About Our Friends

The Friends of Norris Dam State Park are concerned with supporting the park’s goals and efforts of preservation, interpretation, and recreation.  Our work and efforts are offered in many ways.  We help with volunteer projects, sponsor park events, purchase needed items, and assist with large scale projects.

The group has adopted a two mile stretch along Highway 441 that runs along the west side of the park.  Multiple times a year we organize a road side clean up and pick up litter along the road.  We have also planted trees throughout the park, worked on trails, and assisted putting up a gate in Hill Cave.  This effort was to help monitor and hopefully increase the cave’s bat population.  We work with the park and co-sponsor several special events.  In the spring there are two weekends of spring wildflower hikes and a week long Jr. Ranger camp in July.  The fall is a busy season for us.  Pickin’ in the Park is a night of bluegrass music, BBQ, and friends, and is on the first Friday of October.  At the end of the month, rangers take groups out on the pontoon boat to enjoy fall colors while they talk about TVA, Norris Lake, and fauna.  Holiday Homecoming is the second Saturday of December.  Half of the rustic cabins are transformed to the 1930’s era.  They depict and interpret life before Norris Dam, coal mining, honor our nation’s veterans, and Santa makes a stop for children to tell their Christmas wishes.  The area is lighted by luminaries giving it a cozy feel.

Tree Planting 3

As a group we have also purchased items the park staff needs.  We have purchased safety equipment, such as an AED and rappelling gear for search and rescue operations.  On a yearly basis we buy programming supplies.  Rangers and seasonal interpretive rangers use these supplies for programs at the park and when they visit schools, scout groups, community groups, and others.  We buy arts and crafts supplies as well as books, and have also purchased bat equipment, an 18th century period dress, a telescope for night sky programs, and a pontoon which rangers take hundreds of visitors on each year to enjoy the lake.  We also ensure the maintenance crew has what they need.  We have purchased them weed eaters, backpack blowers, a pressure washer, and a rototiller.

We have actively helped and gotten accomplished large scale projects and gaining community outreach support.  We contacted local and state officials to build picnic shelter 2, which is rented almost every weekend during the summer and fall.  When Norris Dam State Park closed in 2001, we responded as a community to show our support of the park and were part of a larger effort to reopen Norris Dam.  The friends group has helped with preservation projects by keeping public land free of private enterprises.  We helped with a grant to build foot bridges on Rock Creek Trail and install fitness equipment on the Fitness Trail.

We would love to have you part of the friends’ group!  Please click on the link below for more information and how to become a member.

Friends NDSP Membership Brochure


Interior Paint Styles and Finishes Explained

Interior house painting is quite a magical process that transforms the look and feel of your home just by changing the color. But there is a method and science behind it that a reliable HDB painting contractor in Singapore takes seriously. From the paint colours to the type of paint and how it is applied, let’s take a look at he basics of paint styles and finishes that the painting services use.

Requirements for Rooms
During the inspection of your home, the commercial painting service crew will survey the rooms and ask you about the effect you want to achieve to determine the cost of paint. They can advise you the best paint you can consider for your Singapore home, such as Nippon to provide odorless overlay. Professionals can help you decide how best to achieve that depending on the function of the room. For example, the following points are usually considered by your local painter.

• Family Room. The finish and style must be easily cleaned, will complement the furniture and theme of the room, and can stand up to high traffic or the number of people who will use the room.
• Dining Area. The are must be relaxing and clean because this is where you will most likely be spending more time with your family while dining.
• Kitchen. The finish must be durable and easy to clean because the room will be exposed to heat and moisture. Do not go for cheap house painting service if you want to get your money’s worth.
• Bedrooms. Most bedrooms have a theme, so the paint must have a high-pigment coverage. The HDB painting service of course will give you options, but it is ultimately up to you to decide how you want the room to look.

Professional Painting Techniques
The best painting services company is familiar with the different techniques used to achieve various effects. If you’re thinking you need to repaint my condo in Singapore, it’s time you contact your painter for condo rehabilitation. Some customers do not just want walls with one solid color, but others also want their walls to look like art. This is especially important in condo painting because the unit has to make the most of the space without using a lot of decorations.

A good painting contractor should be familiar with the following techniques.

