hard enough to say the right things without being impaired, but mix a little tequila in with your tweets and you’re asking for trouble – drinking and social networking just don’t mix.

3. Don’t let fear keep you offline

Even if you aren’t participating online, people are still talking. Avoiding the web may prevent you from making damaging comments, but it doesn’t stop the conversation nor does it stop other people from talking about you. While it’s not always easy to know what to say, don’t let fear keep you offline. Being involved in discoverable online conversations is one of the simplest ways to build a positive reputation. Blogs, tweets and some Facebook posts (depending on privacy settings) show up in Google and other search engines. Proactively use this to your advantage and create online content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise.

Online-reputation-management

4. Do monitor your online reputation

It’s important to know what others are saying about you, even if you don’t directly respond to the complaint. Start with a simple search of your name to check for negative content that may appear when customers search for you. Use several search engines to search for your name or business name on a regular basis. Chances are, you won’t be able to remove the information, but at least you’ll be prepared to address the issues. Google Alerts, Social Mention, and Hootsuite are all great tools for ongoing monitoring.

5. Do get your clients talking about you

One of the best ways to combat bad press is with good press. While it’s difficult to stop someone from saying negative things about you online, you can mitigate the damage by having positive feedback from happy customers displayed prominently online. Let your clients tell your story – encourage them to talk about you with a recommendation on sites like LinkedIn and Trulia, and check out our 5 Tips to Get Great Recommendations.

Maintaining a good reputation takes work in the digital world. Your customers and competitors are talking online – create your own reputation online instead of letting others create it for you.

MORE INFORMATION AT TRULIA

12th Day before Christmas in Utah - Lighting Up Temple Square

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By early August, cables and extension cords are winding up the trunks of many of the trees on Temple Square. As the weeks hurry past, strands of tiny LED lights seem to grow from even the smallest tree branches. November brings the greatest changes with a rush of workers, missionaries, and volunteers setting up garlands, luminarias, lanterns, and nativities. When Thanksgiving is over, Temple Square will be ready to bring a unique and special spirit to the Christmas season.

Eldon Cannon, the Grounds Services group manager, and Jennifer Udy, a gardener, took a few minutes from their hectic schedules in early November to talk about the work that goes into putting the Christmas lights up.

Everything on the grounds has to be done by the week of Thanksgiving in order to be ready for the first night of lights on November 26. As many as 100 people might be on the grounds at a given time, hanging garlands or straightening luminarias. Families and Church groups spend an evening draping nets of lights over shrubs, while service missionaries hang garlands that function as cordons along the sidewalks.

Workers “plant” young trees, already strung with lights, that have been harvested from State Educational Trust Fund lands. Using these trees has multiple benefits, for Temple Square and for the state. For the state, the money used to purchase the trees benefits the state educational system, and thinning state-owned stands of timber allows the remaining trees to grow strong and healthy, producing better lumber. For Temple Square, using stand-in trees for the lights display protects the living trees.

Wrapping lights on a living tree causes stress to the tree. The wrapping process breaks branchlets, while the heat from the artificial lights can help tree diseases and bugs overwinter. The heat also does harm because of the sudden temperature change when the lights are turned on or off. Going from warm to cold repeatedly and abruptly causes the tree’s cell structures to tear. For these reasons, the Cedar of Lebanon is lit only every other year and stand-in trees are used to supplement the number of living trees that are lit.
Lighting up Temple Square Photo Gallery
Moroni on Salt Lake Temple spire

Photo Gallery

But these concerns aren’t what Eldon or Jennifer consider most difficult. Eldon considers cold weather the greatest obstacle to the months-long decorating process, because the temperature is hard on the people working outside. Jennifer thinks that beginning to decorate in August is the hardest part. The work is “fun for a little while,” but quickly gets wearing after spending two weeks at a time wrapping one set of trees.

Jennifer smiles as she explains that this is part of the reason that her favorite part, outside of the end result, is when things start coming together in November. The work moves faster and the end is near, and that makes the work fun again.

Eldon confesses that he likes to eavesdrop on the visitors that come to enjoy the holiday display. Because no one knows who he is, they are completely honest about what they think of the display. Eldon especially enjoys the excited reactions of the children who visit.

