Livingston Reporting

How to Detect Rodent Activity, Understand Their Persistence, and Keep Them at Bay

Image of a mouse in a person’s home.

With their remarkable adaptability, rodents have coexisted with humans for centuries, often to our dismay. These unwelcome guests find our homes inviting and the perfect habitat to thrive due to the abundant food, water, and shelter we unwittingly provide. Understanding mouse behavior, detecting their presence early, and adopting preventive measures are crucial in ensuring our homes remain rodent-free. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to spot mouse activity, gain insight on their behavior, and implement effective strategies to keep them out.

Detecting Rodent Activity

Rodent signs are often subtle but unmistakable with closer inspection. Here are key indicators:

  • Droppings: Rodent droppings are a clear sign of activity. Mouse droppings are small, dark, and pointed at the ends, while rat droppings are larger and banana-shaped.
  • Gnaw Marks: Look for fresh gnaw marks on furniture, food packaging, and even wiring, which can indicate an active infestation.
  • Nests: Rodents build nests from shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter. These are often hidden in secluded areas.
  • Noises: Scratching sounds in the walls or attic at night are common signs of mice presence.
  • Footprints and Tail Trails: You might notice rodent footprints or tail trails in dusty environments.

Why Rodents Are So Persistent

Rodents seek environments that satisfy their primary food, water, and shelter needs. Our homes inadvertently offer all these in abundance, making them irresistible to these creatures. Additionally, mice and rats have evolved to live near humans, benefiting from our resources while avoiding outdoor predators.

Mice, rats, and other rodents can easily enter through small openings to nest or search for food, and their rapid breeding can lead to quick infestations, with up to ten litters per year. These pests often seek food in homes and businesses, where they can also spread diseases by contaminating food sources with their droppings. They are particularly problematic in commercial settings like restaurants and apartment complexes, attracting further infestations through pheromones left behind. This makes areas previously infested more susceptible to future problems, emphasizing the importance of early detection and prevention.

Keeping Rodents Out

Keeping rodents out of your home involves a combination of cleanliness, home maintenance, and vigilance. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Seal Entry Points: Conduct a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior. Seal any cracks, holes, or gaps in the foundation, walls, and around doors and windows with steel wool, caulk, or metal sheeting.
  • Maintain Cleanliness: Reduce food sources by keeping your kitchen clean. Store food in sealed containers, dispose of garbage regularly, and clean crumbs and spills promptly.
  • Eliminate Clutter: Rodents hide in cluttered areas. By keeping your home organized and clutter-free, you reduce hiding spots for rodents.
  • Landscaping: Trim vegetation away from your home’s exterior to eliminate shelter for rodents. Consider using gravel or stone as a barrier around the foundation.
  • Professional Help: If you suspect an infestation, it’s wise to seek professional pest control services, such as Northern Pest. We offer tailored solutions for effective eradication and control methods.

How Northern Pest Handles Rodent Control

At Northern Pest, we start by assessing the activity reported by homeowners and conducting a comprehensive inspection from the foundation to the roofline to spot entry points, nesting areas, and potential risks. We then provide an estimate for sealing these entry points to block future infestations. Our approach combines rodenticide bait stations with structural adjustments to stop invasions. Our discreet, secure bait stations and traps are designed to clear the infestation, and we recommend changes to your environment to keep rodents out. Our recurring control program offers continual protection for those seeking ongoing prevention, with regular checks, monitoring, and bait station maintenance.

Maintain a Rodent-Free Environment!

Detecting rodent activity early and understanding why our homes appeal to them are the first steps in keeping them at bay. By adopting preventive measures and maintaining vigilance, we can protect our homes from the dangers and nuisances of rodents. Remember, the key to rodent control is not just to react to their presence but to proactively create an environment that is unwelcoming to them in the first place.

For prompt inspection and removal of wildlife pests, contact us today!


Northern Pest: Our family serving yours! We are licensed and insured to provide insect and wildlife pest control. Our crew has the expertise to track wildlife entry points and remove pests of all kinds, including our licensed builders, who can make any of the necessary repairs caused by wildlife. Northern Pest is a member of the MDAT and the NWCOA. We are certified by the IICRC to offer professional mold mitigation services caused by animal damage. At Northern Pest, we do it all!

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

A 2024 Outlook on the Construction Industry: 7 Emerging & Continuing Trends

Image of the road ahead for 2024.

