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#302017 - 08/10/09 10:41 PM www.wunderground.com, Operation Portlight & Jeff Masters
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
http://www.portlight.org/ I am not asking anyone to donate to these good folks. I just want you to read about them when you get a few minutes. It will lift your spirits. Also, I am just putting the name up here in case there is a Hurricane this season and you know of any disabled in your area who have been overlooked...many do fall through the cracks in situations requiring disaster relief. Portlight steps in when they can to help the disabled recover from the storm...with medical supplies, rebuilding wheelchair ramps, making minor home modifications, and other help. These people call themselves a grass roots effort and they absolutely are that. Having done so much good and having it shared on www.wunderground.com, it was only a matter of time before they were called upon by public sentiment to get organized and get back out there on a much larger scale. I am a big fan of www.wunderground.com (weather underground). Jeff Masters, one of the hurricane hunter guys, is the backbone of the site. It is in my opinion the ONLY place to be if a hurricane is coming. If you like spaghetti models, you will love this site. They have all the models, radar, graphics, plus a lot of very intelligent people who post on the message boards. Easy to use, easy to understand.

Once a hurricane gets about 100 miles out give or take, then you will find me perched at Channel 2 Houston watching local weather guy Frank Billingsley, who can call them closer than the NWS. I have heard him do it. We have the best weather people in the Houston area...they have to be if they work along the Gulf Coast. Bad coverage of a hurricane is totally unacceptable by the masses in these parts. Anyway, Frank has that calming voice we all need to hear when we are getting pounded and he seems to know what our questions are...so he is the King in this area. The others are a very close second. I don't think we have anyone locally who is not conscious of their responsibilities in reporting hurricane news.

This is a good time to remind everyone to pick their favorite information sources and start preparing..buy your plywood now when the local lumber yards have plenty. Protect your family, your possessions and your home. When it is over, the better shape your home is in, the quicker you will recover emotionally and financially. Don't count on insurance to cover all your losses. As Realtors, we will need to be free to help people find new housing, so we need to make sure we do all we can to keep ours standing.

My many years of respect for hurricanes has now turned into a sick little fear...I went through Carla and Alecia but those memories are mild compared to Ike...not so much the storm itself (and the eerie sound of my apartment building's tin roof peeling off in one large section, but also for the aftermath. Everywhere neighborhoods were a mess. I was shocked to see such a high loss of mature trees. Just yesterday I completed a BPO on a home with over 75% of the roof still covered. It is now painfully evident who did not have insurance on their homes. It's been a while since I have seen a really old roof in the area that is not blue tarped. The old ones did not survive Hurricane Ike and are now either covered or have been replaced. And everywhere are old fences with sections of new lumber. I went by my old apartment unit last week and a large temporary building had gone in across the street on a vacant lot. Curious, I drove by and sure enough, it was full of building materials. It looks like they are going to be able to rebuild. I wonder what happened to a lot of those good people who were displaced when the roof blew off and exposed their belongings to the high wind and rains. Natural disasters take away our homes and disrupt our normal activities...matters not if they are fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes or earthquakes. The more we prepare and the more help we get in recovery can make a difference.



Edited by Darlene B (07/25/10 05:00 AM)

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#345271 - 07/25/10 02:55 AM PEOPLE & ORGANIZATIONS OF INTEREST TO OUR FORUM
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I am always finding people on the internet who would be of interest to our forum. Let's use this thread to profile these people who are contributing something positive to natural disaster recovery, green building and other real estate related issues that interest our forum. Some of these folks may go unnoticed while making a contribution while some may be well known already.


Edited by Darlene B (07/25/10 04:52 AM)

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#345272 - 07/25/10 03:07 AM Re: CHECK OUT THESE PEOPLE OF INTEREST TO OUR FORUM [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
JENNIFER SIEGAL:

Jennifer Siegal just won the USA Network first-ever Character Approved Award. I love her ideas. Check her out on this YouTube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7g_9ZXg4kA&feature=related

If you have trouble finding her with that link, just search for Jennifer Siegal and it should crop up titled "USA Network announces the Character Approved Award".

She has great ideas, obviously.

It's not just the home's footprint we should look at shrinking. From 3,500 SF new builder homes to 400 SF park model homes (of which I am a huge fan), we use a lot of energy just heating and cooling the space created by ridiculously tall ceilings. Even though the purpose is mostly aesthetic, people with these tall ceilings will be paying out money every month for space that is completely unnecessary...except for the eye appeal. But can we afford to waste energy on these tall ceilings? Would a better use for that money be for new patio furniture or a nest egg for your future vacation cabin, where you may also need air conditioning?

I would love to be able to say "I love your cathedral ceiling, as viewed through your 8-foot flat ceiling of clear plexiglass. What a novel and responsible idea you have...keeping your pretty ceiling and still saving energy. I will tell all my friends who have high energy bills what you have done." I admit that idea probably isn't practical and most likely won't happen but I do see the height of these ceilings coming down. Hopefully, the builders will put that money into adequate parking space for the home so homeowners won't have to park on the sidewalk and force kids into the streets. Smaller homes mean more parking spaces for the family.

These are just my personal opinions and not based on any particular research or study.

Darlene Bitner
Realtor (Texas)


Edited by Darlene B (07/25/10 03:09 AM)

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