Rodney Cook Sr. Park project underway in Atlanta’s Vine City

Who doesn’t love a nice, peaceful day at the park? Fresh air, birds chirping, greenness everywhere. Well, my friends, if you’re a park-lover, you’re in luck! The city recently broke ground for a new park in the Vine City area. Rodney Cook Sr. Park is due to open late this year or early next year.

According to an AJC.com article, the park is named for Rodney Cook, a former city alderman and state representative who backed several anti-discrimination causes during his time in and out of office. He served from the 1950s to the 1970s. One of the park’s goals is to honor the neighborhood’s Civil Rights history with 18 monuments to civil rights leaders and peacemakers. It will also have the library of civil rights leader C.T. Vivian and a 110-ft peace column.

The Atlanta Watershed article about the new park explains that the park is intended to help with the flooding that the Vine City area often experiences when the city gets heavy rain (which happens, you know, quite a lot.) This magic will happen with the addition of a pond system that will collect rain water. Based on the rainfall of the past six years, the pond will collect 37 million gallons of water from 150 acres of land. That’s a lot of water! The park will include green infrastructure to make the flood relief happen, and the flood measures are intended to reduce the strain on the city’s sewer systems.

The park is also intended to be a place for community gathering and recreation, giving city-dwellers more green space to enjoy. The park will be located by Joseph E. Boone Boulevard near-ish to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the 16-acre park will eventually be connected to the Beltline. The Atlanta Watershed article also pointed out that the park will provide the opportunity for job training and educating people about the environment.

The $45 million park will be funded by the city, businesses, and various non-profits. Major players in the park project are the City of Atlanta, the Trust for Public Land, The National Monuments Foundation (which will be in charge of the monuments we mentioned earlier), and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

Living in the city might make us feel a little disconnected from nature and the environment. The Rodney Cook Sr. Park will benefit the city in many ways – it’ll control flooding, provide a community space, and honor the history of the Vine City neighborhood all at the same time! Talk about multitasking! With the Rodney Cook Sr. Park, we will have another place to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. For more information about the park, you can visit their website.

Need a quote for your home, life, renters, auto, or small business insurance? We’d love to help you out with that! Give us a call today or fill out our quote form and we’ll get you a free quote.

Sources:

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/ground-broken-launch-new-park-atlanta-westside/K1h3BjlUqRIpK30qqeY4wM/

http://www.atlantawatershed.org/projects/cook-park/

http://www.ajc.com/news/rodney-mims-cook-former-alderman-and-state-representative/sdDKz9lWQFITAR19HihVVI/

Lights, Camera, Atlanta – Our film industry is booming!

What news?

Atlanta is known for more than just peaches and horrible traffic, people! Our film industry is growing. The proof? FilmLA, Los Angeles’s film office, recently released its report on what films were produced where and for how much. Basically, how this works is they take the 100 top-performing films of the previous year (so 2016 for this report) and they analyze the location and budgets of the films.

So, how’d we do? Pretty darn good! We produced the most films on the list of 100 – a total of 17 high-performing movies. Woo, Atlanta! There have been lots of movies being filmed in the Atlanta area, a large factor in Georgia’s film success being the significant tax breaks. Atlanta has earned itself the bragging rights of the top spot, although to be completely honest, Cali still takes the cake as far as sheer volume of films and TV produced goes. Oh, well. We still got the top spot!

What’s been filmed here that I’ve heard of?

Over the years, lots of popular movies and TV shows have been shot right here in our backyard. Some of the ones you’ve probably heard of are The Hunger Games, Allegiant, The Blind Side, Hidden Figures, and Passengers. Atlanta’s also been making a name for itself in the TV industry, especially with popular shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, and Stranger Things being filmed in the area. And the buzz won’t die down anytime soon – Stranger Things and The Walking Dead continue to film here, according to an Atlanta Magazine article.

What’s happenin’ now?

What’s filming in the city now? As per usual, Atlanta’s film industry is busy, busy, busy. There are lots of movies being filmed and produced in and around the city right now. Some of them are…

  • The sequel to Bad Moms (starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn) – Comedy
  • The War with Grandpa (starring Robert DeNiro) – Comedy
  • Rampage (starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) – Action
  • Darkest Minds (starring Gwendoline Christie, Amandla Stenberg, and Mandy Moore) – YA Dystopia/Sci-fi
  • Game Day (starring Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, and Jesse Plemons) – Comedy

Well, and we have to give a shout-out to Spiderman: Homecoming, which is due to release this summer. It was also filmed right here in Atlanta!

