Online Platform Promotes Partnerships Between Businesses and Investors

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Historically, specialty businesses had limited ability to expand beyond their immediate geographic region. However, current technology allows such businesses to promote themselves to a larger audience. Touch Up Teak is one example of how successful online investment partnerships can grow a business.
Touch Up Teak, based in Hollywood, Florida, provides a full range of services for preservation, repair, restoration and maintenance of exotic wood used for high-end furniture, home decor, decks and other areas requiring style and durability. The company also serves the resort and restaurant industries, and the yachting/boating community.
“I have wanted to expand for some time into markets beyond Florida,” Touch Up Teak CEO Paul Murray noted. “We decided to list our offering on the internet, and wanted to make sure we could reach as many possible capital sources in the most efficient and cost-effective manner we could.” To help expand its business, the company used DPOUSA, an online financial platform that makes information about up-and-coming businesses available to potential investors at any time, day or night. DPOUSA is visible to the public, and also maintains a growing database of 30,000 investors with over $500 billion in investment-ready capital.
“Since listing, we have begun discussions with accredited investors who just happen to own yachts, and see the value our business brings,” Murray said.
Touch Up Teak maintains additional facilities in Miami and Naples, but the company’s management has plans to expand the services offered and the geographic areas served, starting with high-end southeast markets in Orlando. Such expansion will require capital for facilities, marketing and advertising, and the company hopes to partner with additional investors online via DPOUSA.
As part of the expansion plans, Touch Up Teak has developed proprietary wood-finishing and restoration technologies tailored to the high-end woods used in demanding applications such as high-gloss yacht finishing and interior/exterior patio furniture, trim and decking. As an exotic-wood specialty company, Touch Up Teak is qualified to restore and maintain many different species of hard and soft woods including teak, ipe, walnut, mahogany, cypress, tiger, Patagonian rosewood, cumaru, burl and bubinga.
“Now that we have engaged in discussions with investors, our future expansion plans in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern California are closer to becoming a reality,” said Murray.
For more information about Touch Up Teak, please visit touchupteak.com. For details about how DPOUSA provides online investment opportunities for Touch Up Teak and similar companies, visit www.dpousa.com.

Decorating to Make Your Holidays Sparkle

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We all have a neighbor who goes overboard with the novelty outdoor lights around the holidays, but what if you want a more subtle, sophisticated approach to herald the season? The American Lighting Association (ALA) offers some proven tips for holiday decorating with refined style, inside and out.
First of all, consider a grand entrance. Adding a few easy-to-install landscape uplights to highlight trees and shrubs, or path lighting to illuminate a sidewalk or driveway, will immediately add a sense of elegance and sophistication.
Once your company comes inside, it’s really time to shine. Little touches can inspire a cheery mood and make guests feel comfortable and merry.
“Decorating for the holidays doesn’t always have to be sparkles and glitz,” says Bruce Hathaway, national sales manager for the Vermont-based lighting manufacturer Hubbardton Forge. “Sometimes a little understatement goes a long way.
“Entertaining in your home involves managing the flow of a room, so be careful not to over-clutter the space -; especially when you’re hosting a group of people,” says Hathaway. “Recessed lighting should be dimmed, and accent and cove lighting should be used to create highlights and drama. And don’t forget that portable table and floor lamps help set the perfect stage.”
Focus attention on a tree and other holiday decorations with portable spotlights. These small, inexpensive fixtures are available at most ALA-member showrooms and can usually accommodate a tabletop dimmer. Create pretty silhouettes by placing a spotlight beneath a Christmas tree so that it shines up through the branches. For an especially warm and intimate feel, shine a spotlight toward framed photos of family members and past holiday gatherings, and fill a corner with a basket of children’s holiday books.
One easy and quick change that will have maximum impact is to switch out a few lampshades. Replacing a neutral lampshade with one that is red or gold will soften the light and create a holiday atmosphere. Try adding a few shade charms, available at many craft stores, to add some sparkle and fun. You can even buy an inexpensive plain shade and decorate it with whatever suits your style and particular occasion.
Visit your local ALA-member lighting showroom to discover all the items and expertise you need to make simple, low-cost changes to make your home beautiful and inviting. For more information about all aspects of home lighting, go to www.AmericanLightingAssociation.com.

