All posts by Admin A

Protect Yourself From These Post-Flood Wastewater Hazards

Rytech NashvilleWhile post-flood water damage to a home is considered a given, many property owners are still caught off guard by health and safety risks posed by contaminated wastewater. Let’s look at the different kinds of wastewater contamination and what you can do to minimize risks.

Sewage contamination

The water is contaminated by waste coming from non-industrial human activities such as bathing, washing, and cleaning. Assume that the water you come in contact with post-flooding may be tainted with raw sewage.

Here’s how you can stay safe:

  • Wear protective clothing such as boots, gloves, eyewear, and a face mask.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Avoid eating food that has come in contact with contaminated water. Drink bottled water for the time being until the safety of the local drinking water has been verified.
  • Clean and bandage cuts and scrapes, even if these are minor, before doing any cleanup work.

Chemical contamination

Industrial chemicals such as pesticides and gasoline could leach into waterways after a flood and get into your home; these must be handled accordingly.

Protect yourself by:

  • Wearing protective clothing.
  • Being aware of symptoms resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and skin irritation. Seek medical help immediately should these symptoms persist.

Consult with a qualified water damage remediation expert before re-entering a flood-damaged home to make sure other, more lethal threats such as live electricity and potential structural collapse have been mitigated.

Rytech, Nashville’s leading water damage restoration expert, provides a professional assessment of flood contamination risks and reliable water damage restoration services. Middle Tennessee residents trust Rytech’s IICRC-certified technicians for their water damage restoration requirements. 24-hour emergency services are available. Get in touch today for a no-commitment consultation.

Rytech Nashville has become a leader in the water damage restoration and mold remediation industry. From its humble beginnings in one location, the company has reached exponential growth and currently provides service to 49 major markets across 25 states. Call (615) 751-8445 for more information.

Choosing The Right Boarding School

Currey Ingram

Whether you’re considering a boarding school in Brentwood, Tennessee, or other location, here are some of the things you can do to make sure you’re giving your child the best educational experience possible.

List your must-haves

Sit down with your child and talk about all areas of the boarding school experience that need to be considered, including the boarding school’s location, campus and class size, extra-curricular activities offered, tuition and financial assistance available, inclusivity, and philosophy. This will help sift your non-negotiables from the things you could do without.

Take it a step further and ask your child to think about their long-term goals. Where do they want to go and who do they want to become? The right boarding school will provide an atmosphere that encourages them to grow along this path, both inside and outside the classroom. 

Consider the private boarding school’s mission statement

A boarding school’s mission statement is crafted to reflect its values and goals; it will ultimately be the basis for how the school’s decisions are made. Brentwood boarding school, Currey Ingram Academy’s mission statement, for example, is to provide an exemplary K-12 day and boarding school program that empowers students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential. Take time to think about whether or not this school reflects your values as a family.

Explore Currey Ingram’s curriculum, teaching methodology, and how the school works to uphold social, emotional, and academic balance. These factors will determine how the school assigns homework, conducts tests, grades performances, mentors its students, and sets long-term learning goals. The culture within the boarding school’s teaching community is reflective of the culture created within the classroom. 

Seek first-hand reviews

This of a boarding school education as an investment. While statistics like state rankings, test scores, and student-teacher ratios are important, first-hand reviews will give you a feel of the school beyond the numbers. This can help you decide if a boarding school is the right fit for your child.

Check if the boarding school has programs and support systems in place for holistic student development

A student’s interests will evolve over time, so variety is essential. Does the boarding school’s curriculum include science offerings, an arts program, and special interest classes? Does it have an excellent athletics program as well as facilities to go along with it? Are there mentorship opportunities available?

Currey Ingram Academy, a well-known boarding school in Brentwood, provides programs for visual arts, music, photography, theater, and video production that give students multiple opportunities to share their talents and to be recognized for their work. Students are encouraged to participate in and/or support the school’s athletics program.

Get a feel of the community life

For a truly exceptional boarding school experience, students and teachers must have a strong rapport with one another and value each other’s contributions to the community.

Select faculty members of Currey Ingram Academy have joined the Residential Life staff and live alongside boarding students in the school’s new residence hall. They are there to make sure the students’ experience is rewarding, safe, and fully-integrated with all aspects of living and learning on campus.

Look up the school’s history and traditions, as these in part shape the school’s approach to community building.

