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5/24/2016 Memorial Day services, celebrations, and events

If you are looking for a way to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, you may find the following list helpful. From parades to candlelight vigils, there is bound to be something that fits into your weekend.

Although the cemetery is not located in Genesee County, it is worth the drive to observe this moving service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery

The Great Lakes National Cemetery, in Holly, is holding its annual Memorial Day Service on Sunday, May 29 at 1:00 p.m. The Patriot Guard Riders will be assisting in traffic flow as well as forming a flag line during the service. The Great Lakes Nation Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Rd. in Holly, MI.


Genesee Township Veterans Memorial

In 2009, after three years of hard work, Genesee Township dedicated their Veterans memorial. It lies on the banks of Mott Lake on Genesee Road at Stanley Road. The memorial is made of over 200 bricks inscribed with the names of area service members. The area has benches for quiet reflection as well as a 30 foot flag pole to honor all those who have served.

Genesee will hold its Memorial Day Festival on May 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. at the high school. The Genesee Lions Club Pavilion is where the festival takes place, complete with live music, vendors, hay rides, bounce houses, car show, and much more.


Burton Veterans Memorial is located on Manor Drive in the municipal building complex. It was dedicated in 1997 after several years of volunteers donating money, time, and love. The memorial consists of smaller tributes that were moved from Center and Atherton Roads along with flags, seating, and hundreds of names of fallen service members.

Burton's Memorial Day Celebration

The Burton Memorial 5K road race starts at 9:00 a.m. on May 30 at Atherton High School. The Parade starts at 2:00 p.m. on Center Road between Atherton and Bristol and will proceed to the courthouse. Stay for family fun with live music, bounce houses, yard games, food, and much more. The evening will conclude with a Veterans Memorial Ceremony, candlelight vigil and fireworks.


Clio Veterans Memorial Park

The Clio Veterans Memorial Park was officially dedicated on November 11, 2002 (Veteran’s Day) and was the culmination of three years of hard work from community members. It is located on the corner of Vienna Rd. and Railway St. in downtown Clio. An assortment of bricks and other memorials exist in dedication to area service members. The above link also gives information on purchasing a brick in memory of a deceased veteran.

The Freedom 4 Veterans Run, on May 28, starts and ends at Clio Veterans Memorial Park. Register to run or walk in memory of a service member. Proceeds from race fees benefits area veterans and the Clio Veterans Memorial Park.


McFarlan Veterans Memorial Park in Flint

In 1875, McFarlan Veterans Memorial Park became Flint’s first official park. Because of this, it is no surprise that it needs some restoration work. In 1951, it was designated as the Genesee County War Memorial. The park is located in the triangular space made by the intersections of Saginaw Street, Martin Luther King Avenue, and 2nd Avenue and is adjacent to the Northbank Center and Durant Hotel. The Friends of the McFarlan Park have been on a mission to raise funds to bring the park up to its potential as becoming the Heart of the City.

On Monday, May 30, there will be a Memorial Day Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony lasts about one hour and will include laying of wreaths and the addition of John Wayne “Dusty” Marcum to the Memorial Columns. Marcum is a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan.


Davison Township's Veterans Court of Honor

The Davison Township Park was built with donations from local businesses, residents and the Township Board to memorialize Veterans. Any current member or veteran of any branch of service that lives (or previously lived) in Davison city, Davison Township or Richfield Township is eligible to have his or her name included in the Veteran’s Court of Honor.


Swartz Creek Area Veterans Memorial

In 2013, the Swartz Creek Area Veterans Memorial was dedicated after several years of hard work. It includes much symbolism from the Purple Heart entry gate to a pentagon inside the memorial. Bricks featuring names of service members are included as well as life size bronze statues that represent each branch of the military. There is even a bronze German Shepherd to represent animals that served. The park is located at 8059 Fortino Drive in Swartz Creek.


Here are several other events taking place this Memorial Day weekend.

