2014 Kia Soul: Time for Some Much Awaited Changes

Those who love the Kia Soul have a lot of reasons to celebrate. After all, their beloved compact hatchback has been totally redesigned – and has been earning positive reviews for doing so! So, what’s new about the 2014 Kia Soul? How does it differ from the previous model? Here are some juicy details that you will surely appreciate.

The new Soul gained more space. Kia decided to make the 2014 model even roomier by installing a slightly longer and wider chassis to gain additional leg, shoulder and head room on both rows. It also redesigned the hatch lift gate to provide a slightly wider opening and make the task of loading and unloading cargo much easier. Thankfully, the cargo space also stepped up by about half a cubic foot. However, please take note that all these changes were made in a subtle way to preserve the squared off and boxy look characteristic of the Soul.

Several refinements were made to update its style. Kia decided to update the Soul without deviating so much from its winning formula so you will only see some very minor changes in its exterior styling. A neater window trim and modern head light accents were installed to give it a more modern look.

It reinvented the interior as well. The new Soul upgraded its interior space by using more soft-touch materials throughout the dash, center console and door panels. The base model features power accessories, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connectivity, satellite radio and heated mirrors while higher trim levels offer cruise control, a navigation system, panoramic moonroof, Infinity audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and mirror turn signal indicators.

It offers an improved riding experience. In an effort to keep its lead in this segment, Kia decided to address the shortcomings of the previous model. Since the Soul was criticized for providing a stiff ride and cabin noise, the manufacturers used a stiffer body, upgraded the suspension by installing four new bushings and returned shock, and installed three different steering settings to provide a more comfortable drive.

The new Soul has also been redesigned to reduce cabin noise by about 3 decibels to further improve the overall riding experience. This was made possible by installing an isolation pad and layered carpet and increasing the amount of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) materials used in the door cavities to reduce road and wind noise.

As mentioned earlier, Kia managed to redefine the Soul while preserving its general look. Don’t these improvements make you want to drive home a 2014 Kia Soul right now?

Best Accredited Sonography Schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you are looking for an accredited sonography school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this is the right place for you. Located in the central Midwest, Milwaukee is known for the warm hospitality extended to residents and visitors alike. There is plenty to see and do thanks to venues like the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and professional sports arenas that include Miller Park and the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee is located along the shores of Lake Michigan, so Diagnostic Medical Sonography students can take a break from their studies by enjoying sailing excursions without leaving the city.

Sonography Education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

With three CAAHEP accredited sonography schools in Milwaukee WI as of 2014, students have a great choice of educational opportunities. Ultrasound students can choose to complete their studies at a medical center, major state university, or high quality healthcare facility. Some schools offer accredited online sonography degree programs. Choosing the educational setting that best fits the student’s needs is important, and sonography scholarships can help with expenses. However, all CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technician programs in Milwaukee WI include instructional and clinical components, critical for passing ARDMS certification exams.

Milwaukee is home to outstanding colleges and universities like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with over 23,500 students and Marquette University with close to 10,000 students. A total city-wide college and university student enrollment of approximately 55,000 students creates a supportive environment for anyone working towards a certificate or degree in sonography.

What is the Job Outlook for Sonographers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

The Milwaukee area is one of the highest employment areas in the state. In addition, the education and health services sector has by far the highest employment rate in the metropolitan area of Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin. This indicates excellent opportunities for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer interested in an ultrasound job requiring hands-on patient care or who would prefer working in an administrative or faculty position. Ultrasound technicians will appreciate the fact that the local health care system is a leader in developing quality programs for managed care that keeps medical costs down. There is a choice of employers ranging from the large Milwaukee Regional Medical Center to one of the smaller clinics in the four-county healthcare system. There are also positions available in physician offices, medical laboratories, and extended care facilities. | See Job Openings

Do Sonographers Earn Well in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

Ultrasound technicians are paid well for performing their professional duties, earning an average annual salary of $82,020 or $39.43 per hour. Salaries are determined by the type of employer, job experience, and areas of specialization. However, sonographers all along the average salary scale are earning high wages with the bottom 10 percent salaries at $65,680 and the top 10 percent at $96,850. It is crucial to earn registration with the ARDMS to have the best job opportunities.

