Frank Torre – Detroit Michigan Entrepreneur and Businessman

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Based in Michigan, Frank Torre is an entrepreneur with a history of successfully building, expanding, and growing companies.

Currently, Mr. Torre serves as CEO of Signal Restoration Services, a full-service disaster restoration contractor based in Troy, Michigan.

Since its founding in 1972, Signal Restoration Services has specialized in property loss mitigation both in the state of Michigan and nationally.

In 1992, Mr. Torre established Torre & Bruglio, Inc. and grow it into one of the largest landscape and horticultural services contractors in the Midwest with over 900 employees serving more than 800 business accounts.

In 2000 Torre & Bruglio expanded into the golf course management business maintenance maintenance to golf courses ranging from 18 holes to 36 holes PGA Tournament courses as well as clubhouse hospitality and event management services. Frank Torre sold the landscape and horticultural services business to Brickman Group in 2008 who continue to follow Frank Torre's philosophy of commitment to a culture of excellence for all clients.

Outside of his career, Mr. Torre remains very active in the community. Frank Torre serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, which is part of the Detroit Medical Center as well as serves on the Executive Board of the Tenet Healthcare Corporation, located in Dallas, Texas, which owns DMC.

Together with TV personality Rhonda Walker, Frank presented the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan's Heroes Award to one of the patients, a young man from Detroit who was in a wheelchair.

As Chairman of the Boys Hope and Girls Hope Club of Detroit, an academic and philanthropic scholarship program for underprivileged youth in the metro Detroit, Pontiac, and surrounding areas, which supports various philanthropic endeavors and activities to promote education and opportunity for the underprivileged.

As a long time supporter of the initiative, during the 21st Annual Golf Classic held to support the Boys Hope and Girls Hope of Detroit at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, Mr. Torre was responsible for raising over $ 2. 5 million at this annual event to help strengthen the programs and initiatives of the Boys Hope and Girls Hope of Detroit.

Frank Torre, in collaboration with Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske and the Penske Automotive Group (PAG), maintains a major role in the annual Detroit Grand Prix races, a professional auto racing event which is held on Detroit's Belle Isle that brings together public and private communities and international attendance.

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Red Dye Diesel – A Red Diesel Fuel That Costs Less

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If you own a construction company or use farm equipment, you may be paying too much for your diesel fuel. Red dye diesel fuel has the same chemical composition as diesel #2, but red pigment has been added. Red diesel fuel costs less because it can be used for any diesel engine powered vehicle that does not drive on the roadways, and is therefore exempt from state road tax. In California, for example, red dyed diesel fuel is about.40 to.50 less per gallon than diesel #2 due to the absence of the state road tax. Here’s a closer look at the types of off-road vehicles that use red diesel and the businesses that could benefit most from switching to red dye diesel.

Construction companies rely upon diesel fuel to power their backhoes, cranes, bulldozers, Bobcats and even for their diesel generators. Moving large objects like loads of rebar, soil, and steel beams are no match for large pieces of equipment like these. However, with off road construction vehicles like these, the gas is burned in large amounts. According to the Nebraska Test Laboratory Web site, construction vehicles vary widely in their gallons used per hour depending upon the size of the vehicle.

With the smallest bulldozers using just under 4 Gal/hr and the largest devouring 18 Gal/hr, a day’s work can cost thousands of dollars in fuel costs! For just one large construction vehicle operating 9 hours per day at 18 Gal/hr (at $3.00 per gallon), the cost for diesel #2 would be $486.00 per day. If red dye diesel were used instead, the cost would only be $396.90 for the day at $2.45 per gallon! Savings: $89.10 per vehicle, per day. With multiple construction vehicles in operation, a construction company can save thousands of dollars every day in diesel fuel costs.

Farmers are another type of business that can financially benefit from using red dye diesel fuel. Farm equipment including tractors, bulldozers, harvesters, Bobcats, and diesel powered generators can all use red diesel instead of diesel #2. The Nebraska Test Laboratory states that a new John Deere 9230 tractor uses about 11.5 Gal/hr on average. For multiple tractors and farm equipment running their diesel engine from sun up to sun down, the savings can add up significantly each day! At $3.00 per gallon for diesel #2 versus $2.45 per gallon for red dyed diesel, a 10 hour workday can cost $63.25 less per vehicle!

