Using Rooster Decor in Your Home

Do you love the look of a Rhode Island Red Rooster? No matter what breed you like, you can decorate your home with roosters and it is easy to do. When you decorate with a theme, it's important to make sure that you use a neutral color as your main color and accent with your theme.

People decorate with roosters for many reasons. They may love the colors of the feathers, they may love roosters and chickens, and it may remind them of a child hood memory of being on the farm as a child. For what ever reason you like to decorate with roosters, keep these tips in mind.

Roosters have several colors on their feathers. You can use all of these colors or pull out one particular color that will blend in with your current decor so you do not have to make too many changes.

Again, you want to use a neutral color as your primary color. Paint your walls this color so you can easily balance your overall look. The neutral color can be beige, cream, sand, or light brown.

Next, you want to select one rooster that you like the most and use those colors to balance the rest of your decor. For example, if a Rhode Island Red is your favorite rooster, you can use barn red curtains, tablecloths, placemats, and red area rugs to accent the decor. Accessorizing is an important part of a themed look and you want to find the right balance.

Next, you want to find a few pictures of a Rhode Island Roosters. You can find these pictures in stores or you can take them yourself and blow them up to the size that you need; 8×10 or 5×7. Before placing them on the walls, you will need to find some wood picture frames to hang them in. This will give your home a rustic look. Place the pictures evenly at your eye level on the wall.

Finally, you need to find rooster salt and pepper shakers, rooster coffee mugs, rooster canisters, and other rooster themed kitchen essentials. This will enhance your rooster theme.

Different breeds of roosters offer a different color feathers so you can go with the color that you like the most. Once you choose a particular breed that you like, you can enhance your kitchen decor with these colors and decorate the walls with a neutral color that will balance the look.

You can shop online or at your local store for rooster themed kitchen essentials. Many times, when someone gets tired of a themed look in their home, they will change everything and offer their old theme at a yard sale or flea market where you can pick it up for a little bit of money.

If you end up with too many colors in your room, add a white flokati rug on the floor under the table or around a sitting area in your room so you can balance the look. This will help you create a pleasant look in your room that you and everyone who comes into your room will love.

Why Take a Mountain Biking Vacation?

A mountain cycling vacation is a great way to unwind for a while and explore America. Several companies organize mountain cycling tours that go through scenic areas, and often arrange accommodations for travelers. A mountain biking vacation can be perfect for an athletic couple looking to relax and get some exercise together.

Every region of the United States has some great mountain cycling trails. It is not just major mountain ranges that have the best mountain biking trails, but any scenic, hilly, rough trail can provide riders with all the thrills and adventure that they need. Some of the best places to mountain bike in the United States are the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Southeastern states like North Carolina.

Pretty much the entire American West is a great place for a mountain biking vacation, but the Southwest is quickly becoming a popular spot for the sport. Some of the best mountain biking trails in the Southwest are the Pinery Canyon Road in Arizona, South Boundary Trail in New Mexico, and Flume Trail in Nevada. All of these trails deserve their reputations as tough challenges that are well worth the hard work for the scenic ride. Each of these trails is over 20 miles long, with Pinery Canyon Road being the longest at 50 miles. Of course, people do not have to ride the entire trail.

The Pacific Northwest is another great destination for a mountain cycling vacation. Surveyor's Ridge in Oregon, California's Mount Tamalpais, and the Methow Trail System in Washington are three of the best trails the region has to offer.

Do not think that all of the best mountain bikes vacations happen in the west; the east has its share of great trails as well, many of them in the Appalachian region. The Tsali trail in North Carolina is known for its difficulty, but much of it is perfect for novices. The Bee Log Ride, which reaches from North Carolina to Tennessee, is another beautiful trail that mountain biking enthusiasts are advised to check out.

Mountain Biking vacations are perfect for athletic people who want to explore different regions at their own pace. They are much less expensive than many other trips, and can be the adventure of a lifetime.

Egg Laying – What Are the Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs?

Choosing a breed of chicken for eggs is not that hard of a choice if you know what you're looking for. You only need to ask yourself a few easy questions. Do I need white or brown eggs? Do I need a pet or livestock? How much space do I have? Do I want to hatch more chickens?