In Frankenmuth, you won’t want to miss the Dog Bowl and Balloons Balloons Over Bavarian Inn .  The Dog Bowl is like the doggie Olympics complete with a costume contest, agility contests, a doggie parade, pet vendors and so much more. Balloons Over Bavarian Inn features 30 hot air balloons that will land in town and compete against each other in various events. It also features an amazing balloon glow at night so that you can see the balloons lit up.


Another opportunity to have fun is at Crossroads Village in Genesee.  Their "Honoring American Vets" program runs May 28-30. You can make a card to send to a hospitalized vet, join a Flag Retirement Ceremony, experience the Mountain Men Encampment, and so much more.  Veterans and active duty members and one guest will receive free admission to the village and a free train ride on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


Remember, that if you are thinking of selling your home this summer, “Dave is the Man!” when it comes to real estate. Dave Taljonick  of RE/MAX Right Choice

5/20/2016 Four Tips to Understanding Property Tax in Genesee County
The summer tax bills will be out before you know it, so this week I want to go over how you can better understand the property tax on your home.  The bills are issued in early July and payments are due by September 14.  The tools outlined below can be helpful existing homeowners or for anyone interested in buying a new home.  Knowing how much taxes you will have to pay on that property could be a deciding factor on whether or not you move forward with a purchase.
One of the first places you can start is through the State of Michigan’s Property Tax Estimator. Click on "Begin Estimating Property Taxes" to find estimated taxes for properties throughout Michigan.
In addition, researching the amount of tax for a property can still be confusing if you do not know how they are calculated.   Any property purchased after Proposal A, which passed in 1994, has its taxable value of a property calculated using the lowest value among these options:
  1. Last year’s Taxable Value * 1.05 or the rate of inflation (whichever is lower)
  2. The current state Equalized Value
The equalized value for a property is determined by the County Equalization department and is usually half the estimated market value of a property. Ultimately, the taxable value is what determines your taxable value. In addition to these costs, any local or county millages will be added on to your final tax bill.
The third thing you should consider are the other factors which impact a property’s tax bill.  Understanding the differences between Homestead versus Non-Homestead properties and whether or not the property has been owned by the same person since before 1995 (the passage of Proposal A). While working as your realtor, I can help you learn how to decipher the property taxes for a particular property.
Finally, any properties located inside townships situated within Genesee County can be researched online through their site here. You are able to click the "Assessment and Tax Information" link to search properties.
After clicking through the link you can look up tax information through an Address Search. The search will bring up information including the winter and summer taxes, administrative fees, special assessments along with due dates for the property’s taxes.
If you are not able to find information for a property check the municipality directly.  Some cities and townships have property tax look-up tools on their websites. The best place to start looking on a city or township’s site is through their treasurer's office page.
Remember, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home this summer, "Dave is the Man" when it comes to real estate! - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.


5/13/2016 5 Tips for Getting Your Yard Summer Ready

The nice weather seems to be finally sticking around in Michigan which should inspire you to get out into your yard.  It is time to start sprucing it up so you can enjoy it once summer is in full swing.

  1. Winter can be harsh on the structures in your yard. Take time to check for any damage on steps, walkways, fences, patios, etc. Repair anything you can fix yourself but don’t hesitate to call the professionals for something you can’t handle. 


  1. You don’t want to neglect your lawn when it comes to sprucing up. Rake any dead spots in the lawn and spread grass seed evenly over the area. Remove dead leaves and plants from flower beds.


  1. Prune any trees or shrubs that need it. Inspect trees for branches that may have died or become damaged during the winter. Bushes that flower in the spring (such as lilacs) should be pruned after they flower and the blooms have died. Summer blooming bushes should be pruned before they flower. A handsaw should be used on branches that are larger than ½ inch in diameter.


  1. Scan your yard for any trash or other debris that has found its way into your yard during the winter and early spring. The wind can blow rubbish into shrubs and bushes, under porches, and along fence line and hedgerows. Don’t forget to check any drainage ditches and behind sheds and outbuildings.