Schedule a tour 

An on-site visit will give you a clearer view of everyday life at the boarding school. Observe student-teacher dynamics: Do they greet each other? Do they greet you? Are they fully engaged with the discussions taking place within the classroom? 

Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions on housing arrangements, protocols in the event of a medical emergency, food options, college placement assistance, and weekend activities.

At Currey Ingram Academy’s boarding school, mission-appropriate applicants are invited on the Brentwood campus for individualized shadow days. All prospective students are expected to participate in classroom activities and complete all homework, if given. Lunch and a snack will be served in the dining hall at no charge. 

Remember that admission departments are just as hopeful in finding the right boarding school-student fit as you are. At the end of the day, it all boils to choosing a place that inspires your child to learn and thrive to the fullest.  

A boarding school in Brentwood, Currey Ingram Academy supports and empowers students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential – academically and socially – within an environment that fosters holistic student development. Get in touch by calling (615) 507-3173.

Your Guide To Residential Asphalt Driveways

Hargrove SealcoatingHomeowners know that a cracked and neglected driveway affects the overall aesthetic of a property. If you’re still deciding whether or not paving your driveway is a good investment, wonder no more. Laying an asphalt driveway or repairing cracked asphalt will enhance your property’s long-term value and curb appeal.

It only takes one to two days to lay an asphalt driveway if it is done by a professional contractor, and you don’t have to wait a long time to start using it again. While residential paving expenses will depend on your location and specific requirements, it is generally affordable. However, there are factors to consider to make sure your driveway paving lasts and functions as it should. Here are some of them.

Driveway Foundation

Your driveway’s foundation must be sufficiently compacted before any paving work can be started. Failing to have a proper foundation can make or break the quality of the asphalt pavement.  Make sure cracks and holes are filled out, and there’s a drainage system in place. 

Drainage

Having an effective drainage system is crucial to an asphalt driveway’s quality and durability. Water should never be stagnant on the pavement’s surface; neither should it pool around the edges. To prevent water stagnation, driveways are usually raised in the center and built lower along the sides.

Patio and walkway drainages should be kept further away from the driveway.

Tack Coating

This helps the asphalt overlay adhere to the foundation. Tack coating is usually sprayed on a deteriorating surface to ensure its evenness before adding the asphalt overlay.

Paving Material

Your choice of paving materials would depend on the specific demands of the project. In some cases, an aggregate base may be the best choice. In others, a full-depth asphalt application would be highly recommended. A professional contractor such as Hargrove Sealcoating will survey the area to determine the best pavement material for the job.

Pavement Width

A one-car driveway would typically require a width of 8 feet. But it is recommended to set the width at 10 feet so there’s enough space for larger vehicles.

Expand the width to 12 feet if you want to accommodate pedestrians, too.

Pavement Thickness

Asphalt contractors would either use asphalt over an aggregate base or use asphalt all the way through. Asphalt thickness will differ depending on which case. An asphalt overlay would be at 1.5 to 2.5 inches, whereas a full-depth asphalt pavement would be at 5 to 6 inches total.

Asphalt Surface Course Application

The surface course is the top layer of the pavement and it should be laid in such a way that it is able to withstand high traffic and environmentally-induced stresses without cracking or rutting. It aims to provide an even profile with just the right amount of texture to ensure sufficient and safe skid resistance.

Location

Your driveway’s location should consider your property’s natural topography. An area that is too flat an area will cause drainage problems while an area with steep slopes could become slippery and dangerous. As a rule of thumb, a driveway should have a grade of less than 15 percent, which means that it should not rise more than 15 feet over a distance of 100 feet. 

Surrounding trees and natural features should be taken into consideration in the construction of your driveway.

Everyday Traffic

While cars do not damage the surface of your driveway, heavy-duty vehicles parked regularly on your driveway can. It is recommended that trucks should not park on your driveway for at least a year after the paving work is completed.

Sealing

Asphalt driveways last for about 25 to 30 years. With regular sealcoating, or the application of a protective coating against the elements, your driveway could possibly last longer than that.

Maintenance

Cracks, potholes, and ruts should be repaired as soon as possible as these could speed up the deterioration of your residential asphalt paving. Asphalt patching is a fast and effective solution to these concerns.

Serving Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, Brentwood, Thompson’s Station, Lewisburg, Murfreesboro, and Nashville, Hargrove Sealcoating specialists provide asphalt crack repair services. Call them today at 931.619.6718. One of their service advisors will be happy to assist you.