Though some people use red dye fuel in their diesel engines on state roadways, it is illegal to do so. The California Highway Patrol has paper dipsticks to test for the presence of red dye in consumer vehicles and will fine the driver heavily if the stick comes out of the tank with the classic red hue. Off road farm equipment and construction vehicles can all use this less expensive fuel and business owners can begin saving money immediately. In this poor economy, saving money is more important than ever. Other businesses that can benefit from using this fuel instead are traveling shows that use diesel generators such as road shows, carnivals, and fairs. Start saving money today by switching to red dye diesel!

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Chicago, USA

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As the largest city in Illinois and the third largest city in America, Chicago has captivated the hearts, minds, and souls of people all the world over for centuries. The city's sports teams, like the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bulls, are among the most recognized franchises in worldwide sports history. On a less salutary note, the city's crime problems over the years have become the stuff of legend; from Al Capone and his Valentine's Day Massacre to the widespread gang problems of the 70s and 80s that nearly crippled the city, violence has been a huge part of Chicago's history for better or worse. Bootlegging during the Prohibition Era was perfected in the Windy City when there were over a thousand gangs operating within the city limits and Chicago has been notorious for having some of the highest murder rates in the world ever since. Even today Chicago leads the country as the Murder capital of the United States, but that does not mean that a visit to the city is a bad idea; on the contrary, Chicago is perfectly safe providing you do not have an interest in some of the more run down areas or any bus stop in particular.

Chicago has also captivated people in song and on the silver screen as well. From the universally-known Broadway musical "Chicago" to the countless records like Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago", Chi-Town has been a word on everyone's lips for time immemorial. This reputation is well earned, however, considering how much culture that is now part of the worldwide fabric originated in Chicago. Jazz music, one of the greatest Americanventions known to man, was born in Chicago after the "Great Migration", when thousands of African Americans fled the more racist southern states in favor of the larger urban framework of the developing cities at the time like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland.

Visitors to Chicago will realize right away why the city has inspired so many artists, singers, and writers: Chicago is like no other city in the world. While other cities have impressive skylines, none matches Chicago for the shepherd grandeur of its skyscrapers. The Sears Tower was once the tallest building in the country but it has recently been eclipsed and it has also changed its name to the less iconic Willis Tower after Sears and Roebuck sold the landmark. All the same, the skyline of Chicago is still the tallest and largest in the world. There is good reason for this; after building the first steel-framed building in 1885, Chicago practically invented the skyscraper! Chief among these impressive edifices is one of the largest buildings in the world: The Merchandise Mart. This tourist favorite is so awesome that it has its own zip code! The Trump Tower is also an impressive draw, as if Chicago did not have enough to offer on its own. The Chicago Zoo is also one of the largest and most amazing of its kind, as is the Chicago Philharmonic. This old city has withstood gang violence, a massive fire that burned much of the city to the ground, bombings, and major racial strife. Still, though, this city is standing gloriously, touting its amazing legacy to all willing to see and hear. If you've never been to Chicago, you're missing out on one of the most important pieces of cultural history known to man.

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The Toronto International Film Festival 2012

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The Toronto International Film Festival has firmly established itself among the top film festivals worldwide. Held every year in the beautiful and multinational city of Vancouver, the festival brings the cream of world cinema to Canada from over 90 countries around the world. The festival's program showcases a wide variety of North American and International feature films as well as provocative short films, documentaries, music videos, animation films, experimental films, student films, a screenplay competition, and much more.

The festival acts as a platform for artistic interface and exchange of ideas between independent filmmakers and the worldwide audience. Festival goers have their own share of fun with everything from Canadian and World movie Premiers to close gatherings and night-long parties. The festival opens with a filmmaker reception and concludes with the Closing Awards Ceremony honoring the impressive work by some of today's brilliant and most creative artists.