• Color Wash. This technique uses two layers of different colors for a soft and warm effect. Usually they paint the wall with a base of white or pale yellow, and the second layer with a different shade and a latex glaze.
• Ombre. The residential paint contractor uses only one color of paint that gradually fades from the side or bottom or top of the walls. The two shades include white and the original color.
• Harlequin. This is a classic pattern of linked diamond shapes painted with two alternating colors. This is perfect for those who want bedrooms with contrasting walls.
• Stripes. An alternating line of two different colors is considered a classic design. The effect is quite dramatic when white and a dark color is used.
• Dots. The dots could be stencils that are easily placed on the walls or the painter can use patterns to paint the circles. This is a perfect idea for children’s room.
• Taped Designs. This refers to the pre-made designs that are taped to the walls before the paint is applied. When you hire a painter to make patterns on the walls, this is what they use for the effect.
• Strie. Also called steaking, it is the inclusion of visible vertical or horizontal lines on the design to make it look as if it’s a fabric.
• Sponging. Texture can also be achieved by pressing or rolling a sponge on the still-wet walls.
• Metallic Blocks. For modern sleek interiors, the painting services crew will use templates for the shapes that are traced on the wall. They will use different dark colors layered with metallic colors to achieve depth.
• Checkerboard. If your home doesn’t use a lot of wall hangings, the checkboard pattern can instantly liven up the room.

Paint Finishes for Interiors
The finishes used depend on the material the wall is made from and the effect you want to achieve.

• Matte or Flat. This simply means that the paint has no sheen or shine. It creates clean, simple walls, but it needs scheduled retouching by a painter.
• Matte Enamel. This is commonly used for condo painting because it’s more durable than flat paint but has the same effect.
• Semi-Gloss. Painters use this on the trims because of the light sheen.
• High Gloss. As the name suggest, its effect is shiny, so it’s recommended for trims and doors.
• Eggshell. The effect is a smooth subtle shine that is perfect for walls with few imperfections.
• Satin. The effect is a combination of both the matte and gloss, which means it has a soft shine. This is mostly recommended by the painting services for the kitchen area.

6 Important Points to Remember When Buying Property in Vietnam

It is no secret how Vietnam has become a hot topic among real estate investors around the globe. With the amendment of its Housing Law in 2015, Vietnam has opened its doors and is welcoming everyone—from tourist, expat and foreign investor—to grab a piece of their booming market. Let this article enlighten you if you are one of those considering to invest and purchase a property for sale in Ho Chi Minh City.

Types of Properties Foreigners Can Purchase

Vietnam, like other countries, has limitations on the types of residential properties available for foreign investors. Foreigners and expats are permitted to buy landed housing and apartments that are part of a residential project development, which is today’s new project launches here in Saigon.

When You Can Sell Your Property

A foreign investor always has the choice to sell his residential property to anyone—may it be to the locals or another foreigner from nearby countries like Singapore. However, owners can only sell high rental yield condominiums only after the Sale and Purchase Agreement of their property in Vietnam has been granted. You, as the foreign owner, can take advantage of the opportunity and sell your property to Singaporean businessmen or individuals seeking to capitalize in Vietnamese real estate as long as your buyer agrees to take responsibility of the remaining leasehold term. With the country’s rising economy and real estate industry, many investors from Singapore are eyeing to grab the opportunity in the developing country, thus making it easy to sell any type of property wherever it may be in Saigon.

Your Rights as Property Owner

Legally, a foreign homeowner has the same privilege over a purchased property as a local Vietnamese owner. This means that during the tenure, the foreign property owner can either reside in the property or lease it out to other people. However, before the 50 years of tenure expires, you are required to transfer—whether to give or to sell—the property to other entity who is legally allowed to own a property in Vietnam. If the property is not transferred on time, the state will confiscate the property.

The Necessary Fees to Purchasing a Property

Other than the property’s value, you should also take into consideration the following fees you will be required to pay.

• Administration Fee – you will be charged with a minimal fee paid upon the grant of the certificate of ownership as per Vietnam’s current regulations
• Maintenance Fee – this amounts to 2% of the property’s purchase price, not including the value added tax
• Property Management Fee – this is calculated no more than US$1 per square meter.

The Taxes Included in the Purchase of Property

One of the high-valued properties in Ho Chi Minh city is the vin apartments at binh thanh for foreign investors. This place offers the best amenities and neighborhood suitable for expats and foreigners.

As an investor who seeks to acquire a property in HCMC, take note of the following taxes and factor these into your financial calculations.

Value Added Tax (VAT) – 10% VAT is charged if you wish to put a property for sale, whether you are a local or a foreigner.

Registration Tax for the Ownership of Property – this amounts to .5% of the property’s value

Personal Income Tax (PIT)– When you lease or resale the property, of course you earned an income. By then, you will be charged 2% PIT based on the property’s sold price. This is the equivalent of Capital Gains Tax in some countries like Singapore.

