Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ECONOMY DOWNTURN HITS THE UBER-WEALTHY

Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov contracted to purchase the French Riviera mansion, Villa Leopolda, for $750 million back in 2008. Now, according to the London Daily Mail, he wants his $55 million deposit back. Seller Lily Safra seems to believe a deal is a deal. Last year there were 1,125 billionaires, today there are just 793. Yes, almost thirty percent of last year's uber-rich have dropped into the ranks of multi-millionaires. Not only did the number of billionaires decline, their collective net worth shrank by a whopping $2 trillion dollars

Monday, March 30, 2009

SHORT SALES & FORECLOSURES IN EMPTY BUILDINGS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Yes, you can get a real good bargain. BUT – if there are a lot of empty units in the building, residents may be getting a hefty HOA raise to cover ongoing costs such as maintaining landscaping, keeping building insurance policy, maintaining air conditioning, pool and other amenities. There are rules for lenders and buyers… a condo building cannot have more than 15% HOA fees delinquencies to qualify a buyer for a Fannie Mae loan.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR AWARDED TO THOMAS R. NORRIS (Part 2)

Thomas R. Norris was born in Jacksonville, Florida. His family moved to Wisconsin and later to the Washington, D.C. area, where Norris attended the University of Maryland, intent on pursuing a career in criminology with the FBI. Graduating in 1967, Norris enlisted in the Navy when his student deferment from the draft was not extended. He volunteered for the SEALs -- the Navy's elite special-forces unit -- and after completing the brutally rigorous training program served multiple tours of duty in Vietnam. In the spring of 1973, a RB-66 electronic surveillance plane was shot down over North Vietnam. One crewman, Lt. Col. Gene Hambleton, survived the bailout over North Vietnam and narrowly escaped capture. The Air Force launched an unprecedented rescue effort. In five days, over 14 people were killed, eight aircraft were lost, two rescuers were captured and two more were stranded behind enemy lines. On April 10, 1972, Norris led a five-man patrol deep into enemy territory. Separating temporarily from his patrol, he traveled alone through the jungle and located one of the downed pilots just before dawn. He led his crew safely back to their forward operating base. Later that day, a North Vietnamese rocket attack on the small base inflicted devastating casualties and compelled the medical evacuation of the one other American officer, the remaining Vietnamese officers and all but a remnant of the Vietnamese supporting force. After an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the first missing flier, two of Norris's three remaining Vietnamese commandos proved unwilling to accompany Norris on further missions. On the afternoon of the 12th, a forward air controller located the first pilot and notified Lt. Norris. Dressed as fishermen, Lt. Norris and a Vietnamese comrade, Nguyen Van Kiet, paddled a sampan up the river and found the injured pilot at dawn. Concealing him in the bottom of their vessel, Norris and Kiet headed down river to their base, dodging one North Vietnamese patrol and surviving heavy machine gun fire from a bunker along the river. This extraordinary rescue has been recounted in numerous books and a feature film, BAT-21 (starring Gene Hackman), the Air Force code name for the original reconnaissance mission. The following October he received a near-fatal head wound in action and was rescued by his fellow Navy SEAL, Michael Thornton. At first, Norris's doctors gave him little chance of recovery, but with constant encouragement from his family and from Michael Thornton, Norris fought on. In time, Norris and Thornton enjoyed the unique satisfaction of witnessing each other's Medal of Honor ceremonies at the White House. Thomas Norris ultimately realized his youthful ambition of joining the FBI. After many years of distinguished service in FBI hostage rescue operations, he now enjoys a well-earned retirement in Idaho. This story can be seen on the Military and History Channels... Thank you to Author Gary Gosnell, Southwest Airlines Pilot (Ret.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

CURRENT HOME SALES AND FORECLOSURE STATISTICS





















CONSIDER THAT THE HIGH AMOUNT OF FORECLOSURES

DISTORTS THE PRICING COMPARISONS
AND AS THE FORECLOSURES ARE SOLD
THE PRICING COMPARABLES WILL CHANGE
TO REALISTIC NUMBERS

