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    Mobile Homes Have Come a Long Way. Here’s What’s Holding Them Back – Motley Fool - December 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    There've been considerable advances in mobile homes over the past couple of decades, but public perceptions are often based on the mobile homes of the '80s. Case in point are jokes such as this: Definition of a mobile home: Your house moves, but your 12 cars don't.

    The reality is that mobile homes have seen advances over the years, but what people think about them impacts their value and popularity. That could be changing, though, as some signs point to an improved perception.

    Before we get into what's new about mobile homes and public perception, let's define what we're talking about, as the terms "mobile," "manufactured," and "modular" homes tend to get lumped into the same category.

    Mobile homes, also called trailers, are attached to a chassis, and people can move them from place to place. They can be taken off the chassis and moved to a permanent foundation if the owner likes. They're typically small, referred to as single-wide homes, and run 500 to 1,200 square feet, with one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms.

    "Manufactured" is the newer term for a mobile home. Like a mobile home, a manufactured home is built off-site in a factory and put on a chassis. The difference is that this type of home must now adhere to standards from the HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Program.

    These homes can be single-, double-, or triple-wide. Double-wide homes are typically 1,000 to 2,200 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and triple-wide homes are over 2,000 square feet with three or more bedrooms and two or more bathrooms.

    Modular homes are built in a factory off-site like mobile and manufactured homes, but the sections are brought to a home site and are put on a permanent foundation.

    The name change from mobile to manufactured isn't only for image's sake; it represents a new type of home the mobile home has become.

    Because of HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Program, standards have been raised regarding the "construction, design, performance, and installation of manufactured homes to assure their quality, durability, affordability, and safety." And as mentioned, these homes can be quite big. Plus, they're no longer flimsy homes that can be swept away by a minor windstorm; they're more solid now.

    Then there's the decor. Fireplaces, open kitchens with islands, stainless steel appliances, recessed porches, luxury-style bathrooms, numerous large windows to let in light, and high ceilings are now associated with manufactured homes.

    Some mobile home parks have amenities such as walking paths, swimming pools, pool tables, and exercise equipment. Some are 55-plus communities popular with people who wish to downsize.

    Sometimes it's the industry, not the product, that gives mobile/manufactured homes a bad reputation. There can be bad customer service, for one. And getting mobile home builders to repair problems can be difficult; the profit is in selling the homes, not repairing them.

    In addition, some homes might not sit level and therefore have problems such as leaky windows, floors that creak, and doors that don't shut properly. It's the complaints that people hear about more than the benefits of these homes.

    So, should you invest in mobile homes or mobile home parks? If you want to buy a mobile home for you or a loved one to live in, there's a good possibility you can find something you like. And because the product is better now than in the "bad old days," people are buying them. As of June 2018, 17.7 million Americans lived in one, and about 70% of people who live in a mobile home own it.

    If you want to get into the business, you should probably invest in a mobile home park, renting out spaces to people who own a mobile home. This is definitely a market worth looking into.

    See more here:
    Mobile Homes Have Come a Long Way. Here's What's Holding Them Back - Motley Fool

    One person killed in Anderson mobile home fire – The Herald Bulletin - December 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    ANDERSON One person died and another was hospitalized after a fire destroyed a house trailer in the Shady Rest Mobile Home Park on the citys north side late Friday evening.

    Units with the Anderson Fire Department responded to the park, 325 W. Cross St., about 8:50 p.m. and found the home fully engulfed in flames with the front of the structure already collapsed, according to Anderson Fire Chief Dave Cravens.

    Sometimes these mobile homes have extremely flammable material, and they burn hot, Cravens said.

    An elderly man was pronounced dead at the scene. Madison County Coroner Danielle Noone said efforts to identify him were ongoing and expected to take a few days.

    Whenever we have any fatality, its always hard for the guys, Cravens said. They wish they could have gotten there and done more.

    Another person with minor burns was taken to a nearby hospital, he added.

    Firefighters remained at the trailer for about three hours before turning the scene over to investigators from the Anderson Police Department and the Madison County coroners office.

    Cravens said the cause of the fire remained undetermined as of Saturday morning. An autopsy on the victim is pending.

    Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.

    Read more here:
    One person killed in Anderson mobile home fire - The Herald Bulletin

    Man killed in trailer fire identified, remembered as a good neighbor – The Herald Bulletin - December 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    ANDERSON The Madison County Coroners Office has identified Robert Hacker as the man who died in a fire that destroyed his mobile home.