Hybrid / Golden Comet

If you are looking to get the most out of your effort, hybrid chickens like the Golden Comet have been specifically bred to eat less food and produce more eggs. The comet is not the only hybrid chicken but it is definitely the most popular. These hybrid chickens lay about 280 medium sized brown colored eggs per year. Hybrids are tough little creatures that are more resilient to infection and disease compared to other chicken breeds. The downside is these birds rarely turn broody so if you're looking to hatch new chickens from the eggs this breed is probably not the best choice.

Rhode Island Red's (RIR's)

RIR's lay about 250 medium brown eggs per year. This breed is the most popular among back chicken and first-time chicken owners. Reds are known as the multi-purpose bird. These birds are known for taking care of themselves. Reds are docile friendly chickens that farmers use for meat and eggs, besides their beautiful coloring, this is the reason they are so popular.

Leghorn

Foghorn Leghorn, still a funny cartoon. Other than their brilliant white stance, that cartoon is probably the reason they are still so popular to this day. Many people believe that Leghorns originated in America, unfortunately, this is not true. This breed was brought to the United States in the 1800's and has been a popular farm bird ever since. Leghorn chickens originated in Italy and lay about 250 medium white eggs per year. This breed is not known to be aggressive but Leghorns are not known to be friendly either. They are a skittish breed that is not really easy to tame because of their shy nature.

Marans

The Maran chicken breed is well known for its dark brown eggs and its excellent meat quality. These birds lay about 200 medium sized eggs per year. Marans require very little space to roam because they like to stay close to home. They are known to be very gentle birds but, are not that easy to tame due to their shyness. So this breed would not make the best pet without a lot of work handling and spending time with it. Still, a pretty bird, an "eggcellent" egg layer and meat bird. A great addition to any farm or flock too!

Buff Orpington

Last but far from the least the Buff Orpington breed of chicken. The Orpington are docile birds that make a great garden and friendly pets. These birds love to socialize and will hang out with you and eat food from your hand without much effort. Buff's have a thick layer of yellowish golden feathers and lay about 180 regular sized and white eggs a year. This breed is known for becoming broody and makes a great hatching hen. The excellent broodiness of this breed is the reason the buff lays slightly fewer eggs per year. Actually, this breed is so good at sitting on its eggs, the Buff is commonly used by farms to hatch the eggs of other poultry and fowl, like the domestic duck , that are terrible eggs hatchers.

What is the best chicken breed for eggs?

In conclusion, the best breed of chicken for eggs depends on what your needs are. Do you need a broody hen? The Orpington is perfect. The Golden Comet chicken is perfect if you need a lot of eggs with minimal effort and food. Rhode Island Reds if you're looking for a friendly pet. The Maran chicken breed is your choice if you have limited space. Do you need only white eggs? Leghorns produce the best quantity of medium sized white eggs.

NCAA Basketball – Top 10 NCAA Championship Games of All Time

Who can really say what those 10 are? How do you determine the best? Are they the most dramatic? The most historically significant? Those packed with the largest stars? It all depends on your criteria. Top 10 lists are as subjective as figure-skating scores. Any, taking into account all the above categories, here's one man's point of view:

1. 1957, NORTH CAROLINA 54, KANSAS 53 (3 OTs)

Three overtimes and Wilt Chamberlain. That alone should be enough to put this game at the top of any list, but there's more. North Carolina had played another triple-overtime game the night before, beating Michigan State in the national semifinals. Next came Kansas and the unstoppable Chamberlain.

UNC was made up of New York kids, brought to Chapel Hill by coach Frank McGuire when New York City schools de-emphasized the sport in the wake of point-shaving scandals.

With no player over 6? 5 ?, McGuire had 5? 11? Tommy Kearns jump center for the opening tap. Unbeaten NC wrapped three players and a zone around Chamberlain, who got just 13 shots, and led most of the way. But Lennie Rosenbluth, the Tar Heels' best and biggest player, fouled out with 1:45 left in regulation and Chamberlain sparked a Kansas comeback.

