If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life.
According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation's highest "urban tree canopy," defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.
During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta's landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache.
"Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that's more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood." Delbridge said. "Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company."
Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. "Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from."
That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem.
Once the insurance agent gives the green light, the homeowner is responsible for hiring contractors. Homeowners can save money cutting up the tree themselves and then hiring someone to simply remove logs and branches. However, unless skilled with a chainsaw, owners should leave tree removal to professionals, Delbridge said.
"Typically, if the homeowners are out there with chainsaws, we'll talk to them about some basic safety information. This might save somebody's leg," he said. "There are just very easy steps to take that could really minimize injuries."
"It's a federal law that commercial tree cutters wear chaps whenever they handle chainsaws on the ground. All the established companies do this," Delbridge said. "The most common injury caused by the chainsaw is an injury to the leg."
These chaps are available at retailers like Lowe's and online. "They are made of material that will stop the chainsaw blade even when it's turning at full speed without even bruising your skin." he said. "Protective glasses will help you avoid eye injuries from flying splinters."
Cutting up a fallen tree is not a DIY project for amateurs. "They might avoid paying the tree cutter some money, but they'll probably end up paying the emergency room," Delbridge said. "It's very dangerous to cut trees, and storm situations are the most dangerous. It really depends on the skill of the owner."
Even those skilled with power tools need to take precautions before tackling a fallen tree. "Whenever trees are down, the first thing to do is look for power lines." Delbridge said. "Believe it or not, trees conduct electricity, and every year there are so many people that are electrocuted by touching a branch that is also touching a live power line."
Delbridge cautioned homeowners to be wary of branches that may be bent beneath a fallen tree. "They can really have a powerful spring effect. Another common injury happens when someone cuts a branch and the tree jumps because they've reduced the weight, and the tree falls on someone. They could lose a leg or their life."
Lataunya Tilstra, an insurance agent with New York Life, said depending on the extent of damage, a homeowner might need several contractors to finish the job. One of her neighbors recently had a tree fall on her house.
"She had to call the tree service first. Then she needed a roofer, and she'll need a builder to rebuild the part of her house that was damaged. So she has several moving parts."
Speaking of insurance claims, most policies cover only damage if the tree falls on a part of the home. "Sometimes the fallen tree can cover your whole yard, and they're not going to help you with a dime of it unless it's actually on a patio, the fence, house or garage," said Corey Cargle, owner of Steve's Tree and Landscape Service in Atlanta.
"I had one homeowner's insurance company turn one of my customers down for a tree that was hit by lightning. It was uprooting, splitting, leaning all over her house and was ready to fall. But they would not approve of any preventive work to remove the tree before it damaged the home," Cargle said. "They basically told (the homeowner) to take care of it or it would be negligent because she knew the tree was about to fall. In hindsight, the homeowner should have waited and let the tree fall on the house I guess, and saved themselves thousands. Insurance companies can be rough."
Cargle recommends you take plenty of pictures. "If it leaves your property and hits someone's home, car or anything else, it's off you. It becomes their tree. A lot of people call us and say, ‘Hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we'll give it to them,’ but it doesn't work like that."
The newest cheap home decor chain is on its way to the United States.
The parent company of T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods is launching a new home store concept called Homesense. Parent company TJX announced in March that it would open a new discount chain selling home decor items, but didn’t release any other information.
The company told People magazine that Homesense stores in the U.S. will be similar to the locations already open in Europe and Canada. The stores will offer furniture, art, sodas, chairs, pool tables, lighting and other home decor items.
Homesense also carries items like cleaning essentials, home improvement items, hardware items and storage supplies. The first store will open Aug. 17 in Framingham, Massachusetts, and more locations are set to open this year in New Jersey.
“Just as our customers enjoy shopping both TJ Maxx and Marshalls, we are confident that loyal customers and new shoppers alike will be excited about shopping both Homesense and HomeGoods,” HomeGoods and Homesense president John Ricciuti said in a statement. “We are excited to bring consumers an expanded selection of quality merchandise at incredible prices, along with a new shopping experience in which they can discover and curate the home of their dreams.”