    Hacker, 64, died Friday in the fire that consumed his home in the Shady Rest Mobile Home Park in the 300 block of East Cross Street.

    Hackers neighbors said he was a good neighbor who kept to himself. He was a veteran.

    Josh Whitehouse said he knew Hacker for about seven years and knew him pretty well.

    He was a pretty nice guy, Whitehouse. He gave and gave. It was a shame the way he died. Kept to himself.

    Whitehouse said he was at home at the time of the fire and could see the flames shooting through the roof.

    We tried to get him out, but couldnt get into the trailer, he said. It was way too hot and went up fast.

    Neighbor April Arms said Hacker was a good neighbor and kept to himself.

    We went out to eat and when we got home the trailer was on fire, she said.

    Arms said Hacker would make sure her daughter would get on the school bus and invited them over for dinner several times.

    He used to allow my daughter and niece to come over to watch cartoons because he had cable television, Arms said.

    Anderson Fire Department Chief Dave Cravens said Wednesday that Hacker was the first fire fatality in the city this year.

    Cravens said there was one fire related death in the city in 2019.

    Units with the Anderson Fire Department responded to the park about 8:50 p.m. Friday and found the home fully engulfed in flames with the front of the structure already collapsed, according Cravens.

    Sometimes these mobile homes have extremely flammable material, and they burn hot, Cravens said.

    Whenever we have any fatality, its always hard for the guys, Cravens said. They wish they could have gotten there and done more.

    Another person with minor burns was taken to a nearby hospital, he added.

    Firefighters remained at the trailer for about three hours before turning the scene over to investigators from the Anderson Police Department and the Madison County Coroners Office.

    Cravens said the cause of the fire remained undetermined and the investigation is ongoing.

    Follow Ken de la Bastide

    on Twitter @KendelaBastide,

    or call 765-640-4863.

    Continued here:
    Man killed in trailer fire identified, remembered as a good neighbor - The Herald Bulletin

    New project aims to invest in the community, provide more affordable housing – Wooster Daily Record - December 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Samantha Ickes|The Daily Record

    WOOSTER A group of community-minded people are looking to make a difference in the city by bringing affordable housing tothe area.

    Chad Boreman, Justin Starlin and Tom White, along withseveral silent partners, would achieve the goal by investing in dilapidated houses and vacant lots. Investors are testing the model by constructing a single home in the 500 block of Larwill Street to see how the housing market responds.

    The development group is not expecting the plan, in the early stages,to be a profitable venture, Boreman said.

    "It's more of an experiment to see what can we do and how will this impact the community," he explained.

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    The site was formerly the Larwill Mobile Home Park, which was sold to the development group in March 2019 after it closed and residents were relocated due todeterioration of the parks internal water system.

    A single-family, 1,700-square-foot residence is under construction on the property and will serve as a model to future investors if the endeavor proves successful.

    The idea behind the project is to invest in a home, which essentially will be sold at cost to reimburse investors for their financial support, or the money can stay within the investment group to be used in additional projects, Starlin said.

    Making a profit is the last goal in mind for the development group, Boreman said.

    "We thought this would be an opportunity to do something for the community and the neighborhood," he said. "There is severe need for moderate income housing in this community to support the businesses that want to grow and expand here."

    Construction began on the ranch-style home in November. It will havethree bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a two-car garage.

    Crews began constructionnot long after lumber prices hit historic highs. According to the National Association of Home Builders,lumber prices increased by nearly 120% since April, but have fallen roughly 20% since mid-September. The unprecedented lumber price spike added nearly $16,000 to the price of a typical new single-family home.

    The project has been in the works for more than a year, Starlin said. Despite the challenges brought on by COVID, the developers were tired of waiting and had an eagerness to get started, he said.

    The hope is for the home to be priced in the $170,000 range.It is expected to be completed by mid-February.

    The Larwill property has the potential for up to eight houses to be added to the allotment.

    Starlin said the idea would be to fill gaps in other Wooster neighborhoodswhere homes once stood but were torn down or are in need of some fixing up. Developers would be conscious of the design of the neighborhoods when determining the style of the new house, Starlin said.

    The Larwill home is located within the city's Community Reinvestment Area, known as CRA, which will provide a tax break for the future homeowner, Starlin said. The site was approved for a 12-year, 100% tax abatement. The homebuyer essentially willsave an estimated $35,000 over the years by only needing to pay property taxes on the land as if it were a vacant lot. With the CRA, the homeowner will pay an estimated $100 in taxes annually.

