Why is Energy Efficiency Important? Start with Saving Money.

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Did you know that making a few small adjustments in your home toward energy efficiency can potentially lead to hundreds of dollars in savings each year? For instance, if electronic devices remain plugged in while turned off, they continue to use energy. According to Energy.gov, a power strip that turns on and off when devices are not in use can save up to $100 a year alone! A “smart power strip” is an easy investment that will pay for itself and save you money.

Bigger investments include replacing appliances that are 10 years or older with new, energy efficient models. These machines work better and use fewer resources, like electricity and water. Thinking about purchasing a new refrigerator? ENERGY STAR has a “Refrigerator Retirement Calculator” that allows you to estimate what your savings will be by replacing your current refrigerator.

To get a better understanding of your home’s energy performance, schedule an energy assessment (also referred to as an energy audit).

Click here for the Refrigerator Retirement Calculator. 

Sources:

Energy.gov:  http://energy.gov/articles/resolve-save-energy-year

ENERGY STAR: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator

Staff of the Month: Stephanie Dibble

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As the Loan Servicing Coordinator, Stephanie Dibble plays an important role at NeighborWorks® Rochester! A typical day can include processing loan payments, accounting and title work, creating Discharges, Liens and Satisfactions and answering customer’s questions regarding their loan. Stephanie’s field of study is Finance with a Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Finance; she joined NeighborWorks® Rochester towards the end of 2013 with 7-8 years’ experience in the Title Insurance Industry.

Ms. Dibble’s favorite aspect about working at NeighborWorks® Rochester is the office environment; “it is a small office and laid back, people trust you with a certain amount of freedom. The people here are so nice.” She also stated that the ability to work for the community helping people improve their lives gives one a sense of satisfaction. “You don’t feel like a cog in a machine, you are actually making a difference. I enjoy meeting the loan clients on a personal level and I can put a face to a name.”

In her spare time, Stephanie is an avid reader and can’t say no to a good book! She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her friends, family and fiancé, whom she will be married to in October of 2015. When it’s warm she likes outdoor activity and enjoys trekking to Buffalo each month to visit her grandparents.

“Home to me is a loving, comforting place where you can always find your way back.”

Utility Scams: How to Stay Safe

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Every year, there seems to be more scams concerning energy companies than the previous year. According to NYSEG & RG&E, “Utility customers can be a convenient target for these scammers because unlike retail business customers, most everyone is a customer of an energy company and pays utility bills.” Some scammers approach people at their homes, others do so by phone or e-mail. Customers are then asked to pay current or past due charges. If customers are taken in by the scheme, the scammers pocket any “payment” given.

To stay safe from these traps, NYSEG and RG&E recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Always type the NYSEG or RG&E Web address when making an online payment; do not rely on email links. At nyseg.com and rge.com, customers can check account balances and any past-due amounts.
  • When making a payment by phone, always confirm the NYSEG or RG&E phone numbers. Customers should not make payments by phone to anyone who has contacted them or asked them to dial a number other than a NYSEG or RG&E number.
  • Don’t trust links in emails when paying NYSEG or RG&E by credit card – go directly to nyseg.com or rge.com to complete credit card transactions.
  • If paying by mail, the addresses are: NYSEG, P.O. Box 11745, Newark, NJ07101-4745; RG&E, P.O. Box 11747, Newark, NJ07101-4747.
  • NYSEG and RG&E bills may be paid at an authorized pay agent, at a Walmart location or at a company walk-in office.
  • If paying using an online payment service (for example, through a bank), always follow the payment service’s instructions to ensure account security.
  • Never provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank information to anyone requesting it (over the phone or in person) unless the customer has initiated the contact and feels confident that the transaction is legitimate.
  • NYSEG and RG&E will never ask customers to purchase a debit card to make a payment.
  • To confirm the identity of any NYSEG or RG&E employee: ask for a photo ID card (if in person) or ask for their employee number. Then contact NYSEG (1.800.572.1111) or RG&E (1.800.743.2110) to verify the individual’s identity and the nature of their business. NYSEG and RG&E employees are happy to comply with an identity confirmation request.