According to reports, there are three major differences between HomeGoods and Homesense: the “general store” offerings including hardware, home improvement and cleaning materials, the store’s layout and availability of more furniture and big design items.
Read more here.
A Georgia woman could face jail time and a large fine over her garden.
Atlanta city code enforcement officers told Lexa King that her flower garden is overgrown.
King told WSB-TV’s Rikki Klaus that she’s been growing her garden for about 30 years. She beams when she talks about the azaleas in her yard.
"And since I pay the taxes and since I pay the mortgage and since I pay the insurance, I figure I'm the one that gets to say," King said.
Code enforcement officers see the situation, and her garden, differently.
"They said it was messy, said it was overgrown,” King said. "I said, ‘Well, this is a matter of your interpretation.’”
In December, King said, an anonymous complaint led to an arrest citation. It details "overgrowth" in her yard and said she's violating a city code that prohibits "excessive growth."
"We asked him for a definition of excessive, which he could not provide," King said.
Klaus asked King whether she plans to cut the shrubs back.
"Not unless I'm absolutely forced to," King said.
King said she's fighting a bigger battle to protect the quirkiness of Atlanta’s Candler Park neighborhood.
"This is not about me. It's not about those azaleas. This is about our neighborhood and the way of life that we have here," King said.
Neighbors said they've been writing to City Council members on King's behalf.
"We're hoping for dismissal of these charges before Lexa King appears in front of the Municipal Court of Atlanta to be sentenced for her crime of azaleas," neighbor Scott Jacobs said.
Klaus researched the penalties of a court citation. King could face up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Her hearing will take place in August.
Klaus contacted code enforcement for reaction to this story. She’s still waiting to get a response.
The big green bugs that make a deafening sound are back.
Cicadas have popped out of the ground early this year and are starting to show up in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest, as well as the South and East Coast.
First you see their skin. Then you hear their call.
It's the unmistakable sound, and evidence the cicadas are back.
"I think they're really gross," said Ashley Gilbert of Kettering, Ohio.
"They're a little scary, kind of prehistoric looking so they're a little startling," said Melissa Todd of Riverside, Ohio.
The fragile brown casings could be from Brood X – some of these 17-year cicadas reportedly are arriving four years early – or the annual dog-days-of summer cicadas that have arrived several weeks ahead of time.
According to the Gardener's Network, Brood X cicadas span the following states: Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.
Whichever kind they are, cicadas don't bite and don't cause much harm to trees. Their loud sounds and startling movements is all most will have to deal with.
– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
Earlier this month, an odd Zillow listing for a house in Cayce, a small town south of Columbia, South Carolina, started circulating – and immediately sparked some spooky speculation about who might be living upstairs.
“Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances,” the listing read. “Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs apartment. Occupant has never paid, and no security deposit is being held, but there is a lease in place. (Yes, it does not make sense, please don’t bother asking.)”
Other mildly disturbing details included a door to the upstairs apartment stained with blood-red paint, an odd sculpture in the backyard and a gaping hole in the ceiling.
The internet went wild with speculation that perhaps a serial killer – or the devil himself – was the mystery tenant.
The State debunked any notions about evil occupying the home May 13.
The newspaper revealed that the mystery tenants are artist Randall McKissick, 70, and his three cats.
According to The State, the Columbia native was a world-renowned artist and illustrator in the 1980s and 1990s. His work was shown internationally – in Paris, Johannesburg, New York, Atlanta and Chicago among other places.
One of his pieces still hangs in the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta.
About 10 years ago, McKissick fell on hard times. The man whose friends call him a creative genius went through a divorce and eviction and suffered crippling anxiety. Those troubles, coupled with the rise of computer illustration, made McKissick quit painting.
“I lost the spark. I don’t know how to get it back," McKissick told The State.
A childhood friend allowed him to rent a room in his upstairs home free of charge. But the owner, Michael Schumpert Sr., had a car wreck in December, and his family now needs to sell the house. Schumpert's son, Michael, wrote the listing.