Heading into 2024, construction professionals encounter familiar hurdles: recession worries, ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, labor shortages, and supply chain issues. Despite these challenges, there are strategies to navigate them successfully and position your company favorably. Here are seven key trends and solutions to consider.

Labor Shortages Remain

The construction sector faces a growing skilled labor shortage, which is expected to intensify in 2024. In 2023, the industry needed over half a million extra workers to meet labor demands, exacerbated by fewer young people entering trades and an aging workforce, with nearly a quarter over 55 years old. The industry must enhance its appeal and recruit more effectively to combat this. Strategies include partnering with trade schools and high schools, engaging with trade associations, offering on-the-job training, and retaining talent with incentives for career growth and a supportive work environment.

Increased Subcontractor Default

In the past year, subcontractors faced over $97 billion in extra costs, leading to cash flow issues and heightened risk of default, a problem compounded by labor shortages, rising interest rates, and recession fears. This has resulted in increased claims due to subcontractors not meeting their financial obligations.

To address this, contractors should thoroughly vet subcontractors, requiring surety bonds, seeking references, assessing experience, and discussing financial stability. Leveraging surety relationships for subcontractor assessments and ensuring favorable contractual terms, such as “paid-when-paid” clauses, can also help. Diversifying the subcontractor base reduces dependency on a few and minimizes risk.

Unpredictable Interest Rates

Rising interest rates have exacerbated cost inflation in the construction sector, with financing becoming more expensive and driving up the costs of materials and labor. This has affected project budgets, with over 82% of construction materials experiencing price increases averaging 19% since 2020.

To counteract these challenges, strategies include reducing exposure to interest rates, avoiding debt, managing cash flow wisely, and securing favorable contract terms. Paying for equipment and materials in cash, negotiating better terms with suppliers, adjusting retainage rates for improved cash flow, and seeking upfront payments for materials to minimize reliance on bank financing are effective approaches.

Lingering Inflation

The construction sector is facing significant cost increases in materials, labor, insurance, and administrative expenses, further stressed by the volatility and unpredictability of material prices. Despite a decrease from the 8% inflation rate in 2022, economic uncertainty remains in various construction markets.

To navigate these pressures on profit margins, it’s advisable to work closely with insurance brokers and agents to reassess coverage and secure the most advantageous insurance rates, using a clean claims history as leverage. Additionally, a detailed review of expenditures, especially administrative costs, and regular financial monitoring are essential for identifying opportunities to manage or reduce expenses more effectively.

Continued Pandemic Hangover

The construction industry still faces challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, including delays in project starts and funding uncertainties, which have led to extended timelines and difficulties in backlog management. Supply chain disruptions and funding issues have impacted both private and public projects, with nearly 40% of contractors in 2022 reporting project postponements, and over a third experiencing cancellations or indefinite delays. In 2023, 13% noted postponements in the year’s first half.

To minimize these issues, it’s crucial to meticulously document project delays and management strategies to safeguard against liabilities such as liquidated damages. Documentation should cover delays outside contractors’ control, like late material deliveries, to prevent unfair penalties.

Before engaging in contracts, verify project financing in the private and commercial sectors, requesting proof of funds to lessen the risk of delays from financial issues. Work closely with suppliers to understand material lead times, identify potential shortages, and secure materials early, even at a higher cost, to prevent delays. Exploring alternative materials with project owners can also provide solutions to potential scarcities.

Increase Private Equity Firm Buyouts

The trend of private equity firms purchasing construction companies has risen significantly, with their involvement in the sector increasing from 16% in 2016 to 41.5% in 2021. While the influx of capital from these acquisitions can be positive, the long-term effects are uncertain, particularly regarding the sustainability of these firms without the original owner’s expertise. The future of these new portfolio companies—whether they will prosper, struggle financially, merge with other entities, or take different routes—is an ongoing concern with unpredictable outcomes. Furthermore, the temporary nature of many portfolio companies under private equity could lead to conflicts in financial management practices with creditors, surety companies, and banks.

It’s advisable to secure key personnel through contracts of a particular duration, ensuring the retention of essential expertise and knowledge for the company’s continuity and stability during transitions. It is also crucial to align the business strategies of the acquired construction company with partners like sureties and brokers to maintain smooth operations and relationships.

