May is DECK SAFETY MONTH

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May is National DECK SAFETY MONTH

  • deckCollapseSplit or Decayed Wood – Check for split or decaying wood. Inspect cracks with a flathead screwdriver; if you can insert it more than ¼ inch into any cracks, or if the wood feels spongy or breaks off without splintering, this could indicate rot. Keep an eye out for holes, which could mean insects have burrowed in and made a home.
  • The Ledger Board is the weight bearing board that connects the deck to your house. Make sure it’s attached securely and that the flashing is doing its job.
  • Grills, Fire Pits, Chimneys, and Heaters – They add atmosphere and ambience to your outdoor experience, but are also a source of potential risk. Make sure you operate safely.
  • Trees – Inspect nearby and overhanging limbs. Trim away as necessary.
  • Electrical – Check all electrical outlets and lighting for proper operation. Install GFCI outlets and make childproof.
  • Railings and Banisters – Are they solid and secure? If not, now is the time to make them safe for you and your guests.

Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you.http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

Trampolines

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Trampolin Unfall Mädchen hat Finger gebrochenMost trampoline-related fractures occurred in kids – 92.7 percent occurred in people ages 16 and younger.

More than one million people went to the ER for trampoline-related injuries between 2002 and 2011 according to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics study, at a cost of over $1 Billion dollars.

More than half of broken bones were in the upper extremities — 59.9 percent — while 35.7 percent were in the lower extremities.

The most common upper extremity fractures were of the

• forearm (37 percent)
• elbow (19 percent)

while the most common lower extremely injuries were of the

• tibia/fibula
• lower leg (39.5 percent)
• ankle (31.5 percent)

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, ” mini and full-sized trampolines never be used at home, in routine gym classes, or on playgrounds. They should only be used in supervised training programs for gymnastics, diving, or other competitive sports. Only one person should be allowed on a trampoline at any given time.”

But, if you choose to ignore their advice, they recommend the following safety precautions:

Adult supervision at all times
• Only ONE jumper on the trampoline at a time
• No somersaults performed
• Adequate protective padding on the trampoline that is in good condition and appropriately placed
• Check all equipment often
• When damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced

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Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you.http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

Missouri Fence Laws

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Missouri Fence Laws

Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 272 – Fences and Enclosures
272.010 Section 272.020.1 272.030

barbedWireBorder

Fencing requirements

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272.020.

1. Any fence consisting of posts and wire or boards at least four feet high which is mutually agreed upon by adjoining landowners or decided upon by the associate circuit court of the county is a lawful fence.

2. All posts shall be set firmly in the ground not more than twelve feet apart with wire or boards securely fastened to such posts and placed at proper distances apart to resist horses, cattle and other similar livestock.

Sourcehttp://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/27200000201.html

(RSMo 1939 § 14570, A.L. 2001 H.B. 219 merged with S.B. 462)
Prior revisions: 1929 § 12907; 1919 § 5512; 1909 § 6455

For more information about Fence Laws, please vist the Missouri Extension’s website at http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G811

fencelaws_CountiesThatHaveOptedOut

 

Meramec Valley publishes this as informational only and in no way guarantees or warranties the accuracy of the information about this particular law. For up-to-the-minute information about Fence Laws, please consult your attorney.

Cost Versus Value

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cheaper

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything,  because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The
common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”  ― John Ruskin

Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you. http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

Governor Thomas Fletcher

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Thomas Clement Fletcher
Born: January 21, 1827, Herculaneum, MO
Died: March 25, 1899
Governor of Missouri (1865–1869)

Thomas Clement Fletcher was the 18th Governor of Missouri during the latter stages of the American Civil War and the early part of Reconstruction. He was the first Missouri governor to be born in the state.

During the Civil War, he was Colonel of the 31st Missouri Volunteer Infantry in the Union army from 1862 until 1864, when he became Colonel of the 47th Missouri Volunteer Infantry. In 1862 he was captured at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou and taken to Libby Prison, and then exchanged in May 1863. He was present at the fall of Vicksburg and the Battle of Chattanooga, and commanded a brigade in the Atlanta Campaign.

Fletcher was nominated for governor of Missouri by the National Union Party and elected in 1864. He served from 1865 to 1869, and issued the proclamation abolishing slavery in the state. After serving as governor, Fletcher returned to St. Louis and practiced law for a time. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he continued to practice until his death in 1899.

His restored home is on Elm Street in Hillsboro, Missouri.

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Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance located next to the historic Thomas Fletcher Home in Hillsboro, Missouri is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you.http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

Take An Identity Theft Vulnerability Test

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Online Theft

Are you one of the 33.4 million American victims of identity theft since 1990? Consumer out-of-pocket expenses have totaled $1.5 billion annually since January 2001.