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A TRUE STORY TO REMEMBER, FROM GARY GOSNELL, PILOT (RET.), SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1997, AT THE LITTLE ROCK EXCELSIOR HOTEL. During our airline crew check-in at the Excelsior Hotel front desk we were told that President Clinton & his staff was staying in the hotel. The occasion was the 40th Anniversary of the Little Rock Central High integration crisis. President Clinton was scheduled to participate in the anniversary celebration on Friday the 19th & Saturday the 20th. Additionally the Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United State of America was also meeting in the Excelsior Hotel that same weekend. I met the first officer in the bar for a late night sandwich. The bar was crowded with White House staffers so we sat at the bar. To appear ignorant the upcoming events I asked the lady on my left who are all these people and what is the occasion. She explained they were White House Staffers and the reason for the presidential visit. When asked what she did, she said she was on the White House communication staff. A few minutes' later two older gentlemen arrived at the bar. It was obvious that they were not part of the WH staff. We invited them to join us at bar. One of six the WH staffers sitting in a booth directly behind us stopped the second gentleman, former Navy Seal, Thomas R. Norris and asked him what was thing he was wearing around his neck. (Norris was about 5'10", 230 lbs.). He responded to the WH staffer that it was the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR. Being a well-qualified Clinton white house staffer, the male staffer asked the question of the weekend, "What's that?" The Vietnam veteran, explained to the WH staffers what a CMH is and its significance. One of the six staffers in the booth apparently overcome with patriotism and love of the military, immediately left the booth and did not return. Later another WH staffer (male) sat down next to the former Navy Seal. After a little chitchat the WH staffer again asked the Seal about that thing around his neck. The Seal told the staffer about the CMH. When asked, Norris told the staffer about the events which resulted in the CMH. The staffer left after his first drink and never returned. To my left and behind me were Clinton WH staffers and to the right of the first officer were two CMH recipients. The contrast was stark. The quiet one was an Army retired Lt. Col., and the other, a former Navy Seal, both CMH recipients. We spent a couple hours asking questions and listening to their personal stories. We were honored to have met and talked with these two American Heroes. SALUTE! On January 13, 1997, in the East Room of the White House, President Clinton presented the seven Congressional Medals of Honor, one to Vernon Baker and six to the families of now deceased WWII servicemen. Eight months later some White House staffers fortunate enough to be invited to Little Rock for the 40th Anniversary had no idea what is a CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR and its significance in history of United States. A sad commentary! (…details coming about Thomas R. Norris’ and another Congressional Medal of Honor award… stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 to be posted here shortly!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PROPERTY VALUATIONS IN QUESTION

Appraisers complained at a House financial services subcommittee recently that loan officers, Realtors, builders and others made pervasive attempts to interfere with their work, and that sometimes resulted in distorted home valuations. The President of the National Association of Home Builders said that in 2008 and 2009 appraisers “have often used sales of homes in foreclosure or other distressed property sales as comparables for new homes without making the appropriate value adjustments.” He said that depresses the true value of new homes, produces a further downward spiral in new home sales and unfairly devalues entire neighborhoods. All Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans originating after May 1st may change, but the National Association of Mortgage Brokers has filed a federal lawsuit in US District Court in Washington asking the court to declare the entire process illegal because it bans mortgage brokers from involvement in selecting or hiring appraisers. According to the association (which represents 20,000 brokers nationally) that will directly reduce the ability of mortgage brokers to provide consumers with an efficient and cost-effective means of shopping for a mortgage. Home buyers and refinancers then may need to pay for appraisals from every mortgage company or bank they shop. Currently, a broker can obtain one appraisal at the consumer’s expense and use it to get quotes from multiple wholesale lenders.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CALUSA VETERINARY CENTER OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE HUMAN-LIKE PET CARE