For more information, visit their website at: http://www.rge.com/OurCompany/News/2014/020414scamalert.html

 

Have you had a scam experience? Share your story below.

Staff of the Month: Tammy Major

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Have you ever gotten a loan through NeighborWorks® Rochester? If you have in the past year and a half, you have met our Lending Coordinator, Tammy Major.  Through her work here, she educates customers on lending products and services; while meeting one-on-one with clients, she helps them pull together credit report reviews, budgets and getting their finances in order so they can obtain a loan. In addition to meeting with customers on an individual basis, Tammy teaches some of the homebuyer classes, advising her students on their journey to homeownership.

When asked what she enjoys most about working at NeighborWorks® Rochester, she instantly replied: “I enjoy working with our customers and helping them achieve their lending and homeownership goals. We were able to help one customer in particular recently, a retired senior citizen, who was unable to use her kitchen and bathroom. Through the lending program, we were able to help her remodel her bathroom and kitchen. ” She also appreciates her coworkers, the overall environment and believes it is a great team striving towards goals to help our customers.

When there is time outside of work, Tammy loves spending time with her husband and kids. One big thing that she likes taking her kids to is the library to pick out books. They also enjoy spending time watching movies, playing games and spending time outside.

To Tammy, home means security, achievement and happiness.

A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

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Photo : Graphics99.com

This three part series will offer ways to engage your neighbors whether you have never spoken or you’ve already exchanged house keys. Check out last week’s article if you haven’t already!

Part III: Friends Forever

By this time, you have met, shared meals and probably bought something from  your neighbor’s yard sale. It’s time to be real friends. Think of how convenient it would be to live next door to your close friends. You can visit easily, borrow a tool or drop off the kids in the blink of an eye.

  1. Parents Night Out- Drop the kids off and hit the town. Keep it just the two of you or have a few couples come out and enjoy a local restaurant. Maybe the group can hire a few babysitters and have all the kids at one location.
  2. Field Day- If your neighborhood has a lot of kids, it’s a good bet that they are looking for something to do in the summer. Try hosting a field day with different challenges. This can be located right in your yard or team up with your neighbors for various locations.
  3. Porch Fest- If your home has a porch, what better way to enjoy the summer than a comfy chair and an iced cold beverage! Your porch allows you to interact with neighbors passing by easily. You can take this practice to the next level by organizing music or bard game stations from each porch.

Michelle

Article written by Michelle Kraines, Healthy Blocks Program Assistant at NeighborWorks® Rochester. You’ll find Michelle out and about in the neighborhoods of Rochester, working through Healthy Blocks to implement neighborhood revitalization! 

A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

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Photo : Steve Coffey

Remember that your off campus neighbors live just feet away. Maintain a

This three part series will offer ways to engage your neighbors whether you have never spoken or you’ve already exchanged house keys. Check out last weeks article if you haven’t already!

Part II: Getting to Know You

The next level of engagement with your neighbors goes beyond learning names and general information. One way to do this is through different group activities. Group activities are a great way to interact with several neighbors at once. It also takes the pressure off any one individual or couple.

  1. Garage Sale- There is nothing like a neighborhood garage sale to bring people together. Everyone is outside, bored and ready to chat by 2pm. Maybe you can bake some treats for the sellers to get through the day.
  2. Movie Night- Movies are a great way to get a group together. This is less intimidating for some folks because the focus is on the movie. Offer popcorn or sundaes before the movie starts; it gives people time to mingle. Movie night scan be done inside a home theatre or projected outside in a park or backyard.
  3. Cook-Off- From chili to pie to cheese burgers, everyone loves to sample all the contenders in a food cook-off. Cooking is a great way to get to know your neighbors. It can lead to shared recipes and future dinners together.

 

Michelle

Article written by Michelle Kraines, Healthy Blocks Program Assistant at NeighborWorks® Rochester. You’ll find Michelle out and about in the neighborhoods of Rochester, working through Healthy Blocks to implement neighborhood revitalization! 

