In this remarkable book, Emma Rowley, a journalist for The Telegraph in London, used her unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to provide insider information, such as the inspiration behind the details on screen, the choice of locations, the music and much more. Her highly illustrated book is like a backstage pass divided into seven main chapters: scripts, sets, props, wardrobe, hair and makeup, insider knowledge and the "Downton Abbey" legacy.
It is the attention to historic detail that makes this series such a hit. From the period costumes to the historically correct food being served --; both upstairs and downstairs --; the accuracy is astounding. The solidity of the sets offers an intimate look at both a place and time.
By delving into the secrets, previously private experiences and tricks of the trade involved in producing the series, all aspects of the making of "Downton Abbey" are documented and examined. This fascinating book helps explain why the drama has become such a hit with viewers.]]>
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If you keep birds, here's a reminder: Never preheat pans on high heat --; especially nonstick pans. They can let off a chemical that you or I cannot detect but can be a health hazard if your bird friend is in the kitchen area. Don't keep birds in the kitchen when cooking.
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This tip will change your life when peeling eggs: After you have hard-boiled your eggs, drain them and leave them in the pot. Put the lid on the pot and shake. Shake in all directions for up to a minute. The eggs practically slip right out of their shells. Just rinse and prep.
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Use a flat iron to iron your collar if it's rumpled. This also works to straighten out button holes that have crimped.
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To distinguish your keys, especially house keys that have similar stamps, simply paint the key head with different colors of nail polish. You could even add a very subtle dot of the matching polish on the key lock. Reapply as needed.
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To mark the end on a roll of tape, save your bread tabs. Stick one on the tape end and it will be ready and easy to start the next time. If it's a thick tape, you can use two clips --; one at either side of the tape. This way, it won't split on you.
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Freshen stuffed animals by securing a few in a pillowcase and adding a fabric softener sheet. Put in the dryer on low heat for 20 minutes, then remove and brush out the fur, if necessary, while still warm.
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Schedule important doctor's checkups, like your annual physical and dental cleanings, in the same month each year so you will know when they are coming up. I use my birth month.
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Here is an ingenious way to store markers: Collect enough toilet paper rolls to fill a shoebox standing upright. Paint or decorate the outside of the shoebox with brightly colored paper or paints. Fill with the rolls. The markers stand upright in the toilet paper rolls and they are kept standing uniformly across the box. Much better than a messy bin, where you can't see the colors that are on the bottom.
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When you're finished pan-frying something, add a bit of water to the pan and put it back on the still-warm burner while you eat. When you come back to clean up after dinner, the pan drippings will slide right off!
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If your family likes stuffing, try baking it in muffin tins for single servings. It works very well.]]>
Using an example of a 40-year-old male non-smoker earning $16,000 per year, Valverde notes this person would pay nothing out of pocket each month for a premium after qualifying for $2,685 annually in subsidies for a basic health plan, compared to having to shell out $160 as a penalty and still be required to pay for all medical expenses incurred.
"As you can see, there are more cost-effective options for you," says Valverde, an Albuquerque-based insurance agent, one of more than a hundred brokers in the state registered with the federal health insurance marketplace and the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange to enroll individuals and small businesses. "It doesn't make sense not to sign up for health insurance."
Nearly 3.3 million Americans --; including more than 11,600 New Mexicans --; signed up for coverage on the federal health insurance marketplace from October 2013 to Feb. 1, according to figures released last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But the enrollment window hasn't slammed shut on the millions more across the country --; including thousands in the Land of Enchantment --; still looking to get health insurance in 2014. The good news is that the uninsured have until March 15 to enroll in a health insurance plan that begins on April 1, and they have until March 31 to find coverage for the remainder of the year (starting on May 1) on the marketplace and avoid paying a fine.
At the workshop was a 54-year-old woman who has been without health insurance coverage for nearly two years. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she isn't sure what kind of financial assistance package she qualifies for, if any, but she insists she earns too much to meet the income criteria for Medicaid. Even so, the last time she attempted to enroll in a health insurance plan on the marketplace, she says the program told her that she might qualify for Medicaid and wouldn't allow her to complete an application until that issue is resolved. "I have to wait and see how that ends up," she says, "but in the meantime, I need health insurance."