As far as TV shows go, the following are still filming in our city…

  • Manifesto (produced by Kevin Spacey)
  • The Walking Dead
  • Stranger Things
  • Lore (an Amazon show)
  • AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire

Keep in mind that these are only a few of the many, many movies and shows filming in Atlanta! This is by no means an exhaustive list.

So, there we have it – Atlanta’s becoming a star! Our films might not have the same budgets as some of the super Blockbusters, but we’re still doing very well for ourselves. The film industry is helping Atlanta’s economy, and it doesn’t seem like the filming progress will be slowing down anytime soon.

Need home, auto, renters, life, or small business insurance? We can help! Give us a call today or fill out our quote form and we’ll get you a free quote on your insurance!

Sources:

http://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/whats-filming-atlanta-now-bad-moms-christmas-pact-darkest-minds-stranger-things-break-down-filmla-report/

http://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/whats-filming-in-atlanta-now-simon-vs-the-homo-sapiens-agenda-the-last-full-measure-darkest-minds-plus-looming-wga-strike-threaten-georgia/

https://www.filmla.com/filml-a-issues-fourth-annual-feature-film-study-california-in-fourth-place-among-international-competitors-for-feature-film-projects/

http://www.ajc.com/business/employment/big-movies-filming-georgia-2017/ZoDbPauZeN6lPk19VCd0xM/ 

Boom, slap, clap: How to fight against mosquito bites in Atlanta (and win)

The pest control company, Orkin, recently released its list of worst cities for mosquito populations nationwide, according to an 11Alive.com article. The list, which Orkin releases once a year, is based on how many residential and business jobs or calls Orkin gets. Guess where Atlanta ranks on the list, for the fourth year in a row?

We’re #1. Oh, yeah. Bet you never would have – slap – guessed.

Out of the 50 cities on the list, 20 of them are located in the Southeast, so we’ve got regional company. Mosquitoes might just seem like an annoying, itchy nuisance that we have to put up with since we live in a hot, humid climate, but the truth of the matter is that mosquitoes are more dangerous than you might think.

Mosquitoes carry some very scary diseases, such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and Zika, which has been known to cause birth defects in babies born to mothers with Zika. The 11Alive article reports that many Americans are not overly concerned about these diseases or mosquitoes, a trend that they gleaned from a Gallup poll. But mosquitoes are a big deal. The CDC reports that they’ve seen more than 5000 cases in the United States since 2015 and that the virus has occurred in more than 20 states.

To prevent any mosquito-related diseases – not to mention itchy red bites that are enough to drive you crazy – there are a few things you can do. It might seem like a losing battle at times, but take heart! You can defeat the biting invaders that take over your lawn. Here are some tips from the EPA to help you prevent mosquito bites.

1. Destroy the home base of the winged monsters.

To turf the mosquitoes out of your yard for good, get rid of their hiding places. Mosquitoes are attracted to certain places that they like to call home sweet home, so get rid of their homes and you’ll be one step ahead of them.

To eliminate mosquito homes, you can:

  • Get rid of any standing water. This includes your gutters, buckets, toys, and other places that water can collect.
  • Take care of your bird baths, fountains, wading pools, and rain barrels by changing the water out at least once a week. You’ll get rid of any mosquito homes that are taking root.
  • Fill in any puddles or standing water on the ground with dirt.
  • Make sure your pool is filtering and cleaning properly (if you have a pool.)

2. Arm yourself with pesticides.

You might need to resort to pesticides to get rid of the buzzing beasts. You can always call an insect or pest control specialist to help you out with spraying your yard.

3. Shield your home from intruders.

 

Your home should be impenetrable to the tiny pests. The only thing worse than getting bitten when you’re outside is getting bitten when you’re inside. To protect your home and up your defenses:

  • Take care of any cracks or gaps in your walls, windows, and doors. Seal the entrances.
  • Make sure the screens on your doors and windows work and aren’t broken or frayed.
  • If you have a baby, make sure that their carrier and bed are protected from mosquitoes by using netting.

