Archives for February 22, 2012

Steady Rise in Remodeling Reflects Ongoing Interest in Home Improvements at Financial Website DIYORNOT.COM

Despite the economic downturn the interest in home improvements continues to keep homeowners busy with maintenance and modest upgrades.

ST. MICHAELS, MD, February 22, 2012  — According to the National Assn. of Home Builders, the recent Residential Remodeling Index rose to its five year high, good news for the industry that indicates homeowners are investing in their property. Compared to the boom years of larger than life additions and lavish kitchens, today’s improvements are more modest in scope and focus on maintenance work that keeps a house and its systems in good working order.

Gene Hamilton, co-founder of has seen the same practical approach to improvements and continued homeowners’ interest in maintaining their property. “It’s not that different from 25 years ago when we began writing about the cost of home improvements,” he said, “when people considered their home their largest investment and treated it like one.” He and wife Katie bought and improved “handyman specials” for resale and are authors of 20 home improvement books, including Home Improvement for Dummies . They developed a weekly newspaper column “Do It Yourself Or Not” focusing on the cost of home decorating, repair and remodeling projects that compares the do-it-yourself cost with the cost of hiring a contractor. First published in 1987 the feature continues today in newspaper syndication and online as a popular website, considered “one of the best money web sites” by CNN Money. Its longevity stems from helping homeowners make an informed decision about the cost of a job and knowing what’s involved.

DIYORNOT.COM features an extensive database of the cost of more than 375 projects that generates a regional cost when a user enters a zip code. The Pro Cost of a project which includes the labor and material is based on contractors’ cost books which are updated annually and the DIY Cost is the price of the material needed minus the labor.

Over the years the cost of home improvements has risen with the cost of living. For example, 25 years ago it cost a handy homeowner $90 to paint a 15-by-20-foot room compared with hiring a contractor for $238. Today those numbers escalate to $150 DIY vs. $764 Pro. “What’s changed more dramatically than the dollar amount is the quality of paints, primers and tools that make it easier for a homeowner to get professional looking results,” said Hamilton.

Another development is the number of retail outlets for home improvement products, many designed for do-it-yourself installation. “There were 75 Home Depots in the U.S. in 1987 and today there are 1,974, that’s a dramatic change that offers consumers sometimes mindboggling choices in materials and tools to use.” The extensive television programming about home improvements is another change that helps homeowners learn about projects and often be entertained at the same time.

“Even with a substantial DIY savings, some jobs are best left to the pros,” says Hamilton. As an example he said that despite a 59 percent saving by refinishing hardwood floors, a homeowner can seriously damage those floors with a power sander that will require hiring a professional to repair and refinish them, negating any savings. He advises that any electrical and plumbing work requiring a licensed professional are always best left to the pros.

The steady rise in remodeling indicates homeowners’ interest in maintaining and improving their property, despite the downturn in market value; it is after all, the place they call home. is the online edition of the newspaper column of the same name, which is syndicated by Tribune Media Services. It went online in 1987 on HouseNet BBS, a bulletin board service that evolved into, the first home and garden channel on AOL and home improvement website. More information can be accessed online at and and on Facebook at Do It Yourself Or Not.

Author Steve A. Mizera Shares His Powerful Life Story in His New Autobiography, From a Dime a Dozen to Priceless

Mizera demonstrates the liberating experience of rehabilitation in a story of a boy’s journey from abused to abuser to repentance.

CHRISTMAS VALLEY, OR, February 22, 2012 Steve A. Mizera has endured endless hardships and emerged on the other side. It is the lesson he has learned from these experiences that Mizera wants readers to take away with them after reading his powerful autobiography, “From a Dime a Dozen to Priceless: An Orphan’s 70-Year Quest for a Family”. The author believes he has identified a cause and cure for pedophilia.

Raised in two Catholic orphanages where he suffered sexual abuse as well as mental and physical, Mizera was raised with a far bleaker view of the world than most other boys his age. It is how this view transformed his life, eventually leading to the author’s own crime and punishment, followed by redemption, that forms the fabric of this compelling story.

The book has a printed warning due to its content, which may invoke emotional reactions from readers. However, it is specifically written to help a variety of people – from parents to psychologists and social workers to law enforcement officials to Christians – to understand the answer to the questions most often asked regarding pedophilia – what causes it, and how can it be cured?

The book is available on Amazon, in paperback for $25, as an $2.99 e-book, or. a signed copy from his website at

Steve A. Mizera has worked in a variety of industries since running away from his second orphanage at the age of 14 to live on the streets of Philadelphia. After completing four years in the USAF, Mizera worked as a railway conductor, attended law school and published a small-town newspaper. After committing an unthinkable crime, Mizera was sentenced to 20 years in Folsom State Prison in California. Following his release he spent almost two decades in public service before retiring.

Mizera now lives in Christmas Valley, Oregon, where he creates large panoramic wildlife and landscape photographs on canvas.

Great Britain Becomes Great for Short Breaks

The number of people choosing to enjoy UK breaks rather than going abroad continues to rise with Center Parcs seeing a 400%+ increase in website visitors that are searching for UK based short breaks.