She's not alone. The HHS estimates that there were more than 400,000 people in New Mexico without health insurance in 2013. And while a majority of those uninsured are likely eligible for Medicaid (in the wake of Gov. Susana Martinez's signing of a Medicaid expansion bill last year), the Children's Health Insurance Program or simply declined coverage from an employer that costs less than 9.5 percent of gross annual income, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange estimates that up to 50,000 people across the state will take advantage of the marketplace for coverage in 2014.
"Everyone should look into the marketplace to see if there are opportunities for them to save money on health insurance," says Mike Nuñez, interim chief executive officer for the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, the state's government-run health insurance marketplace.
"It's very important that we have sufficient numbers and establish a base in enrollment in order for this system to be sustainable in the following years," he adds.
Know The Basics
Anyone who isn't enrolled in a health insurance plan by the end of March will be locked out of purchasing insurance on the marketplace until the next open enrollment period, which is set to start in November. Yes, it's possible to buy health insurance outside of the marketplace for 2014 after the March 31 deadline, but those plans aren't eligible for a government subsidy, which can lower overall health insurance costs, depending on where the applicant lives, annual income and number of dependents. That's why signing up now matters, say experts like Nuñez.
Those looking to purchase health insurance should also be aware that there are four medical insurance providers, known as carriers, on the marketplace for New Mexico --; Presbyterian Health Plan, BlueCross and BlueShield of New Mexico, Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, and New Mexico Health Connections. In general, all health policies effective since Jan. 1, whether sold on or off the marketplace, must comply with the rules established in the Affordable Care Act. That means these plans have to offer the same menu of essential benefits, such as drug coverage and maternity care, and can't deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. Insurers who sell policies both on and off the marketplace must sell the same plan for the same price.
Moreover, there are four types of health insurance categories available on and off the marketplace --; "Bronze," "Silver," "Gold" and "Platinum." All four insurance plans offer the same set of essential health benefits, though there are some variations, such as the cost of the monthly premium and what portion of the bill the person with coverage pays for things like hospital visits or prescription medications. The maximum out-of-pocket costs for any marketplace plan for 2014 are $6,350 for an individual plan and $12,700 for a family plan. In order to have a plan sold on the marketplace, insurers must follow rules like marketing their plans fairly, and must offer at least one plan each in the "Silver" and "Gold" categories.
As of Feb. 1, 21 percent of New Mexicans have selected a "Bronze" plan, while 60 percent have selected a "Silver" plan, 18 percent have selected a "Gold" plan and 1 percent have selected a "Platinum" plan, according to figures from the HHS.
Who Can Shop on the Marketplace?
In order to purchase health insurance on the marketplace, individuals must live in the United States, must be a U.S. citizen or national, and can't be currently incarcerated. However, not everyone who may apply for health insurance on the marketplace is eligible for a tax credit subsidy. For more information, visit the federal marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.
For 2014, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange took a hybrid approach, unlike most other states, which either have their own exchange or direct individuals and small business owners to enroll using the federal marketplace. With this hybrid approach, the exchange operates the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), while individuals will use the federal marketplace to enroll. To learn more about the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, visit www.nmhix.com.
In January, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange received a $69.4 million federal grant from the HHS. Nuñez says the exchange has been using the funding to further drive individual enrollment through the end of March, such as through workshops, as well as continuing the development of its own individual enrollment platform, which will replace the federal government website (Healthcare.gov) for New Mexicans beginning with the 2015 open enrollment period starting in November.
Additionally, says Nuñez, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange has budgeted between $6 million and $7 million for its overall advertising and marketing efforts in 2014.
"We've recently switched our outreach efforts from a global marketing perspective to focusing on those who earn between 138 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level," explains Nunez. "Because of the size of the subsidies, they are the ones who are going to benefit the most from the marketplace."
Do You Qualify for a Subsidy?
In addition to enrolling in a policy by the end of March, shoppers for health insurance on the marketplace can only qualify for an advance payment tax credit --; which can be used right away to lower your monthly premium costs --; if they aren't offered a viable health insurance option from their employer. If an employer does offer them health insurance, the cost of the premium must be more than 9.5 percent of gross income to be tax-credit eligible.
