Harris, Reed & Seiferth
The votes have been counted and the results are in! Harris, Reed & Seiferth Insurance Group is a 2023 Best of Florida® Regional winner in Guide to Florida’s annual readers’ poll.
Guide to Florida readers and editors have weighed in on the best of everything in Florida, honoring thousands of businesses and organizations in more than 25 broad business and community sectors.
The process starts with a nomination on the Guide to Florida website. Voting remains open throughout the year, with tens of thousands of votes ultimately received. The process culminates with the publishing of the Best of Florida Keepsake Annual along with a statewide publicity campaign.
Best of Florida winners and nominees are chosen by a combination of readers’ votes and editors’ input, and are vetted through several ranking sites, Better Business Bureau complaint reports, and voting pattern analysis reports.
Winners are named in hundreds of individual categories, providing Guide to Florida readers with a go-to-guide for the best of everything in Florida. Guide to Florida recognizes three levels of winners: The Best of Florida, Best of Florida Regional Winners and Honorable Mentions. Within each category, there are multiple honorees named in each tier, depending on the size of the market sector.
You can view the full list of Best of Florida winners at GUIDEtoFLORIDA.com/best-of/
It feels like we blinked and boom - summer is here. It comes and goes as quickly as that, so I try to make every day count (especially living in the north!). I recently made a list of things I'd like to do before fall arrives. I only have three to four months to work with, and doing this gives me something to look forward to each month. If you're feeling stumped on what to add to your list, I’ve got you covered!
Here's some fun ideas to add to your summer bucket list to make it the most memorable year yet.
Don't forget those loyal family members — your pets. They need preparation just as humans do.
Find shelter for your pets
Unless you rely on the assistance of a guide or leader dog, Red Cross and other public shelters cannot accept pets. It's up to you to make other arrangements for your pet. Contact your veterinarian, Humane Society or Animal Control office for more information. There may be space available at 'pet shelters' on high ground in your community. Make sure your pets have up-to-date shots. Pet shelters require proof of vaccinations.
Your pet survival kit
Before a hurricane strikes, be sure to put together a Pet Survival Kit:
Keep an eye on your pet after a hurricane
After the danger has passed, be careful in allowing your pet outdoors. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and that could be confusing to your pet. Be careful that your pet doesn't become lost. Downed power lines present real danger to your pet, as do snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
Most turtles begin to move as the weather warms. This may be for mating, nesting or many other reasons. Of course, turtles move much slower than cars (and don't understand human traffic laws), which makes crossing the road incredibly dangerous. To celebrate and protect all of the turtles out there, here are some tips for safely helping them reach their destination!
If you see a turtle on the road, remember to use the correct signals when pulling over. Keep your flashers on to warn oncoming vehicles and always check your surroundings.
Moving the Turtle
If the turtle is moving at a decent pace, you may be able to stand nearby and watch it cross. If the turtle is stagnant (or if you are uncomfortable touching the turtle), you may use a blunt object to help push it. Make sure the object isn't sharp, and be gentle! This will be your best option for moving a snapping turtle, they may bite if you use your hands.
Picking up the Turtle
Most turtles will hide in their shells if they are frightened, which makes it easier for you to pick them up. Place both of your hands behind the front legs and towards the back legs. The turtle may try to kick, so don't hold it up high – you don't want to drop it! Also, it's very important to never pick up a turtle by the tail, as this can severely injure them.
Another option for moving the turtles is using a car mat. This works best for larger turtles that you may not be able to lift. You can allow the turtle to walk onto the mat, or help gently push it onto the mat. Be sure to carry the mat low to the ground in case the turtle falls off.
Going the Same Direction
Be sure to move the turtle in the same direction it was trying to go. If you place it back where it was coming from, it will most likely turn around and return to the road.
Do Not Take it with You
Turtles and other wildlife are meant to stay in the wild. No matter how cute turtles can be, resist the temptation to bring it home. When taken out of their home areas, they will most likely try to go back. They are not pets so they need to be in their natural environment.
