Experts Urge Caution As $50 Billion In Sandy Aid Passes House

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The House of Representatives passed a bill this week to spend $50 billion to help states struck by Hurricane Sandy. The action comes more than two months after the storm, and the measure now goes to the Senate.

The delay outraged politicians and residents from the Northeast, who blamed Washington for playing politics with desperately needed aid. But some scientists and engineers say there’s danger in rushing ahead to rebuild a coastline that’s sure to get hit again.

Tough talk in the House from Republican Peter King and Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York and Democrat Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey paid off. The total aid package is now looking to run about $60 billion, compared to more than $80 billion for Hurricane Katrina.

Most of the money is to help people whose homes or businesses have been lost or damaged, or for infrastructure, including bridges and roads.

Hurricane Sandy exposed weaknesses in New York City’s electricity grid. Experts say work can be done to revamp it so it’s more tolerant to support backup solar power. Here, the New York City skyline, seen from the Brooklyn Bridge, on Nov. 3.

John Moore/Getty Images

But several billion dollars are pegged for projects to reduce risk of future storms. Some scientists are alarmed, like Rob Young, a geologist at Western Carolina University who studies what happens to structures built along coastlines.

“What in the world are they going to spend that on?” he asks.

It looks like a lot of the money will go to things like trucking sand back onto beaches or rebuilding beachfront property the way it used to be. But Young says that’s a ton of taxpayers’ money for projects that may not make the coast more resilient.

“You have this massive government subsidy for development in vulnerable coastal areas, particularly on the immediate coast, on the oceanfront, in resort communities,” he says.

Spending tax dollars to rebuild coastal communities isn’t new. Young points to Dauphin Island along the Gulf Coast — it’s been rebuilt numerous times after storms, to the tune of tens of millions of tax dollars. Most insurance companies shy away from these places. So the taxpayer pays.

And as the climate warms, all the scientific models predict more storms, bigger storms and more devastation. In fact, the insurance industry says giant disasters are becoming more common.

“So we’re going to have to do these projects over and over again,” Young says. “We’re going to have to do it more frequently in the future and it’s going to get more expensive.”

Young is among many scientists and engineers who say: Slow down. Find out if more sand really saves beaches. Maybe wetlands are better. Do floodgates work? And who should pay for this?

New Yorkers like Andrew Darrell are thinking along the same lines.

“I live here in New York City. I’m raising kids here in New York City. I also believe that if there’s any place that can get this right, it’s a place like New York,” he says.

Darrell is an energy analyst at the Environmental Defense Fund and an adviser to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is focused on how the city’s electricity grid gets rebuilt. He saw part of it go down from his apartment during Sandy at the 14th Street power station in Manhattan.

“A wave crested a 12-foot wall that surrounds the substation and caused a huge electricity arc, and it lit up the sky,” Darrel says. “In the arc of that light, you could see quite clearly all of the buildings in lower Manhattan that night.”

Darrell says rebuilding the grid means doing things differently. Take solar power, for example. After Sandy, a few buildings with solar panels had power when the sun came back out. But most did not — for a strange reason.

“Those solar panels largely work by feeding into the electric grid,” Darrell says. “So when the grid goes down, those solar panels go down too.”

Darrell says it costs building owners more money to get their solar panels to work independently of the grid. He says people should get paid to be independent from the grid, so they can provide a safety net for the power company during disasters.

Experts like Darrell and Young say little changes like that could reduce the cost — and the pain — of the next big storm. And the money’s on the table right now to do it.

Source: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/18/169636598/experts-urge-caution-as-50-billion-in-sandy-aid-passes-house

Home Restoration Process and Tips After Hurricane Disaster

Assistance in Home Restoration | Deep Blue Blog

www.deepblueblog.org11/25/12

Because you probably don't have the proper experience, it is possible that you might not be up to the task of handling the restoration process on your own. To ensure your home restoration process is done right, call the

Restoration of 122-year-old home nearly done – WPEC

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Restoration of 122-year-old home nearly doneWPECMELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The restoration of the oldest home in Brevard County is nearly complete, keeping a slice of old Florida intact for future generations. Florida Today reports (http://on.flat …

NJ.com – Sandy cleanup in N.J. continues for crews that clear downed trees – NJ.com

http://www.nj.com/1h ago

Enlarge Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Andy Potter, of Potter Tree Service, cuts out a section of a fallen tree to support the one in background lying on the home of Bob Soltis, located off of Brookside Road in Randolph.