Repurposing Large Construction Projects

Thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and rising construction demands, a diverse mix of projects is on the horizon, shifting focus from traditional retail and office spaces to warehouses, multifamily housing, and mixed-use developments, including transforming old retail locations into warehouses. Despite challenges from higher interest rates, the construction sector is poised for growth, with significant gains expected in certain areas.

In 2022, U.S. construction projects reached nearly $1.8 trillion in value, a figure projected to decline by 2025. Nonetheless, spending has been on an upward trend, driven by both residential and non-residential construction. The U.S. Infrastructure Bill, allocating federal funds to various projects, is set to boost demand for construction services, equipment, and materials.

For businesses looking to navigate these changes, starting with smaller projects can provide valuable experience in new construction areas. Partnering with specialized subcontractors ensures high-quality work in unfamiliar domains. Moreover, updating risk transfer methods to match new project types is essential, including securing adequate insurance coverage to mitigate specific risks.

Stay Flexible and Strategically Positioned for Success in 2024

Despite the uncertainties associated with the trends mentioned, construction firms that are prepared and flexible stand to benefit significantly. The U.S. dedication to improving national infrastructure and the expected increase in renovation and rehabilitation projects present substantial opportunities. Thus, through resilience and strategic planning, companies can navigate periods of uncertainty and excel amidst continuous challenges.


At Construction Bonding Specialists, we work with new and experienced contractors to find the most satisfactory bond solutions. As a dedicated surety-bond-only agency with decades of bonding experience, we strive to discover surety solutions for all types of cases, ranging from routine to challenging. Contact us online or call us at 248-349-6227 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

The Ultimate Guide to Custom Software for Your Business

Image of a customized inventory management software application.

In an era where technology dictates the pace of business, custom software has emerged as a cornerstone for companies aiming to carve out a competitive edge. Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, custom software is tailor-made to fit the unique requirements of your business, promising not just an improvement in efficiency but also a significant boost in growth. This article reviews how software development can be leveraged to meet specific business needs, streamline operations, and propel your business forward.

Understanding Customized Software

Custom software is designed and developed to cater to the specific demands of a business or an organization. It’s a bespoke solution that perfectly aligns with your operational workflows, customer engagement strategies, and long-term business goals. Unlike generic software solutions that cater to a broad audience with varied needs, custom software is a precise tool crafted to address your unique challenges and objectives.

CPS offers customized software development services for websites, CRMs, business and barcode applications, inventory management systems (or ERPs), general programming changes and updates, and more.

Key Benefits of Custom Software for Your Business

Tailored Solutions

The most significant advantage of custom software is its ability to be perfectly tailored to the needs of your business. It accommodates your business processes rather than forcing you to adjust your workflow to the software, ensuring a seamless integration into your operations.

Scalability and Flexibility

Custom software grows with your business. It’s built to be scalable, accommodating growth and changes in your business strategy. This flexibility allows for modifications and enhancements without a complete overhaul, ensuring longevity and adaptability.

Competitive Advantage

Custom software can provide you with a competitive edge by offering unique features unavailable to your competitors. It supports the creation of innovative ways to serve your customers, differentiate your offerings, and streamline your operations.

Cost-Effectiveness Over Time

While the initial investment in custom software may be higher than purchasing off-the-shelf products, the long-term benefits often outweigh these initial costs. Custom software eliminates the need for multiple software licenses and reduces dependency on disparate systems, leading to maintenance, upgrades, and licensing cost savings.

Enhanced Security

Custom software can be more secure than standard solutions, as it’s less likely to be targeted by hackers due to its unique configuration. Additionally, custom solutions allow for the implementation of specific security measures tailored to your business’s needs and vulnerabilities.

How Custom Software Improves Efficiency and Drives Growth

Streamlining Operations

Bespoke software can automate routine tasks, reduce manual errors, and ensure that resources are allocated efficiently. This streamlining of processes frees up your team to focus on more strategic tasks, directly impacting productivity and operational efficiency.

Data-Driven Decisions

With custom software, businesses can harness the power of data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, operational bottlenecks, and market trends. These insights enable informed decision-making, helping to drive strategy and growth.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Personalized software allows for the creation of personalized user experiences, fostering loyalty and increasing customer satisfaction. Whether through tailored communication, brand offers, or seamless service delivery, bespoke software can significantly enhance how you engage with your viewers and clientele.

Facilitating Innovation

Custom software provides the flexibility to experiment and innovate, enabling businesses to explore new markets, offer unique services, or improve existing products. This ability to quickly adapt is crucial in maintaining relevance and competitiveness in a rapidly changing market.