Each team scored just two points in the first overtime and none in the second. (How does a team with Chamberlain score just two points in 10 critical minutes?) Finally, with three seconds left in the third overtime, NC's Joe Quigg hit two free throws that decided the outcome.

2. 1966, TEXAS WESTERN 72, KENTUCKY 65

A relatively dull and uneventful game on the surface, no title matchup has ever been as important.

Until that season, no college team had consistently started five black players. The in-vogue racist thinking was that teams needed at least one white player to provide calm and intellect.

But Texas Western's Don Haskins, a pool-hustling pragmatist, thought that was bunk and, despite the objections of his own college president, started five African-Americans. Kentucky, meanwhile, coached by scowling Adolph Rupp, had never had a black player and would not for another few years, even after the Deep South schools in the Southeastern Conference integrated.

This perfect little moral tale, with both a spelling villain and hero, changed collegiate sports. A year later, there were no more segregated leagues and very few all-white teams. By midway through the next decade, the changes the game had sparked, would change the face of college basketball.

3. 1985, VILLANOVA 66, GEORGETOWN 64

Probably the title-game's biggest upset. Villanova had 10 regular-season losses, was an eighth seed, and opened up the journey on its opponent's home court. Georgetown, meanwhile, was the overall No. 1 seed, the defending champion and making its third title-game appearance in Patrick Ewing's four seasons.

The Hoyas' intimidating in-your-face defense had held opponents to 39 percent shooting. But in the last title game without a shot clock or a three-point line, Villanova played miraculously.

Rollie Massimino's Wildcats shot 79 percent, made nine of 10 in the second half and defeated John Thompson's Hoyas, still the lowest seed ever to win the tournament.

4. 2008, KANSAS 75, MEMPHIS 68 (OT)

Any time John Calipari loses a game he should have won-no, make that any time John Calipari loses-is a great day for college basketball. And the way Memphis lost made this matchup of No. 1. 1 seeds memorable.

Calipari's Tigers led Kansas by nine with just 2:12 to play, but Memphis' Achilles heel was its free-throw shooting and four late misses from the line allowed Kansas to fight back. The Jayhawks' Mario Chalmers buried a three with two seconds remaining to force OT. Memphis was done at that point. Kansas went on to a 75-68 victory.

5. 1979, MICHIGAN STATE 75, INDIANA STATE 64

Another example where the historical significance and the identities of its key players superseded the game itself. State's Larry Bird and Michigan State's Magic Johnson were the two best players in college basketball, as they soon would be in the NBA. Their matchup intrigued America, even those who had never seen an NCAA Tournament game before. The stars starred, the ratings soared and March Madness was born.

6. 1983, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 54, HOUSTON 52

The last-second victory by sixth-seeded North Carolina State has grown even more dramatic in the years since their charismatic coach Jim Valvano died of cancer at age 47 ten years later.

Phi Slamma Jamma Houston, with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, was a big favorite. But the lack of a shot clock allowed the Wolpack to hang with the Cougars. It was tied at 52-52 with seconds left when NC State's Derek Whittenburg thread up a 30-footer.

The shot was woefully short but teammate Lorenzo Charles caught it and put the ball in as the buzzer sounded. Valvano's reaction-running back and forth as he searched for someone to embrace-contributed to its legend.

7. 1982, NORTH CAROLINA 63, GEORGETOWN 62

A year before, Georgetown, with freshman center Patrick Ewing, seemed headed for the title everyone had virtually conceded it. Carolina, who broadly admitted coach, Dean Smith, had a team filled with future NBA stars-James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and a freshman named Michael Jordan-was a huge sentimental favorite.

Jordan hit what proved to be the game-winner, a jumper from the corner that put NC up, 63-62, with 15 seconds left. Georgetown did not call a timeout, but with seven seconds remaining Hoyas guard Freddie Brown inexplicably passed the ball to Worthy, the bizarre turnover clinching Smith's first title and igniting Jordan's legend.

