Recent Community Posts
A Thank You to all Firefighters
Firefighters, real life heroes in our communities. Thank you for you all that you do.
On May 4th, 2018 we will be celebrating International Firefighters Day (IFFD). It is a day to pay our respects to all the firefighters of the past and present who have, and continue to risk their lives. Every firefighter, man or woman, deserves recognition.
The job of a firefighter is an extremely selfless job. Often, the rewards a firefighter gets are not that of material possession. It is an intangible reward. It can be something as simple as the look in a survivors eyes whom they’ve helped rescue. Or a grateful, joyous smile of a child as a family is reunited, safe and sound.
As a firefighter, it can be a self-esteem boost to know that your actions have made a positive impact in another person’s life. Few things can compare to the sense of pride in one’s community, to know that their constant efforts help to protect the community that they endear. This profession helps to create strong, informal leaders of mankind, and a parental figure to those in a time of need.
Although these rewards are not a physical possession to be held, they are much harder to obtain than diamonds. The value of such an internally personal reward cannot be measured by any current system in existence. This is why we must take the time to pay homage to all of the men and women who constitute the firefighter departments around the world. For although we may not be able to give them anything of material possession, a showing of gratitude, respect, and a sincere appreciation is the least we can do for these extraordinary members of our society, whom help protect human lives all around the world.
So on behalf of all of us at SERVPRO: thank you to all of the men and women who serve and protect their communities all over the world. Please enjoy this poem by Nadia De Levea:
Thin Red Line
by Nadia DeLevea
Though flames may roar,
And raging fires sore.
When fear stricken heart,
We always play our part.
The bleak unsure smoke rises dense and dark,
Each moment grows longer with each little spark.
No matter the struggle we keep fighting through,
Alert and aware we know what we must do.
Blink to a hand just before
Against the clock we must quickly race.
For when it gets down to the last desperate wire,
Swift and efficient we will put out that fire.
Though the chances are we’ve never met,
When needed a savior you can always expect.
While echoed sirens may blare and ring,
We hear the muffled night cries sing.
There’s no such thing as simple routine,
Ignoring monotony that lies in between.
Very real consequences we are more than aware,
From possible situations beyond any compare.
Not a second allowed for one breath of fear,
Never a moment to shed a single silent tear.
Because when you’re in desperate dire need,
We will always strive our very best to succeed.
Blood flowing in Red, White and Blue,
We’re Brothers dedicated in all that we do.
In death’s darkest shadows we may dare to roam,
Yet we know that we may each not always come home.
This is our deepest heartfelt desire,
Given to us from a place so much higher.
In all that we do each risk taken for you,
Our passion runs deep we’re dedicated and true.
Some tend to forget that this is our real life,
That we also have children, friends and our wife.
We walk the thin line though it sometimes narrows,
In this world we are someone’s real life superheroes.
In case you forget dear when you leave in the morning,
I ask you darling to please head my forewarning.
When overcome with adrenalin I remind you to fight,
To come home yourself dear at the end of each night.
Poem sourced from: https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2058863/thin-red-line/
Fighting to Help Homeless – Not Criminalize Them
The pending lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the City of Albuquerque has halted the implementation of the new Pedestrian Safety Ordinance (PSO). This ordinance was passed by the city council on November 6th, 2017.
The ACLU held private conversations with the city where they persuaded them not to begin implementation of the PSO until the litigation has been resolved.
The PSO makes it illegal for “physical interactions or exchange with a pedestrian” at specific locations, such as street medians and highway entrances. This makes it illegal for both parties to engage in interactions; prohibiting people from giving food, money, and health products to those in need.
The ACLU banded together to sue the City of Albuquerque, claiming this ordinance criminalizes free speech in public areas, siting the broad language of the ordinance. The areas cited in the document are commonly used for political speech and protests, in addition to homeless men and women looking for aid.
Back in 2015 New Mexico was at the heart of a positive new program that continues to combat homelessness by assisting these individuals instead of criminalizing them. This has been the objective of the “There’s a Better Way” initiative (see: http://bit.ly/2D5N8Qk). Cities around the United States have looked toward Albuquerque’s initiative when creating their own policies in combating homelessness.
