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Peter Patkos
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-327-7491
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Fax: 267-354-6879
Peter Patkos

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The Top 10 American Brewery Tours

October 4, 2012 2:20 am

For beer fans nationwide, Oktoberfest is upon us! If the Fall season has found you extra thirsty, TripAdvisor has revealed their top 10 brewery tours in the U.S. These tours show lager lovers how the beverages are crafted and provide tasty samples from some of the country’s top breweries.

New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, Colorado

Located 65 miles north of Denver, this sustainable, wind-powered brewery was the first of its kind in the United States. Beer lovers can enjoy one of their frothy beverages at the Liquid Center tasting room or take the 90-minute Tour de New Belgium where travelers will have the chance to learn about the brewing process and sip on some suds. Complimentary tours operate Tuesday through Saturday.

Allagash Brewery – Portland, Maine
Since 1995, this New England brewery has crafted Belgian inspired ales often using the finest wheat rather than barley, combined with a unique blend of spices. Thirsty travelers can take a free, hour-long tour of this coastal brew house while enjoying a refreshing taste of their seasonal specialties or year-round brews. Free tours operate Monday through Saturday.

Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour – Saint Louis, Missouri

During this hour-long tour, travelers will see and learn about the iconic Clydesdale horses and explore the architecture and history of the oldest Anheuser-Busch brewery. Hop fanatics interested in learning more about the brewing process can check out the acclaimed Beermaster Tour. Complimentary tours operate seven days a week.

Samuel Adams Brewery – Boston, Massachusetts
Located in the Hub, hop-enthusiasts will learn about the brewing process from start to finish during this 60-minute tour. Guests will also taste the special malts used to brew the beer and smell the aroma of the Hallertau hops. Free tours operate Monday through Saturday; a $2 donation is suggested to benefit local charities.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, California

Known for its flagship pale ale, this northern California brewery offers a 90-minute tour offering travelers the inside scoop on how the ales and lagers are crafted using select malted barley, whole hop flowers, brewer’s yeast and pure water. Complimentary tours operate seven days a week.

Heinzelmannchen Brewery – Sylva, North Carolina

Travelers visiting the Great Smoky Mountains can enjoy tasty beverages at this microbrewery run by a German-born “brewmeister”. Guests are encouraged to stop in for a tour where they will sample a variety of Deutschland-style beers and non-alcoholic sodas, including sweet and tasty root beer and red autumn birch beer. Free tours operate Monday through Saturday.

New South Brewing – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This Myrtle Beach microbrewery offers travelers a tour through the entire brewing process and the chance to taste four frothy samples. Once a draught-only brew house, this beachside brewery now allows guests to purchase a six-pack of their favorite batch. Complimentary tours operate Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Boulevard Brewing Company – Kansas City, Missouri
With its 150-barrel brew house, this Kansas City company is the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. During the 45-minute tour, beer lovers will learn about the brewery’s unique history and crafting processes and will finish the tour in the Tasting Room where they’ll sip some hoppy creations. Free tours operate seven days a week; the “Unfiltered Tour” is $20 and offered on Saturdays.

D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery – Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Known as America’s oldest brewery, this Schuylkill County establishment has been brewing since 1829. Travelers can step back in time as they explore the hand-dug fermentation caves used to store beer before modern refrigeration. Thirsty travelers can also savor some samples in the basement tavern built under the former Pottsville city hall. Complimentary tours operate Monday through Saturday.

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. – Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
This Wisconsin brewery blends tradition with innovation to create a fascinating tour where travelers learn about five generations of the Leinenkugel family history while they’re guided through the bottling factory. To cap things off, travelers can quench their thirst with complimentary samples of award-winning beers at the recently opened Leinie Lodge. Free tours operate seven days a week.

Source: TripAdvisor

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Got Furniture? A Dining Table Buying Guide

October 4, 2012 2:20 am

A dining table is one of the most widely used items in any home, and with wood dining tables costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, consumers need be aware of what they are really buying. Why do prices vary so greatly, and what should one stay away from when shopping? For an item used as much as a table, it is about far more than just the look; one must also strongly consider core material, construction, finish, maintenance and care to name a few. Here are some important factors to help consumers make a purchasing decision.