4. Don your anti-mosquito armor.

If you know that you’re going to be outside and exposed to the buggy threat, try to wear long sleeves, pants, and socks. Tuck everything in (shirt to pants, pants to socks) to make sure there are no weak spots, like ankles, that could get bitten. Orkin’s website also points out that mosquitoes can still bite you if you’re wearing tight clothing, so wear-looser fitting clothes.

5. Find the right bug repellent for your needs.

For added protection, you can use an EPA certified repellent. Make sure to read the label carefully and follow the instructions to the letter. Don’t just spray nilly-willy. This stuff is strong.

For recommendations of EPA-approved bug repellents, you can visit the EPA website here and get a list based on what kind of pest you need protection from and for how long.

6. Stay indoors.

You can always hide inside, too. Sometimes you have to cede the territory to the bugs and try not to be outside in places where you know the bugs are bad. According to Orkin’s website, peak mosquito season is April through October. Mosquitoes like the warmer weather.

7. Change your outdoor lights.

Bugs like light. Mosquitoes are no exception. You can think about swapping the lights outside your house with yellow bug lights that will attract fewer mosquitoes. These lights aren’t repellents, necessarily, but fewer bugs means fewer bites.

So, if you find yourself slapping at more mosquitoes than usual, try some of the above tips. Be aware of the fact that we share our city with mosquitoes and take measures to reduce your chances of bites – and the illnesses that might come with them.

Need insurance? Great! Give us a call today or fill out our quote form and we’ll get you a free quote. Don’t be shy!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you

https://www.orkin.com/press-room/orkin-releases-top-50-mosquito-cities-list/

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/atlanta-tops-the-list-for-most-mosquito-y-city-for-the-fourth-year-straight/436191767

Watch your step – Snakebites on the rise in Georgia for 2017

Take care, Atlanta residents, and watch your step this summer – you don’t want to accidentally tread on someone! Well, more accurately, somesnake. According to an 11Alive news article, snakebites have been on the rise in Georgia since the beginning of the year. With the number of snakebites that have been reported to Georgia Poison Control this year—55 between January and April—we’re on track to break a record.

The 11Alive article reports that Gaylord Lopez, Director of Georgia Poison Control, said that 55 people were bitten in January to May alone, which is a 50% increase over the number of snakebites for that time frame in 2016. In 2016, Lopez said, there were 500 snakebites total—but we’re well on our way to beating that number this year.

With these troublingly snakey stats in mind, let’s talk about what you need to know about snakes and snakebites.

How bad are snakebites from venomous snakes?

Plenty of people aren’t the biggest fans of snakes, but in the article Lopez pointed out that snakebites rarely kill people. There have been only two deaths from snakebites in the past eight or nine years. However, snakebites are not cheap to treat. Antivenom vials can run from $15,000 and $20,000, and most patients need between four and six vials.

In case you were wondering, there are six venomous snakes that live in Georgia: The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the copperhead, the Pigmy Rattlesnake, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Eastern Coral Snake, and the cottonmouth (aka water moccasin).

Why are the snakes biting now?

Lopez points to the warm, mild winter we had this year. Snakes don’t like cold weather, so when it’s warmer they like to come out and slither around. Most snakebites occur in wooded areas or areas near water, but you can still find snakes in the Metro Atlanta area.

Why my house?

Snakes are most attracted to homes with low, thick ground cover like ivy. In an AJC article, Jason Clark of Southeastern Reptile Rescue recommended that homeowners remove low shrubs and leaf piles if they are worried about snakes. He also cites homes with birdfeeders as attracting snakes—squirrels and mice like to hang around birdfeeders, and snakes are looking for a meal. Also, water sources around the home can attract snakes.

In the same article, John Jensen of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section said that nonvenomous snakes are actually very important to the ecosystem, as they keep invasive species in check by eating them. So, you might want to think twice about beheading the offensive creature that’s wandered into your yard. Jensen also reminded us that killing a nonvenomous snake is actually illegal in Georgia.

What should I do if I see a snake?

Jensen said that the best thing to do if you encounter a snake, venomous or not, is to get out of the snake’s space. Just stay calm and put some distance between you and your slithery friend. The snake most likely won’t pursue you, and so long as it’s not threatened it’ll probably leave you alone.

What should I do if someone around me gets bitten, or if I get bitten?