Instead of trying to criminalize and incarcerate homeless people, “There’s a Better Way” seeks to assist the homeless by giving them shelter, food, and helping them find work.
In 2016 The University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research followed Albuquerque’s Heading Home initiative (AKA “There’s a Better Way” program) and reported that for every dollar invested into this initiative, taxpayers saved $1.78.
Other reports indicate similar savings when addressing the problem of homelessness by attempting to assist them instead of trying to punish them. Central Florida’s Commission on Homelessness researched their region and discovered “the annual cost of leaving people homeless – the costs of policing them, throwing them in jail for largely non-violent offenses, and providing medical care – were three times as expensive as providing them with permanent housing and caseworkers.”
It’s becoming more and more prevalent that instituting programs to assist the homeless works better not only from a humanistic standpoint, but also from an economical one.
Still the practice of housing first programs has largely been swept under the rug from a political standpoint. This may be in part because of the prevalent, negative stigma surrounding communities of homelessness.
Eliminating this negative stigma is no easy task. It starts by not initiating more backwards thinking programs like the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance, but instead; implementing programs of positive change in mentality and action, like the “There’s a Better Way” program.
As we are seeing with the PSO, lazy, backwards thinking lawmaking can begin to imperil the basic rights of communities like Albuquerque. These lawmakers may be trying to solve a serious problem, but the negative stigma given to the homeless perpetuates the lack of critical thinking in solving the problem of homelessness. As long as our laws continue to push the stigma that homeless people are criminals, true progress and change cannot be accomplished on a massive enough scale for it to begin to truly make a dent in this nationwide problem.
Luckily there is a strong if not small contingent of people, like those in the American Civil Liberties Union and the Heading Home foundation, who continue to fight for a more holistic solution. Change of this nature is often sparked by a close knit group of people working for a better tomorrow, a tomorrow for all.
Works cited: https://shadowproof.com/2018/03/05/albuquerque-wont-enforce-draconian-anti-panhandling-ordinance-aclu-lawsuit-pending/
SERVPRO Earns Top Restoration Services Franchise
SERVPRO Named Top Restoration Services Franchise
As one of over 1,700 individually owned and operated SERVPRO franchises, we are proud to acknowledge the achievements of the corporation we belong to. This year, 2018, marks the 15th consecutive year SERVPRO has been named the top franchise opportunity within the restoration services category by Entrepreneur Magazine.
When looking beyond just the restoration services industry, SERVPRO ranks as the 12th best Franchise opportunity, just behind Jimmy John’s Gormet Sandwiches and right above Culver Franchising System Inc. McDonald’s is at the top of the list followed by 7-Eleven Inc.; Dunkin’ Donuts, The UPS Store, and RE/MAX LLC round out the top 5.
Entrepreneur Magazine is diligent in creating a ranking system that maintains objectivity, through quantifiable metrics, to best inform readers. Their system is called the “five pillars of the Franchise 500”. Included underneath each pillar, as bullet points, are the key factors which makeup that pillar.
Costs & Fees
- Franchise fee
- Total investment
- Royalty fees
Size & Growth
- Open & operating units
- Growth rate
- Training times
- Marketing support
- Operational support
- Franchisor infrastructure
- Financing availability
- Social media
- System size
- Years in business
- Years franchising
Financial Strength & Stability
- Franchisor’s audited financial statements
SERVPRO surely excels in the areas of “brand strength” and “support”. The bright orange and vibrant green colors allow for a strong, impactful, and recognizable brand. In addition, with over 1,700 franchises, SERVPRO’s brand impresses with a depth of industry knowledge and experiences shared between all past and existing franchises.
With so many franchises many areas are home to multiple SERVPRO’s. At the corporate level SERVPRO has a well-defined territory map that allows all franchises to not compete against one another, but support one another. This allows SERVPRO franchises to share jobs as well as industry knowledge.
Corporate headquarters is also very responsive and always available to assist franchises with any new obstacles encountered. When trying to contact corporate headquarters they don’t encumber you with automated answering services, multiple phone transfers, or constantly referring you back to the website for help. You often end up talking to many of the same people, which helps build a more personal and honestly helpful communication structure. This all leads to a truly helpful support system that flows from the top down.
