Friday, July 27, 2007

The importance of getting your NEW home inspected


March 30, 2007

I wanted to relay to you a quick story I recently heard about a real-life real estate horror story right here in Greenville South Carolina. I’ll make it short and sweet, but make sure what I’m about to tell you sticks with you when it’s time for you to buy your new home.

When I say new home, I mean, a newly constructed homes that has never had anyone living in it before. That sounds pretty safe, not needing an inspection, correct? Maybe not.

In 2006 there were over 4000 building permits issued in Greenville County for new home construction. That’s a lot of new homes that people are moving into. If you don’t already have a buyer’s agent and you are looking to move into a new home, stop right here and get yourself a buyer’s agent. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that when you’re buying a new home direct way from the builder, having a buyer’s agent is probably more important than it is. When you’re buying an existing home. Anyway, many people opt not to get a brand-new construction inspected prior to purchase. I am here to tell you that I think this is a bad idea. It is very important that you get your home inspected before purchasing, whether it’s 30 years old or brand-new.

In a particular story, I recently heard, a buyer here in Greenville, bought a new home and waved their right to get it inspected prior to purchase. They few months later, they noticed that there were foundation problems. When all was said and done the repair bill was over $30,000. Granted, they may have been able to get someone else such as the builder to pay this cost, but they still had to leave their home while the repairs were done. Spending that small investment it takes to get a home inspection done is one of the smartest things you can do.

Another story I heard about new home construction was one where the drainage for the sewer system was not connected to the city water system. Want to know where all of their sewage, what? Right under the house. They smelled it pretty fast. So when you go to buy that new home, keep these horror stories and mine and make the small investment to get your home inspected. And like I said, if you don’t have buyer’s representation and you’re looking to buy a new home, please get an agent. We would love the opportunity to serve you, so please give us consideration.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Obituaries - Haberman


JACK March 30, 2007; husband of the late Esther E.; father of Cheryl (Bruce) Weiss and Gary Haberman; grandfather of Lauren, Jennie and Max. Relatives and friends are invited to Graveside Services Monday 11 A.M. precisely at the Shalom Memorial Park (Sec. Elijah), Pine & Byberry Rds. Shiva will be observed Monday until 5 p.m. at the residence of Cheryl and Bruce Weiss. Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Heart Assn. Phila., Memorial Fulfillment Center, 777 Penn Center Blvd.-Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15235 or the Sierra Club.


Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on 4/1/2007.

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Haberman, Esther E. (Gelman) - 
HABERMAN ESTHER E. (nee Gelman), Aug. 10, 2003; wife of Jack; mother of Cheryl (Bruce) Weiss and Gary Haberman; grandmother of Lauren, Jennie and Max. Relatives and friends are invited to Graveside Services Tuesday 10 A.M. precisely Shalom Memorial Park (Sec. Elijah), Pine and Byberry Rds., Shiva will be observed at the Weiss residence. Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Heart Association.GOLDSTEINS' ROSENBERG'S RAPHAEL SACKS

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Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on 8/11/2003.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Inc., Ginn Racing complete merger

Dale Earnhardt Inc., Ginn Racing complete merger

By Sporting News Wire Service
July 25, 2007
11:14 AM EDT

Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing have completed a merger that will bring four race teams under the DEI banner, beginning this week in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The official announcement is expected Thursday at Indianapolis.

The No. 01 Ginn Racing team of Mark Martin will join the three existing DEI teams of Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1) and Paul Menard (No. 15). As part of the merger, the owner points from one of Ginn's teams -- either the Nos. 13 or 14 -- could go to Menard's car.

Ginn recently released Joe Nemechek from the No. 13 Chevrolet and Sterling Marlin from the No. 14. Menard's No. 15 Chevy currently is 39th in owner points, while the Nos. 13 and 14 are within the top 35 (34th and 30th, respectively) and thereby guaranteed starting spots in Nextel Cup races, as long as they remain in the top 35.