  • 34% say someone obtained their credit card information, forged a credit card in their name, and used it to make purchases.
  • 12% say someone stole or obtained improperly a paper or computer record with their personal information on it and used that to forge their identity.
  • 11% say someone stole their wallet or purse and used their identity.
  • 10% say someone opened charge accounts in stores in their name and made purchases as them.
  • 7% say someone opened a bank account in their name or forged checks and obtained money from their account.
  • 7% say someone got to their mail or mailbox and used information there to steal their identity.
  • 5% say they lost their wallet or purse and someone used their identity.
    4% say someone went to a public record and used information there to steal their identity.
  • 3% say someone created false IDs and posed as them to get government benefits or payments.
  • 16% say it was a friend, relative or co-worker who stole their identity.

Are You at Risk for Identity Theft? Test Your “Identity Quotient”

  • I receive several offers of pre-approved credit every week. (5 Points)
  • Add 5 points if you do not shred them before putting them in the trash.
  • I carry my Social Security card in my wallet. (10 points)
  • My slate driver’s license has my Social Security Number (SSN) printed on it, and I have not contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles to request a different number. (10 points)
  • I do not have a PO Box or a locked, secured mailbox. (5 points)
  • I use an unlocked, open box at work or at my home to drop off my outgoing mail. (10 points)
  • I carry my military ID in my wallet at all times. (10 points)
  • I do not shred or tear banking or credit information when I throw it in the trash. (10 points)
  • I provide my Social Security Number whenever asked, without asking questions as to how that information will be safeguarded. (10 points)
  • Add 5 points if you provide it orally without checking to see who might be listening.
  • I am required to use my SSN at work as an employee ID or at college as a student ID number. (5 points)
  • My SSN is printed on my employee badge that I wear at work or in public. Or it is posted on my time card in full view if others, or is on other documents frequently seen by many others in my workplace. (10 points)
  • I have my SSN and/or driver’s license number printed on my personal checks. (10 points)
  • I am listed in a “Who’s Who” guide. (5 points)
  • I carry my insurance card in my wallet and either my SSN or that of my spouse is the ID number. (10 points)
  • I have not ordered a copy of my credit reports for at least 2 years. (20 points)
  • I do not believe that people would root around in my trash looking for credit or financial information or looking for documents containing my SSN. (10 points)

Each one of these questions represents a possible avenue for an identity theft.

Understanding Your Score:

  • 100+ points – Recent surveys* indicate that 7-10 million people were victims of ID theft last year. You are at high risk. We recommend you purchase a paper shredder, become more security-aware in document handling, and start to question why people need your personal data.
  • 50-100 points – Your odds of being victimized are about average. Higher if you have good credit.
  • 0-50 points – Congratulations. You have a high “IQ.” Keep up the good work and don’t let your guard down now.

“For information on recent identity theft survey findings, visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse web site at https://www.privacyrights.org/ar/idtheftsurveys.htm

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Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri.

Meramec Valley offers Identity Recovery protection as an optional and valuable addition to their line of insurance products. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you. http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

 

 

Take An Identity Theft Vulnerability Test

Storm Safety

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KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

TORNADO WATCH – Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!
TORNADO WARNING – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

STAY SAFE!

  • Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA web site.
  • Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs such as dark, often greenish cloudsa phenomenon caused by hail.

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Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you. http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

8 Essential Tips for Accidental Landlords

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for-rent-rental-home-renting

It seems like a great idea at first.

Your home value has tanked and since selling isn’t an option in this anemic housing market, you slather a new coat of paint in the basement and stick a Room For Rent sign in the front window.

With so many cash-strapped consumers scrambling to scoop up rentals these days, why wouldn’t taking on a tenant or two be an easy way to bring in extra income?  If only it were that….

Keep reading here

Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you.http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

Cheap Flood Insurance

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toteBox

Here’s the cheapest insurance you can find.

All basements leak sooner or later and leaky basements along with the damage caused by all those flood waters aren’t covered by your homeowners insurance. But, storing your more valuable possessions in plastic totes can be some of the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy. It’s definitely cheaper than your $1,000 deductible!

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge

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sandyCreekCoveredBridge

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, listed in the National Register of Historic Places outside Hillsboro, Missouri is one of six bridges built in 1872. It allowed passage from the Jefferson County seat of Hillsboro to St. Louis.

Jefferson County embarked on a building program following the American Civil War and paid John H. Morse $2000 for the construction of Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in 1872. Morse built Sandy Creek Covered Bridge using the Howe-truss design, named for William Howe. Howe patented his design in 1840, which featured the use of vertical rods to draw wooden members tight against the top and bottom of the bridge. Three of the four remaining covered bridges in Missouri were built using the Howe-truss design, including Sandy Creek, Burfordville and Locust Creek covered bridges.

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge remained intact until the spring flood of 1886 destroyed it. In August of the same year, Henry Steffin rebuilt the bridge to the original specifications and approximate configurations, using some of the original timbers and abutments. The project cost the county $899.