As much as he wants people to have a good time, Eldon wants even more for people to understand why the lights are displayed each year. “We do this to share the most important message in the world: the birth of Christ. He is our Savior. He sacrificed for us.”

Jennifer nods, explaining that people often ask why the particular color schemes are chosen instead of more Christmas-y themes. The theme of the lights is such that they are “in harmony with each other and with the Temple Square spirit,” she says, rather than based on traditional holiday color schemes. The colors are meant to encourage the true spirit of the season and to remind people of the Savior.

The nativities from around the world bear testimony of the Savior's birth. The glowing luminarias offer messages of peace, joy, and hope. And the lights invite visitors to remember the Light of the World.

The flurry of set up activity will subside after Thanksgiving. A night crew will turn the lights on and off in the evenings, walk the grounds to be sure all is well, and perform any maintenance that is needed. When the season ends on January 1, 2011, the lights will go out, but the grounds crew hopes that the memories of visitors' spiritual experiences will continue to burn brightly.

via lds.org

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Realtor: Now is the time to buy, sell homes in Utah

OGDEN -- The volume of Utah homes for sale is up and interest rates are down, so if you're looking to buy or sell a home, now is the perfect time.

Compared to last year, real estate volume is up 30 percent and interest rates haven't been this low for years, said Bob Hill, president of Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors.

That's the good news.

The bad news is, the value of your home over the past year is possibly down as much as 3 percent, but the experts say not to let that discourage you too much.

"A house you would have bought for $100,000 last year would have cost you about $97,000 this year," Hill said. "But it's still a great time to buy and sell. If you bought a house today compared to 10 years ago, your house payment would only be up 17 percent. That's really incredible. Taxes are down. Prices are down. Interest rates are down. We know things are going to come back up, so if you're in the market, I wouldn't wait."

During October, Utah Realtors sold 2,819 homes, townhomes and condos. That's a 30 percent increase from October 2010 sales, Hill said. In addition, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.32 percent in August.

According to the Utah Association of Realtors, homes are being absorbed at record speed. The number of homes on the market statewide has come down more than 21 percent over the past year. Also, it now takes about eight months to sell an inventory of properties that previously took about 11 months to sell.

"That's really great news," said Eric Allen, director of the Utah/Idaho region for Metro Study, a provider of information to the housing industry. "If you compare us to the rest of the nation, the whole market is within the top 3 to 5 percent as far as being a healthy market."

While you might not get your listing price when selling your home, Hill and Allen said if you want to buy a new home, the difference will even out in quality.

"Homes are being built better than ever," Allen said. "They're more energy efficient, materials aren't as expensive but they're better quality."

If you want to sell a home right now, make sure you know what the homes in your neighborhood are selling for, Hill said. And small, strategic improvements can mean a great deal to the prospective buyer.

"Go outside and make the curbside appealing," he said. "You want to invite people inside. Once they're inside, have things packed away. Clutter doesn't give the potential buyer an idea of how suitable the living area might be for them."

If you're in the market to purchase a home, keep your credit rating clean and your financial status on solid ground.

"Know what you want. Look for the right floor plan that meets your lifestyle," said Allen. "I really hate to sound cliché, but it really is a great time to buy a home. We are not overloaded with home inventory, so if you can get qualified, there hasn't been a better time than now to buy."

And fewer homeowners are losing their homes to foreclosure than in 2010. Core-Logic, another firm providing real estate information and analysis, said the foreclosure rate for outstanding mortgages in September 2011 was 1.33 percent in the Ogden-Clearfield market, down from 1.67 percent in September 2010.

Utah's statewide foreclosure rate of 1.68 percent also was favorable when compared to the national rate of 3.48 percent, according to CoreLogic figures.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One of my Favorite Ipad/Iphone apps - It will turn your social world upside down!!

 

Flipboard it once of the easiest way to organized all your social sites into a Magizine style reading formate. Make it what you want it to be and answer all sites in one location.