Here at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque we’ve been in business for 20 years now. We can testify for the longevity of opening up a SERVPRO franchise. We’ve been able to grow locally over this time along with corporate nationally. We are just one of over 1,700 different entrepreneurs whom have benefited from the top quality franchisor that is SERVPRO. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in getting into the restoration industry with their own business, we highly recommend considering franchising with SERVPRO. The help and brand name recognition gives benefits in the short and long term.
As one of the many limbs that makeup the franchise, we are proud to share in the announcement of SERVPRO’s award.
Help Homeless Individuals Don't Criminalize Them
The "There's a Better Way" pickup van!
For more info check out this video: https://youtu.be/WFmsOrTpKn8
Albuquerque, like most cities, faces the ongoing challenge of eradicating homelessness. It isn’t an easy problem to face, particularly when many ordinances passed by city council members try to solve the problem through negative reinforcement such as penalization, criminalization, and incarceration. There is an often overlooked, more challenging, yet more beneficial approach to this problem. Giving a helping hand, not just spare change, with the idea to uplift the homeless is the idea behind the “There’s a Better Way” initiative.
The “There’s a Better Way” initiative was formed in 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its mission statement is to “give panhandlers a chance at a change in life and provides caring members of our community with a better way to donate their money”. What’s even better is the action steps that are taken in progress of this mission statement. Signs are posted around major panhandling destinations to inform panhandlers of a way to contact someone who can assist them in finding work. Additionally, St. Martin’s branded “There’s a Better Way” van drives to areas frequented by panhandlers to inform them of how they can get temporary work (paying above minimum wage) to help them get back on their feet. This work comes in the form of assisting the City’s Solid Waste Department via landscape beautification and garbage removal. After their workday is completed they are picked up and taken to St. Martin’s to connect them with housing, a warm meal, employment opportunities, as well as mental health and social services.
This program has been such a positive reworking of how to tackle the issue of panhandling, that many other cities around the United States have begun similar initiatives. Some cities include:
- Portland, Maine
- Portland, Oregon
- Spokane, Washington
- San Antonio
According to data collected by the City of Albuquerque, “There’s a Better Way” has provided 4,240 day jobs, helped house 21 homeless residents, and connected 414 people with continued work since its inception in 2015. This is just for the program in Albuquerque. Not only have the results been positive, the feedback has been well received.
The really disappointing part is the implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance (PSO); passed by the City Council on November 6th, 2017. This ordinance goes directly against the successful implementation of the “There’s a Better Way” program. The PSO goes in the direction of trying to criminalize panhandlers again instead of attempting to address the problem at its root in a helpful way. The PSO specifically bans “physical interaction or exchange with a pedestrian” at specific locations, such as street medians and highway entrances.
What’s even worse is that all of the cited research and data used to justify the implementation of the PSO, all predates the implementation of the innovative “There’s a Better Way” program. The very program that has earned the City of Albuquerque national praise as a forward thinking administration is potentially being undercut by this new legislation. Instead of building off recent successful legislation the city council is moving Albuquerque two steps backwards.
The positive thing to remember is that the “There’s a Better Way” program is still in effect today. If the Albuquerque community bands together to show strong support of this program we can still encourage progressive policies. I ask of you, if you are inspired to help, please donate your time as a volunteer or any amount of money that you can afford to St. Martin’s, Heading Home, Healthcare for the Homeless, The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, or the Barrett House. Each of these organizations is in some way involved with the “There’s a Better Way” program.
Tips for Keeping Insects & Rodents Away
Do you have a pest infestation? When insect and rodents invade your home it's time to fight back. ANTS
Clean with white vinegar. Not only does vinegar make a great all-purpose cleaner but ants can't stand the smell and it will mask their scent trails so they will loose their direction. Follow the ants to locate the food source (usually something sticky that has been spilled on the counter or floor). Removing the source and cleaning the area with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water a couple times a day will usually eliminate the ants.