    "We think theres an opportunity to market it not only as a well-built home, but then also to take advantage of the savings through that tax incentive," Starlin explained. "We just went for it, and were going to see how the market responds."

    Your support helps keep the lights on at the Daily Record. Stay connected with our daily stories, in-depth reporting and more by clicking Subscribe at the top of the page.

    A number of businesses have rallied to support the effort, including MW Robinson Co., McClintockElectric, Heartland Title Agency, Apple Creek Banking Co. and Marinello Realty.

    "This couldnt have came off the ground without the help of local folks," Boreman said. "... Were just trying to do something to help and get some good housing here."

    Real estate agentAmy Marinello said she has worked with the developersand the partners on past projects, which made this project a good fit for the real estate agency.

    There is a lack of inventory both inside city limits and across the county, Marinello said. There is a strong market for any affordable house, she said.

    The average days on the market for a house in Wooster is 46.

    According to numbers provided by Marinello Realty, the average price of a home between Jan. 1 and Dec. 16 of this year was $191,789. The newly built Larwill home is expected to be at the average cost or below.

    Wooster is a strong community with jobs in manufacturing, atthe College of Wooster and at Wooster Community Hospital. Having housing for potential employees will support these industries as they expand their businesses, Marinello said.

    Boreman has been involved with the Wayne County Community Improvement Corporation and the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce. He has heard concerns from several businesses about the need for more affordable housing.

    Starlin, who led the chamber from 2013 until he stepped down from his role aspresident earlier this year, also is well aware of the challenges businesses face with retaining workers.

    In June, several business leaders representing GOJO Industries, ArtiFlex Manufacturing, Schaeffler Group and TekFor Inc. expressed support for an affordable housing endeavor by local developer Jerry Baker during a Wooster City Council meeting. That project has since dissolved.

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    Shelly Flint, human resources director at Schaeffler, said the unemployment rate in Wayne County is very low, and many businesses Schaeffler included are hiring. As businesses continue to hire associations, affordable housing will be an important part of a potential employee's decision to relocate to the Wooster area.

    "Affordable housing must be a focus for our community," Flint said in an email statement."... When new employees move to our community, it is very positive for our local economy. Additionally, revitalizing areas and improving vacant lots make our Wooster community even more attractive."

    Those businesses said having available and affordable housing will allow them to retain quality workers.

    "Housing has been and continues to be a significant issue in the community," Starlin said.

    The city and the county havedone a great job of taking care of blights that were beyond repair, Boreman said.Those homes have been taken out of the stock of available homes. There hasn't yet been the opportunity to replenish some of those homes, which is what this group of developers is looking to do, he explained.

    "This is just one of probably hundreds of homes that we need in this community," Boreman said.

    Reach Samantha at 330-287-1626

    Email: Samantha.Ickes@the-daily-record.com

    On Twitter: @SamanthaKIckes

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    New project aims to invest in the community, provide more affordable housing - Wooster Daily Record

    Is Winnebago Industries (WGO) Outperforming Other Construction Stocks This Year? – Zacks.com - December 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Investors focused on the Construction space have likely heard of Winnebago Industries (WGO Quick QuoteWGO - Free Report) , but is the stock performing well in comparison to the rest of its sector peers? A quick glance at the company's year-to-date performance in comparison to the rest of the Construction sector should help us answer this question.

    Winnebago Industries is one of 104 individual stocks in the Construction sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #2 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank includes 16 different groups and is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors.

    The Zacks Rank is a proven model that highlights a variety of stocks with the right characteristics to outperform the market over the next one to three months. The system emphasizes earnings estimate revisions and favors companies with improving earnings outlooks. WGO is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).

    Within the past quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for WGO's full-year earnings has moved 43.22% higher. This means that analyst sentiment is stronger and the stock's earnings outlook is improving.

    According to our latest data, WGO has moved about 23.33% on a year-to-date basis. At the same time, Construction stocks have gained an average of 21.47%. As we can see, Winnebago Industries is performing better than its sector in the calendar year.

    To break things down more, WGO belongs to the Building Products - Mobile Homes and RV Builders industry, a group that includes 4 individual companies and currently sits at #4 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, stocks in this group have gained 22.02% this year, meaning that WGO is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.

    WGO will likely be looking to continue its solid performance, so investors interested in Construction stocks should continue to pay close attention to the company.