Further, the subsidy is based on modified adjusted gross income (adjusted gross income plus any tax-exempt Social Security, interest or foreign income), as well as location, age and family size. Applicants need to estimate what their modified adjusted gross income will be for this year to determine any subsidy amount. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) offers a useful calculator to provide a rough idea of any potential subsidy, which is available at www.kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator.
For instance, take a 50-year-old couple with two children, living in Albuquerque. If their total household yearly income is $62,000 before taxes, they will receive a $3,606 annual subsidy and only have to pay about $8,835 yearly in premiums for a Silver plan, depending on the exact plan and carrier, according to the KFF subsidy calculator.
For another example using the same calculator, a 29-year-old single parent with one child living in Rio Rancho with an annual gross income of $28,000 would get a $1,687 annual subsidy and have to pay about $3,201 yearly in premiums for a Silver plan, depending on the exact plan and carrier.
Of the 28,411 individuals determined eligible to enroll in the marketplace that applied for health coverage as of Feb. 1, about 60 percent qualified for a subsidy, according to figures from the HHS.
After you figure out your subsidy amount, if any, visit www.bewellnm.com to look at available metal plans from the four health insurance providers in New Mexico to compare prices. Once you've done that, you'll have to buy your plan on the federal marketplace if you want to buy a policy that includes a subsidy.
If you don't qualify for a subsidy, you can still shop on the marketplace or through any of the health insurance carriers.
what happens if you miss the enrollment deadline?
If you miss the federal health insurance open enrollment deadline of March 31 and still want to get coverage on the marketplace, you might still be eligible to do so.
In order to buy a marketplace health insurance plan outside the open enrollment period, there must be a qualifying life event such as getting married; having, adopting, or placement of a child; permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options; losing other health coverage (for example, due to a job loss, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage, or a health plan being decertified); and for those who've already enrolled in marketplace coverage, having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for tax credits.
It'll Cost You Not to Have Insurance
Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans --; including children --; are required to have an eligible health insurance plan by March 31 or pay a penalty, called the "individual responsibility payment," when filing 2014 income taxes.
This fee is designed to increase every year; in 2014, the fee is either 1 percent of yearly household income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child in a household, whichever is higher; in 2015, that amount will increase to 2 percent of income or $325 per person; in 2016, it will be 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person. After that, the penalty will be adjusted for inflation.
Those who are insured for only part of the year will pay a penalty for each month they are not enrolled in a plan unless they were not enrolled for less than three months. If you purchase a health insurance policy --; on or off the marketplace --; by March 31, you won't have to make the payment for any month before your coverage began.
In addition to the penalty, those who are not covered will be responsible for any medical costs they incur.
Exemptions from the penalty are available for a variety of reasons, such as hardship or membership in a recognized religious organization with objections to insurance. The exemptions can be applied for through the federal marketplace or when you file 2014 income taxes.
Participation Key to Marketplace Viability
More than any other group, participation among those ages 18 to 34 --; known as the "young invincibles" --; will be crucial to the success of the Affordable Care Act, says Nuñez.
To keep premium prices reasonable, a KFF study in 2013 estimated that at least 40 percent of the total enrollees in the marketplace need to fall into the "young invincibles" demographic. Because young people generally compose the healthiest segment of the population, their premiums help offset the higher costs incurred by older and sicker people in the plan, the study noted.
Enrollment figures, however, for that demographic so far are lower than expected.
According to the HHS, only 25 percent of people between 18 and 34 have signed up for individual policies through Feb. 1.
Figures for New Mexico are even worse. According to the HHS, only 20 percent of "young invincibles" in the state have enrolled in a plan on the marketplace as of Feb. 1. Only West Virginia (17 percent), Arizona (18 percent) and Maine (19 percent) had lower numbers.
But Obama administration officials say they expect young people to sign up in greater numbers as the March 31 open enrollment deadline approaches. "We expect an increase in the proportion of young adults as we go forward," says Michael Hash, director of the office of health reform in Health and Human Services. "We are confident based on results we have now, that we will have the appropriate mix."