The main purpose behind covering bridges is to protect the intricate structural network of iron and timber trusses from the weather. The coverings also added strength, which reduced sagging and listing. Riders in uncovered buggies and carriages often used the bridges as shelters from the wind, snow and rain.

In 1967, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill authorizing the Missouri State Park Board to take possession of, repair, and preserve the five remaining covered bridges in the state.

The bridge is 74.5 feet high and 18 feet 10 inches wide and has a height of 13 feet.

The site, a 205-acre day use facility complete with picnic tables, toilet facilities, and interpretive display is open 8 a.m. to one-half hour after sunset and is closed in January each year. Map at http://tinyurl.com/qf998ul

Meramec Valley Mutual Insurance is a Missouri-only (policy-owner-owned) insurance company established in 1887 and located in Hillsboro, Missouri. For more information about becoming a part of this 128 year old company, please contact one of our professional agents nearest you. http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

 

 

7 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress

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Happy Christmas elf

7 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress

1. Do less, enjoy more.
2. Stick with your routine. Prioritize.
3. Take time to laugh at least once a day.
4. Start a brand new custom or tradition this year.
5. Volunteer a little time to a worthy cause.
6. Plan tech-free times.
7. Take a walk or exercise.

 

If you’d like a Cost and Coverage Comparison,
please visit with any of our fine agents in the area! 

http://mymutual.net/for-an-agent-near-you/

25 Tips for Perfecting Your E-mail Etiquette

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emaillogo25 Tips for Perfecting Your E-mail Etiquette

In the age of the Internet, you might find yourself clicking “reply,” typing up a quick response, and hitting “send” without giving so much as a thought about what you’ve just written. But experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally. Inc.com got in touch with some of the industry’s most seasoned e-mail experts and had them weigh in on how to perfect your e-mail etiquette.

1. Only discuss public matters. We’ve all heard the stories about a “private” e-mail that ended up being passed around to the entire company, and in some cases, all over the Internet. One of the most important things to consider when it comes to e-mail etiquette is whether the matter you’re discussing is a public one, or something that should be talked about behind closed doors. Ask yourself if the topic being discussed is something you’d write on company letterhead or post on a bulletin board for all to see before clicking “send.” –Judith Kallos, author of E-Mail Etiquette Made Easy, E-Mail: The Manual, and E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide

2. Briefly introduce yourself. Do not assume the person receiving your e-mail knows who you are, or remembers meeting you. If you are uncertain whether the recipient recognizes your e-mail address or name, include a simple reminder of who you are in relation to the person you are reaching out to; a formal and extensive biography of yourself is not necessary. –Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2007

3. Don’t “e-mail angry.” E-mailing with bad news, firing a client or vendor, expressing anger, reprimanding someone, disparaging other people in e-mails (particularly if you’re saying something less than kind about your boss) are all major no-no’s. Because e-mail can seem so informal, many people fall into this trap. Always remember that e-mail correspondence lasts forever. –Lindsey Pollak, career and workplace expert, e-mail etiquette consultant, and author of Getting From College to Career

4. Use exclamation points sparingly. The maximum number of exclamation points in a business e-mail? One. Otherwise, you risk looking childish and unprofessional. –Pollak

5. Be careful with confidential information. Refrain from discussing confidential information in e-mails such as someone’s tax information or the particulars of a highly-sensitive business deal. Should the e-mail get into the wrong person’s hands, you could face serious – even legal – repercussions. –Peter Post, director of the Burlington, Vermont-based Emily Post Institute, which offers etiquette advice and answers to manners questions such as wedding etiquette, parenting issues and table manners.

6. Respond in a timely fashion. Unless you work in some type of emergency capacity, it’s not necessary to be available the instant an e-mail arrives. Depending on the nature of the e-mail and the sender, responding within 24 to 48 hours is acceptable. –Duncan

7. Refrain from sending one-liners. “Thanks,” and “Oh, OK” do not advance the conversation in any way. Feel free to put “No Reply Necessary” at the top of the e-mail when you don’t anticipate a response. –Duncan

8. Avoid using shortcuts to real words, emoticons, jargon, or slang. Words from grown, business people using shortcuts such as “4 u” (instead of “for you”), “Gr8″ (for great) in business-related e-mail is not acceptable. If you wouldn’t put a smiley face or emoticon on your business correspondence, you shouldn’t put it in an e-mail message. Any of the above has the potential to make you look less than professional. –Duncan

9. Keep it clean. Nothing annoys recipients more than when people reply and leave the messages messy, for example, an e-mail chain that includes excessive carets (>>>), or pages and pages of e-mail addresses that weren’t protected using Bcc. You can get rid of carets by selecting the text, Ctrl+F to use the Find and Replace command to find a caret and replace all of them with nothing. You can get rid of all the e-mail addresses just by deleting. Clean it up, then send it. –Duncan