8. 1963 LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 60, CINCINNATI 58 (OT)

Cincinnati, which had failed to win a title during the spectacular career of Oscar Robertson, was going for a third straight NCAA title since his graduation. Little Loyola trailed by as many 15 points in the second half, but guard Jerry Harkness hit a jumper with four seconds left to force overtime.

With the score knotted at 58-58, and seconds remaining in the extra session, Harkness' shot was tipped. But, with everyone else standing flat-footed, Loyola's Jerry Rouse re-directed it into the basket as time expired. Loyola shot 27 percent for the game, but counterbalanced that by turning the ball over only three times.

9. 1944, UTAH 44, DARTMOUTH 42 (OT)

Utah had been invited to both the NCAA and NIT. Difficult as it is to fathom today, the latter was the bigger event then and the Utes opted to play in it. They were beaten in the first round by Rupp's Kentucky, but before they could return home from New York, fate intervened.

An automobile accident had injured several Arkansas starters and the Razorbacks were forced to withdraw from the NCAA. The Utes were re-invited and this time accepted. They made it to the title game against Dartmouth, where the two teams traded the lead six times in the final two minutes. It went to overtime where, with three seconds remaining, a long one-hander by Herb Wilkinson gain Utah a 44-42 win and the championship.

10. 1987, INDIANA 74, SYRACUSE 73

Indiana's Keith Smart, a junior-college transfer, scored 12 of the Hoosiers' final 15 points including the game-winner with five seconds remaining to give Bobby Knight his third and final National Championship.

Clamming In Weekapaug – Treasures Beneath The Ocean Floor

Digging for ocean clams is one of the simplest, most rewarding, unique and satisfying pleasures the great Atlantic has to offer. I have been clamming in Weekapaug, Rhode Island's Winnapaug Pond for 50 years and it never gets old.

The Winnapaug salt pond is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Weekapaug Breachway. Every six hours the breadway brings in a tide, filling the pond to the brim, or brings a tide out, leaving the pond shallow with exposed mud flats. It is at this point – low tide – that the clammers come out. The Winnapaug Pond features several small tribories or inlets. Most are crystal clear, shallow inlets perhaps 20 feet wide and at best knee deep. Others are a bit wider and a bit deeper up to one's chest. What these inlets – shallow or deep – have in common is that there are clams at the bottom!

Before we begin our excursion, some legal housekeeping is in order. You'll need a Rhode Island Shellfish License which can be obtained at city hall and several other locations for a nominal fee. When you are issued your license, you will be given a steel ring approximately two inches in diameter. More later on how this ring will be your most important piece of equipment.

The only other equipment you will need is a clam rake which looks very much like your everyday 5-pronged garden rake with 6-inch teeth. Only instead of digging up soil in your garden, you'll be scrapping mud with the implementation. Once you're in the water, you begin running the rake over the sandy bottom until you hear and feel what looks to be a rock. Carefully bury the rakehead behind this solid object and pull up everything – the object and all the surrounding mud! You then dip the mass into the water several times, each time more mud gets peeled away until eventually, the 'object' appears. Sometimes it actually will be a rock, resulting in a moment of disappointment. Other times it will be a shell – an old one – from a clam who has long since left this world. But sometimes the rake contains a beautiful, shining, gray, live clam! And for as mundane as this may sound, you can not contain your excitement! However, before you get too excited, grab that steel ring we talked about. If the clam you mold fits through the ring, the creature must be returned to the ocean as too small. Do not take this lightly. Wardens from the Department of Environmental Management frequently check clamming areas and they can check your catch if they so choose. You do not want to know what can happen if one of your clams fits through their ring.

Most clammers are in search of the smaller 'steamers' which go well with a cup of melted butter. Others go after the larger quahogs to be put into a clam chowder. The clams I catch do not meet such fates. I hold each clam I catch in my hand, I study it, marvel at its coloration, enjoy its coolness to the touch and then I return it to where it belongs – the soft, sandy bottom of the ocean. My reasoning is that these clams made their journey from the ocean, bought their way up the breadway and made it to the calm of the salt pond. How cruel it would be to reward the joy they brought to me by introducing them to a bottle of cocktail sauce.

