Firefighter Bryan Fredrickson is in a unique position. As owner and operator of A Fireman’s Chimney Sweep, he fights fires before they start. His goal is to never have to respond to your home or business as a firefighter. “As a firefighter, my job is after the fact; the emergency has already happened. I wanted to do prevention.”
Bryan’s passion for firefighting was ignited when he was only 3. Back then, it was all about the truck. “There’s nothing like riding on a fire engine.” He’s been a firefighter for 10 years, since he was 18, and now works full time for the Meridian Fire Department. “It’s more of a passion than a job,” he said. “I like the idea of going to work and not knowing what I’m going to see.” But he’d rather not respond to preventable, sometimes tragic situations. So he became licensed through the Chimney Safety Institute of America and serves the Treasure Valley in inspection, correction and maintenance.
With winter less than a month away and temperatures dropping, Bryan encourages everyone who uses a wood-burning unit for heat to have it inspected regularly. “I recommend an inspection every year until you know how much buildup you get from burning.” Buildup varies by type of fuel, frequency and method of use and other factors such as materials used for fire-starter. Wet wood causes more buildup than dry. Stoking and then dampening a fire for long-term low heat, such as overnight, also causes more buildup than a hot, quick burn.
Bryan offers these tips for safety:
* Have your chimney inspected every year by a CSIA-certified professional. Visit www.csia.org to search by zip code.
* Use dry wood only.
* Build smaller, hotter fires.
* Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, wrapping paper or Christmas trees. They can spark a chimney fire. There are fire-starting products on the market that can help reduce buildup.
* Install a stovepipe thermometer to monitor flue temperatures.
* Install and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis.
A Fireman’s Chimney Sweep offers no-mess cleaning and inspection by using drop cloths and a coiled rod system connected to a vacuum hose. There’s no dust and no smell. They inspect chimneys, fireplaces and dryer vents. They’ll also do a complete safety inspection and check for recalls. More information is available at www.firemanchimney.com. The best time to have an inspection is in the spring, after your last fire. If you missed that window, your wait time might be longer but they’ll get you on the schedule. Call (208) 890-4588.
“I’m always happy to answer questions,” Bryan said. “And I want to thank my past customers for your business. I look forward to working with you in the future.”
Circle G River Ranch is 175 acres of equine bliss perched above the Payette River and bordered on all sides by nature. It’s a special place, and that makes it a great venue for the Ride for Joy Therapeutic Riding Program that caters to children with special needs.
Circle G may be best known in Gem County for its popular annual Kids’ Christmas Party that was attended by more than 700 people last year. The event is not on the calendar this year, but kids remain the primary focus at the Gem County ranch, Circle G owner Lettie Guinn said.
Since spring 2012, the non-profit Ride for Joy program has called Circle G River Ranch home. "It's a beautiful location and it has wonderful facilities," Program Manager and Certified Instructor Teri Argo said. "We have a lot of needs and Lettie is willing to meet them."
Ride for Joy offers one-hour sessions three times a week to children ages 4-18 as well as a day camp in the summer for children with special needs and their siblings. The therapy offers physical benefits as well as bonding opportunities. "Therapeutic riding can help with muscle development, balance, speech and communication as well as calming,” Guinn said. Children may also help groom, saddle and ready their horses for sessions. The horses are boarded at Circle G and brought into the indoor stalls just before lessons begin. This gives the children and their parents a comfortable place for riding and viewing.
Ride for Joy is sanctioned by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship and is currently pursuing accreditation to work with veterans through the Wounded Warriors program. Argo said the goal is to have that program up and running by spring 2014. “We’re always in need of volunteers, and I’d like to see more Gem County residents get involved with us,” she said.
Circle G River Ranch caters to local 4-H clubs and has added a meeting room and hosts arena play days. The ranch’s calendar of events also includes clinics, such as the Backcountry Horsemen’s packing clinic, riding lessons and seminars, equine massage and weddings.
Circle G is a full-service equine boarding facility that offers two outdoor riding arenas, an indoor arena, two round pens and 10 paddocks, most of which have natural running water. There’s even a “geriatric pen” for older horses. A newer custom barn features 10 rustic-style stalls. All of it is well-maintained, clean and secure, and available for public rent.
For more information about the Ride for Joy program and volunteer opportunities, call (208) 365-0671 or visit www.rideforjoy.org. For information about Circle G facilities, call Lettie at (208) 398-8636 or visit www.circlegriverranch.com.
Family business is thriving in both local and national market
With listings on 180 websites nationwide and a virtual tour for every home it has on contract, Evans Realty has embraced the technology of a global market. But what defines the company is its roots as a small-town real estate office that gives back to its community. “We were taught that as children, and it’s important for us to keep that philosophy,” Broker Teena Turner said.
Evans Realty opened its doors in 1985, at the same South Washington Avenue location where its recognizable green sign and concrete depiction of the Gem State welcome visitors today; the same location where Colburn Realty set up shop in the 1940s and where realtors Bernie Gratton & Co. would follow.
Teena and her mom, Rose, were the first in the family to become licensed realtors in 1977, followed by her dad, Allen, two years later. In 1993, brother John licensed and became a partner in 1998, when their dad retired.
Today, there are 17 agents and three support staff operating under the Evans name, and each one is active in the community. From sponsorship of the Emmett Cherry Festival to helping out with the Friendship Dinners on Tuesday, everyone plays a part. “We focus our hiring around that, too,” Teena said.
Teena got her start in the industry at age 16, when she went to work for Eddie Heath as a part-time real estate secretary. Since then, she has served on the Idaho Realtors Association as a professional standards and ethics mediator, is a licensed real estate instructor and in 2007 was named Idaho Realtor of the Year.
Her involvement at the state level “keeps us up on the market and really involved in the industry,” she said. “It allows me to grow and allows our team to grow.” Evans Realty’s reputation is growing, too. “We’ve been asked several times to franchise, but we want to stay local,” Teena said.
As a key player in residential and commercial real estate in Gem County, Evans Realty has seen improvements in the market as a more stable economy is helping to push modest increases in home values. “Sales prices have increased to the point where a lot of people who were under water are able to sell now,” Teena said.
A market analysis of the first nine months of this year shows that 31 percent of local home listings are “distressed,” meaning they’re foreclosures, short sales, or REO- or HUD-owned. At one point in 2010, 80 percent of home sales in gem County were distressed, she said. “We’re feeling very optimistic about the market. We’ve worked ourselves through an extremely difficult market, and we’re here to help anyone and everyone. We’re here to stay.”
These are seasonal tips. If you have extra space to fill, please feel free to include. Thanks!
The holiday market
“Don’t be afraid to put your house on the market during the holidays,” Teena said. Internet shopping is alive and well, and weather doesn’t have the same impact that it once did. Buyers are still looking through the holidays, and with lower inventory during the winter, November and December can be the best months for you to sell.