A Night of Netflix Can Help you with Investment Strategies.

After the recent wild stock market swings in China, Europe and the United States, it can all feel even more bewildering. But it’s easier than you might think to “boldly go” where many others like famed investor Warren Buffett have gone before.

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by: Heather Long

There are a lot of ways to learn about stocks, bonds, hedge funds, real estate and more. Many start by reading Buffett’s annual letters (he’s written 50 of them now) or picking up a copy of “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham, a book first published in 1949 that is viewed as almost sacred advice. We also suggest checking out CNNMoney’s Money Essentials guide.

But you can also learn a lot about investing and economics by simply lounging around watching Netflix. The next time you’re in need of a late-night or weekend Netflix fix, consider these films:

1. “Money for Nothing” (2013)
This documentary is a crash course in Economics 101 and Investing 101. The focus is on what the heck happened to cause the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession.

2. “Something Ventured” (2011)
You learn about the rise of companies like Intel, Atari and Apple. At only an hour and 25 minutes, it’s a must-watch documentary for anyone planning to start a company or buy tech stocks.

3. “Freakonomics” (2010)
If you have 15 minutes to burn, watch the opening of this documentary. It’s all about what you should know when buying or selling a house.

4. “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
Based (loosely) on a true story, the film follows the life of one of the most infamous Wall Street swindlers of all time: New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. This film serves as a valuable reminder to beware of so-called “penny stocks.”

5. “Hank: 5 Years from the Brink” (2013)
Everyone likes a good biography. This documentary looks at Hank Paulson, the former head of Goldman Sachs who became U.S. treasury secretary at the end of President George W. Bush’s time in office.

6. “Pump” (2014)
Oil, oil, oil. It’s a key driver of U.S. economic and foreign policy. This intriguing documentary takes you from the rise of American oil barons like John D. Rockefeller in the 19th Century all the way to oil’s boom and busts.

Florida Governor Declares “Hurricane Erika” a Threat to the Entire State.

AP
All of Florida is carefully watching Tropical Storm Erika as the disorganized system makes its way over Hispaniola.

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Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said that as of 11 a.m. Friday, the forecast showed the storm hitting the state Monday. The forecast path has Erika skirting the state’s Gulf Coast and then moving up Florida’s spine north of Tampa.

The next 24 hours will be critical in the storm’s development, hurricane center meteorologist James Franklin said.

“The trend is for a gradual lessening,” he said. “Yesterday we were talking about a hurricane; today we’re talking about a tropical storm.”

There’s still uncertainty in the track because Hispaniola’s mountains could disrupt or break up the storm. And it is too early to tell whether the storm will bring flooding to areas of the Tampa Bay region that experienced problems in recent weeks due to heavy rain, Hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that Tropical Storm Erika poses a “severe threat to the entire state” and declared a state of emergency.

Scott made his declaration shortly after forecasters adjusted the trajectory of the storm to show that it’s predicted to strike the southern tip of the state and then traverse northward.

To read more on Hurricane Erika, please visit: http://www.weather.com/safety/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-erika-preparations-caribbean-florida-impacts

Jasper Contractors wants all of Florida Residents to prepare for this event and take precautions to ensure safety.

Jasper Practices Promotion from Within.

Everyone loves a career where there is opportunity for promotions. At Jasper Contractors, there is always room for advancement. With hard work, dedication and innovative implementations you will soar right to the top. That is what our very own Ariadne Dawson did.

Ariadne is now the Customer Relations Liaison. She will play a key role in supporting the company as a whole with regards to how each department handles customer relations. Dawson says that she is very excited to assume the new role of Customer Relations Liaison.

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“I believe that knowledge and conviction of Jasper’s services, ongoing training to make oneself better and honest communication between all parties is the key to unlock phenomenal customer service. ” -Ariadne

We at Jasper are very proud of Ariadne and her achievements. Way to go Ariadne.

What we really need to be better off financially.

We are facing a financial education crisis in this country. The gap between the complex financial world and our ability to navigate it is growing wider. Too many financial lessons are learned through trial and error, where it is costly to recover from a financial mistake, let alone to achieve your financial goals.
by: Richard Cordray

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At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we are working to close this gap. We are simplifying complicated financial forms like mortgage disclosures; putting new rules in place to safeguard consumers against predatory practices; cracking down on companies that violate consumer protection laws; and, most importantly, educating consumers.
Since the economy crashed in 2008, people broadly agree that we need more financial education. But financial literacy is only one of the steps people need to take to attain overall financial well-being. Changing our financial habits and behaviors is also important if we want to improve this key aspect of our lives.