A List of Best Schools for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Study in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

School Name: University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Address: 2200 E Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI – 53201
Contact Person: Amanda Smith, Carol Mitchell
Contact Phone: (414)229-6286 (414)229-2230
Program: Bachelors Degree Program
Accreditation: CAAHEP

School Name: Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-St Francis Hospital
Address: 3237 South 16th Street, Milwaukee, WI – 53215
Contact Person: Marc Wojciechowski
Contact Phone: (414)647-5711
Program: Certificate Program
Accreditation: CAAHEP Accredited and ARRT Recognized

School Name: Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center
Address: 180 W Grange Avenue, Milwaukee, WI – 53207
Contact Person: Laura Sorenson, Christopher Kramer
Contact Phone: (414)747-4352 (414)385-7172
Program Certificate Program
Accreditation: CAAHEP

Infant Massage for Spina Bifida

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the majority of babies born in the United States are healthy but roughly 3% or about one in thirty-three are born with a birth defect. While some of these defects are treatable with surgery or medications, getting a second or third opinion is just as important as being educated on them. I plan to cover nine of the most commonly seen birth defects in the United States and how they may impact you and your baby.

Fragile X Syndrome is a chromosomal birth defect with an occurrence of 1 in 1,500 males, with 1 in 1,000 females as carriers and only 1 in 3 showing signs of the defect. The symptoms of Fragile X include a combination of physical characteristics such as larger sized ears, elongated face, poor muscle tone, flat feet, as well as, intellectual issues such as lack of language development, heart problems, “autistic-like” tendencies and many can suffer from seizures. Similar to children with Down Syndrome, children with Fragile X syndrome can do most things children their age can by utilizing early intervention programs which help catch symptoms early.

Sickle Cell Disease is a biochemical birth defect and affects 1 in 625 births, mainly of African-American and Hispanics of Caribbean ancestry. Thirty states currently require newborns to be tested after birth. Causing debilitating bouts of pain and damage to vital organs, the disease itself can be fatal.

Congenital heart defects occur in about 1 in 110 births, some are mild with no visible symptoms while others are more complicated. The defects can stem from genetic abnormalities or a mistake during fetal development. While in utero, heart murmurs can call attention to a defect with more serious defects display themselves obviously and if untreated lead to congestive heart failure. Symptoms of a heart defect usually include rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulties, feeding problems, swelling in legs, abdomen or eyes and pale or bluish skin. Most heart defects are able to be corrected or managed through surgery, drugs or mechanical aids (such as a pacemaker.)

One anatomical abnormality is the clubfoot, which occurs in about 1 in 400 newborns and affects twice many boys as girls. Club foot includes many kinds of ankle and foot deformities and while we still don’t know the exact cause of Clubfoot, it is probably a combination of heredity and environmental factors that affect fetal growth. Clubfoot can be mild to severe and affect one or both feet and is not painful until the child begins to walk. Several treatment approaches are common including casting, splints, surgery and special shoes for more severe cases while physical therapy with special exercises work in more mild cases.

Spina Bifida is another anatomical abnormality which is more frequently seen in Caucasians of European descent, happening in roughly 1 in 2,000 births. The abnormality comes from the malformation of a neural tube that prevents the backbone from closing completely during fetal development. Severity ranges from nearly harmless to limb paralysis and bladder/bowel- control problems. Treatment is vast with more severe cases having surgery directly after birth to simple leg and feet exercises to even the use of a wheelchair.

While new treatments are being researched every day, one Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) option is gaining notoriety; Pediatric Massage. With many studies showing benefits to both pre-natal massage for prevention of birth problems to pediatric massage as a treatment option to all of birth defects listed here, it is easy to see why the use of touch is gaining popularity in the medical world. As with any new healthcare program, always check with your doctor before starting, and follow their guidance. They are usually able to refer you to a certified pediatric massage therapist in your area that is experienced in providing therapeutic care to children with birth defects.