10. Be clear in your subject line. With inboxes being clogged by hundreds of e-mails a day, it’s crucial that your subject line gets to the point. It should be reasonably simple and descriptive of what you have written about. Expect that any e-mail with a cute, vague, or obscure subject will get trashed. Also, proof your subject line as carefully as you would proof the rest of the e-mail. –Post

11. Don’t get mistaken for Spam. Avoid subject lines that are in all caps, all lower case, and those that include URLs and exclamation points – which tend to look like Spam to the recipient. –Judith Kallos, author of E-Mail Etiquette Made Easy, E-Mail: The Manual, and E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide

12. Your subject line must match the message. Never open an old e-mail, hit Reply, and send a message that has nothing to do with the previous one. Do not hesitate to change the subject as soon as the thread or content of the e-mail chain changes. –Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2007

13. Provide a warning when sending large attachments. Sending unannounced large attachments can clog the receiver’s inbox and cause other important e-mails to bounce. If you are sending something that is over 500KB, senders should ask, ‘Would you mind if I sent you an attachment? When would be the best time for you?’ –Kallos

14. No more than two attachments, and provide a logical name. Unless it’s been specifically requested, refrain from sending a message with more than two attachments. Also, give the attached file(s) a logical name so the recipient knows at a glance the subject and the sender. –Duncan

15. Send or copy others only on a need to know basis. Before you click Reply All or put names on the Cc or Bcc lines, ask yourself if all the recipients need the information in your message. If they don’t, why send it? Take time to send your messages to the right people. –Duncan

16. Beware of the “reply all.Do not hit “reply all” unless every member on the e-mail chain needs to know. You want to make sure that you are not sending everyone on a list your answer—whether they needed to know or not. –Duncan

17. Pick up the phone. When a topic has lots of parameters that need to be explained or negotiated and will generate too many questions and confusion, don’t handle it via e-mail. Also, e-mail should not be used for last minute cancellations of meetings, lunches, interviews, and never for devastating news. If you have an employee or a friend you need to deliver bad news to, a phone call is preferable. If it’s news you have to deliver to a large group, e-mail is more practical. –Duncan

18. Evaluate the importance of your e-mail. Don’t overuse the high priority option. If you overuse this feature, few people will take it seriously. A better solution is to use descriptive subject lines that explain exactly what a message is about. –Duncan

19. Maintain privacy. If you’re sending a message to a group of people and you need to protect the privacy of your list, you should always use “Bcc.” Additionally, avoid giving out e-mail addresses to a third party (such as an Evite, newsletter, etc). Make sure that addresses you willingly hand over to third parties stay with them, especially when the service they’re offering is free. –Duncan

20. Keep it short and get to the point. The long e-mail is a thing of the past. Write concisely, with lots of white space, so as to not overwhelm the recipient. Make sure when you look at what you’re sending it doesn’t look like a burden to read – feel free to use bullet points. The person reading your e-mail should not have to dig through several paragraphs in order to figure out what you’re asking. You should state the purpose of the e-mail within the first two sentences. Be clear, and be up front. –Lindsey Pollak, career and workplace expert, e-mail etiquette consultant, and author of Getting From College to Career

21. Know your audience. Your e-mail greeting and sign-off should be consistent with the level of respect and formality of the person you’re communicating with. Also, write for the person who will be reading it – if they tend to be very polite and formal, write in that language. The same goes for a receiver who tends to be more informal and relaxed. –Lindsey Pollak, career and workplace expert, e-mail etiquette consultant, and author of Getting From College to Career

22. Always include a signature. You never want someone to have to look up how to get in touch with you. If you’re social media savvy, include all of your social media information in your signature as well. Your e-mail signature is a great way to let people know more about you, especially when your e-mail address is does not include your full name or company. –Pollak

23. Only use an auto-responder when necessary. An automatic response that says, “Thank you for your e-mail message. I will respond to you as soon as I can” is useless. However, one thing these messages do great is alert spammers that your e-mail is real and that they can add you to their spam list. –Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2007

24. Train your staff. Business owners should make sure their staff is trained in e-mail communications – don’t assume they know what they’re doing, and what is considered professional. Set up e-mail standards that everyone at the company should abide by. –Pollak

25. Your e-mail is a reflection of you. Every e-mail you send adds to, or detracts from your reputation. If your e-mail is scattered, disorganized, and filled with mistakes, the recipient will be inclined to think of you as a scattered, careless, and disorganized businessperson. Other people’s opinions matter and in the professional world, their perception of you will be critical to your success. –Peter Post, director of the Burlington, Vermont-based Emily Post Institute, which offers etiquette advice and answers to manners questions such as wedding etiquette, parenting issues and table manners.

Source: http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/email-etiquette.html