Because Bobby Ginn will be the owner of record of the Nos. 01 and 15 cars, the transfer of owner points will be seamless, and Menard will be locked into the field for Sunday's race at Indy.

DEI would acquire Ginn's shop and seven-post machine in Mooresville, N.C., and that DEI management would spearhead the transition. A seven-post machine simulates suspension dynamics and in theory saves actual test time on the track.

Ginn, a developer, entered the sport last year when he bought 80 percent interest in MB2 Motorsports, which subsequently was renamed Ginn Racing.

Left in limbo is the status of driver Regan Smith, who was announced last week as the new full-time driver of the No. 14.

Smith has been sharing driving duties with Martin, but that role now falls to Aric Almirola, who recently left Joe Gibbs Racing to sign with Ginn.

One persistent rumor has Furniture Row Racing, which fields the No. 78 cars of Kenny Wallace, acquiring the owner points from one of the Ginn cars. Such a move would require NASCAR's approval.

DEI expands to 4 teams following merger with Ginn Racing

DEI expands to 4 teams following merger with Ginn Racing

By MIKE HARRIS, AP Auto Racing WriterJuly 24, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Incorporated is absorbing Ginn Racing, making it a four-car team in time for this weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The deal, set to be announced Wednesday morning, was confirmed to The Associated Press Tuesday night by a person familiar with the deal who requested anonymity because an official announcement had yet to be made.

DEI will immediately add the No. 01 Chevrolet, which is co-driven by Mark Martin and rookie Aric Almirola, and take the season points from Ginn's No. 14 team and apply it to DEI 's No. 15 entry of Paul Menard.

The No. 14 has been driven this season by Sterling Marlin, but the two-time Daytona 500 winner was released from the ride last week as team owner Bobby Ginn reorganized the operation he purchased last summer. Marlin was 29th in the points, which assured that car a spot in the field each week. Menard is 38th, outside of the top 35 that are locked in, and using the points from the No. 14 will now guarantee him a spot in the field.

Ginn will be listed as the owner of both the No. 01 and the No. 15, the source said.

The merger was first reported by

Meanwhile, DEI will continue to run Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 8 and Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 1, both owned by Teresa Earnhardt, Earnhardt's stepmother.

The future of rookie Regan Smith, slated to replace Marlin in the Cup ride, remained uncertain. Smith is still scheduled to drive for Ginn Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race Friday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Ginn, who bought controlling interest in the MB2 Motorsports team last year and changed the name, made sweeping changes last week when he released Marlin and Joe Nemechek. He also shifted Smith, who had been sharing a ride with Martin, to Marlin's car, while saying he would suspend operations on Nemechek's No. 13.

The team also made a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing to hire 23-year-old Almirola, who was part of the Gibbs driver development program, to replace Smith as Martin's co-driver.

Updated on Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007 10:06 pm, EDT

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

20-Percent Solution: Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have engaged us in a far-reaching and fundamental political shift


Amid the Senate’s all-night pillow fight and other Iraq grandstanding, real things are happening on the ground in Iraq. They consist of more than just a surge of U.S. troop levels. Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have engaged us in a far-reaching and fundamental political shift. Call it the 20-percent solution.

Ever since the December 2005 Iraqi elections, the U.S. has been waiting for the central government in Baghdad to pass grand national accords on oil, federalism and de-Baathification to unify and pacify the country. The Maliki government has proved too sectarian, too weak and perhaps too disposed to Iranian interests to rise to the task.

The Democrats cite this incapacity as a reason to give up and get out. A tempting thought, but ultimately self-destructive to our interests. Accordingly, Petraeus and Crocker have found a Plan B: pacify the country region by region, principally by getting Sunnis to join the fight against al Qaeda.

This has begun to happen in Anbar and Diyala. First, because al-Qaeda are foreigners. So are we, but — reason No. 2 — unlike them, we are not barbarous. We don’t amputate fingers for smoking, decapitate with pleasure and kill Shiites for sport.