Copyright (c) 2014 Liddle Kidz Foundation Infant and Children’s Pediatric Massage

What To Expect In 2014: San Diego & Southern California Residential Real Estate Market Prediction

San Diego’s real estate market correction has been nothing short of extraordinary over the past 12-18 months. It has taken some by surprise and rewarded those homeowners who have withstood the market correction of the past 8 years, as well as those who took a risk and entered into the market in the depths and despair of the local market recovery.

A home that was purchased for $300,000 in 2011 or 2012 would now be worth about $450,000 in 2014. This is due in part to an over-correction of the market in the first place, but also in part to a long-term real estate listing shortage; there is simply not enough homes to buy and the demand is greatly outweighing the supply.

This article identifies what happened in the past 12 months and what to expect in the next 12.

The San Diego housing market started out incredibly strong for 2013, but sales hit an air pocket once it became apparent that the Federal Reserve’s intent was to wind down its monthly securities purchases (a.k.a Quantitative Easing) in mid-2013.

The market was ON FIRE for the first six months of the year, but the earlier-than-expected talk about “tapering” by the FED briefly sent mortgage rates soaring up to 5% right in the middle of the key home buying season. Up to that point, prices were increasing each month at a rate reminiscent of the peak/boom years from 2004 to 2006, and when the interest rate increase was coupled with higher home prices, many potential buyers suddenly developed a case of cold feet, leading to a slowdown in the sales of new and existing homes. (source: Wells Fargo)

At the same time, potential home-sellers saw homes on their street sell for prices that they could not believe. The San Diego market has been brutally beaten down in price since the great recession began in 2007. Some areas of San Diego experienced a 60% decline in their real estate values due to the massive amount of short sales, foreclosures and distressed properties that were a cause and effect of the recession. Many people lost their homes or did a short sale to the point at which nearly 40% of the market between the years of 2009 and 2012 were distress sales in the market. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty throughout the market and economy both locally and nationally – ironically this was the best time to be purchasing real estate.

At the height of the peak market in 2005-2006, there was about 5000 homes on the market, and at that time people thought it was an incredibly low amount of homes for sale. This amount includes all homes and condos throughout the entire county from the $50,000 condo in El Cajon to the multimillion dollar mansion in Del Mar. Buyers were clamoring for every property that hit the market; there were offers being written on hoods of cars and a bidding frenzy of demand. This was the mentality that, along with loose lending requirements, created the momentum for prices to get as high as they did. We all know what happened after that.

Flash forward 7 years later and we are fully in recovery mode for 2013 in the San Diego market. In April of 2013 there was only 4000 homes available throughout San Diego. This was a ridiculously low number of homes available for sale – even less than the 2005 market and at this time there were much more people and many more homes developed and built since 2005, making it that much more significant. Also at this time, mortgage rates were at historic lows in the low 3%’s. (source San Diego Association of Realtors; Dataquick)

This time around, lending standards are tight, and only buyers with good credit could purchase, allowing for a more-sensical approach to the market compared to the sensationalism that preceded us in the booming years.

It was this environment of an incredibly low supply of homes combined with incredibly cheap money to borrow which led to the red hot market in the early part of 2013. It was only as prices rose quickly throughout the year, interest rates began to increase as a result of the overall improving national economy as well as more listings hitting the market where things began to shift.

All the homeowners who purchased at or near the peak of the market, and who bit, fought and scratched to stay in their home and make the payments and avoid foreclosure or short sale no matter the adversity they faced now realized a market where the prices were again where they originally bought, and could finally have the opportunity to sell and get out of the home that became a ball and chain.

Take for example a young couple who purchased in 2006 in North Park – They bought their home, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath 1000 square foot residence for $625,000. They expected to live there for a few years, save money, build equity and then buy a bigger home that they could raise a child in. Their mortgage is at 6.25% and they owe nearly $550,000.