“We don’t really have much choice but to sell the house; my parents need to sell it,” the younger Schumpert told the newspaper. “But it’s been in the family for so long, we don’t really want to. And we want Randy to be able to stay there.”
The house is now off the market, but McKissick's two daughters are still looking for a new place for him to stay. Amber Albert told the paper her father's perfect home would have room for his cats and some studio space, so he might get his spark back and start painting again.
“I just want to paint again,” he said. “I just want to find that spark.”
Tesla is officially taking orders for its solar glass roof, which is said to be cheaper than a regular roof with an "infinity warranty."
Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that the solar roof can be ordered in "almost any country." The roofs will be deployed this year in the U.S. and overseas in 2018.
The roofs will come in textured, smooth, Tuscan and slate.
The roofs are made with tempered glass and are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, according to Tesla's website.
The ongoing drought could bring danger slithering right into Floridians' yards.
The dry conditions mean the most venomous snakes in Central Florida are on the move.
Herpetologist Bob Cross said low water levels in many lakes and swamps means snake sightings are more likely to happen in neighborhoods.
“It’s very frightening to think that they’re that they’re that close to a house,” said Longwood resident Candy Bauer. "I don't feel the same about my backyard."
She found a cottonmouth in her backyard this week and called Cross to relocate the animal.
“Usually when people saw that, it’s a harmless water snake," Cross said. "But in this case, the lady was right."
He said the dry weather is forcing the cottonmouths and other snakes to seek water elsewhere.
"He’s going to be traveling like the gators,” Cross said.
He said a bite from a cottonmouth would cause severe pain and swelling.
"We'd be calling 911 and a helicopter for you," Cross said.
The snake found in Bauer’s yard will be sent to a facility in DeLand which will use it to produce anti-venom.
A real estate prospector just profited big-league from the sale of President Donald Trump's childhood home.
According to CNN, the 2,500-square-foot New York Tudor has a new owner just three months after Michael Davis bought the property in Queens' Jamaica Estates neighborhood for $1.4 million. Last week, an unnamed bidder reportedly shelled out $2.14 million for the home where Trump lived until he was about 4.
The house, built by Trump's father, Fred Trump, has "a brick and stucco exterior and an old-world charm interior featuring arched doorways, hardwood floors, five bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, library, living room with fireplace, formal dining room, basement and more," Paramount Realty USA said in the listing.
Kids say the darndest things.
>> Read more trending stories
Dax Holt, a former producer at TMZ, recorded a conversation he had with his daughter, Skylar, about an awkward exchange he had with her teacher.
“When I got to your school, your teacher said, ‘I heard you have a lot of weed at your house,'” Holt told Skylar. “Are we growing weed at our house?”
“Yeah,” said Skylar.
“A lot of it?” asks Holt, to which Skylar responds, “Yeah, just a little bit, but it’s going to grow a lot.”
“Do you want to show people what you’re talking about?” Holt asks.
Skylar then leads him to the backyard to point out the “weed.”
Watch the video below:
My child's teacher: "so Skylar tells me you guys have a ton of weed at home."Me: "umm"Teacher: "she said you're growing it"Me:Posted by Dax Holt on Tuesday, February 21, 2017
WSOCTV.com contributed to this report.
A new report released Wednesday morning names Baltimore as the city with the most bedbugs in the country.
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The Maryland city moved up nine spots from its ranking last year.
Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City and Columbus, Ohio, rounded out the top five.
Atlanta (No. 16); Charlotte, North Carolina (No. 19); Boston (No. 28); Dayton, Ohio (No. 32); Seattle (No. 34); Orlando (No. 44); and Miami (No. 46) made the top 50.
The cities were ranked based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bedbug treatments from Dec. 1, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2016.
"We have more people affected by bedbugs in the United States now than ever before," Orkin entomologist and director of technical services Ron Harrison said. "They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago."
Orkin calls bedbugs "hitchhikers" that travel from place to place.
Orkin officials think bedbugs have become prevalent because they've built up a resistance to chemicals.
They also said you might not know you have bedbugs because many people don't have a physical reaction to the insect's bites.
See the full list and read more at Orkin.
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