Personalized software is an investment in your business’s future. With tailored solutions that grow with your company, custom software improves operational efficiency and provides a solid foundation for sustained growth. Software is not just an acquired tool but a strategic asset that can differentiate your business in the marketplace, enhance customer relationships, and drive it toward its long-term objectives. Whether you’re looking to solve a specific problem, improve efficiency, or seize a new opportunity, customized software systems tailored to your needs can be the catalyst that propels your business to new heights.

For software designed for your business needs, contact CPS for a free, no obligation consultation.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems delivers professional results for all your computer needs. We design, create, and code various custom software programs and websites. Additionally, we offer superior digital marketing services, including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising. We also repair and support commercial computer infrastructure, build custom systems and servers, and provide secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call (810)224-5252 or email us!

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

Significant Milestone Reached in Compact Particle Accelerator Technology

Researchers, led by The University of Texas at Austin and including international partners and TAU Systems Inc., have made a significant breakthrough in compact accelerator technology by developing a particle accelerator that is under 20 meters long and generates an electron beam with 10 billion electron volts (10 GeV) of energy. This advancement drastically reduces the size of high-energy accelerators, which traditionally span several kilometers. The new compact accelerator opens up potential applications in semiconductor testing, medical imaging and therapy, and scientific research.

The team’s technology, an advanced wakefield laser accelerator, utilizes a powerful laser to create plasma waves in helium gas, propelling electrons to high energies. A novel approach involving nanoparticles significantly enhances the efficiency of this process. The researchers aim to apply this technology in various fields, including testing the radiation resistance of space electronics, examining the internal structures of semiconductor chips, developing new cancer treatments, and capturing atomic-scale dynamics with X-ray free electron lasers.

This compact accelerator’s design is based on a concept first described in 1979, with recent advancements making it more powerful and practical for broader use. The team envisions future iterations of the accelerator that are even more compact, powered by table-top lasers capable of firing thousands of times per second. This development represents a major leap in making high-energy particle acceleration more accessible and versatile for research and industry.

To learn more, visit the original article posted in


RadParts, a TTG Imaging Solutions Company, is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost components and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

The Health Benefits of Winter Swimming:

Embracing the Chill for Your Wellbeing

As the mercury drops, the idea of taking a dip might seem reserved for the bravest of souls. However, winter swimming, whether in a heated outdoor pool or an indoor facility, offers a unique set of health benefits that are worth considering. From improved circulation to a boosted immune system, embracing the chill of winter swimming can be a game-changer for your physical and mental health.

Improved Circulation

One of the most significant benefits of cold-water swimming is improved circulation. When you immerse yourself in cold water, your body works harder to maintain its core temperature, causing your heart rate to increase and your blood to pump more efficiently. This natural cardiovascular exercise helps to strengthen your heart muscles and improve the elasticity of your arteries and veins, promoting better blood flow throughout your body. Over time, regular winter swimmers may find themselves with improved cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases.

Boosted Immune System

Regular exposure to cold water has been linked to a strengthened immune system. The shock of cold water stimulates leukocytes and other immune system cells due to the body’s reaction to sudden cold exposure. This activation helps your body fight off infections and diseases better. Studies have shown that regular winter swimmers report fewer colds and flu-like illnesses than non-swimmers, indicating a direct link between cold water immersion and immune system fortification.

Enhanced Mood and Mental Health

The mental health benefits of winter swimming are as compelling as the physical ones. The cold water triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, leading to a post-swim high that can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. This endorphin release, combined with the meditative aspect of swimming, can create a sense of well-being and happiness. Additionally, the challenge of cold-water swimming can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment, further enhancing mental health.

Improved Metabolism

Swimming in cold water also has a significant impact on your metabolism. Your body burns more calories when it needs to generate heat, so swimming in colder temperatures can help increase your metabolic rate. This can be particularly beneficial for those looking to manage their weight or increase their energy levels.

Better Sleep Quality

Physical exhaustion combined with the natural cooling of the body post-swim can contribute to better sleep quality. Many winter swimmers report falling asleep faster and experiencing deeper, more restful sleep. This improved sleep quality can positively impact overall health, including reduced stress levels and better cognitive function.