Tip 1 - Buy 100-percent Wood: Remember the dining table is one of the most used pieces of furniture in your home. It will need to be more durable, and most often times child resistant. For this reason, go with 100-percent wood, specifically pine, which is very durable, relatively inexpensive, and its style and charm is universal for any home. Alternatively, oak, chestnut and walnut are also highly durable woods, however, heavier than pine, so expect extra costs associated with these denser wood types. The trick here is to not be fooled into buying a table that looks like 100-percent wood, but is actually made with veneers, medium density fiberboard (MDF), or particleboard. The reason to stay away from these lesser quality materials is that they are far more prone to chips and scratches, thus a shorter life span than tables made from 100-percent solid wood. In addition, cleaning solutions, such as water, can often damage veneer and particleboard if not cared for properly. A well-built, solid wood table should last generations. Prepare accordingly by buying one made from the longest lasting materials.

Tip 2 - Ensure Durable Finishes: The finish will be paramount to the table's longevity and charm, as this is the frontline defense against dings, scratches and chips. For this reason, stay away from veneers as they can easily separate or chip, which inevitably will happen with an item as widely used as a dining table. As a result, this will lead to a shortened life span for your table. It is recommended to choose a dining table with multiple coats of stain, or paint finishes. Specifically, the more layers of finish that are applied, the more of a barrier you will have to protect your investment. It is the finishing process, and multiple layers, which are your true defense against scratches, stains, and water marks, which in turn will maintain your table's charm, and keep it looking like new. A true farm table is American made, built from reclaimed wood, and thus, eco-friendly. For authenticity purposes, ask where the manufacturing and finishing take place, and if their materials are eco-friendly.

Tip 3 - Check Maintenance and Care: Always ask what the cleaning and maintenance instructions are for your table. This can be a tell-tale sign of the materials used and the steps taken during the finishing process. As a buyer, this should raise questions about both materials and finishes being used. A well-made and durable wood dining table should not stain, should be resistant to both wet and dry marks, and should be able to be cleaned by only water or a dry rag.

Source: eCustomFinishes

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Back to School, Back To Germs?

October 3, 2012 2:18 am

With cold and flu season about to begin, students may have more to contend with than just homework. Schools can be breeding grounds for germs that can lead to illness and significant absenteeism: 189 million school days lost to the common cold and nearly 38 million to influenza each year. However, data from a new study shows that students who practice proper hand and surface hygiene in the classroom can effectively reduce the risk of germ transmission.

The study, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, tested surface contamination on some of the most frequently touched objects in six elementary schools. Hygienists tested to determine baseline contamination levels. Participating schools then implemented Super Germ Fighters, a customized educational program for kindergarten through fifth grade, and The Healthy Classroom Station, which provides kid-friendly products – like hand sanitizers, alcohol and bleach-free surface wipes, and anti-viral facial tissue – to teach students how to "wash, wipe and sanitize" to help reduce the spread of germs.

Changing Behaviors
The study found that, when students were provided with the tools and knowledge necessary to break the chain of germ transmission in the classroom, contamination levels were significantly reduced throughout the entire school. After the program had been in place for seven months, contamination levels were reduced on average by the following amounts:

• 76 percent on bathroom stall door locks
• 71 percent on desks
• 53 percent on door handles
• 45 percent on cafeteria tables
• 41 percent on computer mice
• 34 percent on water fountain buttons

One of the most significant reductions in contamination was on classroom desks – surfaces that the students were personally responsible for wiping down on a daily basis.

"The study results demonstrate that providing young students with age-appropriate educational materials and products designed to instill good hygiene habits can have a profound effect on behaviors, which in turn can reduce germs inside and outside the classroom," said Richard Marriott, Education Target Market Leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "These results are even more significant when you consider the impact that illnesses can have on students, parents and teachers."