A wonderful day in the neighborhood

In today’s busy culture, one hardly has the time to notice shifts in the neighborhood, let alone having the time to say hello to neighbors. However, community has been shown to be an incredible force in people’s lives. Building relationships with your neighborhood promotes the stability of the community; people want to stay where they feel accepted and supported. In case of an emergency, your car won’t start, a babysitter backed out last minute, or maybe you do need to borrow that cup of sugar, community can make all the difference. Having a sense of belonging and importance resonates for every age, with the potential to lead healthier and happier lives.

This three part series will offer ways to engage your neighbors whether you have never spoken or you’ve already exchanged house keys.

Part I: New Neighbors

  1. Knock, Knock- For most of us, the first time you approach your neighbor’s door is always intimidating. There’s no trick or good advice, except do it! Set a date and break the ice. Make sure you set up a “next time” so that it isn’t two years later, and you can’t quite remember their names. Ask them to have coffee or tea. Introductions are important, but establishing that next step is even more critical for growing relationships.
  2. Attend Neighborhood Meetings- Many neighborhoods have organized meetings on a regular basis. Look into the active organizations in your neighborhood. Information about this can be found through the Internet or local services such as libraries, businesses or local government institutions. Then, you can stay in contact with the group via newsletters and other social interactions online.
  3. House Tour- Opening your home is a great way to get to know your neighbors. This gathering can be after you have settled in or maybe after a kitchen renovation. Providing lite refreshments or hosting a potluck is also a great way to win everyone over!

Article written by Michelle Kraines, Healthy Blocks Program Assistant at NeighborWorks® Rochester. 

Staff of the Month: Lynnette Robinson

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Lynnette Robinson, Homeownership Advisor, began working at NeighborWorks® Rochester in January of 2013 as the FIS Landlord Initiative Coordinator and in May moved to her current position. Her typical day includes working as a collections liaison and making sure customers that have taken out a loan will not go into default. A key part of her process is building relationships with homeowners and making the process easier for them: “my mission is to bring them above water and help them stay there.” She stated that one of the aspects she likes most about working here would be “the people. Everybody; the customers and coworkers are wonderful.”

Prior to NeighborWorks® Rochester, Lynnette was unemployed for three years, during which she spent 50-60 hours a week volunteering as a community capacity builder. Part of this included building up neighborhoods through block clubs and community activities. Her main areas of time were spent in the southwest portion of the city and the 19th ward, where NeighborWorks® Rochester was well known. Because of her hard work in the community, Eric Van Dusen, COO of NeighborWorks® Rochester, contacted Lynnette regarding an available position. Although busy with her new role, she is still deeply involved in the community.

When asked the question of what she does in her spare Lynnette jokes, “I don’t have any.” Quickly following the joke she made sure to voice her desire to continually connect with personal friends. She also enjoys planning events, parties and likes to make people happy.

Home to Lynnette means “security, safety, pride and love”

Biography of Migdalia Toro

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” Home to me means a warm, inviting family place filled with peace, comfort, love, laughter, and dreams.”

Personal

Migdalia Toro known as Maggie Toro was born to Felix Luis Otero, blue collar worker, and Ana Celia Otero, homemaker, in Coamo, Puerto Rico. Within her first year of life, her parents moved to Brooklyn, New York and in her second year her mother became legally blind; her family continued to live in Brooklyn in the Farragut Housing projects next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Fort Greene. Her educational journey began in Brooklyn until 7th grade, at which point, her parents had decided there was too much violence in the schools, and sent both her and her brother Luis Alberto to Salinas, Puerto Rico to finish school.  Once Migdalia graduated high school, she attended one semester at the Inter American University of Rio Piedras, and decided to return to Brooklyn to complete her college education. She has been happily married to her husband Luis Norberto Toro for 15 years, who was also raised in Brooklyn, but their lives crossed paths in Rochester. Her brother, in fact, was her husband’s mailman in Brooklyn.