The Consumer Bureau asked consumers how they define financial well-being. They told us it is not strictly about how much money you make, but also about security and freedom — both now and in the future. Those who reported higher levels of financial well-being had four financial habits in common that deserve closer attention. They live within their means, they have a financial cushion, they set a plan, and most importantly establish a sense of financial freedom.

The main question we face is: How can we better help people achieve these goals and attain financial security and freedom? Right now, research shows that almost half of Americans describe themselves as struggling to pay their bills.

Consumers can take steps to strengthen these four components of financial well-being in their own lives. For example, they can use tools to track and manage spending, set explicit goals to guide their financial decisions, and build savings. Establishing good, responsible habits and making balanced financial decisions can have big rewards in the form of financial freedom and quality of life.
Many consumers ask us where to start. Our research suggests that consumers do better when they ask, plan, and act. That is, when they ask for information to help them make the best financial choices, set realistic goals and make plans to meet them, and then take advantage of resources they have to stay on track.
Through a focused commitment to financial education, the Consumer Bureau is working to empower consumers. By giving them tools and opportunities to operate in a fair marketplace, we can help them thrive in today’s complex financial world.

Efficient Drivetrains Delivers Zero Emissions PHEV Trucks

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a global leader in advanced high-efficiency zero emissions hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions, has announced the delivery of a fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHE) trucks for the Port of Shanghai built in collaboration with one of the world’s largest truck manufacturers, Shaanxi Automotive.
by: Fleet News Daily

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By way of background, the government of China is currently aggressively asserting mandates and regulations to improve air quality and reduce emissions, putting increasing pressure on city officials.

Shanghai in particular is working toward the country’s emissions reduction goals, emulating best practices of the State of California to drive toward better air quality. A large area of concern is their port, where heavy-duty trucks are used to move shipping containers and transfer large crates during shifts that run the fuel engine as long as 20 to 22 hours a day without stopping.

The idling vehicles produce noise, fumes and heavy levels of emissions, all of which are eliminated with the use of EDI’s PHEV trucks specifically designed for port conditions.

Here’s what Efficient Drivetrains is introducing: a PHEV port truck capable of operating at 99,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) with electrified vehicle accessories—including air conditioning and heating—allowing the use of accessories for driver comfort without idling the engine.

Shaanxi is forecasting acquiring up to 200 PHEV Port trucks over the course of 2016 The PHEV port truck provides all-electric zero emissions driving capability as well as parallel and series hybrid operation. EDI’s PHEV port trucks will be used to replace conventional fuel vehicles of the same specifications with significant fuel saving and emissions reduction while still maintaining the same power and performance.

$2 gas is coming soon

Gas prices have dropped about 5% in the last month to $2.60 a gallon according to AAA. And they’re expected to fall even more this fall, as they begin to more closely track the price of oil, which plunged 18% in the previous month.

By Chris Isidore CNN Money

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Gasoline has been slow to follow oil prices lower due to outages at several major refineries. Problems at the BP (BP) refinery in Whiting, Ind., caused a price spike in much of the Great Lakes region in recent weeks. And a fire at a Delaware refinery on Friday could bump up East Coast gas prices.
Also keeping prices higher is the fact that gas stations are required to sell a more expensive summer blend of gas until Sept. 15, when environmental regulations allow the winter blend to roll out.
But all of this is about to change, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks pump prices for AAA. He expects gas to be below $2 by Thanksgiving, if not well before then.

“Even if oil rebounds back to $45 a barrel, most of the country should get to $2 a gallon gas pretty quickly this fall,” he said.
There are about 750 gas stations, mostly in seven southern states, that are already selling gas for less than $2 a gallon. But there are 130,000 stations nationwide. Kloza predicts more than 60% of U.S. stations will have gas below $2 later this year.

This should give a lift to the U.S. economy, even if low oil prices is costing jobs in the U.S. oil patch, since the typical motorist will save more than $50 a month at the pump.
Oil prices are being pushed down by record U.S. production as well as the nuclear deal with Iran, which could end sanctions and bring even more oil onto the global market. OPEC nations such as Saudi Arabia typically respond to falling prices by cutting their own output, but that hasn’t happened this time.
On the flip side, demand is falling thanks to slowing economic growth in Asia and Europe and more fuel efficient cars, which is adding to the oil glut on the global market.

This is not the time to dump your stocks

If you have money in the stock market, relax. Drink your favorite tea or coffee, walk the dog, do yoga, focus on work or the kids again. This is not the moment to dump your stocks. Human nature is our worst enemy when it comes to investing. We see that sea of red on the TV and we naturally want to run. It’s the same instinct we have when there’s a fire.