How to Strip Paint – Federal Style Home Restoration in Charleston, SC – Bob Vila eps.907

Related: Quick Tip: Stripping Paint: www.bobvila.com Home Renovation: The Exterior: www.bobvila.com Bob covers some of the techniques involved in stripping and repainting the house’s original siding. Also, Bob tours a Georgian architectural gem with …

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Home Improvement Market Still Dominated By Home Depot

After doing some home improvement research, I found some interesting ideas to share….

Lower Credit Card Fees Mean Cheaper Prices At Home Depot – TheStreet.com

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Lower Credit Card Fees Mean Cheaper Prices At Home DepotTheStreet.comThe home improvement retailer has largely managed to maintain its image as the lower priced retailer compared to Lowe’s(LOW), and the price cuts should help … …

Home Improvement Savings (The Frugalicious Show)

Bitsy and Erin share some of their best ideas and resources for low cost, high impact changes to your home. Remodel or move? Check out RemodelorMove.com for help on home improvement projects and even finding contractors bit.ly Check out SaveOnMyRemod…

Changes in junior pro – The Tennessean – tennessean.com

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Home Depot employee Terri Sears, left, checks out a contractor customer at the pro desk at the Home Depot on Powell Avenue in Nashville. Home Depot goes harder after professional contractors' business with VIP service in bid to boost – 12:03 am.

A Kitchen Makeover On A Shoestring Budget

A Kitchen Makeover On A Shoestring Budget

If your kitchen is showing its age and you want to have it redone, you probably realize that a project of this type is quite expensive. If your budget cannot handle that extra expense at this point, you can still give your kitchen a bright, updated look without breaking the bank.

Pick out and install new hardware for your kitchen cabinets. This small, seemingly insignificant change can do wonders to add a modern touch to your kitchen. Visit any home improvement store to find an endless array of choices from which to choose.

If you have a wooden floor in your kitchen and you can’t or don’t want to have it refinished, try painting it. A coat of paint can give your kitchen floor a clean, old fashioned look that is homey and cozy.

Revamp the look of your kitchen by changing the linens. New curtains, tablecloths and tea towels in a new and different theme can make your kitchen look brand new. Choose a theme you love and that has meaning for your family. Use a playful theme if you have young children, or try a sophisticated or country theme if your family members are older.

Chances are that your cabinets are still sturdy enough to hold your dishes and cookware, but the finish may appear shabby, worn and scratched. Changing your cabinets is a major undertaking and costs quite a bit of money, but as long as the cabinets are still in usable condition, you can spruce up the outsides by having them refinished or painted. You can even do the job yourself!

While you are working on those cabinets, consider removing one of the cabinet doors to create an area in which to display some of your decorative pieces. Pitchers, fancy platters and decorative bowls are a few items that you can display in this area.

If your kitchen sink is stained and scratched and the finish is gone, you might want to consider changing the sink. While you may need the services of a plumber, a sink carries a relatively inexpensive price tag and is fairly easy to change. While you are at it, treat yourself to a brand new faucet. Even if you decide not to change the sink, a new faucet can help spruce up your kitchen, especially if you have already changed the cabinet hardware.

Because so much cooking and eating takes place in the kitchen, the walls may show splatters and stains. A quick coat of paint can help cover those unsightly marks and give your kitchen and fresh, clean look.

If your kitchen tends to be dark, you may want to consider upgrading the lighting. New, overhead fluorescent lights can help illuminate your kitchen, and installing under counter lighting can provide light where you need it most when you are preparing food. A pretty light fixture hanging over your kitchen table adds the finishing touch to the lighting project.

As you can see, there is no need to spend a fortune to help your tired kitchen spring back to life. Simple, inexpensive upgrades can work to turn your kitchen from a dark, worn room that shows its age to a fresh, modern space in which you won’t mind spending time preparing meals and an area where your family can share many happy meals and memories.

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Astonish Industries Oven & Cookware Cleaner 17.6 Oz.

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CPR Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

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    Westwood Clayton One Light Portable Floor Lamp in Restoration Bronze

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