If you still find ants try this simple bait recipe. Mix one part powdered sugar to one part baking soda*. Place this mixture in small shallow dishes (I found that Gatorade or juice lids work perfect for this) and leave around the home in places where you often find ants.
*Please note large amounts of baking soda can be harmful to pets. For this recipe you should only be using a small amount but to be on the safe side I would place the mixture in areas where your pets can't get to it.
Place mint & bay leaves around the home. Cockroaches hate the smell and will stay away. I like to place the leaves in small mesh or muslin bags and place in dark areas such as closets and cabinets where cockroaches like to hang out.
The same recipe we used above for ants will also kill cockroaches. Place equal parts of powdered sugar and baking soda into shallow containers and leave around the home where you notice cockroaches.
Grow marigolds, basil, & mint. Mosquitoes are repelled by the strong scent of these plants. Place live plants around your home or place dry mint leaves in muslin bags to keep in your home. Also cleaning with mint or citrus scented cleaner will do wonders at keeping mosquitoes away.
Make a mosquito trap. Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup hot water. Cut the top off of a bottle. In the bottom half of the bottle add the cooled down brown sugar mixture and 1 gram of yeast. Place the top half of the bottle upside-down inside the bottle. Wrap a sheet of black construction paper around the bottle and tape it in place. Place the bottle in at area of your home where you find the most mosquitoes. Placing these bottles in your front and back yard a few feet away from your home will also attract the mosquitoes and trap them before they have a chance to enter the home.
Mosquitoes larvae live in water. Removing any standing water around your home can greatly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in and around your home.
Mice hate peppermint. Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil and a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray this around your home especially any entry points or holes that mice use to come into the home.
The best way I've found to kill mice is a simple mouse trap. I've tried other traps and even tried poison with little or no luck. Place a small amount of peanut butter or cheese on the traps before you set them and leave them in several areas around your home where mice have been seen making sure they are out of reach of children and pets. Be sure to check the traps often. You don't want a dead mouse stinking up your home. If you would like to catch mice without killing them try out thishandmade 5 gallon bucket trap and leave out the water.
Peppermint repels spiders. The same recipe used above to repel mice also repels spiders. You can replace the water withwhite vinegar and it makes a great cleaner. Use this solution to wipe down counters, appliances and even the floors. Your home will be spider free in no time.
Fill a spray bottle with one part white vinegar and one part water. Spray this directly on spiders. The acid in the vinegar will kill spiders on contact.
Lemons & cloves. Cut a lemon in half and stick several cloves in the pulp. Leave the lemon halves on your kitchen table or wherever flies gather. The scent of the lemon and cloves will drive the flies away.
Cut a plastic bottle in half. In the bottom half pour in a small amount of wine and fruit scraps. (I usually use strawberries or some kind of melon.) Place the top half of the bottle upside down inside the bottom half. Place the trap in your kitchen and replace every couple days until flies are gone. Another option would be to use rotten meat in place of fruit and place the trap outside, away from the home. The rotten meat smell will attract the flies and keep them away from your house.
On top of following these methods of controlling insects you should also find a cleaning schedule that works for you and stick to it. Insects and rodents tend to like messy/dirty homes a lot more than they like clean home. It seems that every time I find pests in my home it's always after a busy week or after I haven't been feeling well. That's usually when I tend to slack on my cleaning schedule and it doesn't take long for the bugs to set up camp and move on in. Sticking to a cleaning schedule won't guarantee that you will not find bugs in your home but it does help a lot to minimize them.
Another great way to keep bugs out of your home is to make sure they can't get in in the first place. Go over your entire house and look for areas where insects may be entering the home. Replace any caulking around windows and doors, check weather stripping to make sure it's in good shape, and fix or replace broken window screens.
Wilson Middle School Auction
Wilson Middle School Students
SERVPRO Albuquerque Restoration is proud to annouce the success of the first Wilson Middle School Silent Auction. This event took place Saturday May 18, 2013. Wilson Middle School identified a handful of students to raise money for to provide opportunites for these students to be engaged in diverse activities througout the year. Through community engagement Wilson has been fortunate enough to access community members committed to making a difference in these students lives.