Also notable was the drop in contamination levels outside the classroom, especially on the bathroom stall door locks. While the children were only exposed to the products and the germ reduction curriculum inside the classroom, in one school, the locks' drop in contamination levels demonstrated that the students made a conscious effort to change their hand hygiene habits in areas outside of their classrooms as well.

Source: Kimberly-Clark Professional

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Being Frugal Doesn't Have to Stop the Fun

October 3, 2012 2:18 am

Saving money isn't always easy, but putting aside a few dollars here and there can add up. International Frugal Fun Day, October 6, is the perfect time to begin the habit of making small adjustments so you can have a frugal fun night and put the savings toward something even bigger later.

Being financially responsible doesn't have to mean boring. It does include setting priorities on how to spend and how to save. With a little creativity, it's possible to have fun with family and friends and still stick to your budget that should include saving toward specific goals.

Here are some suggestions on how to be frugal, but still have fun.

Rent a movie. Before spending a small fortune to see a recent release, rent a movie you forgot to see before it left theaters. Spend $15 on the rented movie and snacks from the grocery store and put the remaining money in your savings account. What would have been a $45 date night is now a frugal movie night.

Take a picnic to a public park. Instead of spending your play money to go out to eat all the time, pack up a picnic basket and head to a nearby park with your loved ones. Enjoy the outdoors by bringing a ball, kite or frisbee so you can play after lunch. Many state parks require a small fee, but most local public parks are completely free. A day in the sun is the perfect way to save for a rainy day, so deposit the money you would have spent eating out straight to your savings account.

Visit the museum and zoo on free days. Many entertaining destinations like these have a designated day each month for the public to enter at a free or reduced rate. Instead of paying around $30 for two adults to be admitted, with a little planning you can check out American Indian relics, paintings and animals for little or nothing.

Take a bike ride. Who decided exercise had to be boring? Take a new bike path or explore a neighborhood you've always wanted to see. You'll find out more about the area in which you live and make yourself more fit in the process.

Participate in a seasonal tradition - visit a pumpkin patch. Fall, food and fun—you can't go wrong. Take some friends to pick pumpkins, and later, spend the evening baking pumpkin pie. If you pull the money for pumpkins out of your grocery budget, you will have spent no money on entertainment at all.

By participating in a little frugal fun, you can work toward your savings goal without radically changing your lifestyle; if you do one of the ideas mentioned each weekend, you can save your way to something even more fun, like an island getaway.

Source: BMO Harris

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Celebrate the Pasta-bilities, October is National Pasta Month

October 3, 2012 2:18 am

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Pasta Association (NPA), pasta lovers eat their favorite food seven times a month – nearly twice a week! Bringing American families exactly what they are looking for, pasta is a versatile dish that can easily fit into a healthy lifestyle. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when asked what food they could not live without, 60 percent of those surveyed chose pasta … even instead of chocolate!

Celebrate this household staple over family dinner this October during National Pasta Month. Get creative with some quick, fun, fall recipes the entire family will enjoy like Acorn Squash and Pasta Soup or Pasta with Turkey-Black Bean Chili. It's a very versatile food that doesn't have to simply be covered in tomato sauce. If you are looking for a reason to celebrate pasta, here are some interesting facts that might persuade you:

• Americans eat approximately 20 pounds of pasta each year. This may sounds outrageous, but in Italy, the average person eats 51 pounds!
• Pasta is the ideal delivery system for nutritious foods! It boosts energy, satisfies hunger, tastes great and can be prepared in countless ways. It’s great to pair with fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart-healthy fish and oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed poultry and lean meats.
• The first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn in 1848. If you think it was an Italian that started the U.S. industry, you are wrong; it was a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega.
• There are over 600 different shapes of pasta, which can be made into an infinite number of meals. With pasta varieties ranging from fusilli and ziti to farfalle and orecchiette, it’s hard to pick a favorite. In 2011, Americans named spaghetti as their favorite shape.
• 54 percent of Americans keep 1-4 packages of pasta in their pantry at all times. An easy meal to toss together, a pasta dish can create a delicious and nutritious last-minute meal when the pantry is otherwise bare.

