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Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho, Business Briefs Column.

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Jul. 31--TWIN FALLS, Idaho--GARY SIPE, FORMERLY OF WELLS FARGO Home Mortgage, opened Air Quality Services Inc. on June 12.

Using new state-of-the-art equipment, Air Quality Services provides air-duct ventilation and furnace cleaning, as well as dryer vent, chimney and fireplace cleaning.

Sipe said he recently trained with B&F PowerVac of Lewiston, learning the latest technology in air-ventilation services and updating his previous eight years' experience in the commercial refrigeration business.

Air Quality Services serves both residential and commercial customers. Sipe can be reached at 732-8788 in Twin Falls or at (800) 827-9181, or by mail at P.O. Box 883, Twin Falls, ID 83303.

ONLINE BANKING AT FIRST SECURITY, the bank said, has become as common and convenient to some customers as drive-through banking.

Now, reordering checks is just one of the many functions available to First Security Bank online customers.

And First Security will soon add more online banking functions. Planned for release in August, customers will be able to place a stop payment, request photocopies of checks or statements and download account activity to personal financial software such as Money or Quicken.

"It's First Security's intention to provide customers with every possible service via the Internet," said Nick Hubsmith, senior vice president of retail administration for First Security Bank. "We want to appeal to all of our customers, and online banking is one of the most popular avenues offered."

First Security said its online banking customer base is growing rapidly because of the convenience of 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to account information and the ability to conduct a growing list of routine banking transactions.

Customers can apply for Internet banking at any branch or by phone at (888) 909-8000.

KEYCORP SAID IT AND ITS ONLINE BANKING Web site, Key.com, ranked among the top five financial services companies doing business on the Internet, according to a survey of 147 financial services provider Web sites conducted by Speer & Associates Inc., an Atlanta-based consulting firm.

In this survey -- the third conducted by S&A -- Key.com competed with companies in the United States, Canada and Latin America on the basis of overall functionality and the integration of marketing practices with financial Internet offerings. Companies included full-service and Internet-only banks as well as monoline and diversified financial services providers.

Key was ranked highest of 14 companies in the category of large U.S. regional financial services firms, achieving one of the strongest scores for marketing practices of all sites assessed. Marketing practices criteria for the survey included a variety of offerings, such as financial calculators, third-party content, ease of navigation and the ability to be an Internet portal, all of which are found on Key.com, KeyCorp said.

A NEW WEB SITE CAN HELP HARRIED IDAHOANS simplify their lives and make their leisure time more worry free, Idaho Power Services said.

The site -- www.HomeVantageRewards.com -- enables people to purchase products online from Idaho Power Services that General Manager Mike Feiler said can bring them peace of mind. HomeVantage products include appliance warranty and repair, carbon monoxide detectors, home surge protection, home security monitoring and payment protection insurance, as well as Internet access and satellite dish services.

"Our goal is to help people more fully enjoy the limited leisure time they do have," Feiler said. "HomeVantage products let you spend less time worrying about things like older appliances breaking down or whether your home is safe and secure.

"Plus, you can pay for HomeVantage products on your monthly Idaho Power bill, which means you have fewer checks to write each month."

Boise-based Idaho Power Services is the consumer-marketing arm of IDACORP Inc., Idaho Power Co.'s parent company. For about HomeVantage, call (800) 750-3132.

NATIONAL INVESTMENT FIRM EDWARD JONES recently launched an aggressive and innovative program designed to dramatically increase the ranks of female brokers, said Shelley Seibel, an Edward Jones investment representative in Ketchum.

"Edward Jones has intensified its recruiting and networking efforts, mobilizing successful women already working for the firm," Seibel said.

The firm launched a forum for its female investment representatives to exchange ideas and address issues unique to women in the investment field. The program also focuses on attracting females into the industry by providing a resource network for and by women.

According to Seibel, about 12 percent of Edward Jones' investment representatives are female, but the company hopes ultimately to increase the ratio to 50 percent. The financial-services industry average for female investment representatives is 8 percent.

"Edward Jones creates an atmosphere of success for both women and men," said Managing Principal John W. Bachmann, who initiated the all-out effort to recruit women. "But we've made an effort to understand what women need from a company and to be sure that Edward Jones meets those needs."

NORTHWEST REAL ESTATE NETWORK Windermere launched "Rolling Search," which enables users of the wireless Internet to search its home listings via a Web-enabled cellular phone.

"Developing Windermere.com to function in a wireless environment was simply an extension of our philosophy that technology enables the customer and agents," said Allen Benson, Windermere's chief technology officer.