Indeed, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange last month started an advertising and marketing campaign to attract younger enrollees. During a recent "young invincibles" outreach event at CNM, hundreds of students filled out information cards inquiring about purchasing insurance on the marketplace.
Adrienne Webb, 26, of Albuquerque, who's been without health insurance for more than a year, asked about subsidies. "I've been on the health care website (Healthcare.gov), but I couldn't figure how much exactly I would have to pay for health insurance," she says.
"I've paid for my doctor visits when I've needed to, and I haven't really been sick in a while. So far that's worked out for me, but I'd like to be insured just in case."
Although this option no longer applies to Webb, because of the Affordable Care Act, those who are 25 and younger can now stay on their parents' insurance plan; you can qualify even if you're financially independent, married and no longer live with your parents. However, this option won't work if you live outside of your parents' plan's network of providers and hospitals.
Who are the Providers?
As mentioned above, there are four health insurance providers on and off the marketplace for New Mexico. Health insurance plans may be purchased directly from any of the carriers. However, consumers will need to enroll through the federal marketplace in order to purchase a plan with a subsidy.
As of Feb. 9, Presbyterian Health Plan has enrolled more than 5,100 individual members since open enrollment began on the federal health insurance marketplace, according to figures released by the health insurance provider. The company had expected about 3,750 to enroll.
As of Jan. 1, Presbyterian began offering free health club memberships to all individual members. The health clubs include all Defined Fitness facilities in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, as well as the nationwide Healthways Prime Fitness network, which includes more than 8,500 fitness facilities and recreational and community centers around the country. This allows members to go to select YMCAs, Snap Fitness, Curves and others. For more information, check out www.phs.org.
Additionally, Presbyterian Health Plan is part of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, an integrated healthcare system. "We provide services to the entire state including eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a growing multi-specialty medical group," says company spokesperson Kerri Dufault.
BlueCross and BlueShield of New Mexico won't release federal marketplace enrollment figures until after March, says company spokesperson Becky Kenny. However, she says the pace of enrollment has improved since open enrollment started and customers can estimate tax credit subsidy eligibility on the company's website www.bcbsnm.com.
As far as what Blue Cross and BlueShield of New Mexico can offer members, Kenny says: "We have the strongest network and our coverage includes all of New Mexico. And our members have network access with all BlueCross BlueShield plans across the country. For example, if you travel to New England, you will be covered there."
As of Feb. 21, Molina Healthcare of New Mexico has also not released enrollment figures. Unlike the other three insurance providers, Molina only offers one plan in each of the "Bronze," "Silver," and "Gold" categories.
Molina used to primarily sell Medicaid and Medicare managed care in several states, including New Mexico. But the company launched a new commercial product starting in 2014 for New Mexico that it sells on the federal marketplace only.
New Mexico Health Connections is the newest health insurance provider for the state, and like Molina only sells its policies on the federal marketplace. NMHC is a nonprofit cooperative health plan formed under the Affordable Care Act as a way to bring in more competition to keep health insurance costs down. NMHC is funded with federal loans and will be governed by a board of directors made up entirely of enrolled members beginning in 2015.
The number of people who have enrolled in a New Mexico Health Connections plan on the marketplace "increases daily and now that number is in the thousands," says Dr. Martin Hickey, chief executive officer of NMHC.
"New Mexico Health Connections was built by New Mexicans for New Mexicans," adds Hickey. "We are different from other health insurance plans for several reasons. In addition, our plans are designed with members in mind and are focused on keeping you healthy. For example, NMHC offers you $0 co-pays for many of the generic versions of medicines to treat nine chronic conditions."
Hickey also points out that in states that have cooperative insurance plans, rates are averaging 9 to 13 percent lower than in states without a cooperative. "So you can see, there's definitely a competitive value of having a nonprofit cooperative health plan," he says.
For more information about New Mexico Health Connections, visit www.mynmhc.org.
If You Need Help Enrolling
The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange and the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to present a series of nine workshops in March to help individuals enroll in a health insurance plan and get information on calculating the amount of tax credit subsidy they would qualify for.
All workshops will be held at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, located at 1309 4th St. SW.