    More here:
    Is Winnebago Industries (WGO) Outperforming Other Construction Stocks This Year? - Zacks.com

    The tornado that hit Pinellas was the most powerful in 28 years – Tampa Bay Times - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    PINELLAS PARK The tornado that tore through mid-Pinellas County on Wednesday was the most powerful to hit the area in nearly three decades.

    That twister was officially classified as an F2 on the Fujita scale by the National Weather Service. Also known as the FujitaPearson scale, thats how meteorologists rate the intensity of tornadoes according to how much damage they inflict.

    That means its the most powerful tornado to strike the county since the deadly 1992 tornadoes that touched down in Pinellas Park.

    Two tornadoes, rated an F2 and an F3, hit the area on Oct. 3, 1992. They killed four people, injured 130 and destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes and mobile homes, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report. The Fujita scale changed in 2007, but those were still powerful tornadoes by any measure.

    But there were no fatalities or injuries reported after Wednesdays tornado strike, which damaged businesses, tore up roofs, knocked down trees and cut off the power to up to 14,000 customers.

    Spectrum Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay said Thursday that the region is fortunate no one was killed or seriously injured. He noted that after damaging Seminole and Pinellas Park, the tornado then moved into the waters of Tampa Bay and passed near the Howard Frankland Bridge during rush hour.

    Were very lucky that it didnt hit any cars on the Howard Frankland Bridge, he said. There were probably 80 cars on the bridge when it came by and just missed it.

    Wednesdays tornado touched down at 3:49 p.m., generated peak winds of 125 mph and traveled 13 miles before it entered the bay.

    By comparison, the strongest tornado that hit in 1992 had maximum winds of up to 206 mph and traveled a length of three miles.

    The 1992 tornadoes were also notable for this: President George H. W. Bush made a campaign stop in Pinellas County just an hour before the tornadoes hit. Air Force One was able to take off just before things got bad.

    Read the rest here:
    The tornado that hit Pinellas was the most powerful in 28 years - Tampa Bay Times

    A rural tribe tried to keep Covid at bay, but a last hurrah seeded an outbreak – KUOW News and Information - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The town of Nespelem, on the Colville Reservation, is about a dozen city blocks surrounded by hills speckled with snow in mid-November.

    Gary Carden has owned and managed the towns only tavern for about 25 years.

    When I drove up, Carden, 63, is waiting on a La-Z-Boy recliner on the taverns concrete front porch, with his dogs Sissy and Harold.

    "Shes the older dog, and thats probably the best thing that happened to her is finding her a small buddy, 'cause hes so active and keeps her active," he told me.

    Last June, Carden was sitting inside the tavern, by the wood stove that heats the place through the cold winters.

    Hes normally active, not just running the tavern but riding horses and motorcycles but on this particular June day, he felt out of breath and exhausted.

    "My sister came walking in," Carden told me, "and she says, 'God, brother, you don't look good. Do you want me to call the ambulance?'" He replied, "Yeah, I think you better. There's something wrong."

    Carden said he thought he had heat exhaustion he had spent the day splitting wood with his nephew.

    But it was Covid.

    Since early March, the Colville tribal council has been doing their best to insulate their community in north-central Washington.

    They arranged for meals to be dropped off at the homes of tribal elders. They closed the reservation to non-essential travel. And, when members tested positive for Covid, the council helped them isolate themselves from their families by providing portable toilets, mobile homes, and even hotel rooms as needed.

    But borders are fluid, so even the tribes extensive precautions havent been enough to fully protect Colville members.

    Despite all the steps the tribe took to keep Covid at bay, the reservation has had two big outbreaks: one in the summer, and one thats happening right now.

    "We got hit so hard," said Larry Smith, a doctor on the reservation who runs two of its four clinics.

    Smith said the tribe set up large tents at the very beginning of the pandemic, so health providers would have a place to treat Covid patients and to don protective gear before administering Covid tests.

    He said part of the reason it was important to him to prevent outbreaks was that so many of his patients are at risk of bad outcomes if they contract Covid-19.

    "Probably 80 percent of the people that I see have some risk factors whether its hypertension, diabetes, or autoimmune disease," Smith said.

    Between the two big outbreaks and a steady trickle of cases, about 300 people on the Colville Reservation have had Covid. Three have died of it. Thats a big hit for a small community the Covid rate there is more than double the rate in King County.