Third, al Qaeda’s objectives are not the Sunnis’. Al Qaeda live for endless war and a reborn caliphate. Ultimately, they live to die. Iraqi Sunnis are not looking for a heavenly date with 72 virgins. They are looking for a deal, and perhaps just survival after U.S. troops are gone.

That’s why so many Sunnis have accepted Petraeus’s bargain — they join our fight against al Qaeda and we give them weaponry and military support. With that, they can rid themselves of the al Qaeda cancer now. And later, when the Americans inevitably leave, they’ll be better positioned to defend themselves against the 80 percent Shiite-Kurd majority they are beginning to realize they may have unwisely taken on.

The bargain is certainly working for us. The recent capture of the leading Iraqi in al Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate is no accident, comrade. You capture such people only when you have good intelligence and you have good intelligence only when the locals have turned against the terrorists.

The place of his capture — Mosul — is also telling. Mosul is where you go if you’ve been driven out of Anbar and Diyala and have no other good place to go. You don’t venture into the Shiite south or the purely Kurdish north where the locals will kill you.

The charge against our previous war strategy was that we were playing whack-a-mole: they escape from here, they re-establish there. Petraeus’ plan is to eliminate all al Qaeda sanctuaries.

You hardly hear about that from the anti-war Democrats in the Senate. But you did hear it from someone closer to the scene: Shiite lawmaker and close Maliki adviser Hassan al-Suneid. He is none too happy with the new American strategy. He complained bitterly about the overtures to Sunni groups in Anbar and Diyala. “These are gangs of killers,” he told the AP. Petraeus is following a plan according to a “purely American vision.”

How very true and very refreshing. We had been vainly pursuing an Iraqi vision that depended on people like Suneid and Maliki to make the grand bargain. So now, the American vision. “The strategy that Petraeus is following might succeed in confronting al Qaeda in the early period but it will leave Iraq an armed nation, an armed society and militias,” said Suneid.

Again, he is precisely right. His coalition would not or could not disarm the militias. So Petraeus has taken on the two extremes: (a) the Shiite militias and their Iranian Revolutionary Guard enablers, and (b) al Qaeda, with the help of local Sunnis.

For an interminable 18 months we waited for the 80 percent solution — for Maliki’s Shiite-Kurdish coalition to reach out to the Sunnis. The Petraeus-Crocker plan is the 20 percent solution: peel the Sunnis away from the insurgency by giving them the security and weaponry to fight the new common enemy — al Qaeda in Iraq.

Maliki & Co. are afraid we are arming Sunnis for the civil war to come. On the other hand, we might be creating a rough balance of forces that would act as a deterrent to all-out civil war and encourage a relatively peaceful accommodation.

In either case, that will be Iraq’s problem after we leave. For now, our problem is al Qaeda on the Sunni side and the extremist militias on the Shiite side. And we are making enough headway to worry people like Suneid. The Democrats might listen to him to understand how profoundly the situation is changing on the ground — and think twice before they pull the plug on this complicated, ruthless, hopeful “purely American vision.”

Monday, July 23, 2007

Obituaries - Kahlenberg


Elizabeth Anne Longaker Kahlenberg, beloved wife of Arnold Kahlenberg, died of bone cancer Sunday, September 13, 1998 in Willingboro, NJ. She was 69. Born in Topeka, Kansas, Mrs. Kahlenberg was a longtime resident of Denver, CO, and Santa Monica, CA, before moving east with her husband in 1974. She was a 1947 Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, CA, playing drums in the band and piano with several other groups. She also attended City College. Elizabeth also enjoyed playing the organ and was a longtime church organist at the Church of God in Culver City.

