Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lead Poisoning

The fact that Lead is a danger has been know for some time, but, it is a good idea to be reminded once in awhile how dangerous it actually is. It is most hazardous to children.

When a child ingests or inhales lead it is absorbed into the blood, bone and organs. Over 1/3 of all lead ingested is deposited in the kidneys and liver where it replaces needed metals such as iron and zinc. It then interferes with the formation of enzymes and blood. Some of the lead, when ingested, gets deposited in the brain where is can cause neurological damage. Lead can also be deposited in the bone where it decreases bone density and may slowly leach into the blood.

Children are most affected because their brains are still growing and developing. The affects can be chronic or acute and lethal. The affects include:

*Lower IQ *Anemia *Tremors *Depression
*Decreased Brain Volume *Renal Disease *Hypertension
*Physiological Problems Including Difficulty Controlling Anger
*Decreased Hearing *Decreased Growth *Cardiovascular Problems

According to the CDC and Surgeon General, lead poisoning from deteriorating lead-based paint and remodeling houses is the greatest environmental threat to children.

Other common sources of lead poisoning are: chewing on keys and charms, cooking with ceramic potter containing lead, Mexican candy, Eating off of ceramic dishes containing lead, Toys with lead in the plastic or paint, lead in soil from leaded gasoline and lead brought home on clothes of adults from work.

In adults, the affects of lead poisoning are: Increased levels of birth problems, increased incidence of Dementia and Alzheimer's, Transference of lead to a fetus and Decreased ability to absorb vitamins D and Calcium.

Lead poisoning is a serious problem in St. Joseph County Indiana. 70% of the houses in St. Joseph County were built before 1978 when lead was still added to paint.

St. Joseph County has approximately 60 confirmed lead poisoned children each year. Since the testing rate is low, there is actually an estimated 250 to 500 kids poisoned each year. This does not include the many hundreds of children that test high but below the legal definition of lead poisoning. Those children have similar but somewhat less sever health effects.

***All information in this post was provided by the St. Joseph County Health Department

Great News On USDA Rural Housing

This information is straight from the House Committee on Financial Services, not rumor or third party information, this came straight from the committee this afternoon.

Today, the House Financial Services Committee unamimously passed H.R. 5017, the Rural Housing Preservation and Stabilization Act of 2010. This action clears the bill for consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to take up the bill as early as next week. The bill ensures the continuation of the USDA loan guarantee program.

Since the financial crisis has spiked consumer interest in this program, the number of loans made annually have tripled since 2006. With continued demand, the program was slated to have exhausted its funds within the next few days. The new bill would solve this problem by making the program self funded.

The bill, introduded by Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), will correct the original program shortfall by enabling the program to pay for itself. To pay for the program, lenders will pay up to a 4% fee on new home mortgages. As a result of that change, financing of the program will move from a combination of government funding and industry fees to a self-sustaining initiative.

The USDA program is designed to be a vital source of mortgage credit for people living the rural communities. The program aims to lower the costs of homeownership by giving rural area access to a home loan guarantee program for those with low to moderate income with good credit. These guarantees decrease the exposure of home lenders to defaults so that they will underwrite more mortgages. In 2009, loans made under the program averaged $112,000.

Once again, that was directly from the House Committee that is chaired by Congressman Barney Frank and the same committee that local Congressman Joe Donnelly is part of. This is just the first step, but thoughts are that this will pass through Congress.

EPA's New Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (RRP)

Thinking about installing some new windows? Maybe some new kitchen cabinets? How about knocking down that wall to give your old home that "open concept" look? Do you want to be fined $32,500 per RRP rule violation and face a federal felony per violation? Do I have your attention now??

Well, before you start that new renovation or begin to rehab that flip house, make sure you read up on the EPA's new Renovation Repair and Painting Rule also called RRP which is how it will be referred to the remainder of this post. The new RRP rule takes effect today, April 22, 2010. This new rule is all about Lead Based Paint and effects YOU if your house was built prior to 1978, if you are performing an activity on your house that is disturbing lead based paint and if you are a person or company that is performing the work for a profit.

So, let me break that down a little bit because there is probably a question or two out of that paragraph. If you are an owner occupant, in other words you own the home that you are living in, then you are exempt from this rule if you are doing the work yourself. Also, any structure that has been declared "lead free" from a lead risk assessment is exempt, but make sure you have that documentation. Mostly, this new rule effects people that have investment homes.

So, what's the big deal???

Any work that can effect lead based paint more than 6 square feet inside of a house or 20 square feet outside of a house, must be performed by certified firms by the EPA. And, irregardless of the size of the area disturbed, the rule automatically applies to window replacement and demolition projects (that means taking out a wall or something like that). So, as you can see, this is a big deal. Those square foot numbers are relatively small.

When this work is being performed:
*Signs must be posted at the work site warning people to stay out
*All objects must be removed from the area or covered with plastic sheeting
*All doors and openings must be sealed off with plastic sheeting
*All heat duct must be closed and covered
*All flooring must be covered with plastic sheeting
*Do everything possible to minimize dust

The clean up process:
*Collect all debris and place in a heavy duty bag
*Remove and dispose of plastic sheeting
*Clean all objects with a HEPA vacuum and wipe down with damp cloth
*Wet mop hard-surface floors

After the clean up process is done, test each 40 sqft. of each component of the room (wall, counter top etc..) by wiping all surfaces separately and comparing the results to an EPA cleaning verification card. Each window must be tested separately.