  1. The most satisfying part of the cleanup is getting to enjoy your hard work. Bring out your hammock and lawn chairs or other patio furniture. Kick back and relax.


Remember, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home this summer, "Dave is the Man" when it comes to real estate! Dave Taljonick  of RE/MAX Right Choice

5/6/2016 Breathing Easy In Your Home With Clean Air

May is Clean Air Month so in this week’s post, I will let you know what risk factors are in your home and what you can do to reduce those risks. In order to improve the quality of air in your home, first take a look at the types of appliances you have as well as cleaning products and chemicals you use. Gas appliances like water heaters, fireplaces, and stoves must be correctly vented outside the home in order to reduce leakage. It is a good idea to periodically examine these vents for any possible problems or maintenance issues.


The types of cleaners you utilize can also affect the air quality in your home. Cleaners and chemicals that emit a strong smell need to be used with adequate ventilation. Open windows and have fans blowing to circulate the air, if possible. Painting, along with other renovation projects, also call for fresh circulating air. New carpet and even new furniture has the capability of releasing strong smells. If you can, allow new furniture to air out in a garage or other area away from your living space before putting it into use.


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that people spend about 90 percent of their time inside a building, whether it be home or work. Because of this, the EPA outlines the health risks associated with poor air quality and how to deal with them.


The EPA has many ideas on how to look for and test your risk of exposure to indoor and outdoor elements. The EPA provides risk assessment and solutions for individuals and corporations alike. Be sure to check out their recommendations.


Take a detailed look around your home to look for any leaks or water issues. Areas that you should check are attics, basement or crawlspaces, and under sinks. If water is leaking or dripping, even for a short amount of time, it can be of great concern in regards of breathability. Mildew and mold can form in a very short period and cause great distress for those with asthma or allergies.


When it comes to air quality in your home, the most important thing is avoiding the introduction of carbon monoxide into your home air source. Carbon Monoxide is colorless and odorless and is the byproduct of gas burning engines. Cars, gas powered generators, gas powered chainsaws and power washers, etc. are deadly if used in an enclosed area that humans have access to. Carbon Monoxide detectors, when correctly installed, can alert you and your family to the presence of the unwanted gas. Carbon Monoxide detectors can be purchased through Consumers Energy and also hardware stores.


Radon is another gas that can effect indoor air quality. It is naturally occurring and is odorless and colorless and can seep into your home through sump pumps, cracks and basements. The only way to determine if your home has radon is to do a test. A list of radon test resources can be found here.


Be sure to follow these tips to keep your family healthy and safe. If you decide you are ready to sell your home, remember that when real estate is involved, "Dave is the Man"! Call Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice at 810-686-3900

4/29/2016 Spring Cleaning Tasks for Your Home

According to the calendar, spring has been here for a while now, but the weather is just now beginning to inspire spring cleaning projects outside the home as well as inside. Regular spring cleaning will ensure your home is in proper order and will help you recognize if something is in need of repair. Through this post I will outline some basic, yet necessary projects to help make selling your home easier, if and when you decide to move.


On the outside of your home you will want to wash your windows. A bucket filled with window cleaner and a squeegee on a stick will make quick work of the task. Consider using wadded up black and white newspaper to wipe away any cleaner left on the window. This is great way to reduce paper towel waste and most importantly, will leave your windows streak free.  Washing interior windows can also be done in this manner. Cleaning your window screens is just as important as the windows themselves. Remove the screens and wash with a mix of water and mild detergent. Use a soft scrub brush to remove the dirt and be sure to rinse thoroughly before reinstalling.


A few quick steps outside can increase the curb appeal of your home. Take a look at your flower beds and around your steps for leaves you may have missed in the fall or that may have blown into your yard. Simply raking the leaves and picking up large twigs can make a big improvement. Once that is complete, it is the perfect time to bring out any yard décor such as bird baths, flags, and gnomes.