Q&A: Here’s How You Can Boost Media Relations With SEO

McKeeman Communications

There are 6 PR professionals for every journalist in America. It’s an exciting yet challenging time for PR practitioners: while the industry is booming, it’s harder to capture the attention of journalists faced with the onslaught of 24-hour news cycles, consolidated newsrooms, and the possibility of AI-assisted writing. PR firms in Charlotte, NC are constantly battling for top-of-mind awareness.

How can you cut through the clutter and make sure the right people actually open your pitch? Here’s where having a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy comes in. Kim McKeeman, CEO of McKeeman Communications, a PR firm serving Charlotte, North Carolina, answers some of your burning questions.

Why is SEO important even in what’s considered traditional media relations?

Kim: Journalists use search engines to look for resources, just like everyone else. SEO enhances the searchability of press releases and other placements.

How does one craft a press release optimized for search?

Kim: Insert primary keywords, company names, and locations into headlines, sub-headlines, content, and boilerplates. Write in a conversational tone as Google penalizes keyword stuffing and will flag your content as spam. Keep headlines short: only 50-60 characters of a headline will appear in the search results, so keywords should appear before your content gets cut off.

How do you determine which keywords to use? 

Kim: If you don’t have a dedicated SEO team for this task, PR firms in Charlotte NC such as McKeeman Communications recommend studying your niche. Keep track of relevant topics and questions that prospects, customers, and other shareholders ask. Start building your keyword list from the common phrases that emerge.

Press releases have images that go along with them. Can these be optimized for search as well?

Kim: Absolutely. With Google shifting from text to a more visual way of finding information, it only makes sense to do so.

Google’s search engine results display just as many image results as they do text-based results. An image’s alt text is the copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load, and it makes the image clickable. Including images with highly relevant alt text increases the searchability of your press release.

Use a unique image (relevant to your content, of course) rather than a stock photo whenever possible. Even its placement in an article matters: if you have an image that you’re trying to rank, keep it close to the top of the page. 

Another best practice is to select a distribution service with high online exposure. PR Web, for example, has a website distribution of 30,000 bloggers and journalists.

How can we verify if we’re pitching a story to an authoritative website?

Kim: Check the website for quality backlinks. Backlinks are important because these represent a vote of confidence from one site to another. If several sites link to the same website, search engines can infer that the content is worth linking to. A backlink from a trusted website will increase your own site’s authority and search ranking. 

While Google does not disclose its metrics for determining a site’s authority, this Backlink Research tool developed by Moz lets you check the backlink profile and Domain Authority of any site. It’s not exact, but it’s a good indicator.

How can PR pitch emails stand out?

Kim: If you haven’t heard from your favorite journalist regarding your PR pitch, don’t give up just yet. Journalists looking for resources and story ideas will go through their archived emails. This can happen weeks, months, or even years after the initial pitch was sent. Therefore, it’s important to craft PR email pitches in a way that will make them easier to find. 

Think about what words or phrases most accurately describe your theme. Incorporate main keywords into the email subject line as well as the main body of the pitch whenever possible.

Writing the article yourself and pitching it directly to a publication gives you the opportunity to incorporate essential keywords and backlinks. Include anchor text leading to a specific blog post, an FAQ page, a white paper, an archived newsletter, or other content you provide for free. Doing this tells Google that you are an expert on a particular topic.

These SEO strategies will help drive media relations efforts, which in return, creates more value for the organization. 

One of the top PR firms in Charlotte, NC, McKeeman Communications is in the business of building brands and reputations. If you want to learn more about how your media relations can benefit from SEO, call (866) 341-2650 or email info@mckeemanpr.com

Advocating for Classroom Accommodations and Academic Support

Currey IngramThe number of students with different learning needs has increased in recent years. These differences are not observable in most cases. As a result, students with learning needs are often overlooked or misunderstood. Faculty members and school staff must understand the implications of learning differences so they can advocate for classroom accommodations and provide them with opportunities to thrive and succeed.

What are accommodations?

Accommodations are modifications in the way tasks are presented that allow students with learning differences to complete the same assignments as the other students. Accommodations do not change the content of the assignments, alter how tests are evaluated, or give these students an undue advantage. Rather, accommodations enable students to demonstrate what they know and not be impeded by their learning differences.