In 2011, their home is worth $425,000. They have a 2 year old. The home is too small but they are $125,000 underwater and $200,000 below what they originally paid. This was the point in which many folks cut their losses and did a short sale or let the property go to foreclosure. This couple however had a good $75,000 of their own money in the house and they would be dammed if they let that home go. They made due, and now in 2014 that home is worth $625,000 again. Now they can sell and take the proceeds into a newer, bigger home so they can continue building their family. There are many, many families just like this in San Diego that only 12 months ago were nowhere close to having the move-up choices that many sellers now have. This as well as record prices caused many new sellers to put their home on the market through the middle and to the end of 2013. The amount of active listings rose as high as 8000 properties, doubling the amount for sale just a few short months prior.

The increase in interest rates, prices as well as available properties all served to settle the market in 2013 from its white hot start.

As we moved into winter, mortgage rates pulled back to less than 4.50% and employment conditions improved. Many listings sold, and demand revived a bit toward year-end.

The total amount of volume of transactions was the highest since the peak/boom years. Your average condo increased by 30%, and your average home increased by nearly 20% in value. By all accounts 2013 was a banner year for real estate and homeowners equity. (source voiceofsandiego.org)

We remain in a supply-constrained market, and this will continue for the next few years. This has been due in part to so many consecutive years where no new properties were being built or developed. Nationally, the US needs to build 1.2 Million dwellings to keep up with population growth and to replace properties that are no longer habitable. Between 2007 and 2013, an average of 350,000 dwellings were actually built, leaving nearly a million-dwelling deficit of homes for 6 years. It is because of this that we have a housing shortage today, and will continue to have a housing shortage for the next several years as we build, develop and grow our way into full recovery. A normal market in San Diego would have about 15,000-18,000 homes for sale at any given time. Last April of 2013 there was only 4000. In November it was nearly 8000. As of January 2014, we have under 6000. This supply-constrained market will headline San Diego real estate for the foreseeable future as we cannot build new homes the way places like Phoenix or the Inland Empire can. Rather, we must re-sell our way out of this housing shortage. As long as we have a lack of supply, we will continue to see prices rising to meet the demand of the market. (source buffiniandcompany, yahoo news)

Rising home prices will encourage more homeowners to put their homes on the market, adding much needed inventory to the marketplace. As a result, the real estate industry appears to be generally upbeat going into 2014. Homeowners also seem to be more upbeat.

With all this in mind, I expect prices to continue to rise throughout 2014. The level of increase will be tempered by how high increases in interest rates will be as well as the fact that the government won’t be supporting the housing market as much as they have been in years past.

2014 will be one of the most balanced and normalized markets than in any year in the past decade. We will see prices approach and surpass the peak values seen in 2006 (if they haven’t happened already in your neighborhood).

Move-up buyers have the best opportunity to make a move this year – up to this point its been the bottom part of the market that has recovered fully, which pushes its way up the affordability ladder to allow more mobility for more expensive homes and potential sellers (including the example of the family in North Park) and sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines now have a great selling environment to take advantage of.

Many analysts predict that San Diego will experience appreciation in the 10-14% range, but I believe we will see a more modest 6-9% improvement because the large moves have already been made and we have “corrected” the over-correction.

Nevertheless, the market and our economy are doing quite well as we move further into a broad-based long range economic recovery. Here’s to a wonderful and successful 2014.

Investment Property in Montenegro is Definitely One to Watch

High mountains, deep inland lakes and a spectacular southern coastline of bays and beaches, plus sunny summers and mild winters, are just some of the reasons why Montenegro has become a holiday hotspot. Combine this with the fact that it occupies a key location for business, is attracting foreign investment, has a rapidly growing infrastructure and has been a sovereign state since 2006 upon its independence from Serbia and you have one of the world’s most intriguing emerging property markets.

Montenegro is aiming for EU membership in 2014, which will add to its attractiveness for buyers looking for investment properties or holiday-home ownership. There are no restrictions for foreigners wishing to buy property in Montenegro, other than land for development, and the buying process is relatively straightforward. Montenegro property prices and lawyers’ fees are low and there is no capital gains tax liability in Montenegro, all of which is helping to fuel the sector.