During client meetings, the company said, Windermere agents noticed a rise in tech-savvy customers, many of whom have wireless Internet access. So Windermere's technology group programmed the search functions on Windermere.com to operate in a wireless Web environment. Launched July 25, "Rolling Search" allows wireless users to search Windermere's database of homes by criteria such as city, price, and characteristics such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Windermere has offered its agents wireless Web access to the company's intranet since 1998 to track the status of listings.

Windermere.com receives more than 20 million accesses per month and features about 102,000 home listings, the company said. Windermere has 200 offices and more than 5,000 agents serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada.

WHEN A LOVED ONE DIES, grieving family members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions about the funeral -- which must be made quickly and often under great duress.

Compounding the stress: Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make, the Federal Trade Commission said.

An FTC booklet called "Funerals: A Consumer Guide" addresses many of the issues involved in planning a funeral. It walks consumers through the planning process, informs them of their legal protections and encourages pre-need planning.

The new publication is posted online at www.ftc.gov under "Consumer Protection." Also, copies of the brochure are available free from the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 20580, or by calling toll free (877) FTC-HELP (382-4357); or for the hearing impaired, TDD (202) 326-2502.

POCATELLO--THE IDAHO STATE ELECTRICAL BOARD will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Cavanaughs Pocatello Hotel (aka WestCoast Pocatello Hotel), 1555 Pocatello Creek Road.

The State Electrical Board meets quarterly throughout the state to prescribe and amend rules pertinent to electrical safety and electrical licensing.

The board will review administrative rules and licensing/compliance issues. The public and members of the electrical industry are welcome. For more information, call the Idaho State Electrical Bureau at 334-2183.

TWIN FALLS--THE ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM -- a new source of grants to help persons with disabilities make their homes easier to live in -- is now accepting applications, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association said.

AIP is intended for people unable to afford accessibility modifications on their own or to obtain other types of assistance for completing the necessary work.

The maximum grant is $5,000, with funding available to eligible tenants and homeowner households with at least one member with a disability who would benefit from modifications to the home. Household income must be below 80 percent of the state median income. Fair market value for the home cannot exceed the purchase limits for IHFA's Residential Lending program.

AIP is sponsored by IHFA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funding is provided through settlement agreements between HUD and respondents to complaints regarding possible violation of provisions of the Fair Housing Act with respect to standards for housing accessibility.

Three independent-living centers have partnered with IHFA to implement the program statewide: Disability Action Center Northwest (north Idaho), Living Independence Network Corp. (southwest Idaho) and Life Inc. (eastern Idaho). Each will accept and forward applications to IHFA, provide technical assistance to applicants and inspect work done with program dollars.

Renter applicants are required to obtain their landlords' acknowledgment that they have been notified of the renters' intent to make modifications. According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords may not refuse reasonable requests to make modifications to meet their needs. However, they may require renters to deposit money in an escrow account to be used to restore the unit to its former condition after the renter moves out. AIP money may be used toward that escrow deposit.

Applicants must be able to document their disability needs and income eligibility, and submit a description of the work to be completed and estimate of costs. IHFA will reserve money on a first-come, first-served basis and notify applicants directly when they have been approved for the grants.

Upon verification that the work has been completed satisfactorily, IHFA will issue the money to the applicants for payment to the contractors.

BURLEY--THE COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO MINI-CASSIA CENTER is offering a variety of classes geared for businesses and individuals beginning in August at the Center, 1600 Parke Ave.

Included among them:

-- "Finally Home" is scheduled 6-9 p.m. Aug. 14 and 21. Participants will learn about the benefits of home ownership in a step-by-step program. Course completion may help new homeowners qualify for reduced mortgage insurance premiums, consistent payment amounts, closing cost assistance or other special lender programs, organizers say. The free class is offered in partnership with the Idaho Partners for Homeowners Education Inc. Class includes a training manual and guest speakers.

-- "First Aid -- When Help Is Delayed" is scheduled 6-8 p.m. Aug. 17. This two-hour course is designed to help people prepare for and respond to emergencies when emergency medical service response could take 30 minutes or more. A valid American Red Cross first aid card is a prerequisite for the $25 class.

The enrichment program is offering more than 50 community courses from August through December. Some September courses include Internet Research; E-mail Fundamentals; Professional Resume Writing Workshop; Computer Essentials; Infant and Child CPR; Photography; Shorthand; Introduction to Computers; Introduction to Windows; Microsoft 2000; Preventing Disease Transmission; and a four-part Injury Prevention Series -- Ergonomics; Preventing Back Injury; Slips, Trips and Falls; and Violence in the Workplace.

Class sizes are limited and early registration recommended. For more information or to register with a credit card, call 678-1400.

To see more of The Times-News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.magicvalley.com


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Source Citation
"The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho, Business Briefs Column." Times-News [Twin Falls, Idaho] 31 July 2000. General OneFile. Web. 9 Oct. 2010.
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