"These workshops are designed to provide people with the tools they need to make informed decisions about which insurance plan will best meet their needs and be affordable for their family before the first open enrollment period ends," says Synthia Jaramillo, vice president of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.]]>
On March 8, 1862, the Confederate ironclad Virginia wreaks havoc on a Yankee squadron off Hampton Roads, Va., when it attacked the U.S.S. Cumberland. Other Union ships fired back, but the shots were, in the words of one observer, "having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun."
On March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll goes on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. Barbie's appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic-strip character, and originally was marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men.
On March 10, 1927, Robert Kearns, who patented a design for the intermittent windshield wiper, is born in Gary, Ind. Kearns later won a multi-million dollar judgments against Chrysler ($20 million) and Ford ($10 million) for using his concept without permission.
On March 11, 1942, during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur leaves the Philippines as the American defense of the islands against the Japanese collapses. MacArthur had received a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 20 ordering him to leave immediately. He finally obeyed the president's order on March 11.
On March 12, 1888, the most severe winter storm ever to hit the New York City region reaches blizzard proportions. The 36-hour blizzard dumped some 40 inches of snow, and for several weeks the city was virtually isolated from the rest of the country by the massive snowdrifts.
On March 13, 1979, power pitcher Johan Santana is born in Tovar Merida, Venezuela. He went on to become the dominant left-handed pitcher in baseball from 2003 to 2006 and won the Cy Young Award as the American League's top pitcher in 2004 and again in 2006.]]>
If you want to take an unforgettable family vacation this year, the idea of planning might seem overwhelming. But travel experts agree that planning ahead and researching your options are important steps to ensure your trip is stress-free and full of fun.
Follow these five steps to plan a trip your entire family will love and remember for years to come:
1. Make a travel wish list: Kick off your travel planning by talking to all family members about what they'd like to see and do on vacation. Keep it light-hearted and have some fun --; chat with your 6-year-old over breakfast or text your teen after school. As you have these conversations, notice commonalities, such as location and experiences.
2. Research, research, research: After your initial conversations with your family, it's time to do your research. The Internet has made selecting a travel destination that much easier --; or harder because there are so many options. Check out tourism organizations, such as a Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB). Look up online hotel and travel reviews --; these sites can provide invaluable information for travelers. Many sites even have free online travel planners or visitor's guides.
3. Choose a destination for everyone: Perhaps the most important consideration when planning a family vacation is to select a destination that has something for every person in your group.
4. Select your ideal accommodations: Whether you're vacationing for a long weekend or multiple weeks, it's important to choose the right accommodations for your family. For example, if you know you'll be at the beach daily, stay at a shore-side resort. If you want to save on eating expenses, look into condos with kitchens. For big groups such as family reunions, consider a beach house that allows everyone to stay in their own room within one shared space.
5. Create a fun-filled itinerary: This is a vacation, and while you shouldn't plan out every hour of every day, having a basic itinerary gives direction to your trip and will help your group build excitement prior to your departure. Plus, planning ahead allows you to seek out deep discounts on tickets to shows and theme parks. You can even explore free activities like festivals and celebrations in the area that would be worthwhile to attend.
If you feel like it is time for your family to take a break from the stress of everyday life, a family vacation might be just what everyone needs. Follow these steps to select a family friendly destination to ensure a vacation full of unforgettable memories.]]>
Another connection is that oral health is sometimes overlooked in both people and their pets, explains Dr. Thomas G. Nemetz, an Adjunct Professor at St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada, where he teaches dental courses to third-year veterinary students.
"As you begin taking care of a pet's oral condition, his or her health drastically improves," he says. "In the last 20 years, we have been doing a better job at keeping the oral cavity healthy --; in both pets and humans. Our pets are living longer, as are we, in part because of good preventative dental care."
Dr. Nemetz advises having oral health exams as part of routine office visits to cut down on periodontal diseases. He also says about 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop periodontal disease, requiring treatment by 3 years of age.]]>
According to a Thomson Reuters survey, 36 percent of parents would turn to law enforcement if they learned that their child was the victim of cyberbullying threats and attacks versus 29 percent of parents who said they would first go to their local school officials.
One reason that parents may hesitate going to their local school officials is that 30 percent of U.S. parents don't know if their child's school has a policy addressing cyberbullying.