Inside, start by wiping down walls and ceilings. A vacuum with a hose extension can greatly aid in this task. Pay attention to grease magnets in the kitchen…on top of the refrigerator, the range hood, and the tops of cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling. You can use a gentle degreaser (just make sure to test an inconspicuous area first) or search online tutorials on how to make chemical free all natural cleansers.


Now is a good time, too, to shampoo or steam clean rugs, carpets, and furniture. If you do not have a shampooer, they are generally available to rent at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Don’t forget to wash, dry clean or vacuum your draperies or other window treatments.


Some less obvious areas for spring cleaning are the medicine cabinet and pantry.  Check medications (both over the counter and prescription) for expiration date and usefulness. If you find you have medicines you no longer need, please dispose of them properly. Do not discard in the trash or flush down the toilet. The list of Genesee County drop off locations can be found here. In addition to the regular medication drop off sites, you can drop them off at one of the two Household Hazardous Waste collection sites on May 21st along with other unwanted household items like paint, batteries, chemicals, etc. A full list of acceptable items can be found at the above Household Hazardous Waste link.


Go through your pantry items and throw away any expired products. If you have items that are NOT expired, but you know your family will not use, donate them to a food pantry.


These tasks can seem overwhelming, so take it slow and do one room at a time. Enlist help and delegate tasks if possible. It is okay to complete this work over the course of several days or weeks.


If, after you finish your spring, cleaning, you have decided to sell your home, contact me Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice at 810-686-3900.

4/22/2016 Uses for Your Escrow Account

One of the most confusing parts of a mortgage for homeowners to understand is the escrow account. These accounts are also known as impound accounts.  The accounts are set up when the mortgage is generated and are used to pay things such as real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and other costs associated with the mortgage.  In this week’s post I am going to help you better understand your mortgage’s escrow account.


The amount of funds maintained in your escrow account can vary depending on the bills that will be paid out of it.  Some mortgages will have private mortgage insurance (PMI) while others will not have this cost.  Almost all escrow accounts will be used to pay property taxes and homeowner's insurance on your home. 


When you first purchase your home, you will be required to pay in advance for one year of the homeowners’ insurance to be kept inside the escrow account.  After the initial deposit, the account will be calculated to keep an approximately two-month surplus to cover payments throughout the year.  


The federal government does limit the amount of money your mortgage company can keep in the escrow account.  Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the lender is limited on how much they can keep in the account.  If your account has a surplus, the mortgage company will send you a check refunding the difference.   


On your monthly mortgage bill the amount of your escrow payment will be broken out showing you exactly how much is being used for these expenses.  The lender will then pay your insurance company and your municipality to cover taxes.  The guaranteed payment of these bills protects your property from potential loss. 


There are conditions where an escrow account is not added to a mortgage.  If you finance less than 80 percent of the property’s value than you may not be required to maintain this type of account.  However, the addition of an escrow account to your mortgage can be a great saving mechanism for homeowners.  It will help you save up the cost of taxes and insurance which may only be due a few times per year.   An escrow account can be voluntarily added to the mortgage if not required by the lender.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a comprehensive overview of escrow accounts.  As your preferred Genesee County RE/MAX realtor I can put you in touch with local lenders who will help you understand all aspects of your mortgage.  Remember when it comes to real estate in the greater Flint area, Dave is the man!  -  Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

4/15/2016 Families Can Find Abundant Fun at Area Farmersí Markets

Spring is finally making an appearance and the season lends itself to visiting farmers’ markets. Some markets are open seasonally while others are open year round.

Davison Farmers' Market

The Davison market is located at 8110 E. Court St. in Davison. It is open year round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The market is home to more than 70 vendors that come from various parts of Michigan. From kettle corn to barbecue and dog treats to rocks and minerals, there is sure to be something for the whole family. On top of the fine foods, gifts, and produce, the market also hosts other activities  throughout the year.