An injured turtle may look dead, so if you are unsure as to whether or not the turtle is injured, there are a few tricks you can try. Try gently touching the back of their foot, or touch the corner of its eye to test for a reaction. The turtle may try and kick, or move its head or eyes. If a turtle has a crack in its shell, it might drown if it returns to the water. If the turtle you find has a damaged shell, or seems seriously injured, contact a professional. Many veterinarians, animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers will treat them for free.
There are so many different kinds of feeders to choose from, each attracting different kinds of birds. Some birds prefer to perch on a small dowel while others prefer to eat right from the ground. Redpolls, nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees tend to prefer tube feeders. Jays, finches, sparrows and crossbills like to sit on trays. When you purchase a feeder, don't just think about the style that would look nice in your yard also think about the feeder style that the birds would prefer.
Consider different kinds of food options for the birds. Many people resort to the popular seed mix that usually sells in a large quantity. Seed mix attracts cardinals, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, flickers and white-crowned sparrows. The mixed seed is inexpensive and readily available. But if you watch birds that flock to eat it, you'll see that they intentionally eat the tasty seeds and kick out the artificially flavored seeds from the mix. The seeds they like best are the sunflower seeds. Try a black-oil type sunflower seed to see a variety of birds that will keep coming back for more.
Many birds including sparrows, finches and chickadees favor a beef fat called suet which provides birds with a concentrated source of energy. Suet mixed with peanut butter is a favorite meal for woodpeckers, cardinals, goldfinches, jays, bluebirds, thrushes, and wrens. The winter months are the best time to offer suet so the fat stays cool. Genuine suet will melt and rot leaving a horrendous smell if it's warm. Although you can cook up your own suet, it is best to use an artificial suet made especially for birds. Artificial suet provides the same nutrients but can be used any time of the year.
If you want a specific kind of bird at your feeder make sure to buy the food it will like best. Mourning doves and song sparrows love canary seed. All small finches will devour niger or thistle seed. Look into the varieties of seed available and consider other feeding options as well. Many birds like to eat the foods we do. Jays, chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches like peanut hearts. Orioles love grape jelly and orange halves. Try foods like popped popcorn, pieces of melon or other fruit, cereal and cooked oatmeal to see what kinds of birds will come.
If birds aren't coming to your feeder:
Although the same birds might visit a feeder regularly, they do not completely depend on your food for a primary source of energy. Birds get most of their nutrition from eating things like insects, worms and berries. Rather than a feeder, consider planting a tree or shrub that will give a food source to the birds and enhance your landscaping. Birds like to eat from trees such as red cedar, juniper, hawthorn, crab apple, dogwood, hackberry, and sweet gum. Plumb bushes, holly, honeysuckle, currants, barberry, chokeberry, elderberry are favorite plants as well. Check with a gardening store or soil conservation district to see what kinds of native plants will thrive best in your yard.
Providing a water source is a sure way to attract all species of birds. Whether it's a built-in pond or a simple birdbath, water offers a fresh place for the bird to bathe and drink as opposed to polluted run-off rain and snow. Beginning in autumn to mid-winter, natural sources of food start to dwindle making a feeder and bath most attractive at this time of year. Birds need water most during the winter season when it is in short supply and when they need to warm themselves by bathing. In the winter a heated birdbath offers a warming station and energy source which will quickly be adopted.
Location and time
(with drinking water, non-perishable food, first-aid materials, blankets, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries) and your family and immediately move to higher ground. Don't wait for evacuation instructions during a flash flood.
If a flood is likely but hasn't yet occurred
If you have time before a flood affects your home and a flash flood isn't a threat, you should activate your flood plan. Start with moving your valuables to upper floors and securing your outdoor belongings. Turn off utilities at the main valves. Disconnect any electrical appliances, but not if you are wet or standing in water. Listen to the television or radio and follow any instructions.
You should be ready to evacuate. Close and lock your doors and windows. Have your emergency kit handy, as well as you car keys, a charged cell phone, credit cards and insurance information.
During an evacuation
Once you leave your house, make sure you are aware of the dangers you could encounter while trying to get to higher ground. Here are some rules:
Note that while you can purchase flood insurance at any time, there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage through the NFIP after you've applied and paid the premium before your policy is effective. However, we have several different options that will provide coverage with just a 10-day waiting period, or even immediately with a flood endorsement!