Career

Mrs. Toro is the Homeownership Coordinator for NeighborWorks® Rochester. She is responsible for teaching Homeownership classes, providing program budgeting, and counseling participants on credit. Through the Homeownership Program in 2012, Migdalia helped create 123 brand new homeowners. Through her time here she has been trained at several national NeighborWorks® Training and received certification in Homeownership Education, Mortgage Lending, Homeownership Counseling, and Foreclosure. She received the NeighborWorks Rochester 2011 Employee of the year Award.

Prior to joining NeighborWorks® Rochester, Mrs. Toro was a Certified Credit Counselor and Housing Counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester providing Credit and Debt Management Counseling, Bankruptcy Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention During this time, she taught Money Management, Energy Conservation to RG&E’s Recap Program participants, and Pre and Post Bankruptcy Classes. Additionally, in 2009, Mrs. Toro volunteered to be a Financial Coach in C.A.S.H. where she helped a program participant achieve their financial dream of becoming a homeowner.

From 1980 to 1987 Migdalia worked as a Legal Assistant for a Brooklyn Law firm Weinbaum & Price focusing on Real Estate, Landlord and Tenant law. Both attorneys from the firm took Migdalia under their wings, and taught her how to complete Case Law Research, write Legal Briefs, process Real Estate Closings, and accomplish writing her first Appeal at the age of 19. In the fall of 1987, Mrs. Toro moved with her parents and brother to Rochester. She worked as a Legal Assistant at the Law firm of Pauley and Barney, focusing on Matrimonial and Real Estate Law while volunteering at her Church on weekends and traveling with her brother to the Mink Farm in Bloomfield, New York to teach Religious Education to the children of the Migrant workers.  In 1990, she worked as a Billing Specialist for St. Mary’s Hospital Satellite Offices near Clinton Avenue and Dewey Avenue doing third party billing.

In 1991, she worked as a Pastoral Assistant for St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church organizing Liturgical Celebrations, and teaching Religious Education to the Youth Group.  She also was a participating member of the Diocese of Rochester’s Synod Committee, and would travel to Geneva, New York for the meetings. In 1992, she worked for DiMarco and Riley Law firm focusing on Collection, and Real Estate Law. In 1995, Mrs. Toro went on to work for 8 years with Mr. DiMarco’s brother at Admar Supply Company as Credit and Collection Specialist. In 2004 she worked as Accounts Receivable and Collection Specialist for Dox Electronics.

Education

Mrs. Toro received her BA in Political Science in 1984 from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn New York. While attending, she was a Senator on the Student Government Council and received an award for her dedication and service to the History and Political Science Society. She participated in The History and Political Society’s fundraisers, and raised $3,000.00 to help with the repairs of the Statue of Liberty Torch.

Staff of the Month: Ted Colucci

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Ted Colucci, Lending & Homeownership Program Manager, travels the hallways of NeighborWorks® Rochester with his witty and jovial demeanor. With a positive outlook, Ted continuously looks for ways to move his department forward. He has been working here since May of 2012, yet that doesn’t mark the beginning of his involvement with NeighborWorks® Rochester; he originally began as a board member three years prior to becoming staff.

Although most of his profession was spent working for credit companies, he began wondering if there was a workplace that could use his professional skills while giving back to the community. This led him to have a conversation with NeighborWorks® Rochester’s CEO, Kim Brumber. Little did he know that while he was looking, NeighborWorks® Rochester was also looking for someone to work in lending and homeownership.  On a typical day, he works with folks to determine eligibility for rehab and repair as well as overseeing classes for homeownership and home repair.

One of his favorite things about work is the team he collaborates with to benefit the community. “We have a very mission-centric team; I enjoy working with the folks here because the attitude we coalesce around.” He also enjoys developing new projects and outreach opportunities.

With any extra time, Ted plays golf and reads; “I just love books” he exclaims, and spends time in the local library. He also spends time with his wife Roberta and critters, gardens, woodworks and has his hands full with Andy his terrier and his cats Pawlie, Beanie, Cecil and Wally.

Home to Ted means friends, family, safety and his wife and five pets.