Try it you will love it FLIPBOARD

Ashton Kutcher Tours Sleek Los Angeles Bachelor Pad

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Newly-single Hollywood bad boy Ashton Kutcher is looking for the perfect bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills. According to X17 Online, he was recently spotted by loose-lipped paparrazi outside a $10,800,000 trophy home high atop Los Angeles after spending more than an hour inside, touring the home. The photographer told X17:

“Ashton loved this property. It has bachelor pad written all over it. This neighborhood is stunning. It’s a trophy house with a view of all of LA. It’s totally the type of place a hot, single Hollywood guy would want.”

The home is listed as both for-sale and as a furnished lease with a $60,000 per-month price tag. The three-story home overlooks Lake Hollywood with fully retractable walls of glass. The floating dining room area opens to stunning views. The home also has a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, private screening room, bar area and gym/massage room. The striking master suite boasts ample use of glass and wood, magnificent views and a spa-like master bath. A variety of outdoor spaces include enclosed gardens, outdoor rooms, infinity pool, cantilevered decks and an open sky terrace.

Finding a Festive Fix | 25 Holiday Home Solutions | Photos | Easy Upgrades | This Old House

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LET'S HELP ROY POLICE OUT - Thieves steal pickup full of guns, ammunition in Roy

 

Thieves in Roy got more than what they bargained for Wednesday after stealing a truck left idling in a residential driveway. The pickup contained ammunition and firearms, including an assault rifle.

Police are on heightened alert as they search for the stolen Toyota pickup, knowing what kind of firepower that is in there.   

"Yeah there's a potential for something dangerous to happen," said Roy City Police Sgt. Kevin Smith.

 

The thieves stole the vehicle from a residence at 6056 South and 2100 West. The truck's owner called dispatch a little after 10 a.m. to report the theft.

"He did confirm there was a hunting rifle, an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun," said Smith.

Smith said that the truck contained ammunition to go along with the guns.

Witnesses say they saw a light blue Bonneville pull up next to the truck. A neighbor saw a man and woman get in the truck and drive away. The neighbor said a black male and white male were in the Bonneville.

Police say the victim was in the middle of a move and had his truck warming up to begin transporting things from one house to another.

"While he was loading stuff in, went in to get some more items, came back and the truck was gone," said Sgt. Smith.

Police ask residents who has any information that can help them locate the suspects to call Weber County dispatch at 801-629-8221.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NOT JUST THE AVERAGE JOE - The rich and famous get burned by the property bust | Global Property Guide

Celebrities have also felt the forbidding pinch of the financial crisis gripping middle-income homeowners as some are actually selling their property at a loss if not completely losing them as foreclosed assets.

According to reports some of the rich and famous, they blamed financial mismanagement or just  poor judgment of investments that made them lose millions of dollars of their earnings.

Celebrities Selling at a Loss:

The rich and famous get burned by the property bustRobert de Niro. The actor, best-known for his roles in films “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver” has been known for his extensive property investments in New York. He is now selling his 19th century townhouse at 14 Saint Luke's Place, which according to documents was purchased back in 1975.
Priced earlier this year at $14 million, the property is now auctioned  for $11.995 million, a report from the NY Daily News revealed.   

Mr De Niro’s five-storey, 22-foot-wide property, which was home to poet Marianne Moore during the 1920s, is on one of the West Village's most storied and coveted blocks, between Hudson Street and 7th Avenue.

Sharon Stone. Another Hollywood A-lister, brought to fame by her role as the sultry psycho killer in “Basic Instinct” has also moved to sell her L.A. property for $8.995 million, although she purchased the property in 2006 for $10.995 million, according to World Property Channel.

The rich and famous get burned by the property bustThe gated, Mediterranean style estate, sits in five acres replete with bridges, waterfalls, fruit trees, a meditation garden, a swimming pool and a tennis court with viewing pavilion, the report described.

Sylvester Stallone. The actor known for his roles in “Rambo” and “Rocky” had also parted from his 1.75-acre property in Thousand Oaks, California, which is a vintage lakefront home retreat that has a boathouse, guest quarters, and caretakers’ quarters as amenities.

Mr. Stallone acquired the property in 2008 for $4.85 million and is selling it for $4.495 million, public records said.

Celebrities with Foreclosed Assets

Nicholas Cage. Premiere actor Nicholas Cage lost his $35-million LA property to foreclosure. Citibank, early this year, confiscated this property located in Copa de Oro Road, Los Angeles, California because a financial manager’s mismanagement.