In a related survey of U.S. law enforcement professionals conducted by Thomson Reuters, 48 percent of law enforcement agencies say time spent investigating cyberbullying, bullying and school violence has increased over the past two years. Yet, most law enforcement agencies feel ill equipped to effectively investigate these cases, with 76 percent reporting that training to handle cyberbullying complaints has been insufficient.]]>
A: Yes, you can grow many fruits and vegetables in the same greenhouse. Success will depend on which fruits and vegetables you want to grow. Tomatoes, chiles, cucumbers, melons and some other vegetables will grow well in the same temperatures preferred by citrus and other tropical plants. These plants prefer temperatures above 60 degrees at night and up to 80 or 85 degrees during the day. They will tolerate higher temperatures during the day, but higher temperatures are not optimal. They can also tolerate brief periods of temperatures below even 40 degrees at night; however, they do best if such low temperatures are avoided.
If you want to grow bananas, mangos, guavas and other tropical fruits that require temperatures that rarely drop into the 60 degree range, you must select warm growing vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans and chiles.
Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, lettuce and peas will do best at lower temperatures. They can also be grown with some tropical fruits. Citrus will tolerate lower winter temperatures that favor these cooler growing vegetables. Figs can be grown in a very cold greenhouse, even tolerating slight freezing if they are allowed to go dormant and drop their leaves before experiencing freezing. However, at temperatures appropriate for the cooler growing vegetables, they can even retain their leaves and remain healthy.
Combining fruit and vegetable plants in a greenhouse is a good way to extend your gardening season producing common garden vegetables during the colder months, transplants for the summer garden, and also producing some fruits that you could not otherwise grow in New Mexico.
You can also consider growing herbs in the greenhouse with tropical fruit. Thyme, chives, rosemary, cilantro and other culinary herbs can be added to your greenhouse garden.]]>
But six years ago, Lantry --; who's as comfortable in denim as in gabardine --; had a change of heart and decided he wanted a landscaping business of his own. After researching a number of prospects around the country, he submitted an offer to purchase La Barge Landscape and soon after relocated to the Duke City.
Lantry notes that since he has taken over at La Barge Landscape, the residential landscaping portion of the company's business has nearly tripled, while the commercial landscaping and maintenance components continue to thrive. "On any given day, La Barge Landscape will perform landscape installations at a number of residential and commercial properties, as well as maintain nearly 90 established commercial landscapes in and around Albuquerque," he says. Some of those jobs include Louisiana Plaza Shopping Center, Fed Ex and Allegro at Tanoan Luxury Apartments, as well as numerous projects for Presbyterian Health Services, he says.
Lantry says La Barge Landscape's success during the past few years stems from product knowledge, good communication and the enjoyment of working in the landscape business. He also says he sees the same traits in his employees, whom have more than 80 years of experience combined.
"Landscaping is so important because it enhances the look of a property and increases its value," says Lantry. "We are proud to provide the right labor, the right equipment, and the right materials with consideration of color schemes when we do a job. We want clients to be happy with their end product."
"Another important thing for me is that I want people to be comfortable working with La Barge Landscape," continues Lantry. "I know that it can be stressful for some customers who don't know much about the trade to hire someone to do landscaping work. That's why we pride ourselves on good customer service, from the first phone call to the completion of a project."
La Barge Landscape is a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (an A-plus rating), the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Apartment Association. The company is also insured, licensed and bonded.
Lantry is quick to point out that landscaping does not only involve plant material and grass. La Barge Landscape residential installations offer other landscape-related work such as artificial turf and "hardscape," which refers to other installations like fire pits, brick/block planters and walls, patio covers, flagstone, concrete pavers, lights and fountains.
In addition, La Barge Landscape places a heavy emphasis on the importance of a proper irrigation system. In fact, says Lantry, the company is one of the preferred contractors for the city of Albuquerque's xeriscape program.
"Irrigation is everything," says Lantry. "It's the horse before the cart. Without correct watering, you can plant the most beautiful tree, the most beautiful plant or ground cover, great looking sod, but these things won't last long. When people ask me, 'Should we also put in an automatic irrigation system?' I tell them not having one is like owning a dog and leaving it alone without food and water. You make this big investment on your yard and who is going to take care of it while you're away? Even most xeriscape projects require some water, and a good system on any landscape can save water by securing leaks and having the ability to properly control the amount and time of watering."