Best Places to Invest In

While there’s a total of 24 districts in Ho Chi Minh City, you want to invest on the best spots to maximize your return of investment. Here are some of the districts we suggest are worth investing in:

• District 1. This is the commercial and financial hub of Saigon. If you want a prime location, where there’s high traffic and target to lease your property to first class residents, invest in District 1.
• District 2. Another spot here in Vietnam where the rich, famous and politically connected in Saigon congregates. This is also where gem studio launch at river side is located. This place is a great spot to buy a property in, especially if you’re planning to purchase upscale condominium units, penthouses and suites.
• District 3. For those who love to shop, dine out and have fun, district 3 makes an ideal place to reside in.
• District 4. This may be the smallest district, but it serves as a connection to the busy environs of District 1 to the suburbs of District 7, making it another ideal residential area for people who wants a balance of modern and simple living.
• District 5. Known as Vietnam’s own Chinatown, this place appeals to Chinese expats. You’ll find several temples and pagodas scattered across the district.

Your Fire Alarm Panel and You: What those Lights Mean, and What You Should Do

When it comes to making sure that your safety equipment and alarm systems are up to date and working properly, the best way for you to do that by getting started on how your fire alarm works.

Knowing the basics of your fire alarm system includes knowing the basics of the control or interface panel, such as troubleshooting pull stations and horns, and even disarming or disabling the panel in the case of an emergency or during regular maintenance checks.

What’s in Your Control Panel?
Your modern fire alarm system in Singapore is equipped with a number of smoke and fire detector systems capable of detecting smoke and heat coming off of small or large flames located near the sensors, all centrally connected to your control or interface panel. If you want to be familiar with the fire alarm system basics, it is encouraged to talk to your contractor.
But here are the following indicators you will find in your average alarm system’s interface panel for the zone control module:

• Disable – In the column labeled “disable”, you will see a switch (for disabling the zone) and the light beside the switch (that indicates if the circuit is open or is in a short fault condition)
• Fault – Seeing this light on means that there is a fault with the alarm system in a particular zone
• Fire – Seeing this light on means that the system is activated, and there is likely a fire
• Location – It’s important that you label these correctly in order to avoid confusion (this should be best left to the technicians who installed the alarm system)

Your zone control module is connected to your emergency alarm system control module, which in turn directly controls the alarms. In a system control module, these are the indicators that you would find:

• Power – This indicates that the system is currently energized
• Fire – Indicates that the system (alarms, sirens, and/or sprinklers may be included) is activated
• Fault – Indicates that there is a fault in the certain area in the alarm system
• Disabled – Indicates that the system is currently disabled
• System fault – Indicates a failure in the system’s programmable controller/s

If your alarm system utilizes a conventional configuration, you will also find auxiliary control modules and status indicator modules. The latter lets you know the state of the labeled modules, while the former allows you to disable the modules themselves.

In the case of false alarms, you can check these modules in order to disable the smoke detector in the specific zone.

In the event of maintenance checks to make sure your systems are working normally, you will also need to disable your fire sensors. Remember to refer to your manual when disabling heat sensor systems to avoid any accidents when doing so.

Alarm System Configurations
In general, you have the following types of alarm system configurations: the non-addressable (also known as the “conventional” alarm system), the addressable fire system, and the hybrid alarm system, which is a hybrid of the two.

Here they are in a nutshell:
• Non-addressable – Fire sensors are wired in groups and are labeled by “zones”, and the system only indicates events without recording them
• Addressable – Fire sensors can be given a specific address and system events can be indicated as well as recorded
• Hybrid alarm system – A hybrid system is a combination of the two

To know which type of system is best for your workplace, it’s important to talk to your alarm system technician about your office or workplace layout.

Auxiliary Fire Prevention Systems
While an early warning system is crucial in fire detection and prevention, it’s also just as important to keep an emergency system as a means of preventing a fire hazard outside of the main circuit.

Aside from a sprinkler system connected to your main alarms, you may also find the need for a fire extinguisher or two in an emergency glass, along with other tools, such as a fire axe or a fire blanket, in the case of certain fire or electrical hazards that are best handled this way.

Keep in mind that alarm systems can still be triggered by other factors aside from fire, such as tobacco smoke or high humidity, and you will need to deal with false alarms on a regular basis.

Depending on your alarm service provider and installer, these types of systems and control panels, models, and configurations can differ greatly, so be sure to talk to your manufacturer in Singapore and read the manuals carefully.