A tour of the Calusa Veterinary Center at 6900 Congress Avenue in Boca Raton, just south of Costco, will reveal an amazing, 10,000 sq ft state-of-the-art full-service veterinary medical facility where pets are treated similarly to humans. When diagnosed and tailored individual treatments are determined, your beloved pet may go to the Aquatic Center and receive hydrotherapy in a heated outdoor exercise pool and/or walk on an underwater treadmill, which provides low-level impact exercise in a reduced gravity environment. Treatments provided in the Rehab Center include deep penetrating low level laser, therapeutic ultrasound, electro-muscle stimulation, land treadmill exercises and stretching, range of motion, gait analysis. Homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractics, nutrition and herbalism are used in the Zen-inspired Holistic Center to get pets on their way to recovery. The Center’s holistic viewpoint includes consideration of their environment, the pet’s relationship with their owner and family, and disease patterns. If your pet is in need of treatment “after hours,” give Calusa Veterinary Center a call, and they will be ready when you walk in the door with your pet. Along with medical services and rehabilitation, the facility offers grooming, dental care, and boarding. Luxury boarding is available in the Barker Raton Pet Resort within the facility, and you can arrange to go online and see your pet in their boarding quarters. One focus of the Center is to promote responsible pet ownership, good nutrition, enhance the human-animal bond, and practice preventative health care. Pets are considered “seniors” at 7 years of age, and the Center has a Senior Wellness Screening package with a comprehensive physical exam. Gift cards are offered, and there is a 5% discount on the total invoice that can be used the next time, or any time you receive other services. Call 561-999-3000 to arrange for a tour. You may want to bring the kids along! Calusa serves the entire Palm Beach County area.

FROM CALUSA VETERINARY CENTER on May 14, 2009: Unfortunately, due to the current economic climate and costs involved in operating a state of the art, high quality, efficient emergency room, we have had to temporarily discontinue having a doctor on premises 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will continue to provide on-site, 24/7 nursing care for our hospitalized patients and pet resort guests, as well as a doctor on call, and emergency care during office hours. Calusa Veterinary Center will be open for appointments 7 days a week, including Sunday! We will be seeing appointments 8:00am-7:00pm Monday thru Friday and 9:00am-5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. We will continue to provide the highest level of care and service, with our critical care, 24 hour nurse supervised care, holistic and homeopathic center, canine rehabilitation, full surgical suite with ventilators and laser, nutritional counseling, full digital x-rays, endoscopy, ultrasound, in house laboratory, full dental suite with radiology and our pet spa and pet resort. We ask for your understanding at this time, and your continued belief in our commitment to the care of your pets. Our ER doors will open once again, in the near future. In the event of an emergency after hours, please contact our office at (561) 999-3000. One of our emergency room nurses will be here to assist you and can guide you to the closest emergency doctor available.

Friday, March 13, 2009

212-ROOM BOCA RESORT BEACH CLUB OPENS

The redesigned beach club at the luxurious Boca Raton Resort & Club offers a full-service beach resort experience with a variety of world-class restaurants, spa, golf and tennis. There is a new ocean view fitness center with floor to ceiling walls providing water views and offering the latest in cardio and strength training equipment, a kenesis wall, new Camp Boca children’s activity center, 3 restaurants with a variety including seafood, snacks, and cafĂ© with breakfast, lunch and dessert items prepared daily, three new meeting rooms and ballroom space with pool deck view, three new outdoor pools with lounge areas where WiFi access is available. Forty-six new private poolside cabanas and new in-sand beach loungers are available. Traffic flow is enhanced by the new wide circular driveway. The cabana-style guest rooms include nine suites with Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway views

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FIX IT ONLINE FOR FREE

Imagine! Something is not working right, and you can first check it out at www.fixya.com. Volunteer techies provide free fix-it advice for common breakdowns of gadgets, electronics, and other products. Chat online or post a message. Before purchasing an item, you may be able to get a “heads-up” from those who already posted on the item.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

CHILD PRODIGIES FROM ISRAEL TO PERFORM AT BOCA RATON RESORT & CLUB

Benefiting the Keshet Eilon Music Center in Israel, whose goal is to become a world center for the training and performance on string instruments by musically gifted Jewish, Christian and Muslim children, four young musicians from the Center and other artists will perform in the Great Hall at the Boca Raton Resort & Club on Sunday, March 15th at 11 a.m. The 19-year old center is located in Western Galilee near Israel’s northern border. Gifted young violinists from Israel and throughout the world are trained and promoted. Seminars are held throughout the year to locate and encourage promising young violin pupils. Plans have been approved for the construction of a campus for the Keshet Eilon Music Center on a seven-acre mountainside site at Kibbutz Eilon. Reserve at 561-620-2939 (limited seating). A donation of $75 is requested.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