She was married to Jack Bergal for 20 years and they had two daughters. After she and Jack were separated, Elizabeth worked for Litton for many years, where she met her Arnold, then worked for Computer Sciences Corporation in Virginia Beach, VA, and Moorestown, NJ. for 11 years before becoming disabled.

In addition to her husband, Arnold, Mrs. Kahlenberg is survived by 2 daughters and sons-in-law: Monica & Stephen Lange of Long Beach, CA, and Barbara & Donald Davison of Yardville; 2 Step-sons: Michael & David Price, both of Antioch, CA; grandchildren Mai Lan Woods, James Carroll, Eric Weldon, Michael Carroll, Michael Lange, Jackie Price, and Jonathan Price; great-grandchildren Tyler Weldon and Melanie Woods. Also surviving are a brother in Florida and 3 sisters in Denver, CO.

Despite her physical problems, she didn't let them get her down. She maintained her bright and cheery disposition and love of people up to the end, and attended a family reunion in Denver in July.

Kahlenberg, Arnold - 
KAHLENBERG ARNOLD, of Willingboro, NJ, son of the late Sol and Pauline Kahlenberg, passed away Wed., Dec. 18, 2002. Arnold was raised in Miami Beach, attended Miami Beach High School and the University of Florida. Arnie will be most remembered for his wit, love of music, photography, and all his special community service activities. He is survived by his children, Michael, David (fiancée, Ellen) Price, Monica (Stephen) Lange, Barbara (Donald) Davison; sister and brother-in-law, Lorraine and Lester Feuer; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends and special friend, Irene Bolton. Services and interment will be 2:00 pm Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at: NEBO - KENDALL CHAPEL 5900 SW 77 Ave. Miami (305) 274-0641 To visit this Guest Book Online, go To www.
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Published in The Miami Herald from 12/19/2002 - 12/20/2002.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tammy Faye Messner dies at 65

By STEVE HARTSOE, Associated Press Writer
56 minutes ago

RALEIGH, N.C. - Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then watched it collapse in disgrace, has died. She was 65.

Messner had battled colon cancer since 1996 that more recently spread to her lungs. She died peacefully Friday at her home near Kansas City, Mo., said Joe Spotts, her manager and booking agent.

A family service was held Saturday in a private cemetery, where her ashes were interred, he said.

She had frequently spoken about her medical problems, saying she hoped to be an inspiration to others. "Don't let fear rule your life," she said. "Live one day at a time, and never be afraid." But she told well-wishers in a note on her Web site in May that the doctors had stopped trying to treat the cancer.

In an interview with CNN's Larry King two months later, an emaciated Messner — still using her trademark makeup — said, "I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I'm going straight to heaven." Asked if she had any regrets, Messner said: "I don't think about it, Larry, because it's a waste of good brain space."

For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim's infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America.

She divorced her husband of 30 years, with whom she had two children, in 1992 while he was in prison for defrauding millions from followers of their PTL television ministries. The letters stood for "Praise the Lord" or "People that Love."

Jim Bakker said in a statement that his ex-wife "lived her life like the song she sang, 'If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade.'"

"She is now in Heaven with her mother and grandmother and Jesus Christ, the one who she loves and has served from childbirth," he said. "That is the comfort I can give to all who loved her."

Messner's second husband also served time in prison. She married Roe Messner, who had been the chief builder of the Bakkers' Heritage USA Christian theme park near Fort Mill, S.C., in 1993. In 1995, he was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, and he spent about two years in prison.

Through it all, Messner kept plugging her faith and herself. She did concerts, a short-lived secular TV talk show and an inspirational videotape. In 2004, she cooperated in the making of a documentary about her struggle with cancer, called "Tammy Faye: Death Defying."

"I wanted to help people ... maybe show the inside (of the experience) and make it a little less frightening," she said.

More recently, Tammy Faye kept in the public eye via her Web site.