James Taylor, "Carolina In My Mind", and A 40 Year Old Mystery

When songwriters name a specific person (and sometimes even when they do not) there's often widespread speculation about who they're talking about. The most familiar example is the intense guessing game that eruted when Carly Simon released "You're so vain". Well, her husband at the time, James Taylor, had ignited a guessing game of his own long before he married her when he wrote and released "Carolina in my mind".

Taylor wrote the song in multiple locations, starting in London at the flat of his producer Peter Asher. He continued working on it while taking an island holiday in the Mediterranean and finally finished it on another nearby island. Taylor beloved into the song all of his homesickness for North Carolina.

He also tossed into the song his feelings of intimidation. The song was recorded at the very same studio where the Beatles were in the middle of recording the "White Album". This is what he meant when he referred to "… a holy host of others standing 'round me … still I'm on the dark side of the moon".

But the mystery I'm referring to comes right in the very first verse:

"Karen she's the silver sun, you best walk her way and watch it shine, watch her watch the morning come …"

Karen? Who the heck is Karen? Was she a real person? Or maybe a nickname for his home state of Carolina? Or a slang reference to his heroin addiction?

There is an answer to the mystery but Taylor did not reveal it until 2009, roughly forty years after he composed and recorded the song. Karen was a real person who had had just met. It seems that when he was on his Mediterranean island getaway he ran into her on the island of Ibiza, just off the Spanish coast near the city of Valencia. Whatever relationship they did or did not have at the time was brief; he never saw her again. But he remembered her vividly forever after. He described her as Scandinavian, approximately twenty-four years old with shoulder length blonde hair. His memory of her was so powerful that decades later with the coming of the Internet Taylor decided to make a serious attempt to contact her. He even contacted a police artist, who he mandated to compose a drawing of what she might look like after so many years. Taylor liked the sketch that rejected but was not able to stop thinking of her as a criminal!

I wish I could report to you that using the sketch and the Internet that Taylor was able to track her down. Regrettably, I can not. But at least he got a lovely song out of it.

Wherever she is right now, assuming that she's still alive, she might be lamenting that she did not try to find a way to continue her relationship with the tall, lanky young American songwriter she ran into so long ago. I wonder how she dreams when she sheears James Taylor singing "Carolina in my mind"?

Collecting Costume Jewelry From the 1950s

As the cost of precious metals and jewels continue to rise the popularity and price of costume jewelry continues to rise. Costume jewelry is manufactured from nonprecious metals that are plated in the process. Precious metals, gold, silver, and platinum are scarce and continue to increase in price.

The process of gold-plating was developed by Nehemiah Dodge in his workshop in Providence, Rhode Island. As the gold-plating process with nonprecious metals was refined over time, mass production of costume jewelry was now possible. The major centers of production included Newark, New Jersey; Attleboro, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island, and New York. California became a major center for production by the late 1930s.

The Great Depression resulted in the reduction in the manufacture of fine jewelry. The fine jewelry designers found work with the costume jewelry manufacturers, thus resulting in an increase in the quality and design of the pieces. During World War II jewelry manufacturers were provided a list of metals that were no longer allowed to be used as many metals were needed for the war effort. Costume jewelry was then made from a variety of products including wood, plastics, and pasta.

Two events occurred during the 1950s that positively influenced the costume jewelry market. In 1955 and ad judge ruled costume jewelry was a “work of art.” With this ruling, companies began using copyrighted symbols to protect their pieces. Now that companies marked their pieces it became easier for collectors to identify the manufacturer and the time period in which the piece was produced.

The second event that occurred mid 1950s was the development of a special process which involved coating rhinestones. The coating gave the rhinestones an iridescent finish known as “aurora borealis.”

Three Major Jewelry Designers of the 1950s

Eisenberg

Eisenberg Jewelry, Inc. was officially established in 1940, manufacturing costume jewelry exclusively. It had been producing women’s clothing from the early 1900s. The jewelry was originally designed to co-ordinate with the women’s clothing line. However, the jewelry created by the Eisenberg Company was of such high quality that purchasers wanted the jewelry rather than the clothing for which it was intended to be worn. Eisenberg jewelry has several markings, although during the years 1958-1970 many pieces were not marked. Between 1949 and 1958, the jewelry was marked with the words Eisenberg Ice in block letters.

