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Fake “No Parking” Signs near the Tarpon Turtle Restaurant

May 31, 2009

For the past several years Tarpon Springs police have been writing parking tickets for people parking in completely valid parking spots near the popular Tarpon Turtle restaurant. But don’t blame the cops. This isn’t really their fault at all.  The police cannot memorize all of the “No Parking” sign locations throughout the Tampa Bay area. Yes, they should have looked more closely at those 22 signs —  they would have noticed that there are some obvious signs of them being counterfeit. But I suggest we give the cops a pass on this one. The police have bigger responsibilities than examining every parking sign for authenticity.

If I didn’t know better I would have though this was a childish prank committed by some teenagers with entirely too much time on their hands, but in actuality this was a rather nasty jab from one past business partner to another. According to the St. Petersburg Times:

“During a City Commission meeting earlier this month, Don Alvino, the owner of the Tarpon Turtle, alleged that Bronson was using the “no parking” signs to harass his customers.

Alvino and Bronson were business partners with Alvino initially leasing the Tarpon Turtle from Bronson with a five-month option to buy. In September 2006, Alvino exercised the option and purchased the restaurant for $3.4 million.

Since that time, Alvino says, Bronson has been out to destroy his business.”

While I haven’t personally been to the Tarpon Turtle I sure have heard good things about the great food and laid-back atmosphere.

Tarpon Turtle
727-722-9030

1513 Lake Tarpon Ave.
Tarpon Springs FL 34689

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Obama will pay your mortgage!

May 21, 2009

money-box

Well, not exactly. But on February 18, 2009, President Obama announced his Making Home Affordable Program (MHA), designed to help up to 7-9 million families avoid foreclosure by restructuring or refinancing their mortgages. In doing so, the plan not only helps responsible homeowners behind on their payments or at risk of defaulting, but prevents neighborhoods and communities from being pulled over the edge too, as defaults and foreclosures contribute to falling home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs.

Why not find out if you’re eligible? Visit Makinghomeaffordable.gov

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Homebuyers Tax Credit

May 17, 2009

yellow_bungalow2Buy a home and you get a tax break!

As part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit is now available. But this special tax break ends in 2009.

A homebuyer tax credit has been available for first-time homebuyers in Washington, D.C. for many years, and now first-time homebuyers nationwide can take advantage of a similar benefit.
In this article we’ll discuss some of the provisions of the credit, changes based on the new legislation, and explain how to use it.

Buying a first home is a big step!

Fortunately, trained professionals like your Realtor®, Chris O’Connor, are willing and able to help you through the process. In addition to the many benefits of homeownership, the homebuyer tax credit and more affordable prices make now an especially opportune time to purchase. Still, the commitment is a substantial one, and the National Association of Realtors® encourages you to ask questions and be informed about the decision you are making so that the home you buy is a home you can enjoy for years to come.

Am I Eligible?

First-time homebuyers who purchase a principle residence on April 9, 2008 and before December 1, 2009 are eligible. If you (and your spouse, if married) have not owned your Read more

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Hurricane Readiness: Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist for Pets

May 14, 2009

dog_and_cat_white_background-1Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist for Pets

  • Food and water for at least three days for each pet, food and water bowls and a manual can opener
  • Depending on the pet, litter and litter box or newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container, a first aid kit and a pet first aid book
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets cannot escape. A carrier should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth and other special items
  • Pet toys and the pet’s bed, if you can easily take it, to reduce stress
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated, and to prove that they are yours
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.

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HURRICANE READINESS: MAKE A PLAN

May 13, 2009

number-3Step 3. Develop Your Family Disaster Plan

By completing a disaster plan in advance, you can ensure that you and your family are more prepared for all types of disasters and other emergencies.

Families can cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Create a family disaster plan including a communication plan, disaster supplies kit, and an evacuation plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.

  • Find out what could happen to you
  • Make a disaster plan
  • Complete the checklist
  • Practice your plan

Find out what could happen to you

Contact your American Red Cross chapter or local emergency management office — be prepared to take notes:

  • Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each.
  • Learn about your community’s warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
  • Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals other than service animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters.
  • Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
  • Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children’s school or daycare center, and other places where your family spends time.