Additional information can be found at and the NAR at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

U2, Wisdom and The Bible

"There's cathedrals and the alleyways in our music. I think the alleyway is usually on the way to the cathedral, where you can hear your own footsteps and you're slightly nervous and looking over your shoulder and wondering if there's somebody following you. An then you get there and you realize there was somebody following you: It's God." --Bono

There is no doubt in my mind what-so-ever, that U2 is the greatest Rock and Roll band in the history of music. They always seem current and relevant with each passing year with an ever changing sound. The one thing that always seems to stay true, however, is the wisdom in their lyrics and quotes. Most can be directly traced back to scripture from The Bible, that is either their interpretation of that scripture (see the entire song 40 which is Psalm 40 and Psalm 6) or a fairly direct quote of scripture (Vertigo- "All of this can be yours" Luke 4:7).

The faith of Bono and U2 has been highly documented.

"We've found different ways of expressing it, and recognized the power of the media to manipulate such signs. Maybe we just have to sort of draw our fish in the sand. It's there for people who are interested. It shouldn't be there for people who aren't"
---Bono on Faith, U2 At The End Of The World.

Bono even spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast a couple of years ago. Here is part of his speech:
"God may well be with us, and our mansions on the hill...I hope so. He may well be with us in all manner of controversial stuff--maybe, maybe not. But the one thing we can all agree-all faith, all ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and the poor. God is in the slums and the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her baby with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the ruble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives. And God is with us, if we are with them."

Of course, we all know the obvious "Christian Themed" songs that they have, but I thought I would write down a few of the songs along with lyric that can be directly related to a Bible verse:

Beautiful Day "See the bird with the leaf in her mouth, after the flood all the colors came out" -Genesis 8:10-11 and 9:12-13

The Wanderer "Who would sit at his Fathers right hand"-Matthew 26:64

Lemon "And when you're dry, she draws her water from the stone" -Numbers 20:8

Running To Stand Still "Sweet the sin, bitter the taste in my mouth" Rev 10:10

The First Time "He said I have many mansions and there are many rooms to see" John 14:2

Walk On "A place that has to be believed to be seen" John 11:40 and "home, I can't say where it is, but I know I'm going" John 14:4-6

In A Little While "In a little while, I won't be blown by every breeze" Eph 4:14

City Of Blinding Lights "Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel, luckily" Matthew 5:44-45

All Because Of You "All because of you, I Am" Exodus 3:13-14

There are many many more, but I think that shows a pretty good example in their songs. There is also the artwork for "All That You Can't Leave Behind." If you look at it, on a sign above the band is a reference to Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." The band calls this God's phone number.

And last but not least, there is the concerts. On one of the recent tours, during the intro to "Where The Streets Have No Name" Bono recited parts of Psalm 116

What can I give back to God
For the blessings you pour out on me?
What can I give back to God
For the blessings you pour out of me?
I lift high the cup of salvation
it is a toast to our Father
I'll follow through on the promise I made to you
Hear my Heart.

I am not really sure what the point of all of this was, other then to state some of the reasons why I truly love listening to this bands music. It really does help me spiritually. I hope you find value in it as well.

**research credits go to "One Step Closer" by Christian Scharen, Angela Pancella of and

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Six Years Ago, An Easter Memory

At the time, I was not a Christ follower and I was pretty anti-church. Kimberly had her routine, which was going to church every Sunday. And I had my routine, which was dropping her off at church and then I would go shopping.

It was Easter Sunday of 2004, I had planned on the same old routine. We were at the front of Granger Community Church where I always dropped her off when Kimberly says "why don't you park the truck and come on in?"

"No" I kindly but firmly said, "I'll just go shopping like normal."

"Oh, come on" my wife said, "Pastor Beeson is speaking and I really think you would like to hear what he has to say."

Which I replied "I don't think that I would and I am in no condition to come to an Easter service. I haven't showered or shaved and I am wearing a bluejeans a T-shirt and a baseball cap."

As I said that, some dude in a baseball cap wearing jeans and a t-shirt looking kind of un-shaven goes walking by my truck and into the entrance of the church.

"See" Kimberly said, "it's ok! Besides, it's Easter and all of the stores are closed. So, you can either sit out here in your truck and be cold or you can come on in and hear a great message."

She was lying about the stores being closed, but that's got me into the church.

Some of you might be thinking "That was all just a coincidence with that guy walking by like that." But I don't think it was.

I think that God knew that Kimberly was going to be working up the courage to have a VERY difficult conversation with me and knew she would need all of the help that she could get to get me into that church. I think God planted that guy there just to show me that it was ok for me to go in no matter what I looked like or how I felt.

It was one of those "Gotcha" moments, and I have been attending Granger Community Church ever since. It was that moment that started me moving in a much better direction with my life.

I just thought I would share that with everybody today.

Happy Easter everyone!
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