Each year, awards are given in all main categories for top films, filmmakers, writers and actors. The coveted Grand Jury Award is presented to the best motion picture in the festival selected from all all the participating films.

Apart from the jury awards, the festival also gives out an annual Audience Award to the film with the highest rating as determined by the festival audience.

Cash prizes are presented for the Grand Jury Prize, awarded to the best film in the competition amongst all categories. The top three prize winners of the Screenplay Competition also receive handsome cash prizes.

This year at the Canadian International Film Festival 2012, there are a number of awards that were presented in various categories. Grand Jury Award, Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best of Canada, Best Foreign Feature, Best Foreign Short, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Experimental Film, Best Animation, Best Music Video, Best Environmental Film, Best Humanitarian Film, Best Comedy, Best Family Film, Best Television Pilot and Best "Made on Mobile" are the various categories in this year's festival.

Toronto Film Festival – Full list of winners 2012

This year's Toronto International Film Festival, the 37th of its kind, awards were given to a number of movies of different tastes. With a variety of awards at stake, Festival highlights such as "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Seven Psychopaths" took home 11 awards in a ceremony that took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto. The full list of winners is below:

  • Best Canadian Short Film: The award was presented to Deco Dawson for "Keep a Modest Head". The jury complied of journalist and author Matthew Hays, journalist Katrina Onstad and filmmaker Reginald Harkema. The film was chosen over the others as the film "expands the boundaries of documentary and perfectly reflects its surreal subject". The award was a $ 10,000 cash prize.
  • The City of Toronto plus Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: Xavier Dolan's "Laurence Anyways". The jury complied with producer and filmmaker Jody Shapiro, CPH PIX Festival Director Jacob Neiiendam, actor and filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar and director, writer and producer Patricia Rozema. The film was chosen "For its breathless cinematic energy and its entirely new love story, the jury felt honored to watch such unfettered genius at play." The award came with a cash prize of $ 30,000.
  • The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film: This category saw a tie between Brandon Cronenberg's "Antiviral" and Jason Buxton's "Blackbird". The jury complied with producer and filmmaker Jody Shapiro, CPH PIX Festival Director Jacob Neiiendam, actor and filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar and director, writer and producer Patricia Rozema. The cash prize – which was originally $ 15,000 -, was doubled this year and both Brandon and Jason received a cash prize of $ 15,000 each.
  • The BlackBerry People's Choice Award: The BlackBerry People's Choice Award was determined by the Festival audience. This year's award was given to David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook". According to Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF, "the film is an intense, loving, emotional and funny family story from the director of The Fighter, David O. Russell, in which Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence find themselves partners in a secret arrangement to rebuild their broken lives. Robert De Niro warns to get closer to his son (Cooper), as he tries to keep the family afloat with his compulsive bookmaking. "

The award was a $ 15,000 cash prize and a custom award which was sponsored by BlackBerry. The first and second runner-up was Ben Affleck's "Argo" and Eran Riklis' "Zaytoun".

  • The BlackBerry People's Choice Midnight Madness Award: This award was presented to Martin McDonagh for his movie "Seven Psychopaths" .. The first and second runner-up was Barry Levinson's "The Bay", and Don Coscarelli's "John Dies at the End".
  • The BlackBerry People's Choice Documentary Award: The award was given to Bartholomew Cubbins for his movie "Artifact". The first runners-up were Christopher Nelius and Justin McMillan's "Storm Surfers 3D" and the second runner-up was "Revolution" by Rob Stewart.
  • NETPAC Award for the Best First or Second Feature World or International Asian Film Premiere: Sion Sono's "The Land of Hope" was the recipient of this award. The jury was made up of Laurice Guillen (Philippines), Shelly Kraicer (Toronto / Beijing) and Azize Tan (Istanbul). The movie was selected for its "subtle, complex and artful account of the social and political aspects of a national trauma that ends in hope and love".
  • Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award: This inaugural award was presented to Rola Nashef for "Detroit Unleaded".