By: CNN Money
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Consider this: The S&P 500 index — what most people refer to when they talk about “the stock market” — gained 220% in the past six years.
Anyone who has had some money in the stock market in recent years should take a victory lap. It’s been a very smart move.
The so-called “plunge” we’re experiencing right now is really a little shave. Even after all this turmoil, the S&P 500 is only down about 10% from its all-time high that it hit at the end of May. It’s enough to be classified as a correction — but barely.
“Longer term, this correction will be a good thing,” noted investor Mohamed El-Erian of Allianz told CNN today. “Do not panic at this point. It’s better just to sit back and let this play out and then look for attractive opportunities.”
As the stock market losses add up today, ask yourself three things:
1. Is the world really coming to an end?
The only reason to pull your money out of the market is because you honestly believe we’re on the cusp of a Great Global Depression that we won’t be able to climb out of for years.
There just isn’t much evidence of that. The world’s two biggest economies — the U.S. and China — are still growing.
China has problems, but the debate is whether it’s growing at 7% like the government says or 2% to 5% like many experts now think. Either way, it’s still expanding. It just isn’t as strong as it once was.
Meanwhile, the United States is actually doing pretty well with a “good but not great” growth. The U.S. economy is expanding at about 2% this year and more and more Americans have jobs. Unemployment is at its lowest level since before the recession.
There are definitely problems in many countries around the world (e.g. Venezuela and Brazil), but even if there is a global slowdown, the U.S. and China are coming into it from positions of relative strength.

2. Am I really going to bet against history?
Stocks are the best way for regular people to grow their money over time. Since the 1920s, stocks have averaged about 9.5% returns a year and bonds have averaged about 5% returns.
If you look at the past decade only, stocks have averaged about 7.5% returns while U.S. bonds have given investors under 5%.
That doesn’t mean that every year is a great year for investors, but it does mean that over time, sticking with stocks grows your money the most.
“Volatility happens. A couple of percent is not a big deal. The market will correct by 10% almost any time. Over the course of history, it shows up as really nothing more than noise.”,” says Jurrien Timmer, director of Global Macro for Fidelity.
Those who stayed invested during the financial crisis, for example, recovered faster and are doing far better than those who dropped out of the stock market in 2008 and 2009, according to Fidelity.

3. Can I time the markets right?
If you take your money out of stocks, you have to believe that you are such a good market timer that you are going to get out and get back into stocks at just the right time.
You have to get BOTH decisions right. Otherwise, you might miss out on some losses, but you’ll also miss out on some gains. That will cost you over time.
“The worst time to decide to get out of the stock market is when it’s falling or right after a big drop,” says Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones. “If you look at the days with the best market performance, a lot of them follow days with the worst market performance.”
There’s a reason an 18th century British baron said “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets,” and people still use that phrase today.
It’s likely to be a rough few days…maybe even a rough few months for investors. But unless you need cash very soon and can’t afford to take any losses, stay invested and stay optimistic. History shows markets go up over time.

Nine steps to a smart start

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.
by: GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Adjust to the new routine
Ease into the school-year schedule. Getting back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make the adjustment easier, start early.

Get organized
Take advantage of the slower pace during your time away from school to set up for the busy school year ahead.

Shopping: take advantage of sales
School clothes

It’s always a great idea to buy what you know you’ll need early, if you can. Go through your children’s wardrobes and weed out everything they’ve outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get them dressed quickly and easily.

Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping. Some schools prohibit short skirts and tank tops for girls and “sagging” (baggy trousers that hang low) for boys. Schools may also have rules regarding printed words or phrases on clothes.

School supplies

Although it’s difficult to predict what different teachers will require, you can get ahead of the game by buying certain staples.

Nutrition: plan healthy meals
Get creative with easy, healthy ideas for school-day meals. If you plan and gather what you need on the weekends, you’ll make life a lot less stressful and meals more nutritious during the week.

Breakfast
Remember the most important meal of the day. Fruit smoothies make a quick and healthy addition to the usual fare.

Lunch
If you will be packing a lunch from home, be sure to have a sturdy lunch box or a supply of paper bags on hand.

Dinner
Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop on the weekends to avoid last minute trips to the grocery store.

Set priorities and schedules
To make the best use of your time and keep life from being harried, think about priorities for family members and then schedule them into the week.

For children
• Before school begins, discuss what extracurricular activities your child will participate in. If your child needs a little extra encouragement to audition for jazz band or to take that early morning Italian class, now is the time to go over the benefits of these activities. If, however, your child needs to have limits set, have her pick her favorite activities and forgo the rest. Be realistic and don’t fall victim to over-programming.
• Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time.