Tips for Winter Swimming

  • Start Slowly: If you’re new to winter swimming, start gradually to acclimate your body to the colder temperatures.
  • Safety First: Always swim with a buddy or in a supervised area.
  • Warm Up Properly: Ensure you warm up your muscles before swimming to prevent cramps and injuries.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after swimming, and don’t overdo it.

Winter swimming, whether in a heated pool outdoors or an indoor facility, offers a unique blend of health benefits that can enhance your physical and mental well-being. By embracing the cold, you can improve your circulation, boost your immune system, elevate your mood, speed up your metabolism, and enjoy better sleep. With the right approach and precautions, swimming during the colder months can be a refreshing and rewarding experience. So why not dive into the challenge and reap the health benefits this winter?


Pound Pool Plastering services residential and commercial pools in applying a wide variety of pool plaster finishes and complete renovations. We offer Diamond Brite, Sunstone, Hydrazzo, and Marcite – and a great selection of tile choices and coping stones. Owner Dale Pound personally oversees each pool project to ensure the highest quality is delivered. Call or email us for a free estimate.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

The Basics of Commercial Property Lending

Image of a small downtown commercial property.

Commercial property lending is an intricate part of the real estate industry, providing essential financial support for acquiring, developing, and refinancing commercial properties. This guide aims to demystify the complex world of commercial property lending, offering insight into the types of properties involved, the lending process, and the key players in the industry.

What is Commercial Property Lending?

Commercial property lending refers to the process of providing loans to businesses and investors to purchase, develop, or refinance commercial real estate. Unlike residential lending, which focuses on homes and apartments for individual use, commercial lending targets properties used for business purposes. These loans are crucial for businesses looking to expand their operations, investors seeking to add to their portfolios, and developers aiming to bring new projects to life.

Types of Commercial Properties

Commercial properties come in various forms, each serving different business needs and investment strategies. Here are the main types of commercial properties involved in commercial lending:

  • Office Buildings: These range from small professional offices to skyscrapers, catering to businesses needing a workspace.
  • Retail Spaces: This category includes shopping centers, malls, and standalone stores, offering areas for retail businesses.
  • Industrial Properties: Warehouses, factories, and distribution centers fall into this category, serving manufacturing and logistics purposes.
  • Multifamily Complexes: Although residential in nature, apartment buildings with five or more units are financed through commercial loans.
  • Mixed-Use Developments: Properties combining residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial spaces, tailored for diverse uses.
  • Special Purpose: This broad category includes hotels, healthcare facilities, educational buildings, and other specialized properties.

Key Players in Commercial Property Lending

The commercial property lending ecosystem comprises various stakeholders, each playing a critical role in the financing process:

  • Banks and Financial Institutions: Traditional lenders offer a range of commercial real estate loans with varying terms and rates.
  • Insurance Companies: Significant players providing long-term loans, often favoring lower-risk, high-quality properties.
  • Private Lenders: Entities or individuals offering more flexible, sometimes more expensive, lending options.
  • Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): Organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, offer multifamily loans with competitive terms.
  • Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) Lenders: Investors in the securitization market, providing loans that are then bundled and sold as securities.

The Lending Process

Securing a commercial real estate loan involves several steps, from initial application to final approval:

  1. Pre-Approval: Borrowers provide financial details and the property’s information to gauge eligibility.
  2. Loan Application: Submission of detailed financial documents and property appraisals.
  3. Underwriting: Lenders assess the risk, examining the borrower’s creditworthiness and the property’s value.
  4. Approval and Closing: Once approved, terms are finalized, and the loan is closed, allowing funds to be disbursed.

Commercial property lending is a vital component of the real estate sector, enabling the purchase and development of properties that fuel economic growth. Understanding the types of properties involved, the key players and the lending process is crucial for anyone looking to navigate this field successfully. Whether you’re an investor, a business owner, or a developer, grasping the basics of commercial property lending can open new opportunities and help you make informed decisions.

Contact the finance experts at EB Mortgage for wholesale commercial lending solutions.


EB Mortgage is a locally owned mortgage company with experts in new home purchase, refinancing, and commercial loans. Our wholesale rates can’t be beaten. We offer more products, more options, and more solutions. Our “3C” Process is simple: complete our pre-approval request, consider options based on your requirements, and choose the offer that suits your needs best. Call us or e-mail us today! 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

Navigating Life’s Storms: The Power of Positivity, Joy and Faith

Image of a sailboat navigating out in the ocean after a storm.