    Carden, the tavern owner, caught the virus during the first wave. When he tested positive, his doctor sent him to a hospital in Wenatchee about 100 miles away. He spent a week on a ventilator and more time in the ICU.

    He said the hardest part was the isolation.

    "I was even ready to give up," Carden said. "I even told them doctors, you know, 'Hey, I quit. Pull these tubes out.'"

    Both big outbreaks on the Colville Reservation happened when case numbers were way up in surrounding communities.

    Joel Boyd, the vice-chair of the Colville Tribal Council, said, when the virus is so prevalent all around the reservation, its just hard to keep it out.

    "One of the biggest things that bothers people here on the reservation," he said, is that, "when you do go off-reservation, ... theres communities that almost pride themselves on not wearing masks, and its a serious danger.

    Boyd said both outbreaks came from tribal members going places or visiting family or friends or receiving outside visitors.

    The current outbreak was seeded when a group of 10 or so people from the Colville Reservation visited a bar or restaurant in a nearby town. That was in mid-November, right before Governor Jay Inslee re-closed all indoor dining in the state.

    "It was the last weekend for these restaurants and bars to be open before the governor had closed them," Boyd remembered. "And so it was a packed location at the time, just because everyone was getting in their last little hurrah I guess you would call it. And unfortunately, that was all it took for us to get a nice little outbreak."

    Boyd said, once one person on the reservation gets Covid, its hard to stem the spread, because so many tribal members live in multi-generational households.

    "Once one family member gets it, there could be six other family members that end up being infected as well," he said. "It's hard to say where those other five people have gone or it spreads so rapidly."

    Take the current outbreak, in a part of the reservation called Inchelium.

    "In Inchelium, we had under 10 cases, and, in a matter of two days, we had over 40 cases," Boyd said.

    Now, nearly a quarter of the five hundred people in that small community have either tested positive or are quarantined, awaiting results.

    Boyd said, during this outbreak, the tribal council took a new step it hadnt tried last time to try to keep the virus from spreading too quickly across the reservation.

    The council imposed a curfew, from nine every night to six the next morning.

    The reason for that is that there had always been a lot of rules in place during the workday: Wear masks; check temperatures; stay six feet apart.

    But the council had less control over what happened after work.

    Boyd said hes hopeful the current outbreak might be the last.

    "A lot of people that have got it recently theyre being pretty vocal about, you know, how they got it and that theyre sorry for spreading it and sorry for, you know, what theyve done," Boyd said. "You know, thats one of the heartbreaking things is that theres no way to go back. Im thankful that theyre sharing that to prevent it from happening again."

    Back in the town of Nespelem, Gary Carden, who had Covid, shows off his tavern: a few pool tables, an easy chair next to the black woodstove.

    "Its a small little ma and pa place," he said. "I sit there till somebody walks in," he added, gesturing at the easy chair. "A lot of the people now they come and get their deal and they leave."

    No socializing these days, he said not with Covid.

    Carden said, back when he was still in the hospital and he told his doctors he was ready to quit and wanted them to pull the tubes out, a young intern sat down by his bedside and gave him a pep talk.

    "He says, 'Gary, dont give up,'" Carden remembered. "'Youve made it through the hard part. Youve got 20+ years still to go. Hang in there. Youve almost got it licked!'"

    And lick it Carden did.

    He had to go to physical therapy and re-learn how to walk. And, when he first got back home and re-opened his tavern, he used a walker to get around.

    But, now, hes back on his feet, and can even ride his horse and motorcycle.

    See more here:
    A rural tribe tried to keep Covid at bay, but a last hurrah seeded an outbreak - KUOW News and Information

    ‘Just Something That Wasnt Right About Him: Student’s Killer First Masqueraded As A Witness – Oxygen - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    On a fall night in November 1990, college senior Amy Blount went out to havefun with her group of friends but it would tragically be her final night with them.

    The group of college students went to St. Georges Tavern, a local hotspot near Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Theywere having a good time when Kelly Brockman, Blount's roommate, decided to leave early because she wasnt feeling well. When she left, Blountwas spending time with her crush, Shawn Nolan.

    However, when Brockman woke up the following morning,Blount had still not returned home andfailed to show up at her morning classes.Her friends initially assumedshe was still with Nolan, butwhen they asked himabout Blount, they were shocked by what they heard: Nolantold themhe andBlount had walked out to the coastline the night before at around 2 a.m. butgot into a fight while waiting for a taxi to take her home. When Blountbegan walking off by herself, Nolantook a cab home alone.