Lantry adds that La Barge Landscape is also certified by state of New Mexico in irrigation and licensed to apply and spray for pests, weeds and fertilization.
La Barge Landscape works primarily in the Albuquerque metro area, including Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas and Los Lunas, and handles both commercial and residential landscaping. The company also has installed landscaping projects in Santa Fe, Farmington and other locations throughout the state.
If you're ready to have the yard that will be the envy of your neighbors, give La Barge Landscape a call at 345-3000. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
You can also visit them online at www.labargelandscape.com.
La Barge Landscape
104 Sin Nombre Court NE
Donald and Brooke Nutting purchased The Natural Lighting Company four years ago and have continued the tradition of installing devices that emit natural light into the home. "Solatube® is the only line we carry," says Brooke. "They are an American-made product and we have found they are both incredibly quality-driven and customer-friendly."
The design of the Solatube® Daylighting System is unique compared to traditional skylights. "Instead of a large, rectangular opening that is prone to cracks and leaks, the Solatube® system captures sunlight from a patented 'Raybender 3000' daylight capturing dome attached to a one-piece flashing on your roof," explains Brooke. "Using the patented process, the lens --; which is only 10 or 14 inches in diameter --; redirects low-angle light or diffuses intense midday light, creating a bright, consistent light source all day long, even on hazy to partly-cloudy days."
Additionally, the Solatube® Daylighting System is Energy-Star rated and has ultraviolet (UV) protection, making it safe for places where the sun could fade valuable items in your home. "The UV protection eliminates fabric fading issues, so people are able to use them to light up dim closets, or to even bring in beautiful, natural light to showcase pieces of art," says Brooke.
There are also a variety of options that can enhance your Solatube® Daylighting System experience and better meet your home lighting needs. For example, a "Warm Effect" lens warms the natural light, creating a color comparable to incandescent bulbs. Decorative fixtures vary from a traditional design that blends into the ceiling to a bronze trim for a more pronounced appearance. "There are even attachments that mimic actual lighting fixtures, such as fabric shades," says Brooke. "Daylight dimmers allow homeowners to customize the level of light coming through the Solatube®."
Even on a cloudy day --; or after the sun has set --; the Solatube® Daylighting System still shines brightly. Optional light add-on kits include a traditional light bulb, which allows the Solatube® system to also function as a light fixture. The Solatube® Smart LED kit provides electricity-free sunlight during the day and transitions into warm LED light as the sun fades. There's even an option that is motion-sensitive --; walk into a darkened area and the LED lights turn on, then turn off after a set amount of time.
The level of customization of the Solatube® Daylighting System is only matched by the areas it can be positioned in your home.
"We're seeing our customers place the Solatube® in many locations --; bathrooms, closets, laundry rooms, hallways and kitchens," says Brooke. "More recently, we've had installations in home offices, right above a desk, and in garages. After the installation, all our customers say, 'You have no idea how much better it is.'"
Brooke says the majority of The Natural Lighting Company's customers have existing homes. She can arrange for her team to install your new system --; sometimes in as little as two hours --; cocooned in a dustcover to ensure your home and belongings stay clean and dust-free.
For the do-it-yourselfer, The Natural Lighting Company sells kits with all the necessary instructions, parts and accessories included.
More and more contractors are placing the Solatube® Daylighting System into new residential construction, says Brooke. "So if you're building your dream home, talk to your contractor about installing the Solatube® system during your new construction," she adds.
The Natural Lighting Company offers a five-year, leak-proof guarantee and a 10-year manufacturer's guarantee. "We're confident in the one-piece flashing and our tried-and-true installation techniques" says Brooke.
Isn't it time to enjoy the abundance of beautiful sunlight --; both inside and outside your home? Call Donald and Brooke at The Natural Lighting Company today for a free, no-obligation consultation and estimate, or visit their showroom at 1724 Moon St. NE 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. You can also visit them online at www.naturallightingco.com.
The Natural Lighting Company
1724 Moon St. NE