Top events at the Canada Film Festival – India in Focus this year

For the 21st successful year, the Toronto International Film Festival gathered an international FIPRESCI jury for the competition. The jury members consulted of jury president Peter Keough (United States), Jon Asp (Sweden), Ashok Rane (India), Louis-Paul Rioux (Canada), Juan Manuel Dominguez (Argentina) and Brian McKechnie from Canada. The following award winners were determined by the jury:

  • The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations: this award was presented to Francois Ozon's "Dans la maison". According to the jury, the movie was awarded "for achieving an exquisitely crafted entertainment that blurs the distinction between the storyteller and the story claimed, and that assuages ​​with playful complexity the tragedies of life with the consolations of art".
  • Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery Program: Mikael Marcimain's "Call Girl" was awarded this prestigious award by the FIPRESCI jury. According to them, the movie was "an intense sense of cinema reminiscent of the American thrillers of the 1970s … achieves a portrait of an obscure world involving women's rights and political corruption. Marcimain deals with his sensitive subject with immense ease and craftsmanship" .

This year at the 37th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, the audience got a heavy dose of Indian Cinema at its very best. The movies ranged from mainstream Bollywood movies to off-beat cinema made by both recognized and upcoming directors and film-makers. The Indian contingent kicked off the Festival with Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta's movie "Midnight Children". This was followed byamed director Meera Nair's movie "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and Gauri Shinde's "English Vinglish". The latter is the story about the struggle and problems faced by an Indian middle-aged woman (played by Sridevi), who has no knowledge about the English language. Sridevi was seen on the silver screen after a gap of almost 15 years. The film "English Vinglish" also marks the debut of accused director R Balki's wife Gauri Shinde.

Deepa Mehta's "Midnight's Children" is based on Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name. Salman Rushdie has also written the screenplay for the movie and this was his first stint as a screenplay writer. This multi-starrer film is a fantasy in which children born on the brink of India's independence from Britain are gifted with strange, magical powers.

Another noteworthy Indian film in this year's line-up was Meera Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist". This movie is based on Mohsin Hamid's international best-selling novel and stars Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.

The Toronto International Film Festival even hosted 10 films from Mumbai as a part of its City-to-City initiative. Some of the movies were Vasan Bala's "Peddlers", Hansal Mehta's "Shahid", Dibakar Banerjee's "Shanghai" and Habib Faisal's "Ishaqzaade".

There were several award winners from India in this year's edition of TIFF. Koushik KR's "An Human", Rohit Gupta's "Life! Camera Action …" and "The View" by Tanveer Goyal received the 2012 Golden Reel Award at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Manan Singh Katohora received the 2012 Rising Star Award for his movie "9 Eleven". "9 Eleven", a Bollywood-styled thriller also won the best narrative award at the 2012 Third World Independent Film Festival (TWIFF). Written and directed by Katohora, the movie fast-paced thriller with undertones of terrorism and questions that fact as to how will one survive in meeting the growing phenomenon of terrorism face-to-face. "9 Eleven", which had earlier won the Best Feature Film and Best Director awards at the 2012 World Music & Independent Film Festival (WMIFF) in Washington, is scheduled for a West coast premiere on September 22nd.

The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival will be held from March 30th till March 31st, 2013 at the stunning Edgewater Casino in downtown Vancouver.

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Terrorists Plan and Attack Soft Targets, What Do You Call It When Organized Unions Do That?

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When it comes to hurting our economy exactly who is worse, International Terrorists of Large Unions? The reason I ask is simple, you see we are in a Presidential Election year, with less than 100-days to go, and the two mandates are talking about outsourcing American Jobs and debating why companies are leaving the US and seeking less hostile business environments ; lower corporate taxes, few class action lawsuits, simpler regulations, and less grief from unions. Okay so let's talk about who is really hurting our economy shall we?