Continue reading Advocating for Classroom Accommodations and Academic Support

Using Security Cameras to Reward Employees Who Are Doing the Right Thing, Thus Preventing the Bad

ICU Security

The human brain is naturally programmed to absorb visual content better than a page filled with words. Moreover, an average person retains 95 percent of a message when it is watched and only 10 percent when it is read. Combine visual content with movement and sound and you’ve got video – one of the most – if not the most – compelling media formats around. 

Whether they’re recording videos non-stop, on schedule, or only when motion is detected, security cameras are becoming the norm in the workplace. Apart from their traditional functions of movement surveillance and loss prevention, security cameras have now taken on highly crucial roles in business environments. Nashville security camera provider ICU Security cites some examples of how security cameras can help employees understand and embrace core processes and procedures in the workplace, thereby boosting productivity and morale. 

Employee training. With security cameras in place, companies can document employees performing tasks based on best practices and use the footage as training materials for new hires. Organization veterans don’t have to be pulled out for time-consuming training duties, allowing them to focus on jobs at hand.

Moreover, the periodic review of these videos could help management plan for future training programs that could unlock each team member’s full potential.

Recognition of outstanding behavior.  Security cameras can capture an employee’s exemplary behavior, which could be reinforced through a well-deserved reward or recognition. Other employees could watch the video to see what worked and evaluate if there are still areas for improvement.

Equipment operation. Organizations can use security cameras to verify and document the proper use and maintenance of critical equipment. 

Workplace safety. Security cameras provide companies with a definitive way to validate whether teams are complying with established safety protocols, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Customer service improvement. Audio-enabled security cameras can provide details that would otherwise be missed when video-only systems are used. Managers can resolve employee and customer concerns by watching and listening to what took place.

Note that the reasons behind video surveillance efforts must be clearly communicated to everyone concerned. Transparent and sensible policies lead to a loyal and high-performing workforce.

Established in 1999, ICU Security are Nashville-based security camera specialists serving communities in  Brentwood, Murfreesboro, and Franklin, TN. Get in touch by calling (615) 208-2891.

Hot Water Heater Questions Answered by HomeLife Warranty Protection

There is a lot about home maintenance we non-technically minded people don’t understand. Thankfully, there are companies like HomeLife Warranty Protection to provide information about home repairs and upkeep and offer peace of mind when the unexpected happens.

Today, we talk with HomeLife Warranty Protection about one of the most overlooked system in the home, the hot water heater.

Q: Hello and thank you for joining us today. As you know, we would like to talk about hot water heater maintenance.

HomeLife Warranty Protection: We’d love to. It’s an important piece of equipment that often goes untouched until it breaks.

Q: Why is that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Mostly because it doesn’t require intervention to operate…the dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances have to be touched daily.

Q: We don’t even see the hot water heater every day!

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Exactly. But these appliances work around-the-clock, and even have a number of features that few people know about.

Q: Do tell…

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Have you ever heard of a sacrificial anode?

Q: No, what’s that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Water heaters have what’s called an anode rod inside the tank that acts as a decoy; they are usually made of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc. The anode rod provides an alternative source of electrons, instead of taking them from the steel water tank.

Q: So it essentially sacrifices itself so the tank doesn’t corrode?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes and without this rod, the hot water heater might only last half as long.

Q: How long are these rods supposed to last?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Most manufacturers suggest they be replaced every two years.

Q: Why is that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: This is about the length of time it takes for degradation of the anode rod before it starts eating at the water tank itself.

Q:  What happens if it’s not replaced on time…or at all?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not performing this replacement causes premature corrosion of the tank and water leaks occur that could cause property damage and cut in half the useful life of the water heater.  Proper anode rod replacement every 2 years should double the life of the water heater.

Q: Is there only one type of anode rod?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: No, actually. Homeowners in soft water areas might want to consider a powered anode, which connects to an outlet and emits a low electrical current into the water.

Q: Do anode rods serve any other purpose?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Odor is a problem in some soft water areas and the powered rods can help with that as well.

Q: Are there any other parts that should be replaced regularly?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not usually but many homeowners do not know that the tank is supposed to be drained at least once a year.

Q: Oh really?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, and even more often in areas of hard water.

Q: What do you mean when you mention hard and soft water?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: That refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. More minerals equals harder water.