There is a common misconception that being a landlord is a great, easy way to make some money, but that is often not the case. Renting out a property can be a time-consuming and energy-draining task, but it has its' perks. I have lived in many different rental properties throughout my years as a college student, and I appreciate the time and care these owners have put into their respective properties. However, if the property owner seems distant or acts ill-mannered, the experience I have at that property isn't as good. Understanding how to pick your tenants and communicate with them creates a healthier and happier experience for everyone involved.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), everyone lives in a flood zone. Even those who don't live near water are at risk, because anywhere it rains, it can flood. Heavy rains, clogged or insufficient drainage systems, nearby construction projects, broken water mains and inadequate levees and dams can cause flooding that put your home and belongings at risk.
Your home is one of your greatest investments. It's important to prepare ahead should disaster occur. Here are three simple steps to help make sure you're ready in the event of a flood.
It's important to know that most home policies don't cover flooding and just a few inches of water damage can cost thousands. To find out if you live in an area that is at risk for flooding, type in your address in the FEMA Flood Map Service Center and use this interactive tool to learn more.
Guys like Harry and Marv are busy around the holidays! Burglars are in a hurry, and anything that can slow them down can be enough to stop them. Adding high-security locks, safes, safety glass windows, and fortified doors would all be okay measures alone. However, layering all these simple home protections can be enough to send thieves down the street!
Lights & Dogs
Most burglaries happen during weekday afternoons, when many people are away from home at work or running errands. Creating activity that makes it appear as if someone is home during the day may deter many thieves. Try leaving lights on, a vehicle in the driveway, or create noise that can be heard from outside the house. Nighttime theft can be deterred by installing motion-sensor lights and locking up tool sheds and outdoor items. Dogs may also seem like a deterrent, but a “Beware” sign or barking may not be enough to keep thieves away. Some dogs become scared when intruders confront or harm them, or are easily tamed with treats. However, large, noisy dogs can act as an alarm system and create a sense of fear that sends thieves away. Breed and training really determines whether a dog can act as a added layer of protection.
Fences & Landscaping
Trees, landscaping, and fencing can help your yard feel secure, but it can also provide cover for thieves. However, wall and fences only provide cover after they have been scaled. Making fencing difficult to climb over can be enough to thwart opportunistic burglars. Other obstacles, like locked gates and thorny shrubbery, can help deter unwanted guests. Also, consider replacing the screws on the hinges and strike plates of all exterior doors with 3.5 inch star-drive screws. This can help stop bold burglars who would go straight for your home entrances.
Alarms & Security Services
Seasoned burglars know police response times. Once an alarm sounds, they know just how much time they have to grab all that they can. Many thieves cut wires or know that neighbors may still may not report a sounding alarm. Funnily enough, the real benefit of an alarm is the yard sign and window decals! Burglars know that homes with those signs have the potential to create noise and alert the police. Through HRS Insurance Group, you can access special burglar alarm discounts, choosing between a video doorbell or indoor camera to be the backbone of your home security system.
Protection for Valuables
Do you have any high value items in your home that need extra protection, like art, jewelry, or collector’s items? Getting coverage for valuables is easy and we can help! Most homeowners insurance policies have limited coverage for valuables. To ensure those items have coverage, we recommend adding a personal articles floater to your homeowners policy. This would provide coverage for personal items whose value is higher than the limits set in your policy. You may also want to consider getting appraisals to determine the value of certain items. This can help you to decide how much coverage your item needs and can help make the claims process fast and easy!
Every year, we see the same list of movies recommended to be enjoyed during the Christmas season.
If you're like me, it doesn't take rocket science to notice the lack of diversity and inclusion in those lists. So this year, I've started a new tradition with my family and customized a Christmas movie list that is as diverse as it is inclusive and decided to share it with the world. We hope you and your friends and family enjoy it!
Grab some eggnog and stuff the stockings, stat! And be sure to share this list with your family and friends! 🎄🎅🏾
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