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Arial Coates
The Houston Sun

It’s that time of the year again! The weather feels just right and what better time than now to get your house into tip-top shape. Just in time for mother’s day, spring-cleaning is an old time favorite. To add on to your own tips, but here are some that are guaranteed to spruce up your home.

Clean Your Gutters
Over the long winter holidays your gutters are sure to collect all kinds of leaves and rainwater. Grab yourself a ladder to climb and a shovel to thoroughly clean gutters and downspouts with. A properly working gutter directs water away from your home. If you happen to see any leaks or damage drainpipes, replacing your gutters would be highly recommended. Also, using covered gutter systems such as Leafguard can help keep your gutters clean and cut down on maintenance

Service your heating and cooling system
Make sure you have your heating and AC system checked on once spring starts. This is to ensure it will work properly through spring into the summer.

Apply fresh paint
Your house’s paint job can withstand a lot but not everything is weather resistant. If you detect any part of the house a few shades lighter than before, a fresh coat of paint is the answer. The freshly applied paint will be a refreshing sight to look at.

Do a spring- cleaning of your pet’s stuff
Spring-cleaning should be extended to all members of the families including the furry ones! Go through your pet’s things to find the items that are damaged or dirty beyond repair. If you must throw something away be sure to replace it quickly

Examine all your fire extinguishers
If you don’t have one, now would be a great time get one. And for those who already have one make sure you check the expiration date on them (yes the really do expire). If they have, don’t delay on replacing it.

Do a switcheroo!
Pick a room and try changing it as much as possible. Take that old bookcase out and try putting in a new chair. A new room can bring about new, wonderful feelings. Also try maximizing your space.
Give your property a brand, spanking new look!
During the winter months your lawn can take a beating. Have a refreshed lawn for spring by getting rid of any debris or trash that may be lying around. Also cut down any trees or bushes that have grown since the fall.

Give your draperies a bath!
Drapes collect more dirt and dust then we would like to believe. If possible, put them in the washing machine. You’ll be surprised at how much cleaner they’ll look (they’ll smell better too!)

Check your roof for possible damage
It’s easy to forget about your roof (like who really goes up there?). But after the winter months a check up is needed. Grab your ladder and look for cracked, broken, and missing shingles. Note any serious issues and get in contact with a local roofing specialist.

Inspect siding and windows for leaks
Be sure to look at your windows and the siding all around your house. If you see a crack, address it now! Do so before the problem gets worse and you can save yourself a lot of time and money.

Don’t let spring shock you!
If you have any failing sockets or flickering lights call an electrician immediately! Waiting could be detrimental to your house- and your wallet.

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Upcoming Events

The Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance will sponsor the AWE Celebration on
Saturday April 20, 2013 at three locations, MacGregor Park, Park at Palm Center and
George T. Nelson Park from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. The focus will be Arts, Wellness
and the Environment with a plethora of events and presentations taking place. The event
is free and there will be a free shuttle service for seniors and the disabled. For additional
information please contact Gwen Fredrick at 713-520-5232 or

Loving Houston and the Union Baptist Association will hold their Equipping Institute
on two upcoming dates. On April 13, 2013 at Mount Ararat Baptist Church at 5801
West Montgomery Road, Houston, TX 77091 and on May 4, 2013 at Mount Hebron
Missionary Baptist Church at 7817 Calhoun St., Houston, TX 77033. The Equipping
Institute will have featured speakers from throughout Houston that will speak on many
different issues ranging from Substance abuse and Mental Illness, Transforming the
Community, Understanding Ex- Offenders to Repentance and Preparing the Heart.

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Lily Grove 20th Annual Health Fair & Walk

Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church is sponsoring their 20th Annual Community
Health Fair and 4th Family Fun Walk/ Run on Saturday, April 20, 2013. Check in for the
Family Fun Walk/ Run will begin at 7:00 am. The Health Fair will begin at 9:00 am and
conclude at 12:00 noon. The event will be held at the Wendell Neal Memorial Family
Life Center located at 3495 Alice St., Houston, TX. Health related exhibits such as
cholesterol and glucose screenings, live aerobic demonstrations, healthy eating and much
more will be featured. The event is open to the public. For more information, call 713-

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Prairie View Nurses Scholarship Luncheon

Prairie View Nurses Alumni Chapter is sponsoring its 30th Annual Scholarship Luncheon
on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Brady’s Landing, 8505 Cypress Street, Houston, Texas
77012. The luncheon begins at 11:30 am and guest will be seated at 11:00 am. The
proceeds from this event will fund academic nursing scholarships and support the College
of Nursing. For ticket information contact Denise Smith at 713-829-3498 or Sandra
Felder at 832-244-7523.