There are so many ways a food lover can celebrate National Pasta Month, from learning how to cook the perfect pasta to trying out a new pasta shape, or even creating a pasta dish with a healthy twist. For recipes or more information, visit or

Source: National Pasta Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.


When Termites Take a Bite Out of Your Budget

October 2, 2012 2:18 am

Drywood termite swarming season is about to begin and homeowners everywhere are preparing to open their wallets to protect their houses from structural damage.

The cost of tenting an American home to get rid of termites ranges from $1,300 to over $3,000 depending on the size of the home and the pest control company you choose. If homeowners know what signs to look for they shouldn’t have to pay a penny to professionals. Here are four ways to protect your home from termites:

1. Stop the pheromones and you’ve stopped the termites. All termites line the tunnels they dig with pheromones, a scent that the bugs follow to get to and from your home. It’s a way of communicating to the other termites to follow the scent and find food. All you need to do is break that line of pheromones with store-bought orange oil or a home made mixture and the termites won’t know how to get to your house anymore. It will be as if they’ve lost the map and put up an electric fence.

2. The north side of your home is especially vulnerable. Because the north side of your home gets the least amount of sun, more moisture can accumulate in the wood (cellulose), softening it up for the termites to eat. Try to keep the north side as dry as possible by turning away sprinklers and trimming back trees and overgrown vegetation that are blocking the sun. Other than swarming these insects never leave the infected wood for water. They rely only on the trapped moisture in the cellulose for a complete life cycle.

3. Decorative finishes create easy access points for termites
. Termites can enter where the brick or decorative finish material touches the ground. They crawl up between the gaps to get to the wood. This happens at the mudsill line. Get familiar with and measure your home’s mudsill line.

4. Bait stations lead termites to your home. Many unscrupulous pest control companies recommend putting bait stations in your home. But bait stations don’t work. The smell from the bait attracts termites and encourages them to build underground roads and highways close to your home. While some may take the bait and die, most of the insects will never get as far as the queen. There are millions of termites in an infected home. Killing even thousands a day will not make a dent. The remaining termites will just wind up feasting on what’s close to the bait station—your home. Any pest control company that wants to put a bait station in your house is not as interested in solving your termite problem as they are in forcing you to be a return customer.

Source: Michael Allen

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Beware of Your Air

October 2, 2012 2:18 am

October is National Indoor Air Month, and sharing a few tips about health concerns that may be in lurking in your home could go a long way.

While the big weather story this year has been drought, not flooding, mold is still a real concern for many homeowners. It can grow unseen inside of walls, ceilings and floors, wherever there is enough warmth, moisture and food for the mold to consume – and mold isn't a picky eater. Homeowners can prevent mold by sealing leaks and cleaning up water spills as quickly as possible. If wallboard or carpeting does get soaked, they should be removed as quickly as possible, before mold growth begins. Use a humidistat-controlled dehumidifier to monitor interior relative humidity (RH); keeping it below 50 percent will discourage dust mites and insects that can trigger asthma.

In addition to mold, there are many other indoor air pollutants that can trigger many residents' allergy symptoms. These can pose a risk for the tens of thousands of adults and children in the state who have asthma, as many common indoor allergens can also trigger asthma episodes. According to the American Lung Association, asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits and missed days of school for children. It can also be deadly – an average of 11 people die every day in the United States because of asthma.

To protect against these allergy triggers such as dust mites and pet dander, clean floors, furniture and bed linens frequently and use a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Secondhand smoke can also trigger asthma, so if you or others at your home smoke, please take it outside, especially if children are present.

Source: American Lung Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tips To Prevent Harmful Pests and Home Damage

October 2, 2012 2:18 am

October 1-5 is National Inspect and Protect Week. Every homeowner should be armed with valuable tips to prepare their homes and yards for the coldest season of the year and to keep out pests looking for a winter home.

According to a survey of real estate agents and brokers, nine out of 10 new homeowners in 2012 have been interested in purchasing distressed properties. These bargains often come with tall grass, overgrown shrubs, unmanaged pools and clogged gutters that may have turned into a haven for pests that can threaten the health and safety of families, homes and communities. Exposure to weeds and rodent and insect allergens can also trigger respiratory problems and illnesses like hay fever and asthma, especially among young children, toddlers and the elderly.