3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The number of children who read digitally is on the rise, according to a report called “The Children’s Digital Book Market: The future looks bright.” In both the U.S. and Canada, e-book sales for children have increased substantially for some companies. No matter how you may feel about digital books, this is great news.
More kids reading is always good news — especially when reading achievement levels are so abysmal. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress says that only one-third of all students entering high school are proficient in reading.
It’s no secret that children who read tend to be more successful in school. Reading helps instill an interest in learning, exercises the brain and improves concentration, critical thinking and vocabulary.
“As a parent of three, I’m constantly looking for new ways to encourage the love of reading in my kids. At the same time, I am also trying to manage the amount of time that they spend on electronics and in front of screens,” said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer of Kobo Inc., an e-reading service. “Even with a range of ages, they have all found books they like, so the e-readers in our house are now filled with Percy Jackson, Emily Windsnap and Geronimo Stilton.”
Use the following tips to encourage youngsters to read more and enjoy it.
1. Read to children as much as possible. This may seem obvious, but reading to your kids helps them develop their own interest in books. Read to them at all ages, as babies, toddlers, young kids and pre-teens. Discover what types of books they prefer, carve out reading time and then teach them to make time for it, too.
2. Consider using an e-reader. These days, kids tend to be more technologically advanced than their parents. Use that to your advantage, and give your child an e-reader with a digital library.
For instance, the Kobo Mini eReader is lightweight, portable and perfect for first-time
readers — The Huffington Post says it’s lighter than this week’s issue of The New Yorker. The Kobo Mini (www.kobo.com/kobomini) also has a touch-screen and Wi-Fi, so young readers can look up unfamiliar words, make notes on the page and access free books.
“E-readers, like Mini, let them have instant access to their favorite stories without the distractions that other devices provide,” says Tamblyn.
3. Read all kinds of materials. Books aren’t the only way to encourage reading. Depending on your child’s interests, find related comic books, graphic novels, magazines, poetry, recipes, board games with reading cards and movies with subtitles. Get creative!

Shopping for Life Insurance Now as Easy as Booking a Hotel Room

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Talk about annoying.
Here you are, trying to keep your family from being left destitute when you die, and — unlike all those travel websites we’re accustomed to — you can’t get a simple price quote online for life insurance without first supplying more personal details than you’d be comfortable telling your best friend.
And even if you do (grudgingly) supply the information, somehow you never learn the actual cost until some insurance company salesman calls you back.
And keeps calling you back — perhaps pitching more insurance than you need.
Well, now there’s a new website, www.CoverYoo.com, that’s getting rave reviews for being — to keep the travel analogy going — “the Kayak.com of Life Insurance,” as one trade journal put it.
Not only does the site let you anonymously comparison shop for different types of life insurance from among hundreds of companies — allowing you to almost instantaneously see, for example, that 10-year term insurance will run you anywhere from $111 to $632 annually — but everything is written in plain English (as opposed to insurance-speak).
“You feel like you’ve done your homework when you go to CoverYoo,” says Chief Technology Officer Todd Albert. “And once you see the price, it’s totally up to you whether you want to talk to an agent or not.”
You also feel like you’re getting the straight dope. Case in point: While many in the industry speak in crisis terms about the estimated 39 percent of Americans who lack life insurance, CoverYoo.com says straight out that “odds are that you don’t need (it)” if you fall into certain categories (i.e., single and no children).
For those who do need it, though, the site also does a good job of explaining the four basic life insurance policies out there — “Term,” “Term to Age,” “Term ROP (Return of Premium),” and “Universal Life” — and helps you decide which is right for you. Thus, even before you check the prices, you’ll know, among other things, that:
* Term insurance is the least expensive, and a simple rule-of-thumb for choosing among five-year, 10-year, 20-year and 30-year durations is to ensure that your youngest child will be covered to age 22.
* Declining a medical exam severely limits your options.
* To figure how much coverage you really need, total all your debts (including mortgages) and 70 percent of your annual expenses for 20 years.
Oh, and here’s a fun fact for anyone who doubts the need for CoverYoo: Esurance.com, which some of you may have tried, is actually owned by none other than Allstate.

How to See Clearly in Any Driving Condition

(NewsUSA) – When is it necessary to change my wipers? Is there really a difference between wiper blades? As fall approaches, it’s important to ask yourself these questions as heavy rains and increasingly severe weather can obscure driving visibility.