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A grown folks tale

Rebecca K. Roussell Director, Public Affairs Communications Nielsen
Rebecca K. Roussell Director, Public Affairs Communications Nielsen

I’d like to share a love story with you. It’s probably not the kind you’d expect. The characters in this story are not sultry women and manly men. They are tablets, like iPads, eReaders (electronic devices that allow you to digitally read books, magazines, etc.), and other mobile connected devices. But, I promise I’ll make it interesting.

Once upon a time, oh, way back a year ago (which is, in fact, a long time as technology seems to evolve at warp speed), Nielsen’s quarterly survey of smartphones, tablets and eReaders reported that men and younger folks dominated the tablet and eReader ownership market.

The survey showed that 62 percent of tablet owners were 34 and younger, and that those in the 55-plus crowd made up only 10 percent. But, old man time came along, and showed what a difference a year makes! By the second quarter of 2011, the percentage of users over 55 jumped to 19 percent; while the number of young’uns who owned tablets dropped to 46 percent, according to Nielsen data. While men (still by far) prefer tablets more than women, 61 percent of women have taken an affinity to eReaders, up from just 46 percent this time last year.

Smartphones are the darling devices and are pretty evenly split between men and women. To break down our love affair with smartphones even further, Nielsen research shows that 40 percent of all of U.S. mobile owners over the age of 18 own smartphones. And, of those, Android is now the most popular operating system (40 percent) edging out Apple’s iOS (iPhones), which came in second with 28 percent of all smartphone owners. I heard you gasp! Surprised weren’t you? What’s a story without a twist?

People across the land are pretty passionate about their smartphones. I’ve witnessed some conversations that almost take on a Hatfields vs. McCoys quality between devotees of the iPhones vs. the Android. But wait, there’s more. There’s a new sheriff in town – er, uh, a new device in town. I told you I’d make it interesting.

While the iPhone may be behind in the smartphone market, additional Nielsen research shows that the iPad continues to dominate the market in the United States in the tablet race; even with the introduction of new Android-based entrants to the field almost everyday, like the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom. So, now people may have the Hatfields and the McCoys living harmoniously in the same house. And, the manufacturers across the land are of course pleased as punch with this co-existence.

So, we have all of these cool toys. How are we using them? Households with mobile connected devices as well as desktops or laptops were asked which device they use more since they acquired a tablet: 35 percent of tablet owners report using their desktop computers less often or not at all, while 32 percent of laptop owners say they use their laptops less often or not at all and 27 percent of those tablet owners who also own eReaders reveal that they now use their eReaders less often or not at all.
As is often the case with any story there is a damsel in distress. And, in this story that would be me! I own both a Kindle and an iPad2, but I prefer to cuddle up in bed with a good book.

But, I’m clearly in the minority because according to Nielsen, 61 percent of eReader owners are snuggling up in bed with one of any number of eReaders, rather than a conventional book. Somebody save me! The eReaders are taking over; bookstores are rapidly closing down (a moment of silence please over their demise. No really, ssshhh). But, I remain steadfastly devoted to the smell of freshly printed books and the feel of actual, not virtual, pages between my fingers. So, I’m holding out hope against hope that books won’t go the way of the dinosaur, the eight track or VCR!
Of course, people are not just reading in bed (mind out of the gutter people, it’s not that kind of story). Research reports show that we enjoy playing with all of our technical toys while supine as well: 57 percent of tablet owners and 51 percent of smartphone users are using them in bed, and 70 percent and 68 percent of tablet and smartphone owners, respectively, use them while watching TV.

The moral of this story is whether you’re reading this column, holding the paper in your hands, or skimming it on your smartphone, tablet, eReader, laptop or PC; keep reading! Because knowledge is power. The End.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to