    Upon hearing Blounthad been left to walk home alone in the middle of the night, Blounts roommates were immediately concerned andsuspicious of Nolan.

    As much as Amy liked Shawn, I thought Shawn didnt seem like he was really too concerned, to be honest, Brockman told Oxygens Buried in the Backyard, airing Thursdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.

    Brockmann reported Blountmissing to police, and investigatorslaunched a search for Blount, checking local hospitals for reports of any Jane Does who may have matched Blounts description and reaching out to local cab drivers. These first stepswent nowhere.

    Sincethere was not yet any evidence of foul play, policecould not officially declareBlount a missing person, despite her friends beliefsomething bad may have happened to her.With no answers, Brockmanrealized it was time to call Blounts parents.

    That was probably one of the toughest calls Ill ever make in my life, she recalled to producers.

    The search for AmyBlount leads to numerous dead ends.

    The following day, Blounts loved onesbegan searching for her around town, putting up missing persons flyers and forming search parties to scour the woods, but no one found anything. When days passed andBlount still had not materialized, authorities finally launched an official investigation into her disappearance, and the first thing they did was bring in Nolan, Blount's crush, for questioning.

    When speaking to police, Nolangave a different story than the onehed given Blounts roommates: At the end of the night, when he was ready to go home, hed used a nearby payphone to call a taxi to take Blounthome, he said, but when he turned around after making the call, she was gone. Although he waited for awhile, he said she never reappeared, so when the cab arrived, hewent home.

    Police reached out to the cab driver to verify Nolans alibi, and he confirmed hed picked Nolanup that night. He also said when he arrived, Nolan had been slumped over, asleep on a public bench.Most importantly, however? Nolanwas alone.

    We knew that Shawn was the last person [Blount] was actually seen with, Steve Fricke, aninvestigator with the St. Augustine Police Department, told producers.

    After Blounthad been missing for nearly 10days with no activity on her bank accounts authorities offered a $10,000 reward for information about Blounts disappearance, leading to an influx of tips. One such call came from a man named Timothy Gatchell, who told policeas soon as he saw Blounts face on the missing person poster, he recognized her as a young woman hed seen in the downtown area on the same night Blounthad disappeared.

    Gatchell met with police in person and told themhed seenBlount approached by someone in an older-model car a Camaro or a Firebird and Blounthad spoken to what looked to be two people who were in the car before getting inside and leaving with them.

    While police now had a promising lead, they were also suspicious of the person whod hand-delivered it to them, though they could not initially explain why.

    You could call it police intuition, but there was just something that wasnt right about him, Fricke said.

    Police convinced Gatchell to take a polygraph testand he passed. Their doubts assuaged, police followed up on the tip, searching for cars that matched the description, but after interviewing everyone they could find with a car of that type, they wereback to square one. They were no closer, it seemed, to finding Blount.

    Weeks had passed, andBlounts family was struggling with having to celebrate Christmas without her.

    There was no news, Blount's sister, Kim Blount Potter, told producers. I really felt numb.

    A gruesome discovery leads to answers.

    Weeks after Blounts disappearance, a man walking his dog on New Years Day 1991 on the outskirts of St. Augustine made a horrifying discovery. After the mans dog was attracted to a pile of logs and rocks in a deserted area, the man went to investigate, only to find what looked to be human bones.

    He immediately called the authorities, who, upon their arrival, found a body that had been wrapped in a floral bedsheet and buried in a shallow grave.

    I really started thinking that this truly could be Amy Blount, Mary Fagan, a detective with the St. Johns County Sheriff,told producers.

    An official autopsy confirmed Fagan's hunch. Italso revealedBlount had been stabbed five times in the front of her body. Additionally, there were bruises on the left side of her head and on her left shoulder, suggestinga struggle had taken place prior to her death.

    After authorities delivered the devastating news to Blounts loved ones, they were heartbroken to find their search had reached the worst possible conclusion.

    It made me sick to my stomach, but there was a little bit of relief that I could start the grieving process, Brockman recalled. I could start mourning, really mourning, the loss that Im never gonna see my friend again.

    As Blounts family and friends began to grieve, police continued the investigationby identifying the owner of the property on which Blountwas found. However, because that man was very cooperative with police, they soon ruled him out as a suspect and instead zeroed in on other possibilities: The property owner had rented out two mobile homes on that plot of landand he told police hed been having problems with one of the tenants a man named Timothy Gatchell.