There was an interesting article that appeared in News and World Report on September 7, 2015 titled: "With contract expiration nearing, UAW chief says he has not picked an auto company to target," by Tom Krisher, Associated Press Auto Writer – which stated:

"… UAW President Dennis Williams said Monday he'll pick between Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler," and "Speaking after Detroit's annual Labor Day parade, Williams would not address either the contracts would be extended and save no details about how the talks that cover about 140,000 workers are progressing; 'Everybody says to me' Dennis, have you picked a target? ' Yes General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, 'Williams said to applause during a post-paragraph speech. But after he told reporters that he would choose a single company by the time the current four-year contracts end. "

At the time of that article about one-year ago – The UAW (United Auto Workers) president stated he has not decided, or THEY have not decided which car company to TARGET yet. WOW, any other sector in our economy and they'd face a Federal Indictment for conspiring in this way. I am pissed off with the double-standards we have in this Great Nation. It's pathetic to allow the UAW to do this. Totally pathetic, Ayn Rand was right. Is this really about collective bargaining or is this about collective terrorism.

And, what happens if companies do not acquiesce? Simple, the union members will act like thugs, vandalize cars of "scabs" those workers who cross the picket lines, and harassment management, part time workers and lobby to get government to come in and over regulate and fine the companies into exhaustion until they give up and pay up. Wow, so what is the definition of terrorism again?

"The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."

Yep, that's the definition and it sure fits these actions does not it? So, if the democrats sponsor big labor unions, does that mean they are sponsoring terrorism? Well? Does it?

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Whiz Kids: World's Youngest iPhone Developers

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These stories are indeed for the books. School-age kids have become the world's youngest iPhone developers.

Lim Ding Wen

Take the case of 11-year old Lim Ding Wen from Singapore which amazing tales are all over the internet. Various articles say that this wonder boy's first experience with the Apple IIS, the most dominant model in the Apple II series of PCs, came at age seven.

It may even leave you awestruck that Ding Wen is knowledgeable of numerous languages ​​like Java Script, Applesoft and Objective C that most adults do not even understand. This child developed his first iphone apps after turning nine years. Records show that Ding Wen's Doodle Kids was already downloaded more than 800,000 times through Android and Apple Platforms. Doodle Kids is simply superb since it provides youthful users drawing functions utilizing the touch screen and connect to Apple TV.

The boy is now a celebrity. Ding Wen co-hosts the "Apple IIGS" program with two sisters on their father's You Tube channel as being from developer of "Invader War" that was recently released on the iOS platform. The CNN International network christened one of the world's youngest iPhone developers as Singapore's "Icon of Cool".

Thomas Suarez

Another brainy techie is Thomas Suarez, a 6th grader from South Bay in Los Angeles. The smart kid claims to have been inspired by the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar. Apple's Software Development Kit, which was released in 2008, motivated him to formulate unique applications. Thomas eventually started selling these creations and launched a club for schoolmates to let him share programming skills. As one of the youngest developers, Thomas Suarez describes a noble vision: Young students represent a technology resource and should there before be allowed to share their knowledge to enhance the school's program in information technology.

Aaron Bond

Aaron Bond is from the United Kingdom and belongs to the roster of one of the youngest iPhone developers. The 13-year old kid was responsible for developing the Spud Run Game in 2011 with the help of a good friend, Sebastian McNeil. At the tender age of eight, Aaron already had a small enterprise designing websites. The game entails the navigation of a mutant potato through a difficult maze within 40 seconds before being flattered. The duo managed to purchase sophisticated equipment costing £ 1,400 that was earned from repairing friends' computers. Another Five Geniuses

More whiz kids are emerging all over the world. Just a couple of years ago, the likes of TJ Pluchahek from Portland; Jonah Grant from Chicago; Stephen Huber from Detroit, Michigan; Joe Constan and Andrew Rauh from Dearborn, Michigan, came out as four of the up-and-coming apps developers. This new breed of programming experts has already come up with money-spinning ideas for novel devices and platforms. Expect these iPhone Developers to come up with conventions that will surely raise eyebrows. These young techies will surely produce more iPhone apps within the next few years and inspire other young people to follow their footsteps.

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Things to Remember About Music and Outdoor Weddings

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As you plan your outdoor wedding reception, and before you make your final site choice, there are four important factors you need to keep in mind regarding your entertainment: the location of the power source, the size of the reception area, the size of the dance floor and rules of the local noise ordinance.