Montenegro is well served by airlines. Flights arrive at Podgorica and Tivat airports regularly from Europe and further afield, plus into Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is a drive of around 50 minutes across the border to Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor. Kotor, a fabulous old city that has been recognised as a UNESCO heritage site, and is one of the country’s most popular holiday hotspots, lies on the banks of the bay.

Much of the new development is taking place around Kotor and already there are reports of property increasing by as much as 100% over the past year or so, with the potential for further capital growth being maintained, plus excellent rental returns being achieved through holiday home rentals.

“Montenegro property offers an excellent investment opportunity,” says Glenda Lazare, managing director of Key Universal, an overseas investment specialist company. “The country has a burgeoning tourist industry, bolstered by the government’s Tourism Masterplan 2007-2020, which aims to develop high-end hotels, golf courses and other luxury facilities in order to attract affluent tourists.”

Key Universal is currently marketing Kotor Apartments in Dobrota on the fringes of Kotor. A boutique residence of just ten two and three bedroom contemporary apartments offering stunning sea and mountain views, and a specification that includes parquet flooring, granite staircases and fitted kitchens and bathrooms, the development is ideal for investors looking for exclusive holiday-home rental opportunities, says Lazare.

The complex will have landscaped gardens, a pool and parking spaces. Key Universal has negotiated a special deal direct with the developers and prices for the upmarket apartments will start at EUR154,880 (£124,000), with a 30 per cent deposit and 70 per cent payable on completion. “The rugged beauty of Montenegro continues to attract high-profile visitors, including Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Madonna and The Rolling Stones,” adds Lazare. “It is being tipped as the next Monte Carlo.”

Other companies marketing in the Kotor area include Europe Property Plus, which is offering Dobrota Heights, a brand-new luxury collection of apartments from around EUR225,000 (£180,000), and Rosco Properties that has off-plan apartments at Herceg Novi-Igalo from EUR142,00 (£114,000) and homes with sea views at Baosici from EUR144,000 (£115,500), plus small resale houses in need of modernisation from around EUR50,000 (£40,000).

David Stanley Redfern is offering Acacia Hills Apartments, a collection of one-, two- and three- bedroom homes at Herceg Novi, near Djenovici, overlooking the bay. The use of natural materials has been a key feature of the design. Prices are from EUR103,000 (£82,600). “Acacia Hills offers an excellent investment opportunity in an area that is seeing one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world,” says David Redfern, managing director of David Stanley Redfern. “Prices for these off-plan apartments are extremely competitive and we expect to see buyers realising capital increases of at least double in the next three or so years, combined with achievable rentals of around eight per cent.”

Other popular holiday hotspots in Montenegro include Sveti Stefan and Bar, which are further south along the coast, plus the historic stronghold town of Budva, where life revolves around its elegant marina and harbour. “Budva real estate and the property market in this area have become very active recently, especially with Russian investors who know the area from holidays and need no visa to visit,” says Alex Mark Moller, who is marketing the Budva Hill Resort in Budva.

“Foreign investors are interested in Budva properties because of the capital growth potential and the return of investment. We have already sold around half off-plan and are confident we will have sold all apartments when the development is complete in 2010.” The Budva Hill Resort, says Moller, will be a landmark development of one- and two-bedroom apartments in the area, offering top notch features and luxurious living. “There is a shortage of luxury resorts in the area,” he adds. “The apartments will lie on a slope offering fantastic views of the Adriatic Sea.”

Buying Montenegro property is straightforward. If buying a resale Montenegro property then a deposit of ten per cent will be required to secure the property, but if buying off-plan Montenegro property then an initial deposit followed by stage payments will be required. Montenegro property buyers are advised to appoint a local solicitor and get all documents officially translated and stamped in court. Also, ensure you check the person you’re buying from has the correct title deed ownership. After that, Montenegro property ownership should be plain sailing and lots of fun.