Flint Farmers' Market

The American Planning Association named the Flint Farmers’ Market one of six Great Public Places in 2015. Upon visiting, you will see why. The market, located at 300 E. First Street, is filled with numerous one of a kind restaurants and eateries in addition to the vendors. The market also boasts a mini branch of the Flint Children’s Museum, regular cooking demonstrations, meeting rooms, and other various events. You can find event listings on their online calendar. The market is open year round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Frankenmuth Farmers' Market

The market in Frankenmuth is celebrating its opening in its new location on May 14 at 8 a.m. The new facility is located at 534 N. Main Street. The 2016 market days and hours of operation are Saturdays from May 14 to October 15 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Wednesdays from June 8 to October 12 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The market has space for 50 vendors in the outdoor covered pavilion. They are also proud to have a “Gathering Barn” available for relaxing while shopping, classes, events and rentals. While they have yet to schedule any special events, make sure to check their calendar for updates.  You will also find their Farm Store filled with unique products for farming and gardening as well as locally made items.

 Some smaller and up and coming markets include Grand Blanc, Linden and Fenton. These locations are open during the summer months on various days.  Visit your favorite farmers’ market and perhaps enjoy exploring the ones that are new to you. Your family will enjoy the fresh produce, delicious foods, inspiring crafts, and community fun.  There is sure to be something for everyone.   

Farmers’ markets are a great asset to any neighborhood and may make an area more attractive for potential buyers. If you are considering selling your home, don’t forget that “Dave is the Man!” when it comes to real estate.  - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice at 810-686-3900

4/7/2016 Keeping Your Family Safe During a Tornado

Every April, Tornado Awareness Month is recognized.  In this week’s post, I want to provide some useful information to protect your family in the event of a tornado hitting near your home.  The three things I will review include knowing how one may be striking near your home, facts about Michigan tornados and how to protect yourself if one hits near your home.


When severe weather hits, the National Weather Service (NWS) will issue tornado warnings and tornado watches based on the current weather conditions. Watches are issued when conditions are favorable to develop a thunderstorm with the possibility of leading to a tornado. A warning is issued by the NWS when a severe thunderstorm is capable of producing a tornado or if an actual funnel cloud has been observed in the area.


Once a warning is issued by the NWS, local media outlets will alert the public of the warnings/watches. Sirens are also set off throughout Genesee County.  There are 80 warning sirens located in the region. The sirens will go off when a tornado warning is issued for a storm with winds 70 miles per hour or higher. It is important to recognize not all storms will trigger the sirens if they do not reach the required speeds. When a warning has been issued take shelter in your home.


Michigan has an average of 15 tornadoes each year. Since the 1950s there have been almost 1,000 tornadoes in the region. Typically these storms occur in May, June, July and August, but it’s possible for them to take place at other points during the year.  In fact, in December 2015 we had the first tornado on Michigan record for that month.  Our county has tornadoes compared to any other Michigan county. Genesee County has recorded 45 tornadoes since 1950. Although 2015 did not bring any tornadoes to Genesee County, we cannot expect the same this year.  To learn more, follow the Severe Weather Toolkit link located the bottom of this post. Page 5 will give you the numbers of Michigan tornadoes by county from 1950 to 2015.


Because you know the facts about tornados in Genesee County, it is important to learn ways to protect your family in case of a storm.  First, put together a disaster supply kit for your home.  Make sure to include first aid materials along with prescription drugs taken by members of your family. In addition to the first aid items, always keep flashlights,  a battery-powered radio along with batteries and blankets.  Periodically check the contents of your disaster supply kit to ensure everything is still in working order. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says you should always have non-perishable food items and a three-day supply of water on water. In the event of an emergency, grab your wallet and keys when taking shelter.


Preparing for severe weather can be overwhelming for families. Join the "Do 1 Thing" program; a website that helps you and your family prepare for one thing every month.  At the end of a year, you will well prepared in the event of an emergency. 