Kramer

Kramer Jewelry Creations was a company founded during World War II and operated in New York. Pieces created at this time were marked”Kramer,” “Kramer N.Y.,” or “Kramer of New York.” In the 1950s Kramer was recruited to design and produce costume jewelry for Christian Dior. Pieces designed for Dior were marked”Christian Dior by Kramer,” “Dior by Kramer,” or “Kramer for Dior.”

Favorite motifs of Kramer jewelry include flowers, particularly organic-looking floral designs made with colored enamel or gilt petals and leaves.

Napier

Napier became known for costume jewelry in the 1920s. By the late 1940s and into the 1950s Napier was famous for its rose gold brooches and necklaces set with clear and colored rhinestones, and bold designs for charms and bracelets. Napier Company used the name “Napier” enclosed within a rectangle. Following the sale of the Napier Company in 1999 the Napier trademark was written in script.

The Clothing-Jewelry Link

Women’s’ fashions in the 1950s became more feminine. Advances in fabrics allowed clothing to be worn without the need to iron, providing women a clean fresh look. Jewelry took on a new look to compliment the new clothing styles. The costume jewelry created during this time period took on larger proportions. Some earrings were so large the press described them as “ear muffs.” Large pearls and flower motifs were popular were heavy beaded rope necklaces, multiple stand bracelets, and shoulder length earrings.

Summary

Costume jewelry produced during the 1950s was influenced by economic and world events that limited materials to produce items and encouraged fine jewelry designers to turn to designing costume jewelry. Not all costume jewelry is marked or signed and even within a company there are periods in which the pieces were marked and other time periods the pieces were unmarked. Periodically a company would change the mark.

Costume during this time period is bold. Animal and floral motifs were popular. Western themed jewelry was also becoming fashionable as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were packing the movie theatres.

Mountain Residents Embrace Green Living

Sustainability, green building and energy efficiency are all words becoming part of today’s mainstream consciousness. As global environmental awareness spreads, certain regions of the U.S. are acting as leaders in the green living movement. One of the nation’s hotbeds for alternative energy is Western North Carolina (WNC), home to the city of Asheville.

According to an article by Dale Neal, “Video Touts Region on Green Economy,” in the February 22, 2008 Asheville Citizen-Times more than 80 green builders are based in WNC. In the 7-minute video, Neal mentions, titled “AdvantageGreen,” is directed by American Green TV’s Kurt Mann and discusses green building practices in and around Asheville, North Carolina.

The video features three WNC solar energy companies and highlights three major projects: FLS Energy’s installation of solar panels on a Greensboro hotel, Appalachian Energy’s installation of solar hot water systems on the roofs of Arby’s restaurants and Sundance Power’s installation of solar panels at Deltec Homes.

Simple Ideas for Living Green

Living a more earth friendly and healthy lifestyle is not as difficult as many people believe. Green building methods and alternative energy systems are increasingly affordable for the average citizen. There are even ways to make an existing structure more energy efficient whether it is a residential home or a commercial building.

Energy Star Efficiency Standards

One of the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency is to purchase products recognized by the Energy Star program. Energy Star is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and gives special certification to products that offer the highest level of efficiency in a particular category. All products certified must meet specific guidelines and are then allowed to carry the Energy Star logo. For more information about Energy Star, visit: http://www.energystar.gov/.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Natural light is the simplest way to save energy at home. Consider the size and location of all the windows in your home. Well-placed skylights or atriums also increase natural light and electrical efficiency. Although it is easier to make these considerations when building your home, you’ll be surprised at how quickly an investment in a smart, energy efficient renovation can pay for itself.

Energy Efficient, Green Living with Passive Solar and Passive Cooling

Passive solar and passive cooling are excellent strategies to maintain energy efficiency. Passive solar optimizes the use of heat-trapping materials. Many aspects of a home affect heating and cooling, even the direction it faces can decrease energy costs.

