Friday, May 27, 2016

What Can I Recycle?

Many of us regularly recycle soda cans and water bottles, but did you know that many other food and beverage containers and household items also are recyclable? Take a look at the list below for some guidelines for what you can put into your community-provided recycling bin and what should be handled by a waste management professional.

Metal. Aluminum cans, foil and bakeware all are recyclable, as well as steel and tin cans used to package food and beverage items. Ensure these items are free of any food particles prior to putting them into your recycling bin—if they’re dirty, recycling facilities may not accept them.

Paper and cardboard. Computer paper, phone books, junk mail, magazines, paperback books, newspapers and cardboard all are fully recyclable and typically can be made into other paper products like egg cartons and packaging forms. Poly-coated paperboard materials like milk and juice boxes also can be recycled.

Glass. Most clear, brown and green glass items used for food and beverage items are recyclable and can be broken down and made into other glass products. However, some glass items like ceramic dishware and ovenware, heat-resistant glass, mirror or window glass, or crystal are not recyclable.

Plastic. Clean plastic items in the shape of bottles, jars and jugs are almost always recyclable, but plastic bags are not. Typically, grocery stores collect plastic bags for recycling facilities that specialize in producing recycled plastic lumber.

Batteries and Bulbs. Car, household and rechargeable batteries are recyclable, but most waste management companies will not accept them via community recycling bins. Along with incandescent, LED and fluorescent light bulbs, these items require special handling. Check the county website for recycling information.

Electronics. Computers and computer accessories, cell phones, stereos, televisions and printers are all nearly 100 percent recyclable, but should be handled by a waste management professional rather than put out at the curb with the rest of your recycling. Check the web for local retailers and manufacturers that offer recycling programs for these items.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Take Action after a Natural Disaster

If your property has been damaged in a natural disaster—hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake or fire—there are some important steps you can take in the immediate aftermath to ensure your safety and minimize financial loss. Consider the following actions:

Enter with caution. Damaged homes or buildings could be structurally unsafe; use extreme caution when navigating those areas, and don’t enter unless absolutely necessary. Debris and other hazards are unsafe.

Secure the property. In cases of significant structural damage or security concerns, determine whether the damaged area needs to be secured with temporary fencing or another type of barrier to keep out unwanted guests.

Notify your insurer. Call your insurance company to inform them there’s been a disaster and to file an official claim. Take down the claim number and any relevant contact information for whomever will handle your claim. If your vehicle sustained damage, contact your automobile insurer.

Notify utility companies. If property damage includes disruption to water, gas or electric utilities, contact the companies right away to shut off service. Failing to do so could pose a safety risk to you or emergency responders in and around the disaster area.

Take photos of the damage. Beginning with the property’s exterior, take photographs of the damage. If it’s safe to enter the structure, take photographs of interior damage as well. These will come in handy for insurance purposes.

Take inventory of your damaged belongings. Make a list of your damaged personal items and ensure you have photographs. Include the price of large appliances or valuable items with your list and, if possible, surviving receipts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Itch, Ouch, Scratch, It’s Bug Season!

Whether you’re attacked while working in the garden, enjoying a picnic in the park or lounging by the pool, bug bites and stings are an inevitable summer annoyance. At best, bites and stings can be uncomfortable for a few days; at worst, they can be a serious, life-threatening hazard.
Here are some tips on how to relieve the itch or sting and when to know if you should seek medical attention:

If the bite or sting is mildly painful or itchy, apply over-the-counter medication that contains Benadryl or cortisone for topical relief. Other home remedies, like a applying a paste made from baking soda and water, dabbing on ammonia with a cotton ball, soaking in oatmeal baths or even applying toothpaste to the site may also provide relief.

Whatever you do, don’t scratch. This can cause an infection and leave a scar. And it won’t relieve the itch or sting.

If you feel faint, nauseous, dizzy or disoriented, or if you experience rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or your lips, tongue or throat swell, call 911 immediately. These symptoms indicate a severe allergy to the insect’s venom. Administer an Epi-pen (injectable epinephrine) if one is available and administer CPR if symptoms worsen before emergency personnel arrive. After the episode, follow up with a physician who can determine an allergy prevention treatment.

Stay alert for delayed symptoms around the bite or sting, like redness or swelling, which could indicate an infection or other condition. And see a doctor right away if you have a headache, fever or joint pain within a few days of being bitten. Some insects, like ticks and mosquitoes, can infect their victims with serious, flulike illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and West Nile virus, which only a physician can diagnose and treat.

Most important, use insect repellent when outdoors and wear light-weight, light-colored clothing over arms, legs and feet to keep insects off your skin. And avoid wearing perfume and fragrances, which can attract bugs.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Charlotte HOA/Community Association/Condo Manager’s Professional Association Releases Positive National Industry Survey Results

(NC/SC) Association Management Group (AMG), one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowner association managers with five offices in North and South Carolina, announced that the recently released results of HOA professional association Community Associations Institute’s (CAI) national HOA resident satisfaction survey substantiates the findings of its own annual resident survey, in progress now. According to the May 2016 report of the Foundation of Community Association Research, a non-profit organization that researches and analyzes trends in community associations and the education arm of CAI, 84 percent of homeowners across the nation believe their volunteer boards act with residents’ best interests at heart; only 10 percent believe they don’t. The Foundation survey also revealed that 66 percent of association residents say community rules protect and enhance values. Only 5 percent believe the rules harm property values; 22 percent see no difference. AMG is a long-time member of CAI. AMG surveys its customers’ residents every year, charting their satisfaction as a way of improving performance and jump-starting the innovation of new, better services. According to the annual AMG survey, of the thousand residents living in community associations managed by AMG, satisfaction with HOA living was an average 97 percent, a third higher than the May national average of 65 percent.  There are 19,000 community associations in North Carolina.   

According to AMG Founder and President, Paul Mengert, former president of NC-CAI, the high satisfaction rating comes from a sense of commitment. “HOA leaders volunteer to work hard at serving their community because they care: It’s home, and homeowners feel that commitment,” he said. “According to an April Gallup Poll, only 17 percent of surveyed Americans approve of the job Congress is doing; 79 percent disapprove. While the national political conversation has turned divisive, the local conversation in planned communities remains positive because leaders across the nation, and in North Carolina in particular, remain in complete unity: They are committed to working together with their residents to create healthy, harmonious communities. As a management company, we feel our job is mostly about customer service–helping volunteer leaders provide that outstanding service to their residents.” 

About AMG:  AMG is a professional community association management company dedicated to building effective community associations. AMG guides and assists executive boards to help protect the association's interests, enhance the lives of community members and improve the property values in the community. With offices throughout the Carolinas in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, and Greenville and Aiken, SC, AMG is a knowledgeable partner in enforcing community governing documents with a proven set of processes and techniques, and supporting communities with a broad range of services which can be tailored to individual community needs. Association Management Group, Inc. is a locally Accredited Business by the BBB and is a nationally Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) by the Community Associations Institute. For more about AMG, visit

PHOTO CUTLINE: Paul Mengert, Founder and President of Association Management Group,  announced that HOA professional association Community Associations Institute’s (CAI) May 2016 HOA satisfaction survey results back up findings from AMG’s annual resident survey, in progress now: most residents feel HOAs are a positive experience.