LONDON, ENGLAND, February 22, 2012 — The number of people choosing to enjoy UK breaks rather than going abroad continues to rise with Center Parcs seeing a 400%+ increase in website visitors that are searching for UK based short breaks.

Center Parcs, the destination for UK short breaks, reported a huge annual rise in the volume of natural search traffic coming to their website in January through the search terms “short breaks UK” and “holidays in the UK”.

Between January 2011 and January 2012 Center Parcs saw a 443% rise in search traffic for “short breaks UK” and a 341% rise in search traffic for “holidays in the UK”.

This is backed up by statistics from other quarters:

In September 2011, the number of domestic overnight trips taken in England was 22% higher than the year before (source: Experian Hitwise UK) and the number of searches for “UK Breaks” carried out on Google rose by 27% between January 2011 and January 2012 (source: Google Insights for Search).

To many involved in the UK tourism industry the continued boom is by no means surprising as Simon Jarratt, Online Acquisition Manager for Center Parcs explains:

“The term ‘staycation’ seemed to be something of a buzz word in 2010/11, with the media reporting changing consumer behaviour when it came to the types of holidays people were taking. In reality, it seems like this consumer behaviour has continued into 2012, and is likely to extend far beyond.”

More and more people are seeing the merits of staying within the UK for their family breaks and especially for their short getaways.


Oniqua MRO Analytics to Lead Full-Day Workshop at Maintenance and Reliability Conference (MARCON 2012) Senior Consultant Steve Pak to lead workshop entitled “Maintenance Effectiveness and Efficiency Performance Measures and Spares Optimization Contribution”.

Senior Consultant Steve Pak to lead workshop entitled “Maintenance Effectiveness and Efficiency Performance Measures and Spares Optimization Contribution”.

DENVER, CO, February 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Oniqua MRO Analytics (, the leading provider of MRO analytics solutions for asset-intensive organizations, today announced that Steve Pak, senior consultant with Oniqua, will lead a full day workshop at the upcoming Maintenance and Reliability Conference (MARCON). MARCON is being held February 27 – March 1, 2012, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is hosted by the University of Tennessee Reliability and Maintainability Center.

MARCON is a forum for all – practitioners, specialists, educators and students – to learn and exchange information on new and emerging technologies, as well as on tried and proven methods and techniques in the area of Reliability and Maintenance Engineering and Management. MARCON allows attendees to immerse themselves in ideas to help them better prepare for meeting and beating the competition.

Mr. Pak’s workshop, entitled “Maintenance Effectiveness and Efficiency Performance Measures and Spares Optimization Contribution”, will take place Monday, February 27th, and will review methods and measures to capture maintenance effectiveness and efficiency as they pertain to reliability-centered maintenance. The workshop will also review how to manage spares and materials utilization optimization analytics to provide the right materials, at the right time, at the lowest cost.

“Today’s maintenance organizations commonly focus on how well their assets continue to do what their users want them to do, and how well the resources are being used,” stated Steve Pak, senior consultant, Oniqua MRO Analytics. “The application of reliability-centered maintenance principles to maintenance performance measures can help organizations develop a cost-effective maintenance strategy that will consistently help them achieve their operational goals. I look forward to discussing maintenance and spares principles with workshop participants to help them improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their maintenance initiatives.”

Steve Pak Bio
As senior consultant at Oniqua, Steve has responsibility for assessing client requirements and presenting technology and process-based solutions. He is also responsible for implementing approved solutions that deliver measurable business benefits. Steve has successfully completed client engagements in a variety of asset-intensive industries, including paper, chemical, petrochemical, utilities, transportation and mining.

Steve has more than 20 years of supply chain and operations management experience with Fortune 500 companies. His knowledge and experiences are focused on business process optimization and re-engineering to achieve company profitability and efficiency by utilizing analysis, insights and best practices.

In additional to his operational and management experience, Steve has been directly involved in the successful implementation of multiple ERP/EAM systems, including Immpower, Oracle, SAP, and Maximo, resulting in the effective integration of improved business processes to enterprise systems.

Steve graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering, and earned an M.S. degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, also in Chemical Engineering.

For more information on the MARCON conference and workshops, visit
For more information on Oniqua, visit

About Oniqua MRO Analytics
With operations in the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, Oniqua is the world’s leading MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) analytics software company. Oniqua helps organizations maximize profits, savings and efficiencies by minimizing MRO waste, and delivers a positive return on investment in as little as three to six months. Oniqua Analytics Solution (OAS) leverages customers’ transactional data by applying advanced analytics to identify inefficiencies and ensure that their maintenance, inventory and procurement operations run as efficiently as possible. Oniqua is proud to serve the world’s leading companies in the oil and gas, mining, utilities and other asset-intensive industries, including ConocoPhillips, BP, Hawaiian Electric, Bermuda Electric Light Company, Orange County Transportation Authority, Vale, Rio Tinto, Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton, Newmont Mining, Alcoa, Xstrata, Drummond Company, Freeport McMoRan and many others.