Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Aug 11, 2014
Local Cat Rescue Seeks Community Help For Surgery
For Dora The Kitten

By Michelle Colesanti

Dora is a sweet kitten who has had a rough start. She and her sister, Bobbi, both now around four months old, were found as strays near a Home Depot store garden center. Dora has a medical condition called Trichiasis, where the eyelashes of one eye grow in toward the eye instead of out, causing irritation and discomfort. This painful condition can lead to further complications including vision impairment, and she will need surgery to remove the lashes and correct the problem. Surgery will cost around $300. Dora was rescued by Cat Call, which is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, all volunteer rescue group that has been helping rescue and foster cats and kittens in the Brandon area for about 12 years. Cat Call volunteers are looking to the community to raise funds for her operation. "We are hoping members of the community would be interested in helping out this little angel by making a tax deductible donation to her surgery fund," said Jaime Donohoe, who is a Cat Call volunteer. Donohoe said, "Dora is calm kitten, who just wants to snuggle and purr."

She is also available for adoption, and is looking for a loving home to call her own. She is currently rotating between a foster home and the Adoption Center at the Brandon Petsmart on Causeway Blvd.

Although staffed totally by volunteers, the rescue does not have its own shelter or building, but the cats and kittens are fostered in local homes and adoption centers set up in two local Brandon Petsmarts, located at 11331 Causeway Blvd. and 1051 Brandon Blvd. W.

The animals that Cat Call has available to adopt only go to carefully screened homes. Volunteers are at the adoption centers in both stores on Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Cat Call believes in TNR, which is to trap unaltered cats, spay/neuter them and release back into their familiar environment, but they try to rescue as many local strays as possible. It is kitten season and the current foster homes are bulging at the seam. More families willing to foster would be welcomed so animals can avoid ending up in Animal Services.

The vet bills are high and Cat Call is always grateful for monetary donations. Food and litter donations are always appreciated too. Finding families to foster the cats and kittens is currently the greatest need. To learn more information on donating, helping with Dora’s surgery, cat adoptions or to find out about fostering, e-mail or visit

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Understand Your Insurance Risk
Are You Properly Insured for Your Summer Fun?
The temperature is rising and the sun is shining, but before you put the boat on the lake or get the ATVs out of storage, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) urges you to review your insurance to make sure you are properly protected. Use these tips to review your coverage to make sure you and your family are insured for the increased risks that come with outdoor activities.

A boat insurance policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your boat as well as bodily injury inflicted on others and property damage to your boat. These policies also may be suspended during the months your boat is not in use.
There are three types of boat insurance policies:
  • Actual cash value (ACV) or market value: Your insurer will reimburse you for the current value of the boat if you experience a total loss.
  • Agreed amount value: You and your insurer have agreed upon a value of your boat at the time you purchase the policy; this is the amount you will be paid if you experience a total loss.
  • Replacement cost coverage: In the event of a total loss, your insurer will pay to replace your boat with one that is as similar to your boat as possible. If you choose not to replace your boat, or if it is too old, your insurer will reimburse you the original purchase price of the boat.

Check with the company that provides your homeowners insurance to see if they sell boat insurance. You may be eligible for a discount if you have multiple policies (e.g. homeowners, automobile, and boat) with the same provider.
The personal property coverage of your homeowners policy may cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is limited. A large boat will be excluded from your homeowners policy for both property and liability coverage.
Personal watercrafts, such as Jet Skis, will likely require a separate policy that may be offered by your homeowners’ insurer, or you may purchase your policy from an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Talk with your insurance agent or get quotes from other companies to understand your options.
Motorcycles and Scooters

Motorcycles and scooters are not covered by a standard auto insurance policy. You must have a separate policy that covers liability, no-fault personal injury protection coverage (if required in your state), or medical payments coverage (if required). Depending on the value of the motorcycle, you may need to purchase comprehensive and/or collision coverage. When you're getting a quote for insurance for your motorcycle or scooter, ask your insurance provider about any discounts they may offer for taking safety courses or having multiple policies with the same insurance provider.
If you carry seasonal coverage on your motorcycle, which allows you to eliminate liability and perhaps collision coverage during the months you don’t ride, make sure your policy is up to date and that you have a current insurance card before hitting the road this summer.
Also, be sure you understand your state’s law and your policy’s requirements regarding wearing a helmet. If you have specific questions, contact your state insurance department.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
ATVs are not covered by standard automobile insurance policies; however, your homeowners policy may partially cover liability. Ask your agent if you have sufficient coverage on your homeowners policy. If you do not, you may want to consider a separate ATV policy.
You should also ask your provider about age restrictions regarding who may operate the ATV, or if the policy covers friends and family, as this could affect the coverage you choose to purchase.

Backyard Fun – Pools and Trampolines

While they are fun for the family, the dangers associated with pools and trampolines may increase your insurance risk. Consider purchasing an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance to provide additional liability coverage. Some companies may not insure your property if you have a trampoline or swimming pool. There may also be policy exclusions for liability related to trampoline or swimming pool injuries.
An insurance company may deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy’s safety guidelines or fail to inform the company when you build a pool or purchase a trampoline. Check with your insurance provider for rates, discounts and safety guidelines, such as installing a fence or locked gate.

For many people, fireworks are a tradition on the 4th of July. However, the use of fireworks, which are illegal in some areas, could jeopardize your insurance coverage if someone is injured or if your home is damaged.
If fireworks are legal in your area, check with your insurance company or agent to determine that you have the appropriate liability and physical damage coverage for your home in the event of injury or damage to your property from the use of fireworks. You should also ask if there are any safety requirements in your policy. Check with your agent to determine whether you would be covered in the event that someone other than a family member causes damage to your property.