When choosing a passive solar solution, remember basic facts like homes facing the South are warmer than homes facing the North. Homes facing the East are warmer in the morning and those facing West are hotter in the afternoon. Passive cooling is facilitated by the wind in higher elevations. Mountain slopes facing away from predominant winds provide shelter and warmth. Slopes facing predominant winds are cooler.

Properly insulated walls, windows, roofs and floors are also crafted to attract or deflect the sun’s heat. Special window glazing can increase heating efficiency in the winter and shades or blinds affect cooling in the summer. The correct use of ceiling fans in the appropriate season can also improve energy efficiency.

Energy Efficient Landscaping: How Trees Support Energy Efficient Homes

The trees in your yard also support energy efficiency. In an article titled “Passive and Proud: Green Energy Ideas for Your Home,” writer and Northern California real estate agent Carolyn Gjerde-Tu of Discover David Homes, states, “Landscaping is another important consideration when thinking about energy efficiency. Deciduous trees (leafy in summer, bare in winter) provide wonderful shade for your home in summer, but allow the sun to help warm your home in winter. Plant these trees on the sides of your home that receive the most sun. Evergreens can also provide an effective break from chilling winds in winter.”

An Energy Efficient Initiative: NC HealthyBuilt Homes

NC HealthyBuilt Homes is an initiative supported throughout the state by the North Carolina Solar Center, the State Energy Office, the Asheville Home Builder Associations and the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC). According to the WNCGBC web site, wncgbc.org, the NC HealthyBuilt program promotes improved energy efficiency, indoor air quality and environmental accountability.

Energy efficient building also offers a number of federal and state tax advantages. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), http://www.dsireusa.org is a comprehensive list of tax and homeowner incentives. North Carolina and Asheville information is carefully detailed in the database along with other cities and states.

Energy efficiency is a simple, affordable way to begin living a healthier, greener lifestyle. Whether you are building a new home or searching for a way to increase the value of your existing home, an investment in increased home efficiency is an investment in the future.

Consequences of Driving While Intoxicated

It seems like every other day someone is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Nearly everyone knows someone, whether locally or nationally, who has been arrested for these charges. However, few people know that there the consequences of failing a sobriety test can resonate for years.

Countless numbers of people believe that a price of being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated are simply that they pay a small fine and may have to do some jail time. Yet, that is very incorrect.

Firstly, we must understand that each state is in control of their own alcohol laws. Therefore a conviction in one state may yield community service and a small fine, whereas the same exact criminal offense could yield serious jail time in another state.

That is because that states typically place guidelines for each alcohol-related offense and how to charge offenders. Thus a repeat offender may see automatic jail time for the second offense may have his or her license suspended or even more. Additionally, the age of the person who committed the crime is an extra factor.

The actual ramifications of driving while intoxicated and under the influence are steep. Besides the usual jail time, fines and other penalties, DUIs can remain on a person’s record for up to 10 years. This can make it extremely difficult for a person to retain their auto insurance or garner new insurance.

Many insurance providers will, at the minimum, increase the person’s monthly payments dramatically, thus making car insurance less affordable. A DUI conviction can also affect a person’s livelihood. A conviction is a criminal offense and anyone convicted of an alcohol-related offense can lose a job or fail to acquire one because of their record.

For example, Rhode Island has some of the toughest alcohol laws on the books. Multiple offenders can serve up to a minimum of five years in jail, a minimum suspended license of two years and fines up to $5,000.

The state even levies harder penalties for alleged criminals if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds.10. Yet, Rhode Island’s alcohol laws will only get harder. There has been a large push for stricter penalties and time for any alcohol offenders.

Yet, those are easy consequences compared to the ultimate one, death. Each year, numerous people under the influence of alcohol needlessly murder people. Although the media tends to focus on the vehicular deaths that many of these offenders cause, there are many more crimes that have been aided by the addition of alcohol.

