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New Home Protection Plan for the New Year

New Home Protection Plan for the New Year

The best time to look at what you need to do around the house is when the new year starts.  One of the things you might want to look at is pests, rodents, and insects. Certain rodents are more popular during the winter, while other insects come out in the summer. There is a St. Louis pest control company named Mick’s Exterminating that offers year-round home protection plans that provide treatments to your home and garage. Pests can cause major issues that may turn into large expenses, so the Home Protection Plan offers an alternative approach to keep your home pest free.

All of their plans start with inspections on the inside and outside of your home by their state-certified technicians to check for any pests. A lot of the issues you are experiencing will be eliminated by these long-lasting treatments. They can also place rodent traps in certain areas if needed.

With the Protection Plan, you get multiple visits where the technicians treat potential problems before they become an issue for you. In the warmer seasons, they provide a long-term treatment for the outside of your home, while treating the inside the same way in the winter. During every returning visit, their highly skilled technicians will keep an eye out for any pests that you may not have seen.

Not all Home Loans are the Same

Not all Home Loans are the Same

When buying a home, consider a loan that specifically matches your geographic location or employment history. This can help you save a significant amount of money. If you live in Missouri, make sure to ask yourself the following questions because Liberty Lending consultants might be able to help:

Was I in the military? If you are currently in the military or you served previously, you probably qualify for a VA loan. In St. Louis, current soldiers and veterans can get long-term financing for homes. Consider this option because a VA loan can be easier to get than a conventional home loan. Also, select spouses of current or former military members may qualify as well.

Do I live in a rural area? A Missouri USDA loan is also called a Rural Development Loan but is also applies to suburban areas. For most buyers it includes low rates, affordable payments, and no down payment.

Do I have bad credit? Don’t let a past bankruptcy or foreclosure stop you from applying for a loan. An FHA loan doesn’t have the strict requirements usually associated with applying for traditional financing. This is also an option for people who already have a loan but are looking for a lower rate.

Local Tutors Don’t Get a Summer Break, Here’s Why

Local Tutors Don’t Get a Summer Break, Here’s Why

 Students and Teachers Aren’t In The Classroom But Tutors Are Still At It

It’s summer again in St. Louis.  The days are long, it’s hot and humid, and the local pools are filled to the brim with kids on summer break.  Each year towards the end of May, students and teachers receive the gift of a nearly three-month long vacation.  This annual occurrence goes by a few names: summer break, summer vacation, summer holiday.  Whatever you call it, for students and teachers, it’s the best time of the year.  Gone are the responsibilities of homework and grading papers.  Well, at least until August.

Many teachers, especially grade school teachers, choose to stay home or spend the summer laying low.  Middle school and high school students might find themselves teaching summer classes or filling in at other higher educational institutions.  However, for the most part, summer is one long vacation for teachers.  Of course were all know, the same goes for students.  Though teachers and students aren’t in the classroom, there are still classes going on and many kids and teens are still taking on coursework throughout the summer.

Tutors don’t get a summer break.  You’d think with school out, tutors also take some time for themselves.  That might be true to some degree, however, for the most part, tutors are still working with students throughout the summer.  Why is this?  How is this possible?  If students aren’t in class, it’s not like they have homework.  That’s true but, like many parents and most students, there’s one critical component you might be missing.  Just because it’s July doesn’t mean students shouldn’t be learning.  As a matter of fact, multiple studies and reports suggest the summer months are lethal to what students learned at school over the past year.

Tutors actually take the time and work with students one-on-one or in small groups to ensure students retain what they’ve learned over the past school year.  Students lose much of what they’ve learned in the past school year over the summer especially when it comes to new mathematical skills.  Tutors and small classes effectively keep that from happening.

While teachers enjoy their break and most students sit by the pool, tutors work with students and parents who are working to be proactive during the summer months.  Whether it’s preparing for pre-algebra or reviewing the difference between they’re, their, and there, tutors can work with students in a variety of subjects.  Small classes are also available at rec centers, private schools, and through tutors.  These small classes are very effective yet much cheaper compared to one-on-one sessions with a tutor.