Q: How does hard water affect a hot water heater?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Hard water has calcium and magnesium dispersed throughout it and these minerals can settle at the bottom of the tank, causing reduced water temperatures and increased energy consumption.

Q: Got it. So, change the rods and drain the tank for best performance?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: That’s pretty much all it takes! A little care and a few minutes of maintenance every year really does go a long way.

Gary McClure Discusses Past Awards

Gary McClure When APSU’s head baseball coach Gary McClure retired in 2015, he did so as a record-breaking leader, winning an 847 games in 27 seasons. We recently sat down with a very humble Gary McClure, who claims his record was built on the foundation of dedicated and talented student athletes.

Zrylw: We are very excited to speak with you today. You are considered by many the best coach in OVC history.

Gary McClure: Thank you very much for that compliment. I will tell you like i have many others, i’m a much better coach when i have good players. I’m certainly no rocket scientist, but that’s one thing i was smart enough to figure out.

Zrylw: During your time with the Governors, you had a number of great years. Do any of them stand out more than others?

Gary McClure: Yes, to be honest there are several that stay etched pretty deep in memory. Truthfully, i just feel fortunate and honored to have the opportunity to work with young people.

Zrylw: Why is that?

Gary McClure: Well, you can’t beat making an impact on young people’s lives while having the opportunity to do something you love and at the same time make your living and get paid for it.

Zrylw: That’s great and sounds unbelievable…

Gary McClure: It really was. I can’t tell you how good it made me feel.

Zrylw: That is really remarkable. 

Gary McClure: Like i said, i was blessed to have these opportunities. It makes it even more significant when you have young men work so hard to try and reach their potential as athletes. I was very fortunate to know that most of my players made it a priority to excel.

Zrylw: Like Dobbs?

Gary McClure: Absolutely, Jeremy basically went from being a non factor one year to our programs eighth Pitcher of the Year the next. So many guys were able to make themselves great players.

Zrylw: Along with Shawn Kelley…

Gary McClure: That’s right. Dobbs was actually the first after Kelley won the award in 2007.

Zrylw: With your Coach of the Year distinction in 2011, you tied Jim Ward, right?

Gary McClure: I guess i have never really thought about it, but i guess i did.

Zrylw: What was it about the 2011 team that made all of these honors special?

Gary McClure: Any honor or award is special. What stands out about the 2011 group is that there were no senior position players starting. We were also just a .500 club until about two thirds of the way through the season and then they matured in a hurry and went on a terror winning most of the games during the rest of the season. That’s pretty unusual when you realize that we closed the year 30-22 and actually locked up the conference championship with 6 games left in the season..

Zrylw: Tell us a little about Reed Harper…

Gary McClure: Reed was a sophomore short stop at the time. Along with first-baseman John Hogan, Reed received first-team All-OVC honors. He had just had an amazing season, with a 29-game hitting streak. He brought so many things to the table offensively and defensively along with being one of the greatest competitors i ever coached. He had intangibles that many players don’t.

Zrylw: What about second-team honors?

Gary McClure: We had four: Jordan Hankins, Zach Toney, Michael Blanchard, and Greg Bachman.

Zrylw: Hadn’t Greg Bachman been out for a while with a shoulder injury?

Gary McClure: You’re right. He missed the previous season and actually started 2011 slow. He must have completely healed by the end of the season though, because he rounded out the year with a 43 RBIs and seven home runs! He was playing at an extremely high level and played a big role as a leader on that team. He was most certainly what i call a giver and not a taker. I really loved Greg as a player and a person.

Zrylw: Hankins had multiple acknowledgements in 2011, didn’t he?

Gary McClure: Yes, he also earned All-Freshman team recognition along with being named to Louisville Sluggers Freshman All American Team. He finished the season .378, which was the best among qualifying freshman players. He also hit a game winning home run against Georgia Tech in the NCAA Regional that year. Hankins was a great hitter from the first day he stepped on our campus.

Zrylw: Who else made All-Freshman?

Gary McClure: Rolando Gautier and Matt Wollenzin.

Zrylw: It sounds like 2011 really was a memorable year.

Gary McClure: Most definitely. And one that I am proud to have been a part of.

Gary McClure later told us that retirement hadn’t dulled his interest in baseball and that he continues to follow the Governors and will most likely get back in the game at some point. He looks forward to seeing more of his former players in the MiLB and the MLB in the future.