Mr. Cage, according to Forbes.com, was forced to sell four properties in order to pay tens of millions owed in government taxes.

Julius “Dr.J” Erving. The famed basketball player of the NBA lost his property in St. George, Utah after failing to sell it for $2.25 million in 2009.  He moved to Atlanta and in 2010 creditors begun the foreclosure process. Last autumn, he defaulted on his payments on his loans on the mansion forcing the bank to confiscate the property.

Sources: Forbes.com and World Property Channel

Police Arrest 2 Men in Ohio Open-House Thefts

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As you prepare you home for an open house, please look around and see what personal ideas and even medications you have in view. Help keep honest people honest!!!

Two men have been arrested and charged in connection with a series of thefts at open houses in Kent County, Ohio. Real estate professionals in the area have been reporting a range of stolen items during open houses in the area since October, items ranging from stolen electronics to prescription drugs. During the first reported theft on Oct. 29, the real estate agent reported that a Wii game, a bottle of Vicodin, and a men’s watch were all taken from a home during an open house. The recent thefts sparked the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS® to issue a warning to its real estate members to be careful when holding open houses and urge clients to lock up all valuables, particularly prescription medication, loose cash, electronics, and jewelry. In most of the thefts, the agents reported that one man would talk to the agent as a distraction while another man went around the home placing things in his pocket, police say. “With the colder weather, people wear heavy overcoats and can put items in them,” says Sarah Williams, spokesperson for the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS®. “That makes it easier to steal things.” Police were able to recover the stolen property. The two suspects, while in custody, have acknowledged taking part in other crimes as well as business burglaries in the area, police say. Source: “Police: Suspects in Kent County Open House Thefts Arrested, Property Recovered,” The Grand Rapids Press (Dec. 2, 2011)

Monday, December 5, 2011

BEWARE TIS IS NOT THE SEASON FOR.....Scam artists may take advantage of Davis County cleanup

DAVIS COUNTY -- The winds are gone in Davis County. A lot of damage remains, and there is now a new concern: scam artists. The state's top watchdog is telling homeowners to look out this week, after a would-be scammer showed up on her street.

The experts will tell you after natural disasters like the one that hit sections of Davis and Weber Counties, that bad guys come out of the woodwork looking to take advantage. This warning is about not only scam artists but contractors that aren't licensed.

Francine Giani is the head of the Utah Department of Commerce and oversees consumer protection. She tells us the neighbors usually push the door-to-door salesmen her way. Well … similar deal. A man showed up in her neighborhood Saturday offering to help clean up, only he didn't have a license on him.

"I said ‘I don't think you're a licensed contractor,' and I said ‘I happen to work for the agency that licenses contractors, so you may want to pick a different area. But I don't think you want to stop here in Centerville for sure.' So he drove off," said Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce:

"I said ‘I don't think you're a licensed contractor,' and I said ‘I happen to work for the agency that licenses contractors, so you may want to pick a different area. But I don't think you want to stop here in Centerville for sure.' So he drove off," said Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce:

 

It's something that's being echoed on this street in Bountiful. The work in Davis County may simply be too difficult for a fly-by-night crew to take care of.

Not only does Total Tree Care have a license, it had repelling gear and all kinds of sophisticated equipment to handle a huge tree that had fallen against a house.

"A lot of times they can get over their heads and get in a situation where the consumer's not protected, or where people are over-billing or over-charging and taking advantage of people in a bad situation," said Mark Malmstrom, who works with Total Tree Care.

Here's a case in point: Malmstrom says if a worker gets hurt trying to clear trees from your property and his company isn't insured, it's on you. Consumer protection is warning people to watch out for workers who claim to just be in the area for the day and say that you have to decide right then.

Investigators are also warning people to beware of anybody asking for cash up front. Using a card does leave a paper trail. Additional good advice: ask to see a copy of the contractor's license, ask for references, get a written bid and a written contract and make the payment out to the name on the contractor's license.

We have talked to multiple police agencies as well. Not many reports of problems yet, but the anticipation is there will be people this week out here looking to take advantage of unsuspecting folks.