 

In addition to reviewing coursework, tutors are also helping teenaged students prepare for the next stage in their life.  In the fall, many high school students will take placement or entrance exams.  Tests including the ACT, SAT, and PSAT are a major factor in determining where a student will be able to go to college.  These tests, or rather the schools that are the result of these tests, also determine scholarships and direct financial aid from colleges.  The ACT, SAT, and other tests like them are one of the most critical components of the high school experience.  Tutors spend the summer to work with high school students to prepare for these tests.  Additionally, the summer is also a fantastic opportunity to enroll students in small classes to prepare for college placement tests.

As you can see, learning doesn’t take a break.  There are always opportunities for kids and teens to learn more and build off of what they’ve learned over the past school year.  Additionally, the summer is a great time to find a tutor to help your high school student prepare for college placement tests.

This post is provided by Mackler St. Louis ACT and SAT Test Prep

The Pros and Cons of Unions

The Pros and Cons of Unions

Labor unions are a hot topic for debate.  So-called pro-business conservatives often pander to groups that are very pro-union, however, at the same time fiscally conservative politicians are typically anti.  Moreso, so-called anti-business liberals are very pro-union, however, liberals often consist of urban elites that have no use for labor unions.  Unions are constantly brought into politics, however, they shouldn’t be.  Labor unions effective two groups of individuals; those in unions and those employing union workers.  However, at the same time, unions can effective consumers.  This post evaluates the pros and cons of labor unions without the politics.


Note that all of these pros and cons are both pros and cons.  That sounds confusing, but it’s easy to see what that means in this first pro/con.

Pro/Con: Higher Wages

Higher wages are always a pro for union workers.  Higher wages mean that their union has effectively bargained with their employer to get them a better wage.  A better or higher wage means more money for union workers.  In some cases, high wages actually help the employer as well.  When wages are higher, workers often feel that they are valued and employee morale is boosted.  This means harder working and dedicated employees.  So, yes, occasionally a union getting employees higher wages also helps the employer.

Of course, humans are naturally inefficient and higher wages don’t always equal increased productivity or efficiency.  Unionized labor can occasionally take advantage of a union’s power to get them higher wages.  They merit the benefits of higher wages without increasing productivity.  This is burdensome for the employer and therefore the consumer.  Similarly, when wages are increased to an extent that the overall cost of a product or service increases, a business will see a decrease in revenue and possibly profit.  This could mean that the consumer pays the cost of higher wages.

Labor unions can result in higher wages but also reduced revenue.

Labor unions can result in higher wages but also reduced revenue.

Pro/Con: Better Working Conditions

Just like pay, better working conditions are always a positive result for workers.  Better working conditions can lead to happier, healthier, and more productive employees and therefore lead to more revenue and dedicated workers.  Yet, at the same time, when unions demand too much of employers, the result can be negative for the employer.  Some unions will demand very short hours, heavily regulated workplaces, and extensive benefits.  In the short-run, these benefits are great for employees, however, expensive benefits and workplace upkeep can result in an inefficient work environment and decreased revenue for the employees.  Often times, the employee will end up paying for their extensive benefits in some form or another.

Pro/Con: Union Determines Disciplinary Action

First off, most of the time, when a union gets to determine disciplinary action, it only hurts the employee and company.  The only positive result of a union determining disciplinary action is reduced HR costs and less stress on management to deal with employee problems.  However, when a union gets to determine the ways in which workers are disciplined, disciplinary actions can be far and in-between.  When workers aren’t disciplined and performance isn’t properly monitored, massive inefficiencies arise.  Most of the time, for workers, unions protect the employee ensuring employees don’t use aggressive and abusive punishment or disciplinary action.  When unions determine disciplinary action, it also ensures a higher level of job security.

Labor unions lead to better working conditions but also higher production costs.

Labor unions lead to better working conditions but also higher production costs.

Pro/Con: More Bargaining Power

When unions have more leverage over an employer or company, it means better protection for its employees and more benefits.  It’s important that workers have a voice in a company no matter how large.  Large unions are able to act as one major body that ensures the security, safety, well-being, and voice of a company’s employees.  While at the same time, union avoidance groups like ANHS point out that this bargaining power can lead to the abuse of a company or executives.