Alcohol crimes are very difficult to have dismissed or given a lesser charge. Thus one needs to have an experienced attorney in the hopes of receiving a more lenient sentence or fines and penalties. Although it may be easier for hire a cheaper legal professional, laws pertaining to DUI are complicated and require the skills of someone who is aware of the law’s nuances.

Laws are constantly being updated and a legal professional that typically practices in a different field of law may not be as knowledgeable in laws pertaining to DUIs or intoxication. Therefore, anyone facing alcohol-related charges should seek a legal professional immediately.

A legal professional that is skilled in understanding the serious charges, the laws which were allegedly violated as well as have a large amount of favorable outcomes in similar cases is the lawyer that someone should hire.

DUI cases are steadily increasing throughout the nation. Citizens can expect to possibly see an increase in cases or harsher penalties since many states are pushing for just that to happen. A split second decision is all it takes between someone’s freedom and time spent behind bars.

Mitch's Tavern Review – Raleigh, NC

Whenever I move to a new area or visit for an extended length of time, one of the first things I am sure to do is scour the nearby shops and eateries for my own little nook or cranny to fill. I spend a lot of my time reading, writing, or just relaxing while I work and I prefer to do it in a calm environment that can offer some good food or drink when needed, and does not mind me hanging around. When I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina I found my niche rather quickly in Mitch's Tavern. Mitch's Tavern (often simply referred to as "Mitch's" by the locals) is a quiet little pub that offers students, professors, and workers a place to eat on Hillsborough Street for both lunch and dinner. When I walked into Mitch's for the first time a warm swept over me and a feeling of home settled inside me; I knew that this would be my area.

When you pull back the old wooden door leading to Mitch's you are immediately met with a worn, well-traveled wooden staircase. The staircase is steep and takes you to a dim but cozy little pub overlooking Hillsborough Street and the North Carolina State University campus. There is a wooden bar that is clean but shows many little knicks (I got a strong feeling of history in this place, and I like to believe that each of those nicks had a story of its own), and wooden booths and chairs set at dark wooden tables. The wooden floorboards complete the "old city tavern" feel of the restaurant, and the walls are lined with character. There are old beach bikes hanging from the ceiling, toy planes flying over the bar, photos, autographs, and cool little memoirs (famous newspapers and wanted posters) all over the walls. Each way you turn there is something else "cool" to look at that makes you realize you are not just at another bar and grill. I doubt I'll be able to return to one of the plethora of gimmicky bar and grills sprouting up all over the nation after visiting Mitch's. Call me spoiled, but it just would not feel the same.

While you may be first pulled into Mitch's because of the decorations, character, or dining experience, you'll probably come back for the food. This is not just bar food for you to munch on while you pound back the brews, this is food you can tell the chefs pride themselves on. From the honey filled melon to the Cuban sandwich, Mitch's offers a great variety of real flavor at easily affordable prices. A few of my personal favorites include:

The Vegetarian Chili – This is a chili filled with beans and spices, and flavored with mixed and minced vegetables. It comes with tortilla chips and toppings (salsa, sour cream, and cheese is placed on top of the chili), and if you're looking for a little extra "bite" there are jalapeƱos mixed in.

The London Broil – This sandwich was what first made me drag all of my friends to Mitch's and is always my recommendation if someone does not know what to order. Thin slices of real steak are layered between two pieces of toasted bread and are slathered with spiced mayonnaise. The sandwich is served with potato chips and pickle, the perfect lunchtime meal.

Mitch's is also a historic part of the downtown Raleigh area. It has been there for decades, and has seen many college professors, graduates, honored guests, and celebrities pass through its doors (with signatures an comments from some of them!). It has become an iconic part of the near-university area, and besides just being open for lunch daily it has become wrapped up in many student activities (some university sponsored and some not) such as meet-ups, exam week specials, and the accused Halloween night "Hillsborough Hike" (a bar crawl that centers around costumes and local pubs). If you are looking for a place to eat, hang out, watch the news, or even to get some work done in Raleigh be sure to take a look at Mitch's. I've been all over the city since, and have found quite a few memorable restaurants, but I always come back to Mitch's in the end. You just can not beat that London Broil.