In fact, the American Optometric Association reports that 90 percent of all driving decisions are based on visibility. Having a properly installed set of wiper blades will enhance your vision during difficult driving conditions. Most drivers don’t even realize they need new wipers until that moment of truth, as a storm approaches or heavy snow begins to fall.

To avoid this, check your wipers once a month for worn or split rubber that can cause streaking or chattering. TRICO, an authority in the wiper blades industry, encourages consumers to “change your clocks, change your blades” and make replacing wipers  part of your typical fall and spring routine maintenance during daylight saving time.

Finding the right-sized blades can seem difficult. The “Find Your Wiper” feature on wiperblades.com offers a quick solution by letting drivers select their vehicle’s make, model and year to display a full selection of wiper blade options.

You may find that several different wiper blades fit your car, and then ask yourself, “Does it really matter which one I use?” The difference between a conventional style and the newer, premium beam design is important to keep in mind.

A conventional blade design features a steel superstructure with blade claws, a rubber wiping element and several connection points. The beam blade design is the latest advancement in wiper technology that offers even pressure and enhanced clarity in all conditions.

Although the beam blade is considered an all-season wiper, you may want to consider a winter weather blade that is equipped with superior armors and synthetic blended materials. TRICO invented the winter blade in 1953 and has recently perfected it with TRICO Ice. This wiper blade is a great option for providing maximum performance in the most unrelentingly harsh conditions.

Of course, one of the most frustrating parts of buying wiper blades is installation. Thankfully, wiperblades.com has helpful installation videos to help you avoid the struggle and make the process as quick and easy as it should be.

No matter where you live, unpredictable and harsh weather will affect driving visibility, so be ready with a reliable, quality set of wiper blades when the time comes. Get more tips on how to keep yourself and other drivers safe at wiperblades.com.

A Guide to Enrolling in Medicare When You Become Eligible

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Knees start to hurt. Hips start to ache. Maybe your lower back too. And you finally understand what “tennis elbow” means. Welcome to getting older.For years, your bones, muscles, and joints have held up with nothing more than a minor twinge here or a bruise there. Now, however, it takes longer to get out of bed and daily aches and pains seem to be the norm.While it may sound counterproductive, studies have shown that engaging in a moderate strength training program not only helps in toning up, but strengthening muscles that can ache for days. This is especially true as you get older.Experts say that while some pain is expected as you age, it is also the body’s way of telling you something. The following tips can help tired, sore muscles and joints feel better:* Soothe with heat. A warm shower or bath, hot water bottle, or warm cloth can help relax tired muscles and ease muscle spams.* Invite in the cold — therapy, that is. Ice packs can soothe pain, especially if a joint is inflamed or swelling (think joints ankles, elbows, shoulders). Try a cool cloth, cold pack, cold compress wrap, or ice massage. Typically the time is 15-20 minutes on, and the same amount of time off the joint or muscle.* Practice deep breathing. The benefits of using the breath to soothe yourself cannot be underscored enough. Slow, quiet breathing helps relax the body and mind and ease the pain. Aim for about six long, deep breaths a minute.* Get a massage. A foot, back, or hand rub can also alleviate pain. Warm oil or lotion may also help you relax. One note: massage in one area for 10 seconds first to see if it feels good.* Invest in a stairlift. If you have stairs in your home, and there are days that you just can’t seem to make it up due to tired, aching muscles, a stairlift, such as those from Orlando-based Acorn Stairlifts, can help. Unlike chair lifts of old, new models are powered by two small 12-volt batteries under the seat or by regular house current. The chair and built-in footrest typically fold up when not in use. Available for straight or curved stairs, these lifts can be a godsend if you’re recovering from an injury. The lifts include safety belts, lockable swivel seats, and light touch controls for easy operation.For more information, please visit www.acornstairlifts.com.