In the wilderness of life’s most challenging moments, it’s easy to feel lost and without hope. Yet, it is precisely in these valleys that the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, finding joy amid hardship, and relying on Jesus Christ as our savior becomes most evident. This article explores how these three elements serve as crucial survival tools, guiding us through the darkest times and leading us toward the light.

The Importance of a Positive Mindset

A positive mindset is not about ignoring the reality of our situations but choosing to focus on the potential for growth and learning that lies within them. It’s about seeing the glass as half full, not to naively dismiss the half empty, but to empower ourselves to fill it up the rest of the way. Positivity breeds resilience, enabling us to face adversity head-on rather than being overwhelmed by it.

In the context of survival, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, a positive mindset acts as a beacon of hope. It encourages us to persevere when every fiber of our being wants to give up. By maintaining a hopeful outlook, we can find the strength to keep moving forward, even when the fog of uncertainty obscures the path.

Finding Joy in Times of Hardship

Joy in times of hardship might seem like a paradox, but it is a profound truth that has sustained many through the ages. This joy doesn’t stem from our circumstances but from something more profound —our reactions to those circumstances and our ability to find meaning and gratitude even in the midst of suffering.

One way to cultivate this joy is by embracing the small blessings that life offers us daily. It could be the warmth of the sun on our faces, the kindness of a stranger, or the comfort of a familiar scripture. When we learn to appreciate these moments, we find that joy is not as elusive as it seems, even in hardship.

Moreover, joy is often found in service to others. By turning our focus outward, we not only help alleviate the burdens of those around us but also gain perspective on our struggles, making them seem more manageable in the process.

Walking Faith: Counting on Jesus Christ as Our Savior

At the core of our ability to remain positive and find joy in adversity is our faith in Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate example of enduring hardship with grace, offering us a model of how to face our own trials.  Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus showed us that no suffering is too great to overcome, and no night is so dark that the dawn cannot follow it.

Relying on Jesus as our Savior means more than just believing in His existence; it means trusting in His love for us, His plan for our lives, and His promise to be with us always, especially in our moments of greatest need. When we put our faith in Him, we are not guaranteed a life without hardship, but we are promised His presence, guidance, and the ultimate victory over our struggles.

Prayer, scripture, study/reflection, and fellowship with other believers can all strengthen our relationship with Christ, helping us to lean on Him more fully. As we do so, we find that He provides us with the peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that enables us to remain positive and joyful, even when the world around us is anything but.

Life’s storms can be fierce, but they don’t have to be faced alone or without hope. A positive mindset, the pursuit of joy, and, most importantly, a steadfast reliance on Jesus Christ as our Savior are the keys to not just surviving but thriving in the face of adversity. By cultivating these elements in our lives, we can navigate any challenge with grace, emerging stronger and more resilient on the other side.


Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you need it later.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

Electrical Tap Boxes

Image of an electrical tap box, also known as a splitter box.

An electrical tap box is a crucial device used in both portable and permanent power distribution setups. Often referred to as splitter boxes or pull boxes, these units are specialized junction boxes that feature a backplate equipped with copper busbars for each electrical phase and mechanical lugs. These lugs are designed to connect with large cables, such as those 500 MCM and above, enabling the distribution of power to multiple smaller cables, like 2/0 or 4/0 AWG, leading to various power distribution units.

The primary function of a tap box is to serve as a central point for connecting larger feeder cables, facilitating more efficient power distribution. Tap boxes are available in single-phase or three-phase configurations ranging from 400A to 3000A. They are engineered to provide a high-quality, safe, and sustainable alternative for easy connection and distribution of large wires and cables. These boxes offer a superior connection point compared to standard pull-boxes on the market, aiming to enhance the efficiency and safety of electrical power distribution.

Selecting the Right Electrical Tap Box

Choosing a suitable electrical tap or splitter box hinges primarily on its purpose. The optimal tap box configuration varies significantly depending on its use. Key factors to consider include the size of both incoming and outgoing cables, required voltage, total amperage for the load, and any potential limitations, such as wall space availability, the number of units requiring power, and budget constraints. Identifying these needs and constraints is crucial for tailoring the electrical tap box to your project’s requirements.

Electrical Tap Boxes in the Commercial Sector

Tap boxes are essential for commercial and industrial settings, especially where standby generators are central during power outages. Facilities like airports, supermarkets, hospitals, and data centers often house electrical rooms with critical components such as automatic transfer switches and transformers to maintain power. Additionally, these establishments frequently conduct load bank testing on generators to verify emergency power readiness.