    The truth of what happened to Amy Blount finally emerges.

    Investigators rushed to search Gatchells home, where they found a sheet that matched the kind that Blountwas found wrapped in as well as a long hair that was the color of Blount'scaught in a screw on a weight-lifting bench. Crime scene technicians also discoveredthere were traces of blood throughout the home.

    Police also found a scrap of paper with the name "Toby" written on it and a phone number, leading them to a man who could help them finally fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. When contacted by police, this Tobyagreed to come in for questioning.

    He told investigatorshe was with Gatchellon the night of Blounts disappearance and that the two of them had been out bar-hopping when they spottedBlount walking alone.Gatchell told Tobyto stop the car sohe couldtalk to her, and Tobywatched as Gatchell went to talk toBlount andled her back to the car. She got inside willingly, Tobysaid, and he drove them all to Gatchell'shouse. Once there, Gatchellbegan coming on to Blount, but Blountwasnt interested. At that point, Toby said, he went to the bathroom andleft the home without seeing either of them again.

    Weeks later, after Toby realized the missing girl everyone was talking about was the same onetheyhad picked up that night, he confronted Gatchell, who claimed hed given Blounta ridedowntown and thensaw her talking to a couple of guys in a Camaro before he drove away. Toby pressed him to report what hed seen to the police, which prompted Gatchellto reach out to investigators and give them the tip regarding the old car.

    At that point, authorities had heard enough: They rushed toGatchells home to take him into custody. He didnt resistand instead told officershed been expecting them.

    Once at the station, Gatchell told the same story as Tobyand claimed hed given Blounta ride back into town using the property owners truck. Investigators immediately knew thenGatchell was lying: The truck in question had three flat tires.

    With a little more coaxing from authorities, Gatchell slowly started to confess: He claimedhe andBlount had gotten into a fight andat some pointa knife had gotten got involved, but he wasnt sure because he may have blacked out. He said the next thing he knew, Blountwas lying on the floor with blood coming out of her mouth and the knife was in his hand.

    He claimed hethen went outside, got a shovel, and dug a hole before going back inside, wrappingBlount up in a sheet, and carrying her outside, where he buried her body and said a prayer for her.

    Gatchell was arrested for first-degree murder andstood trial in July 1991. In order to avoid the death penalty, he pled guilty and is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

    For more information on this case and others like it, watch Buried in the Backyard on Oxygen on Thursdays at 8/7c or stream online any time at Oxygen.com.

    Here is the original post:
    'Just Something That Wasnt Right About Him: Student's Killer First Masqueraded As A Witness - Oxygen

    190,000 UK properties can’t access broadband speeds to meet modern needs – The Guardian - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Almost 200,000 forgotten homes across the UK are being left behind in the governments digital revolution, unable to get broadband speeds deemed the minimum to meet a modern familys needs.

    The telecoms regulator Ofcom has said that 190,000 mostly rural homes and offices, about 0.6% of all properties, still cannot access decent broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps.

    This is the minimum speed deemed necessary to cope with modern needs, from downloading a film on Sky to streaming music or TV services from Netflix to Disney+.

    Ofcoms annual Connected Nations report estimates that there are 119,000 premises in England that cannot get access to decent broadband. The figure is 34,000 in Scotland, 18,000 in Wales and 19,000 in Northern Ireland.

    Last year the Commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee said rural inhabitants risked becoming second class citizens in the digital revolution, as people in urban areas benefit from next-generation broadband and 5G mobile.

    Ofcoms latest report estimates that across England, Scotland and Wales more than 39,000 homes cannot get access to either a decent broadband service or good 4G mobile phone coverage indoors.

    Addressing the UKs status as a global laggard in rolling out next-generation full-fibre broadband, making it available across the country by 2025 was a key promise of Boris Johnsons election manifesto. Since then, the government has watered down its ambitions to 85% coverage, including homes that can access similar gigabit speed technology via 5G network signals and copper wires as well as full fibre.

    In the governments spending review last month, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said only 1.2bn of a 5bn fund to subsidise the rollout of gigabit broadband to the hardest to reach premises would now be made available over the next five years.

    Ofcom revealed that 18% of UK homes, about 5m, now have the ability to get full fibre broadband, an 80% year-on-year increase. Nearly 8 m UK homes, 27% of the total, can now access gigabit speed broadband.