Your Mother Wishes She Had This Prenatal Vitamin

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Do your kids have your back? Apparently more so than many of you think.
That’s the most heartening takeaway in an otherwise cautionary look at the diciest of American subjects — aging parents — that comes courtesy of the third biennial “Fidelity Investments Family & Finance Study.” Less heartening is that nearly 4 in 10 families seem to be suffering from what’s best described as — hat tip to “Cool Hand Luke” — “a failure to communicate.”
Let’s start by giving at least certain offspring their due credit:
* While 93 percent of parents felt it would be “unacceptable” to become financially dependent on their kids, 70 percent of the adult children had no qualms about opening their wallets.
* Children were much more likely to expect that either they or a sibling would care for an ill parent than their moms and dads were (47 percent vs. 11 percent).
“Despite this welcome news for parents, the study suggests several areas where they need to speak up to ensure their wishes are heard, as it appears the children may not be getting the message,” says John Sweeney, Fidelity’s executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies.
Indeed.
Whether it’s estate execution, long-term caregiving in the event of illness or help in managing investments and retirement finances, it often turns out that the very child parents expect will handle things doesn’t have the foggiest clue the responsibility will fall to him or her (reaching as high as 44 percent of children, in the case of helping to manage their parents’ household expenses).
Part of the miscommunication is attributed to “timing,” given that only 33 percent of parents and their offspring agree on when it’s “appropriate” to initiate conversations related to aging. Before retirement? Upon entering retirement? Closer to when health and/or finances become an issue? (The correct answer: before retirement.)
Compounding the problem is that even when those conversations do occur, the study found, they’re not as detailed as they should be.
Think about it: Has your family discussed, say, how it will cover the estimated $245,000 the average couple can expect to spend on health care throughout retirement?
Probably not. But as Sweeney notes, “At some point, every family will face issues relating to aging — perhaps even dementia — and there are real emotional and financial consequences when family conversations either don’t happen or lack sufficient depth.”
If peace of mind is important to you — and at least 93 percent of both parents and children reported attaining it after having had those all-important talks — online tools can help get you there.
Fidelity, for example, has a variety of resources available at Fidelity.com/families that, among other things, lists the documents you’ll need should a key financial decision-maker die.
After all, “Cool Hand Luke” moments are best saved for the movies.

How Safe Is Uber? It Depends on Gender

Modern luxury executive car on a white background

It’s shorthand for the potential danger faced by women using app-based, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. And if you’re already dismissing how dangerous it can be, you’ve obviously missed the rash of headlines like these from across the country.

• “Uber Driver Charged With Rape Ordered Held After Dangerousness Hearing” (Boston Globe, August 2016)

• “Police Had Tip That Lyft Driver Charged With Sexual Assault Planned To Flee Country” (Dallas Morning News, November 2015)

• “Police: Uber Driver Returns to Rape, Burglarize Passenger at Her Home” (FOX-TV New Orleans, January 2016)

• “Fake Uber Driver Arrested After Brutal Sexual Assault of Passenger in Westlake: LAPD” (KTLA-TV Los Angeles, April 2016)

You read correctly. Per that last headline, we’ve now reached the point where bad guys are actually posing as Uber drivers in order to lure unsuspecting women into their cars.

“With the alarming number of alleged sexual assaults involving ride-hail app drivers, it’s urgent that we bring this issue to the forefront of conversations,” says Delilah Rumburg, CEO of the nonprofit National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

To that point, the organization has allied with another nonprofit, the National Limousine Association (NLA), which — in calling for a “Passenger Bill of Rights” last year as part of its “Ride Responsibly” initiative — has been spearheading a nationwide movement to subject drivers for the Ubers of the world to the same rigorous criminal background checks as those behind the wheels of taxis and limos.

To up the ante, both have enlisted Pamela Anderson — she of former “Baywatch” fame — to make their case in a Public Service Announcement. “You can’t always vet the driver you are using,” she says in “The Driving Game!” video, “but the service you are using should.”

Whether even Ms. Anderson will be enough to steel the backs of politicians up against formal opponents in the ride-hailing industry in general, and that Uber in particular, remains to be seen. The main sticking point? Forcing the industry to finally start spending the extra bucks to fingerprint their drivers instead of relying on what NLA President Gary Buffo dismissively calls, “the perilously in-comprehensive background checks” Uber and its ilk continue to defend.

Just how formidable is the ride-hailing industry?

Consider this: a few months after Uber and Lyft pulled out of the Austin, Texas, market last May, rather than comply with new fingerprinting regulations that voters had just endorsed, the issue came up again in Massachusetts. Boston, you see, had been experiencing a slew of alleged sexual assaults by Uber drivers that left women on edge. Even so, lawmakers were unable to muster the votes needed to include a fingerprinting requirement in the statewide law that ultimately passed.