Lopez advised getting a snakebite victim to the hospital ASAP. An AJC article entitled “Boo Hiss to Venom: Snakebite Prevention and Care in Georgia” notes that even if you’re pretty sure that the snake that bit you wasn’t venomous, you still need to go to the hospital for treatment, as the area could get infected.

The Mayo Clinic has some snakebite do’s and don’ts:

DO stay calm and move the victim out of range.

DO take off jewelry or clothing that’s tight-fitting — the area might swell a lot.

DO try to get the victim positioned so that bite is at or below the level of their heart.

DO clean the wound, but don’t flush it out (the doctors will want to know what kind of venom is affecting the victim). Instead, cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

DO NOT use ice or a tourniquet.

DO NOT cut or suck on the wound.

DO NOT give the victim alcohol or caffeine, as this will cause their body to absorb the venom faster.

DO NOT try to apprehend the snake. It could bite again if it feels threatened.

So, there you have it: a crash course in snake-ology. Snakes are a part of life in Georgia, as we have lots of them around. So, if you’re planning to be outside this summer, you might want to take some extra care to avoid being bitten by something with fangs.

 

Want to get a free quote on your insurance? Great! We can get you a quote on home insurance, business insurance, life insurance, renters’ insurance, and auto insurance – take your pick! Just fill out our quote form or call us today and you’ll be on your way.

Sources:

http://www.ajc.com/classifieds/homes/snakes-are-most-attracted-these-kinds-atlanta-homes/LVQCTev81DllKUNbc2WNZI/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-snake-bites/basics/art-20056681

http://www.11alive.com/news/info-you-should-know-if-you-spot-a-snake/438949715

http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/boo-hiss-venom-snake-bite-prevention-and-care-georgia/Awin33kwMc7nuoq65nZUkM/

Protect your online accounts: The Google phishing scam

You might have heard about the latest hack going around – a GoogleDoc link that comes through email. It’ll read “So-and-so has shared a document on GoogleDocs with you.” The body of the message might say that that person has invited you to view something on GoogleDocs. It looks something like this:

DON’T OPEN IT! DON’T CLICK THE BLUE BOX!

Sorry, that was probably a bit much. You’ve probably already heard that this is going on and are aware that bad things will happen if you click that link, but still. We wanted to say it again just in case you haven’t.

So, here’s the deal: Basically this GoogleDoc link connected to an account called hhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com was going around. If you open it, you’re sent to a Google page and asked to allow “GoogleDocs” to access your contacts or account details. The only thing is that it’s not actually GoogleDocs, even though it looks totally real. It’s an app that was created to use Google to access to people’s accounts. So, the victim’s contact info gets swiped and they’re at risk for having their account compromised by a hacker. The email would then spread itself through the stolen contact list.

According to a BBC article, Google said that they had stopped the attack through getting rid of the bogus pages and apps. They moved quickly to stop the problem, which began on Tuesday night. A PC World article recommends that people who are affected check what third-party apps have access their account and to take access away from any that look suspicious. This can be done by running a Google security check up.

Another way to protect your account is to turn on Google’s 2-Step Verification, which asks you for a code when you try to sign in with your password. The code will be sent to your phone, usually by text or call. You enter the code and you’re in. So, if someone did ever steal your password they’d have a harder time getting into your account. It might not be a complete failsafe against all hack attempts, but it does provide extra security to your account.

If you have a home computer that you use frequently, you can tell it to not use 2-Step sign-in again if you’re confident that your computer is safe. It’ll still be needed on other computers, though, so it’ll still catch any strange sign in attempts that happen. That way you won’t have to get a code every single time you try to sign in, but you’re still protected.

Anyways, the moral of the story is don’t open any emails or click any links that look like they could be suspicious. Be careful about what you’re opening and be cautious about your Internet security. You don’t want anyone to get into your account and steal your personal information. That would be a real mess! Be careful to protect your email and other accounts and use strong passwords for them. And when in doubt…don’t click!

Need insurance for your home, car, rental property, business, or life? We can help! Fill out our quote form or call us today and we’ll get you a free quote. We’ll help you find the best coverage at the best possible rate.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39798022

http://fortune.com/2017/05/03/google-docs-scam/

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3194366/security/sneaky-gmail-phishing-attack-fools-with-fake-google-docs-app.html