    For millions of families this year, life during lockdown would have been even more difficult without reliable broadband to work, learn, play and see loved ones, said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcoms network and communications director. So its encouraging that future proof, gigabit broadband is now available in a quarter of homes.

    Read more:
    190,000 UK properties can't access broadband speeds to meet modern needs - The Guardian

    Tiny home setups that prove why micro-living will be the next big trend: Part 5 – Yanko Design - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Tiny homes are all the craze now, but theyre not simply a trend, it seems like they are here to stay. Sustainability and minimal and cleaner ways of living have never been more imperative. With the COVID-19 pandemic shaking the world up, everyone is now focused on making more conscious and smarter decisions. Could tiny homes be the space-saving and sustainable living solution that we all need? I do think so!

    W2 Architectures revolutionary trailer design, Romotow, the name an amalgamation of room to move contains all the usual RV features but with an innovative 90-degree twist. With the press of a simple electric button, it swivels open, rotating at 90 degrees, to reveal an open synthetic teak deck, and 70% more living space.

    Smaller Architects built this tiny home in Seoul, Korea. This four-story tall vertical tiny home is called Seroro which literally means vertically. The rooms have been stacked one on top of the other, with the first floor comprising of the living room and the common washroom. The ground floor functions as a parking lot, whereas the second floor houses the kitchen and the dining area, and the third floor includes the bedroom and a private washroom. Lastly, a dressing room with a bathtub is situated on the fourth floor. Quaint, compact, and spacious at the same time, dont you think?

    Design Studio Andrs and Jos designed a mobile tiny house that aims to provide shelter to homeless people. Deemed as an urban domestic object by the designers themselves, Rodar could be a major source of relief to homeless people, providing them with a simple, minimal yet comfortable living space. Its structure and build are very similar to the ambulances found in many Latin American countries. The geometric, box-like compact home does look quite intriguing to me!

    Room+ Design & Build renovated an old tiny house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Featuring translucent glass blocks, the two-story home consists of a shop on the ground floor, and a minimal living space with two bedrooms on the upper floors. The glass facade allows natural light to continuously stream into the home, creating an open and relaxed space.

    Fernando Mastrangelo designed a tiny house from salt, sand, and powdered glass in Times Square. Quite literally named Tiny House, the home is built from discarded and then recycled materials such as plastic and glass. The cave-like structure showcases an ombre effect on its outer facade, owing to the use of recycled plastic. Whereas glass was used to build the walls.

    Dunkin Donuts and New Frontier Tiny Homes build a mobile tiny home that literally runs on discarded Dunkin Donuts coffee grounds! The transportable home is powered by a biofuel made up of 80 percent coffee oil extracted from 65,000 pounds of discarded coffee grounds. The home includes a cedar porch, a living room, multifunctional furniture, a fully functional kitchen, a comfy bunk bed, and beautiful wooden floors.

    While Vancouver has quickly become one of the most expensive cities to live in, it is not densely populated and there are a lot of vacant spaces that can be put to better use Shifting Nests sustainable tiny homes is that use! This project wants to transform empty parking lots into a community with gardens and low-cost homes. The nests are a prefabricated housing solution consisting of plywood, metal cladding, and corrugated polycarbonate on a series of simple frames.

    Cube Two is a 263-square-foot home that is designed for the future and smart living. This modern compact home is a prefabricated structure that already comes fitted with the latest home appliances that can all be controlled by an AI assistant named Canny. The exterior has smooth curved corners that give it a friendly vibe and the interior offers enough space for a family of four to live comfortably with two bedrooms and an open living area. To make it feel roomier, there is a skylight that runs across the ceiling and floods the space with natural light, and also provides a wonderful frame of the night sky.

    One of my favorite things about tiny homes is the loft-style beds because they give you a little private cozy corner and that is exactly how the bedroom in Natura is set up. It has a multifunctional king-sized bed with plenty of storage under the frame. The bedroom also has a single large window that makes it more spacious and allows for a lot of natural light to flood your top floor. The space optimization goes beyond the bedroom, there are many built-in spaces for you to put the things you own like under the stairs as well as in the walls!

    The Pacific Harbor is a tiny house built on a 30x8.5 triple axel Iron Eagle trailer compact, convenient, and classy. The interiors are kept light and breezy to manifest the feeling of spaciousness. The tiny home includes a downstairs flex area that can be turned into a bedroom or home office, a sleeping loft in the back, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.

    Read the rest here:
    Tiny home setups that prove why micro-living will be the next big trend: Part 5 - Yanko Design

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