“It’s really frustrating when you see these attacks happen over and over again,” State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, who favored fingerprinting, tells the Boston Globe. “It’s hurtful to the victim and hurtful to the community.”

“When,” she adds, “is it going to stop?”.

Kick-Start Small Engine Maintenance in 3 Steps

(NewsUSA) – Temperatures are rising, and people are venturing outdoors. Items like lawn mowers, motorcycles and other small engine machines are being dusted off and taken out of storage in anticipation of the warmer weather. While you may be eager to rev up their motors, before you turn the key, it’s important to verify they are in proper working order.While warm weather usually puts people in a positive mood, a recent survey conducted by the makers of STA-BIL products, found one thing that Americans dread this time of year — getting their small engine equipment out of storage and ready for use. In fact, they would rather take down old holiday decorations or just pay someone as much as $100 to take care of the whole dirty job.”Using a lawn mower that sputters out every five minutes or a jet ski that takes half an hour to start is a hassle,” says Tom Bingham, marketing director at Gold Eagle. “In fact, nearly 75 percent of the survey respondents admitted to having issues with their small engine equipment after taking it out of storage — but with the proper maintenance, this doesn’t have to be the case.”Fortunately, there are three simple steps you can take to help prevent small engine equipment problems and avoid a trip to the repair shop:1. Educate yourself on how to care for small engine machines and equipment. Does it need to be stored indoors? Are there products or fluids that will help keep the engine clean? How often should the oil be changed? Proper care now can keep equipment running better, longer.2. Check fasteners, cutting blades and oil levels when you first take equipment out of storage. Fasteners should be tightened, blades sharpened and wheel bearings and fittings should be lubricated.3. For trouble starting a small engine, add appropriate fluids like Start Your Engines! fuel additive. This will clear clogged fuel lines and flush out the engine so it’s clean and easy to start. All you do is pour a bottle into the fuel tank, give it a minute, and your small engine equipment will start up fast.”Some repairs can cost up to $300,” says Bingham. “When it comes to proper seasonal storage and maintenance, it literally pays to take care of your machinery between seasons and makes for an easy, stress-free transition.”Find more information about storing and maintaining small engines at www.goldeagle.com.

Michelin Tires Helps Yellowstone National Park Go Green

OldFaithfulCTourists visiting Yellowstone National Park’s famous geyser, “Old Faithful,” will even use tires once they get out of their cars for a closer look. Old Faithful, you see, now boasts a porous, clean, flexible walkway made almost entirely of recycled Michelin tires. The “paved” surface, known as Flexi-Pave and manufactured by the company K.B. Industries (KBI), is kinder to the environment than asphalt because the permeable composite material allows for better erosion control and preservation of the natural patterns of groundwater flow. In addition, the walkway surface is highly durable and tolerant of extreme hot or cold weather, and does not leach any oil into the surrounding environment.

“The material used to create KBI’s Flexi-Pave is completely benign and therefore can be used safely with the delicate aquifers here in Yellowstone,” said Kevin Bragnall, CEO and founder of KBI, in a statement. The Old Faithful Walkway Project covers 6,400 square feet and includes 900 Michelin tires. “The path allows 3,000 gallons of groundwater to pass per square foot. It also is designed to diffuse the water’s force, helping prevent erosion,” Bagnall noted.

“The Old Faithful Walkway Project is a great example of what a difference a company devoted to sustainability can make in the world’s first national park,” said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, in a statement. “We are fortunate to have a corporate partner as farsighted, public-spirited and generous as Michelin,” she added. Underscoring how important this project was to the 126-year-old tire company, Michelin flew in a team of employees from across the country to help complete the construction of the walkway. The 10 volunteers were winners of a company-wide contest to participate in the project.

Michelin is a major corporate sponsor of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, with a goal of helping the park curb operating expenses and reduce the consumption of raw materials. To ensure this, Michelin regularly donates and helps maintain thousands of tires for Yellowstone National Park’s more than 800 vehicles, including patrol cars, garbage trucks, snow plows and load-hauling tractor trailers. The tires feature the latest in green tire technology to help save fuel and reduce emissions.

“Helping build and provide material for this new pathway is very much in line with Michelin’s goal of working with the Yellowstone Park Foundation,” said Leesa Owens, director of community relations for Michelin, in a statement.

To find out more about Michelin tires, visit www.michelin.com.