Installing a tap box simplifies connecting cables to necessary units for maintenance and load bank testing. However, testing standby generators effectively requires more than just a tap box. Essential equipment includes the standby or portable generator, a load banking station, appropriate cables, and the tap box for connecting larger wires and redistributing power to various units.

For Tap Box Inquiries and More, Contact J&P Electrical!

The benefits offered by our electrical tap boxes significantly surpass the initial investment, providing you with a durable junction box that facilitates safe and efficient power distribution. Get in touch with J&P Electrical today for all your substantial electrical requirements.


J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical supply company. At J&P, we source contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of heavy industrial electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bus duct, transformers, circuit breakers, fuses, and switchboards. Call us at 877-844-5514 for assistance.  

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

Water Softeners: How They Work & Their Main Types

Image of a Reynolds Water Twinstream Water Conditioning System.

A water softener is a valuable tool for homes affected by varying levels of hard water, offering a multitude of benefits. It works by removing minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which are primarily responsible for hard water issues. The use of a water softener helps avoid problems like mineral deposits, scale buildup that can lead to leaky faucets and clogged pipes, damage to appliances using water, residues on dishes cleaned in dishwashers, dry skin and hair post-showering, and the fading of clothes washed in hard water.

By eliminating these heavy minerals, softened water enhances the quality of life in several ways:

  • improved skin and hair health
  • brighter and softer laundry
  • cleaner dishes and glasses
  • reduced cleaning effort
  • long-term cost savings
  • improved taste and clarity of drinking water.

How a Water Softener Works

The core technology behind most water softeners is the ion exchange process, which replaces hard minerals with sodium (or sometimes potassium). This process occurs as water flows through a tank filled with resin beads that are pre-saturated with sodium. The hard minerals swap places with sodium ions, which then dissolve into the water, leaving it softened. Eventually, the resin beads get saturated with the removed minerals and need to be regenerated with sodium-rich water to restore their softening capability, allowing the system to continue providing softened water to the household.

Types of Water Softeners

Water softeners are designed to address hard water issues through two primary methods: ion exchange, which removes heavy minerals from the water, and neutralization, which prevents these minerals from clustering and keeps them dissolved in the water. The two main categories of water softeners, each functioning differently, include:

  • Salt-based systems, which may also include dual-tank configurations
  • Salt-free systems, which include magnetic variants

Salt-Based Water Softeners

Salt-based water softeners are widely used for their effectiveness in removing minerals like calcium and magnesium from water and exchanging them for sodium. This process turns hard water soft, making it healthier for use. Despite their efficiency, these systems require weekly salt recharges and are larger, which may not suit smaller spaces. However, portable versions are available, ideal for RVs, boats, and small homes, offering an affordable solution for on-the-go soft water needs. These portable softeners are less expensive but need frequent recharging. While salt-based softeners slightly increase the water’s sodium content, they remain within a safe range for most people, though those on low-sodium diets might prefer alternatives.

Dual-Tank Water Softeners

Dual-tank water softeners feature two resin tanks, ensuring a constant supply of soft water, even during one tank’s regeneration phase. They’re especially beneficial for well water, capable of filtering heavy minerals more effectively. However, dual-tank systems are larger, more expensive, and not necessary for most households, but they excel in high-demand situations without the risk of running out of softened water.

Salt-Free Water Softeners

Salt-free water softeners, unlike their salt-based counterparts, do not remove hard minerals from water but instead, condition the water to prevent these minerals from forming scale on fixtures and appliances. They are an initial costlier option that operates without salt or electricity, suitable for small to large homes. However, they may not perform as well in areas with extremely hard water or high water usage.

Electromagnetic and Magnetic

Electromagnetic and magnetic water softeners are compact, making them ideal for small spaces. They work by altering the charge of mineral ions with a magnetic field, preventing them from sticking to surfaces. Electromagnetic models require an electrical outlet, while magnetic ones do not, offering a maintenance-free solution albeit with limited effectiveness for smaller homes.


Polyphosphate softeners use a filtration cartridge to condition water, preventing scale formation, and are commonly used in commercial settings to protect equipment. Full filtration systems not only prevent scaling but also remove a wide range of contaminants, making water safer but requiring periodic and costly filter replacements.