Power Source for your Entertainment

In order for your DJ's equipment to work properly, a 120V power source that is no more than 200 feet from his set up location is required. When your DJ's location is further than 200 feet from a stationary power source, a quiet, 120V portable generator may be used. Because generators can be noisy, try to situate it at least 100 feet from the reception area and no further than 200 feet, as your DJ will need to run a power cord between the generator and his sound equipment.

Size of your Reception Area

The amount of equipment your music provider needs is determined by the size of the reception area and how many guests will be in attendance. Good sound requires an enclosed space in order to create an area of ​​acoustics. If sound waves are not reflected back to listeners by barrier objects, such as walls and ceilings, the sound travels past listeners and is never heard from again.

Tents are necessary to shelter your guests and expensive sound equipment from hot sun, wind or rain but are also needed to protect sound quality. Good tents have side walls – great for blocking wind, which interferes with sound, too. The larger your tent and audience size, the more the sound may be needed to entertain guests.

When calculating the size of the tent, do not forget to factor in an area for your dance floor and DJ. One of the benefits of hiring a DJ: he does not require much room! Set aside a 10 'x 6' area for him. If you want to give it a little more elbow room, a 10 'x 10' area is more than adequate for its needs.

Size of your Dance Floor

There's never a good reason to fret about the size of your dance floor. Given great music, people will dance anywhere, anytime. Even if you're inviting 300 guests, you will not need a gigantic dance floor. You can accomodate dancers with a 20 'x 20' minimum area of ​​rented flooring, and keep an area around it empty of tables or chairs so your "overflow" dancers may boogie, too.

Rules of the Noise Ordinance

Once you've decided on a location, ask the village, city, or township zoning board to provide you with a copy of its noise ordinance. Some communities require outdoor music to be kept within a certain decibel range and / or make a curve on noise after a certain time in the evening.

Be courteous to neighboring property owners by informing them of your plans. If the spirit of the occasion moves you, spread a little goodwill by inviting them to join in the good times, too.

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How to Choose and Match Brick Veneer For New Construction and Additions

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My neighbor spent well over $ 200,000 to add a beautiful addition to her traditional brick veneer Cape Cod home. But when the masonry contractor put up the brick he failed to even come close to matching the color of the mortar to the original part of the house. Even worse the new bright white mortar clashes with both the new brick and the old. The house now has a garish and jarring appearance and the cost of repair is prohibitive.

Brick veneer is the most durable and beautiful material that will protect your home from the elements. Brick is essentially maintenance free and will last for generations. Living in the Detroit area it is plain to see the brick in all the dilapidated buildings is still in beautiful condition and in most cases can be salvaged and reused. Brick veneer is more cost and you will have to live with your choice for as long as you own your home. If you're planning an addition or building a new home the money, time and effort invested in choosing the design, brick, mortar and most importantly the contractor will be returned many times over in long-term value.

These are some ideas to consider when choosing or matching brick veneer

• Cost: maybe it would be better to sacrifice square footage for quality and beauty

• Design: Long, high walls need to be broken up with a vertical course of brick, a ledge of stone or by brick that varies in color and texture. Design in offset walls with interior or exterior corners to give vertical definition to the house.

• Use "offset" (brick that protrudes from the wall in patterns or randomly) of bricks to create interest

• Make the addition narrows or wider than the existing home for interior or exterior corners to make brick and mortar matching easier

• How does the house fit into the neighborhood? A traditional styled house needs darker reds and more texture with gray mortar. Fieldstone, granite or sandstone can be used carefully

• Contemporary houses can use whites, blushes or neutral colors and smooth to glazed brick. Mortar can be bright white

• A skilled and experienced mason will take the time to try out various mixtures to match the mortar. Remember it is the SAND in the mortar that must match. Ask to see other work the mason has done and be prepared to pay a little more

• There are many sizes and profiles of brick available. We have a ranch house built on a slab in our neighborhood that used long, low profile brick with a mixture wavy texture. Along with a double-hip roof and deep eves this house would be the envy of Frank Lloyd Wright himself!

• Design the roof and gutters so the downspouts can be used to hide the seam between the old and new brick. There are many decorative gutter and downspout products available. Visit a local siding and gutter supply house

• A faux copper downspout with an elegant leader head (or conductor) can be used to hide a seam too

• Many faux half columns are available in various metal and paintable materials

• Use high quality beveled horizontal or battened vertical siding carefully in your design

• More and / or larger windows, entry doors, shutters and small round or octagon shaped windows can be used to breakup large brick walls

• Be careful using brick up into gables. Because of the roof slope at each end of the brick courses, the careless mason will loose his way; the vertical joints will not line up and the wall will have an undulating and amateurish look. A small window high in the gable would be good in this circumstance

• And remember to choose your roof shingles and materials at the same time. As an example, using a metal roof on an addition can be a way of making the addition "compliment" the original house instead of trying for an exact "match" (for the few of you that are self-confident, brave and daring you can use a combination of materials and design to "contrast" the original house; I've seen it done and to wonderful ends!)

And finally a special mention when using stone. A cobblestone cottage looks the way it does because it's a cottage! A cottage is a small house. A large stone house must be very carefully designed. Avoid long, tall walls of stone veneer.

Mixing stone with brick veneer can produce a pleasant effect. Try to imagine you are building your house on the ancient ruins of stone fence or an old country manor. The lower corners, some around the entry door and a few randomly located places in the wall are all that is needed.

Brick has been made in local kilns using clay dug up from nearby river banks for centuries. The brick you find made in New England may clash with the landscape of the house you build in Texas. The same is true if you use that blush pink brick that you loved in Florida for a house built in Wisconsin. The brick must be from the same origin as the house. Contemporary or traditional; single story ranch or two story colonial; split-level or townhouse; new construction or addition, all need the appropriate brick veneer to enhance long term value and style.

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An Aussie Journey – The Dead Heart by Douglas Kennedy

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We first meet Nick Hawthorne in a Darwin bar. As a stripper offers contorted perspectives on what Australia has to offer, our hero from Maine meets a fellow countryman from Detroit intent on doing to Asia what America does to most places.
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(Personal opinions, eh?) Nick has some of those. He has a personal approach to life, but feels he gets little out of it, despite having achieved the status of being the first person principal character of Douglas Kennedy’s novel The Dead Heart.
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Nick is a journalist who has only ever had bit jobs. They interested him bit, earned him a bit, stimulated somewhat less. Then he found a map of Australia and became so obsessed with the continent’s emptiness that he sold up and left the US to discover the unknown, to visit the unvisited. He is less than impressed with Darwin. It’s not a good start. But a VW camper van bought from a Jesus freak promises a great escape along the road to Broome. Not round the corner…
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A hitcher called Angie provides welcome diversion from the repetition of the road. She seems easy-going, not to mention easy, and a little threatening. She is travelling for the first time, but exudes confidence. Nick, however, retains control. Or so he thinks…
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Until he finds himself in Wollanup. It’s a town whose recent tragic history has removed it from the map. Nick has arrived at nowhere, the dead heart of a land. He is now unknown, has sex and beer on tap and an awful diet. A horror story haunted by powdered eggs…
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Until Krystal starts to cook… His mechanical skills come into play. The rebuilt camper van is destroyed again. Its renewed mobility is a threat.
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Events happen, like they do… Douglas Kennedy’s The Dead Heart evolves into a kind of fast-moving, page-turning thriller. But there are characters here. Something – not sure what! – seems almost credible. Nick is not the most likeable person, but this rather self-centred, thirty-odd, overweight hedonist does realise that there might be more to life than unlimited sex and beer on tap. He wants both, but clearly somewhere other than Wollanup.
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What happens in The Dead Heart is crucial. It’s a plot-led work, but it is also engaging and well written. Its racy style fits the characters´ obvious preoccupations and helps to create a vivid portrait of lives that know only the here and now.
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The Dead Heart is a book to be read in a single sitting. The process will leave readers wondering how they might have reacted in such circumstances. And what about Australia as depicted? Is this a stereotype? You bet…

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