Create a disaster plan

Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Read more

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HURRICANE READINESS: MAKE A PLAN

May 13, 2009

number-2Step 2. Prepare to Evacuate

Expect the need to evacuate and prepare for it. The National Weather Service will issue a hurricane watch when there is a threat to coastal areas of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.

When a hurricane watch is issued, you should:

  • Fill your automobile’s gas tank.
  • If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation.
  • Fill your clean water containers.
  • Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are missing.
  • Tune in the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Secure any items outside which may damage property in a storm, such as bicycles, grills, propane tanks, etc.
  • Cover windows and doors with plywood or boards or place large strips of masking tape or adhesive tape on the windows to reduce the risk of breakage and flying glass.
  • Put livestock and family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
  • Place vehicles under cover, if at all possible.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
  • Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature.

If You are Ordered to Evacuate

Because of the destructive power of a hurricane, you should never Read more

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HURRICANE READINESS: MAKE A PLAN

May 13, 2009

number-1Step 1. Take the First Steps for a Hurricane Plan

If you are under a hurricane watch or warning, here are some basic steps to take to prepare for the storm:

  • Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
  • Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the hurricane strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it.
  • Locate and secure your important papers, such as insurance policies, wills, licenses, stocks, etc.
  • Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.
  • Inform local authorities about any special needs, i.e., elderly or bedridden people, or anyone with a disability.
  • Make plans to ensure your pets’ safety.

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Federal program to help first-time buyers use tax credit for downpayment

May 13, 2009

001WASHINGTON – May 13, 2009 – First-time homebuyers will soon have another option if they want to use their $8,000 tax credit toward a downpayment. On the tails of a Florida-created program that Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to sign into law, the federal government announced its own downpayment assistance program at the National Association of Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo taking place this week in Washington, D.C.

While the tax credit applies to “first-time homebuyers,” the term is misleading. In general, anyone who hasn’t owned a home for the past three years is considered a first-timer under the program. Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), hopes to have additional details available within a few days, though it’s still unclear how soon homebuyers can apply for the credit.

Donovan said that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would allow its lenders to credit homeowners up to $8,000. He made the announcement to several thousand Realtors yesterday at a special daylong session called, The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the homebuyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans, so that the cash can be used as a downpayment,” Donovan said. According to Donovan, FHA approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit by using short-term bridge loans. Donovan also said that more will be done, and the Obama administration plans to further stabilize the housing market.

“I do think we have some early signs that the market overall is stabilizing,” said Donovan. “Since January, we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number, and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate.”

© 2009 FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Government plans stimulate hope for Florida’s real estate markets

May 13, 2009

0204-0601-1815-1104_tnGAINESVILLE, Fla. – May 13, 2009 – The first signs of confidence in Florida real estate are starting to appear, along with hopes that government stimulus plans will unfreeze markets and reinvigorate business, the latest University of Florida (UF) survey finds.

“Positive responses to several questions lead us to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel,” says Timothy Becker, director of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, which conducts the quarterly survey.

Perhaps most significant is that respondents’ perception of their own business outlook has improved after three years of steady decline.

“If real estate investors think there are opportunities out there for their firms to make money, that means there are deals that will be getting done. And when deals start getting done, various participants in the transactions make money, and it’s almost like a snowball effect,” Becker says. Read more

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Clearwater, FL Notary Public

May 11, 2009

notary_signing_imageI’m a Clearwater, FL Notary Public that will come to your home, business or any location you like to notarize your documents. Call Chris today at 727-804-5319 to discuss your notary needs.

The following are some of the more commonly requested documents people need notarized:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Medical Consent Form
  • Living Will
  • Divorce paperwork
  • Consent for Minor to Travel Aboard
  • Certifications
  • Affidavits

When we meet I’ll need to see identification to prove your identity. The following is a list of approved forms of identifications:

  • Drivers License
  • Military Identification Card
  • State Identification Card
  • Passport
  • Resident Alien Card

Whatever you need notarized I can help. Call Chris at 727-804-5319 if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Consider me your Clearwater, FL Notary Public.

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