DENTAL, VISION AND HEARING INSURANCE OVERVIEW


These insurances are becoming an increasingly important part of your insurance portfolio. Some hearing insurances include $500 each towards a pair of hearing aids. There is a strong correlation between oral health and overall health. About 80% of Americans show symptoms of periodontal disease. Proper oral hygiene practices are essential. Poor oral health care can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Healthy gums play an important role in keeping harmful bacteria that is found in the mouth from entering the blood stream. Routine dental exams can keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist can spot symptoms of some illnesses in the mouth during routine dental exams. Illnesses including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer often cause signs and symptoms to appear first in the mouth. Ask Marilyn for plan details for good coverage.

BE PROUD OF OUR BOCA RATON POLICE FORCE

The Boca Raton Police received another Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. An independent assessment team from The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) recognized proof of compliance with more than 250 prescribed standards, conducting onsite inspections of facilities, policies, equipment and procedures for proof of compliance with more than 250 prescribed standards. The Boca Raton Police Services Department met or exceeded all applicable standards. The Department has an authorized force of 198 full-time sworn police officers and 99 civilians.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

FED RESERVE CHAIRMAN BERNANKE SAYS RECESSION WILL END LATER THIS YEAR MOVING THE US TOWARD POSITIVE GROWTH

With the $8000 non-repayable home buyer tax credit interesting first time home buyers, lower and more affordable home and condo prices and low interest rates, housing may be in a better position to move up than other major industries. The National Association of Home Builders’ “Housing Opportunity Index” showed a near-record 62.4% - last year it was 47%, meaning that less than half of households could afford to buy a median priced home. During the boom years, this percentage was lower. This index measures the percentage of homes sold in local markets around the country that are affordable to families earning area median incomes. Areas in the United States that did not experience a high boom in real estate prices are already showing signs of recovery, including parts of the Carolinas, Texas, the Northeast and the Gulf states. With first-time buyers representing 40% of the market, and homeowners moving up to larger homes when they have children. National Association of Realtors estimates "the impact of the stimulus package and lower interest rates on the housing market to be about 900,000 additional home sales in 2009 compared to conditions before the stimulus package."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

COMMON SENSE HEALTH AND WELLNESS ADVICE

From every corner these days we are hearing about healthy life choices. There are many things you can do to help practice healthy adult living. Here are a few from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). GET THE SCREENING TEST YOU NEED. Mammograms, Pap smears, colorectal screens, and other tests can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which of the following tests you should have and when. These recommendations come from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and NIH. Blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. Cholesterol: Women should have their cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 45: men every 5 years beginning at age 35. If you smoke, have diabetes, or if heart disease runs in your family, begin checking cholesterol at age 20. Colorectal cancer: Test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help decide which test is right for you. Depression: If you have felt "down", sad or hopeless and have taken little interest or pleasure in doing things for 2 weeks straight, ask your doctor about screening for depression. Diabetes: Screen for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Breast cancer: Have a mammogram every one two years starting at age 40. Osteoporosis (women): Have a bone density test at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). If you are between 60 and 64 and weigh 154 pounds or less, talk to your doctor about being tested. Cervical Cancer (women): Get a Pap smear every one to three years if you have been sexually active or are older than 21. Prostate Cancer (men): Discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of having a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal examination (DRE) to screen for prostate cancer. Sexually transmitted diseases: Your doctor can help you decide whether to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, and for women, also chlamydia. General: After age 50, people also should have an annual fasting blood sugar check for diabetes, regular colonoscopies for cancer of the colon, PSA tests for prostate cancer, and mammograms for breast cancer. The body is truly fearfully and wonderfully made. God has made us stewards of our bodies and our health. Remember no one knows your body better than you do. Take the time to take care of yourself. Thank you for this advice to Polly Terry, a Parish Nurse, RN, who writes the column monthly for her Church Bulletin. Polly lives in Freeport, Florida.