Remind your family the importance of executing your emergency plan quickly and efficiently. Make plans by finding a safe place like a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest level of your home with no windows. Have family tornado drills to make sure everyone knows where to go in your home in case of a tornado. Designate one person in charge of bringing your animals to the shelter area. In the event of an emergency, make sure pets are only brought when time allows. While pets are beloved members of our families, make sure all the people in your home are safe first.


Severe Weather Awareness Week starts on Sunday in Michigan. Download the Severe Weather Toolkit here. Prepare your family for severe weather by following these simple tips outlined in this week’s post. Remember if you are looking to move to a new home I can help.  Contact my office today- Dave Taljonick of RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

4/1/2016 Volunteer Opportunities in Genesee County
In honor of National Volunteer Month, I want to share with you volunteer opportunities available for you and your family in Genesee County. Each year, in April volunteers are honored for their service across the country. Perhaps you and your family already volunteer or you are looking for new opportunities, either way I hope this post provides you with valuable resources.
Hands on Genesee – United Way of Genesee County
The United Way of Genesee County provides a searchable database to help you find volunteer opportunities in the area. You are able to search upcoming events along with an option to search agencies. Inside the search portal, you are able to filter by cause, partners, distance or name.
Agency List University of Michigan-Flint
The University of Michigan-Flint has gathered a comprehensive list of agencies and organizations throughout Genesee County who are seeking volunteers. The list includes a contact phone number along with a link to the agency’s website.
A national website that allows you to search local and virtual volunteer opportunities is Filters for your search allow you to narrow by cause area and event by age range. You can complete a short registration process to activate a volunteer account. By registering you can have volunteer opportunities emailed directly to your Inbox based on specific criteria you select.

Many people think about volunteering around the holiday season, but remember there are plenty of area organizations who are need of help all year. Consider connecting with one of the organizations outlined in the links above or reach out to a local organizations where you already donate money to see how you can also volunteer your time. To those of you who are already volunteers, thank you for your service. - Dave Taljonick of RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

3/25/2016 Spring Break Fun for Kids at Home

For most schools, spring break is just around the corner. For those of you who are not able to head out of town I wanted to provide some information about fun events happening in Genesee County.


Flint Institute of Arts

The FIA is offering two programs the week of April 4 through 8. Both of the programs are free of charges and are targeted at different age groups. The institute is located in the Cultural Center in downtown Flint.


The first “Spring into Art” will run Monday through Friday of that week from 1 to 4 p.m. in Studio 1. Drop by any time during the three-hour window to make different projects. The workshops are designs for ages 5 to 10.


The second program “Storytime with Art” will take place on Tuesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Galleries and Studio 1. A story will be shared and then kids will have the chance to make a piece of artwork on their own. Different stories will be shared each day and the program is recommended for ages 3 to 5. To learn more about either experience, visit their Facebook event page.


Longway Planetarium

Every day the Longway Planetarium features a show in the dome with additional programs offered on Friday and Saturday. Monday through Thursday shows start at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The cost for children ages 2 to 11 is $4 and adults are $6. Check out their online programming schedule.


For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum

Spring Break Camps are being held Tuesday, April 5; Wednesday, April 6; and Thursday April 7. The cost ranges from $5 to $10 per child and features a different theme and targeted age group each day. Themes include “Bug Crazy!”, “ARRRRR You Ready to Become a Pirate”, “Animal Team Builders” and “Wilderness Survival”. Learn more about the programs through their calendar.


YMCA Camp Copneconic

Head to Fenton for the day camp which runs April 4 through 8. The superheroes camp features an array of activities including a visit to the reptile house, the YMCA for swimming and other activities such as archery. The camp is geared for children ages 4 years old through 8th grade. The cost is $175 for the first camper and $150 for the second camper for the entire week. Learn more about this super week through their Facebook page.


Take the kids out to enjoy one of these great programs while they are off from school over spring break. Oh by the way, I am never too busy for your referrals. - Dave Taljonick of RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

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