For parents
Determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and involved parent: in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and on school-wide committees.

For the family
Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can write down his or her activities.

Prepare for the homework ahead
Having set routines and a place to study at home will make it easier for your child to be organized and successful at school.
• Set up a well-lit, quiet place with a good work surface to do homework. Try to keep this place dedicated to homework and free of other clutter.
• Establish a regular homework time. This will help your student to complete assignments on time.
• Discourage distractions such as television, radio, the Internet, or phone conversations during homework time.

Arrange for transportation
Everyone will feel better if transportation to and from school is addressed well before the start of the school year, particularly if your child is walking, riding his bike, or taking the bus.

Walking or biking
• Chart out a route to school or to the school bus stop.
• If your child is going to a new school, take a dry run a few days before school starts.
• Go over the rules of stranger awareness and traffic safety. Warn your child to always walk with a friend, and to avoid vacant lots and places where there are not a lot of people.
• Be sure your child has your daytime phone number (including area code) and address, as well as the number of another familiar adult.
• Scout out safe houses in the neighborhood where your child can go in case of an emergency.

Taking the bus
• Remember to get the new bus schedule!
• If your child will be taking the bus for the first time, discuss the bus route and bus safety rules with her.

Driving
• If you will be driving your child, have a backup arrangement with another parent in case you are delayed for some reason.
• Confirm carpool arrangements in advance and make sure your child knows who will be picking him up before and after school.
• Become familiar with your school’s traffic safety rules, drop-off and pick-up procedures.

Confirm after-school care arrangements
Most after-school care arrangements must be made months ahead, frequently in the winter or spring before your child starts school. As the school year approaches, however, it’s a good idea to confirm your plans.

• Make sure your child knows where he is going after school.
• Double-check on your care plans and communicate with the provider a few days before school starts.
• If your child will be home alone after school, establish safety rules for locking doors and windows, and for answering the door and the telephone. Make sure she knows to check in with you or another adult when she arrives at home.

Getting Your Roof Ready for the Rain

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Roofs are designed to take a serious beating. They have to withstand the elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks per year… you get the picture. They are your home’s first line of defense. While they are extremely durable, they do have their limits. Frequent rain, such as is common in the Pacific Northwest, eventually takes its toll on roofs. When your roof does eventually begin to wear down, it does so at an exponential roof. That’s because an already compromised roof will fare less well in the next storm than one that is in top shape.

As the old saying goes, it’s better to prevent than repair. Keeping a close eye on your roof and taking care of issues as they arise will always be less costly that repairing extensive damage caused by the failure to maintain your roof. So with that in mind, here are some tips for keeping your roof up to the task of repelling the rain.
Inspect for damage

Unlike other issues in your home which are glaringly obvious until you take care of them, roofing issues often go unnoticed until water is getting inside your home because your roof is out-of-sight and out-of-mind. By the time you’ve got water leaking into your home, chances are you’ve already got some extensive water damage somewhere between your roof and your ceiling. A better and less costly solution is to watch for problems before they become serious. Roofing experts recommend inspecting your roof twice a year. You’re looking for any signs of damage to your roof whether its cracked and curling shingles or corroded flashing. The flashing is the metal that covers up the most vulnerable areas of your roof such as the edges, where the roof meets the vents and chimney, and where two planes intersect.

Repair leaks and cracks

If your inspection does uncover any potential problems, it might be tempting to wait until they’re more serious in order to save a few bucks. In the end this ends up being more expensive. It’s important that you have any cracks or leaks repaired as soon as you become aware of them. It’s best if you hire a qualified roofer to do the job so it’s done properly.
Maintain your rain gutters
Cracks in your roof aren’t the only way water can get inside your home. Water can also get forced up under the shingles. It’s the job of you rain gutters to keep that from happening. Your rain gutters provide a way for water to get off your roof and away from your home. Rain gutters that are clogged with debris cause water to become trapped on your roof where it can pool up and seep through the shingles. Rain gutters that pull loose from your home allow water to fall to the ground right next to your home which can cause water to flood into your basement via cracks in your home’s foundation. Make sure you’re keeping your rain gutters free of debris and securely attached to your home.

Source: OurMed: Roofing

VanAuto News

Breaking News! An uninsured driver crashes into the entrance of VanAuto Fleet Center located on East Morgan Avenue. Two employees were discussing their excitement of the grand opening thats scheduled September 12, 2015 from 1 pm – 5 pm. In the video, you’ll notice one of the culprits jumping out the car scared for dear life. Don’t worry, the window will be replaced and ready for the grand opening. Nothing can hold us back. Visit www.vanauto.com for full inventory.