Top Coffee Shop Trends

Top Coffee Shop Trends

According to coffee connoisseurs, we’re now entering the fourth wave of coffee shops.  America’s obsession with coffee begun in the 1960s and 70s when big time coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell House begun selling cheap and freshly grounded coffee.  Available in large quantities at a low price, coffee took off.  It wasn’t until Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks that the coffee shop took off.  Starbucks made a massive push in the late 1990s and early 2000s to grow into smaller and less trendy markets.  Soon, the mocha, cappuccino, latte, and frappe were household names.  Then, something interesting happened in the early to mid-2000s that changed the coffee shop.  Once dominated by Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, the coffee shop experienced a significant change.  Fueled by young people, the boutique coffee shop was born.  Those were the first three waves, however, it appears that we’re in the midst of the transition to the fourth wave.

The fourth wave will consist of uber-trendy cafes with locally sourced products, nitrogen infused java, and a focus on each individual beverage.  The fourth-wave is going to make it even harder to spot the trendiest and best coffee shops.  However, we’ve compiled a list of the top coffee shop trends emerging in 2017.  These trends could very well usher in the fourth wave of coffee.


(*List is not in any order)

Brands Built on Social Media

Sure, every coffee shop, restaurant, and brand that wants millennials and young people to buy their products or services understand the importance of social media.  However, the coffee shop is one establishment in which social media could be the deciding factor between success and failure.  Young people need something to share.  The next generation, the generation born from 1985 to 2000, loving showing off.  With Snapchat placing an importance on brand, location, and stories, trendy coffee shops need to take action and recognize that Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are the easiest ways in which to promote their business.  There are multiple ways in which coffee shops and cafes can make their brands more shareable.  From custom coffee sleeves with cool designs and fun quotes to masterfully prepared food and drink, baristas and other employees need to stay creative.  Coffee shops that are unique and promote individualism will succeed in the fourth-wave.

Shareability will determine whether or not a coffee shop succeeds

Shareability will determine whether or not a coffee shop succeeds in the fourth-wave.

Social Values and Commitment to the Community

It’s not just a stereotype.  The trendiest coffee shops are socially progressive hotspots.  The patrons of fourth-wave coffee shops are socially conscience and committed to their communities.  Some coffee drinkers are so opposed to corporations and their unfair trade beans that they’ve boycotted Starbucks altogether.  If a coffee shop wants to succeed in the fourth-wave, they need to understand the importance of fair trade, organic, and non-GMO coffee.  Though people complain about the price of coffee, labeling coffee roasts as “fair trade” and “locally sourced” will often merit higher prices.  Not only can fair trade and organic beans generate more revenue and potentially more profit but they legitimately help alleviate unethical farming practices.  Coffee shops need to be invested in their communities and actively participate in local events.  Essentially, coffee shops and cafes need morals and ethics that reflect their customers.

Coffee shops need to show that they are committed to the community

Coffee shops need to show that they are committed to the community.

Cold and Nitro Brews

Cold brews, once thought to be a hipster-west coast fad, have withstood the test of time.  Cold brew coffee is taking the nation by storm.  Any coffee shop, cafe, or grocery that fails to embrace cold brew coffee will fail with consumers in the fourth wave of coffee.  Cold brew coffee involves brewing coffee slowly over a long period of time without heat.  The result is a very smooth and less acidic cold coffee.  Another emerging brew is nitro coffee.  Nitro brews are infused with nitrogen and brewed in a process similar to cold brew blends.  The result is a coffee with a Guinness-like consistency and bold flavor.

Nitrogen infused coffee is all the rage

Nitrogen infused coffee is all the rage.

RTD: Ready to Drink Coffee

Ready to drink coffee isn’t what you might think it means.  It doesn’t mean ditching pour-over brews for massive pots of coffee but rather, has to do with how coffee is packaged.  Typically, ready to drink coffee is a cold brew packaged in an aluminum can similar to an energy drink can.  Local cafes that manage to get their brand on their own line of ready to drink coffee will surely have an impact.  Not only is RTD effective branding but it saves the consumer time.

RTD or Ready to Drink Coffee is a major trend.

RTD or Ready to Drink Coffee is a major trend.

Overall

Before this article, you might not have even given any thought to the fact that there are time periods designating coffee trends.  We’re in the midst of the fourth wave of coffee.  It’s important that local coffee shops and cafes that were strong performers in the third wave take note.  Soon, indie music and pour over brews aren’t going to be enough.