Full Filtration

Full filtration systems offer a dual benefit: they soften water and eliminate a variety of drinking water contaminants. Operating without salt, these systems utilize a filtration process that transforms minerals into a crystalline form to prevent scale buildup on pipes and appliances. Additionally, they effectively filter out harmful substances such as herbicides, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, and chlorine. While offering significant advantages, the filters in these systems come with a higher cost and need replacement approximately every six months to a year.

It’s crucial to recognize the distinction between water softeners and purifiers. Water softeners are safe for treating water with hardening minerals, either by removing or neutralizing them to prevent them from causing scale. However, they do not function as water filters and are incapable of eliminating other harmful substances from the water. Therefore, their use should be limited to softening water. For concerns about the overall safety of your drinking water, especially regarding contaminants other than hardening minerals, it’s advisable to consult your local health department, conduct personal tests, or have the water professionally analyzed.

Not sure what’s right for your home or business? Contact the experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning; we’ll walk you through the process to determine the best solution for your water type.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

What is Exclusion Trapping?

Image of exclusion traps used to trap and release wildlife humanely.

Exclusion trapping is a humane pest control method that involves capturing animals at their entry points into buildings, rather than using baited traps placed randomly. This technique is part of a broader approach known as wildlife exclusion, aimed at permanently removing nuisance animals from structures. The strategies employed in exclusion trapping are tailored to specific species, with the primary goal being to prevent these animals from re-entering the property once they’ve been excluded.

This method offers numerous advantages. Since the trap intercepts the animal directly at its entry or exit point, there’s no need for bait, which eliminates the need for constant monitoring and replenishment. This specificity also increases the likelihood of capturing the intended animal, reducing the chances of accidentally trapping non-target wildlife. Exclusion trapping proves especially effective for animals living within the structure itself, such as in the roof or chimney, and is adaptable to various situations.

Exclusion Traps Are Used For:

  • Bats
  • Birds/Pigeons
  • Squirrels/Rock Chucks  
  • Mink/Muskrat
  • Skunks
  • Opossums 
  • Raccoons

To manage bats and birds humanely, we utilize one-way devices that let them leave a structure but prevent their return. For squirrels and other small wildlife, exclusion trapping is effective, particularly when ground trapping is impractical because it doesn’t guarantee that the captured squirrel is the one entering the roof. By positioning the trap at their entry point, exclusion trapping ensures that the specific animal causing issues is caught. For larger animals like raccoons, which have clear entry and exit routes, traps are placed directly outside these points. If the opening doesn’t accommodate a trap well, modifications are made to ensure a snug fit, facilitating effective capture while prioritizing animal safety.

Common Exclusion Points of Entry:

  • Chimney
  • Roof Vents
  • Roof/Fascia Spaces & Roof/Soffit Intersection
  • Plumbing Vents & Pipes
  • Oven & Bathroom Exhaust Vents
  • Holes in Siding
  • Porch & Deck
  • Trees & Landscaping k

Installing chimney caps, screens, and sealing vents and pipes effectively prevents wildlife breaches. Ensuring the roofline is fortified with durable materials and eliminating any gaps is crucial to stop animals from entering. Promptly fixing any siding holes and discouraging nesting near porches or decks with sturdy screening are also key steps. Additionally, managing overhanging branches and nearby vegetation can deter animal access.

Front Range Pest technicians possess the expertise to tailor exclusion traps to both the specific pest and the building’s architecture. These traps are strategically placed over entry points, capturing animals as they exit at night. Some traps may need support for correct positioning, and covered traps are sometimes used to maintain the trapped animal’s calm by limiting its visibility until it can be safely released back into the wild. Exclusion trapping is highly adaptable, with a no one-size-fits-all approach, ensuring each job is customized for optimal results.

Wildlife Invasion? Call a Pro!

Although some wildlife may seem small and harmless, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks they pose. Wild animals can carry diseases and parasites, and their bites can be painful and dangerous. To safeguard your health and that of your family, it’s advisable to contact a trained professional to address any wildlife concerns.

Has wildlife breached your home or business? Contact Front Range Pest today for prompt removal!


Front Range Pest is your trusted, family-owned pest and wildlife control company serving central Colorado and southern Wyoming. Our certified technicians have the expertise and credentials to ensure effective pest management for your home or business. As your all-in-one insect and wildlife specialists, we offer peace of mind by identifying wildlife entry points, removing nuisance pests, sealing access areas, performing cleanup, and making essential repairs. Schedule an inspection with us today.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: