By now you’ve no doubt seen the commercials warning that without cable, satellite, or a converter box, your analog TV set won’t work after February 17, 2009. If you decide to just buy a new digital TV, Uncle Sam wants you to think about recycling the old one. The Environmental Protection Agency has a few leads, including asking retailers if they’ll recycle your old set when you buy a new one. Best Buy is among the stores offering such a service. The EPA also suggests visiting www.mygreenelectronics.org, a service of the Consumer Electronics Association, where you can find recycling opportunities by zip code. You can find more background on next year’s switch to digital TV in the August issue of Kentucky Living’s feature, “Is Your TV Ready for the Digital Transition?” To find that article on the Internet, go to www.KentuckyLiving.com and type “digital transition” in the Article Search box.
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With the recent credit crunch and questionable lending practices, finding an affordable home for first-time homebuyers can be exceptionally challenging. While interest rates remain at historic lows, down payments required to purchase a home have risen to levels not seen in decades.
While this move is designed to mitigate losses, it results in more and more homes going unsold. When a home sits empty, no dollars are being pumped into a community or local schools.
Organizations like the Housing Authority of Newport have a positive impact in the community, particularly during this tightening economic climate. They acquire an empty or dilapidated property, build a home, and sell it with mortgage assistance that makes the home affordable to qualified buyers.
The Housing Authority of Newport operates 373 housing and rental units in and around Newport and is in the process of building more. The newest properties—the Saratoga Street homes—have been generating a lot of buzz due to their beautiful appearance, energy-efficient construction, and distinction. Aside from beautifying the city, Newport City Schools have enjoyed $30,000 a year in property tax revenue generated by HAN housing and continue to reap the benefits each year. That’s an increase of about $20,000. And more new homes are planned.
There is a false presumption that subsidized housing will decrease property value, when in truth this idea is completely backward. HAN’s homeownership properties have actually increased property value, not only of the sites but of the surrounding properties as well. For example, the total acquisition price of 14 properties for Liberty Row was $432,874. After the Housing Authority’s development, these properties were valued at $1,616,700.
Why the misconceptions?
Long ago, public housing looked like military-style barracks with unattractive, cold façades. Today’s residences are bright, modern, attractive, and clean. Residents and neighbors take pride in their homes and see property values increase as a result of these improvements.
There is a well-defined set of requirements to become a resident through HAN. These qualifications make sure residents are responsible and community-minded. Applicants cannot have had any criminal activity for at least five years preceding their application date and must qualify within an income bracket, among other criteria. HAN residents are good people and good neighbors.
Some call it community progress. Many call it architectural innovation. Others simply call it home. The Housing Authority of Newport has revolutionized the public housing sector and transformed the philosophy that goes with it.
Joe Condit has been executive director of the Housing Authority of Newport since 2003. He has also been an attorney, judge, city manager, and city finance director.
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An exhibit of art from the founding of our nation is at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville through January 4. More than 200 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, furniture, silver, and ceramics are part of the show called Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Art and the American Experience, 1660-1893, from the Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibition tells about a young nation struggling to create its own identity culturally, politically, and geographically. Highlights include John Trumbull’s eight Revolutionary War scenes, including The Declaration of Independence. Also featured are Winslow Homer’s The Morning Bell, and Jeremiah Dummer’s silver candlesticks—the oldest surviving pair of American candlesticks in existence. Other features include silver crafted by Paul Revere, and paintings by John Singleton Copley, Charles Wilson Peal, and Thomas Eakins. Admission is $15. For information on museum hours and buying tickets, phone (502) 634-2700 or on the Internet go to www.speedmuseum.org.
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A sign of unity
The Kentucky Leadership Center is no more. Lake Cumberland 4-H Camp is a memory. In their place is the new Lake Cumberland 4-H Educational Center, a merged entity that promises to offer visitors the best of both facilities.
Combining the two facilities means being able to create a wider variety of programming and entice more people to use the services, says Joyce Belcher, director of the leadership center, and the mastermind behind the new system, along with Cooperative Extension Specialist for 4-H Camps Donna Fox. The merger creates the potential for greater marketing strategies and an increased revenue stream from more intensive use of the facilities throughout the year, both important elements during rough economic times.
The idea originated from a trip Belcher made to the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center in Little Rock.
“They were one entity,” Belcher says. “The 4-H kids could enjoy the conference center and the center’s guests could enjoy the 4-H camp, which gave them a lot more to offer. I was excited about it. I started to think, wow, we could do that with ours.”
“Joyce and I work great together, and as we put this proposal together, we thought this is a great opportunity to make better use of our resources and really create some unique and fun programming opportunities for youth as well as for adults,” Fox says.
Belcher said guests at the center often want to use the camp’s facilities, such as pontoon boats, the pool, or the ropes course. Up until now, it’s been difficult to arrange since the camp is closed much of the year, and when it’s open, it’s filled to capacity with 4-H campers. But now, by using camp facilities as an additional enticement, Belcher expects to attract even more groups to the center. The merger with the camp also means that during the off-season, the camp dining hall can be used as meeting space to accommodate large groups.
Staff for the two facilities will join to maintain the entire campus, which will be a move toward greater efficiency, as well as being economically sound, Belcher says.
“The center has slow times when the camp has busy times. So we can utilize the same employees and really benefit a lot,” she says, referring to both the cook staff and the maintenance crews.
“It saves money and more fully utilizes both the camp and the center, which obviously, in these economic times, is a good idea,” says Jimmy Henning, associate dean for Extension and associate director of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.
As the pieces fall into place, Fox and Belcher will work on new programming ideas and ways to attract more people to the scenic countryside around Jabez.
“We’ll always need the ongoing support of our Extension family and outside folks in helping us continue to improve the facility and grow the programming,” Fox says. “So when there are opportunities, especially for our Extension family to use our facility, we certainly welcome them here.”
— Carol L. Spence, UK Extension
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