"I cry out to the Lord knowing that many of you are praying for me," Messner wrote in a July 16 post in which she indicated she weighed 65 pounds. "In spite of it all, I get dressed and go out to eat. ... I crave hamburgers and french fries with LOTS of ketchup! When I can eat that again, it will be a day of victory!"

In 2004, she appeared on the WB reality show "The Surreal Life," co-starring with rapper Vanilla Ice, ex-porn star Ron Jeremy and others. She told King in 2004 that she didn't know who Jeremy was when they met and they became friends.

Messner was never charged with a crime in connection with the Bakker scandal. She said she counted the costs in other ways.

"I know what it's like to hit rock bottom," she said in promotional material for her 1996 video "You Can Make It."

In the mid-1980s, the Bakkers were on top, ruling over a ministry that claimed 500,000 followers. Their "Jim and Tammy Show," part TV talk show, part evangelism meeting, was seen across the country. Heritage USA boasted a 500-room hotel, shopping mall, convention center, water-amusement park, TV studio and several real-estate developments. PTL employed about 2,000 people.

Then in March 1987, Bakker resigned, admitting he had a tryst with Jessica Hahn, a 32-year-old former church secretary.

Tammy Faye Bakker stuck with her disgraced husband through five stormy years of tabloid headlines as the ministry unraveled.

Prosecutors said the PTL organization sold more than 150,000 "lifetime partnerships" promising lodging at the theme park but did not build enough hotel space with the $158 million in proceeds. At his fraud trial, Jim Bakker was accused of diverting $3.7 million to personal use even though he knew the ministry was financially shaky. Trial testimony showed PTL paid $265,000 to Hahn to cover up the sexual encounter with the minister.

Jim Bakker was convicted in 1989 of 24 fraud and conspiracy counts and sentenced to 45 years. The sentence was later reduced, and he was freed in 1994. He said that his wife's decision to leave him had been "like a meat hook deep in my heart. I couldn't eat for days."

While not charged, his then-wife shared during the 1980s in the public criticism and ridicule over the couple's extravagance, including the reportedly gold-plated bathroom fixtures and an air-conditioned doghouse.

There was even a popular T-shirt satirizing her image. The shirt read, "I ran into Tammy Faye at the shopping mall," with the lettering on top of what look like clots of mascara, traces of lipstick and smudges of peach-toned makeup.

In a 1992 letter to her New Covenant Church in Orlando, Fla., she explained why she finally was seeking a divorce.

"For years I have been pretending that everything is all right, when in fact I hurt all the time," she wrote.

"I cannot pretend anymore."

In the end, there wasn't any property to divide, her attorney said. The Bakkers lost their luxury homes in North Carolina, California and Tennessee, their fleet of Cadillacs and Mercedeses, and their vintage Rolls-Royce.

Her autobiography, "I Gotta Be Me," recounts a childhood as Tammy Faye LaValley, one of eight children of a poor family in International Falls, Minn. Her biological father walked out. She was reticent about her age, but a 2000 profile of her in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said she was born in March 1942.

She recalled trying eye makeup for the first time, then wiping it off for fear it was the devil's work. Then she thought again.

"Why can't I do this?" she asked. "If it makes me look prettier, why can't I do this?"

She married Bakker in 1961, after they met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. Beginning with a children's puppet act, they created a religious show that brought a fundamentalist Protestant message to millions.

A secular TV talk program, the "Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show" with co-host Jim J. Bullock, lasted just six weeks in early 1996. Shortly after it went off the air, she underwent surgery for colon cancer.

She said afterward that she endured bleeding for a year because she was embarrassed to go to a male doctor. And she wore her makeup even in surgery.

"They didn't make me take it off," she said. "I had wonderful doctors and understanding nurses. I went in fully made up and came out fully made up."

Survivors include her husband and her two children, Jamie Charles Bakker of New York City and Tammy Sue Chapman of Charlotte.

Spotts said that the family is considering a public memorial service for the coming weeks, but that nothing had been finalized Saturday.
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