Since fall is the best time to prepare for winter and spring, here are a few tips to help homeowners keep their homes, yards and communities healthy and safe during National Inspect and Protect Week:

-Proactive and preventive treatments are key to keeping pests under control from the very start of your homeownership.
-Start off right. Eliminate pests' pathways into your house by sealing spaces around pipes and electrical wires entering the house.
-Eliminate food sources, water and shelter that may attract pests.
-Remove stacks of cardboard (including those moving boxes) from your home as they provide attractive shelter and food for pests.
-Check for water leaks under the sink, refrigerator and other related areas.
-Store food items in air-tight and pest-proof containers or in the refrigerator or freezer.

-Remove all standing water in areas such as pots, buckets, toys, pet bowls, bird baths, etc.
-Clean out ornamental and flower beds and be sure to place mulch in the right places — at least 12 inches from your foundation. Pick up fallen leaves and branches to help eliminate places where ticks like to hide.
-Prune back tree branches that are touching the house or roof. Branches leading to your home form a bridge for insects and rodents.
-For pier and beam foundations, keep the area under the house free of clutter and sealed so no wildlife make it their home.

Maintaining your property is key to effectively avoiding a winter pest infestation. Taking action to inspect and protect your home this fall will safeguard your family's health as well as property, helping everyone to safely enjoy the colder months ahead.

Source: RISE

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Autumn To-do List for Homeowners

October 1, 2012 2:18 am

With autumn in full swing, Americans are shifting their focus from sunny barbecues and beachside bonfires to raking leaves and picking apples. The dog days are gone, and the upcoming season promises new opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Unfortunately, it also promises a new set of issues for homeowners and car owners.

There's no need for a total makeover, but careful homeowners should make a point to fall-proof their home:

Clean your gutters. After a summer of scattered showers, it's a good idea to take a look around the roof for any leaks or cracks in the gutters. As autumn moves along, inspect them a few more times to make sure there isn't any foliage creating clogs. Stagnant water and falling leaves make for a mucky mix that could lead to foundation damage if left untouched. Be sure to check for any loose, broken or missing shingles, too.

Dust off the fireplace. Nothing beats the warm glow and homey scent of a well-stocked fireplace. Embrace those relaxing fireside evenings by clearing out any debris that might be left over from autumns past. Have the chimney cleaned at least once a year, and check for any nicks or cracks in it. Lastly, be sure to put up a screen to shield family members from any wayward sparks.

Shop for an insurance policy. The colder weather poses certain risks for homeowners both at home and on the road. With so many assets to protect, there's no need to settle for less than satisfactory home or auto coverage. Take a fresh look at your policies and premiums and make sure you've got the coverage you need without overpaying for it. Remember, you could receive a home-auto discount if you get both policies from the same carrier, so be sure to ask about that and other discounts.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Five Ways to Prevent Holiday Travel Mayhem

October 1, 2012 2:18 am

With the holidays around the corner, travelers should be well-prepared in order to make sure their travels are smooth sailing. Here are five ways to create peace of mind during the hectic holiday travel season.

Make it easy. For those who like simplicity, search the web for a company that can do the planning for you! There are a plethora of travel sites available that will comparison shop for you and even add in amenities like hotel, car and more. You don't have to spend a lot of time in order to get a master itinerary for your trip.

Go mobile. No more fumbling at the check-in counter. Easily access confirmation numbers from any smartphone. Apple's new iPhone 5 has the great Passbook app, but any smartphone can keep all of your travel documents handy so you can check in and move more efficiently.

Know where to go. Put Siri to work! Or use other websites and apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor or TripIt to get maps, directions, nearby restaurants and merchants. You literally have all the information you need right in your mobile device.

Avoid airport confusion. Share itineraries with family members so flight numbers and arrival times are handy, minimizing last-minute scrambles.

For those planning on traveling throughout the holidays, spending a little time now to get yourself organized will save you heaps of time throughout your journey.

Published with permission from RISMedia.