What’s your pet worth to you?

How much does a pet cost you during its typical life span?
According to this post:
— $5,980 for a small dog
— $6,565 for a medium dog
— $7,800 for a large dog
— $7,640 for a cat
— $6,960 for a rabbit
— $2,905 for a guinea pig

The most expensive pet to own? A cockatoo.

If you’ve ever seen the cockatoos at a pet store and thought about keeping these large and magnificent birds- don’t. Yes, they are beautiful, and yes, they are relatively smart. But, they will cost you $1,035 a year after spending $1,535 the first year. And these guys are no guinea pigs. Expect your cockatoo to live for 50 years, costing you a total of $52,250.

via How Much Our Pets Cost in a Lifetime – VisualEconomics.com.

What kind of pets have people searched so far this year on Iwanna.com?
— 7,036 for dogs (228 for bull mastiff and 936 for yorkies)
— 761 for cats
— 399 for rabbits
— 133 for guinea pigs
— 14 for cockatoos

That means a lot of pet-friendly family budgets out there. But not a lot of expensive bird interest.

 

 

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Photo contest winner sees guardian angels at work

Jonathan Holderfield entered this picture of his daughter playing in her baby pool this summer, and won the $1,000 grand prize in the Iwanna Summer Fun Photo Contest.

By Jordan Parker

Jonathan Holderfield was driving to work when he spotted the words “Photo Contest” on the billboard outside of IWANNA’s office on Sweeten Creek Road.

“I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a few days later my wife Lisa showed me a picture of Kali she had taken,” Jonathan said. “It was such a good photo of our daughter Kali, that I knew we had to enter it!”

Kali is four years old with a condition that has stumped doctors so far. The Holderfields have been back and forth to Duke Hospital in order to find out all they can about Kali’s disorder. They have yet to find an exact answer.

“We are very hopeful, and she’s already improved so much since getting treatments,” Jonathan said. Kali is now walking short distances and even climbing stairs.

Lisa took the winning photo while Kali was splashing and playing in her baby pool on a hot afternoon this summer.

“This picture really shows Kali’s beautiful, happy spirit,” Jonathan said. “Because of her condition, she doesn’t smile too much, so catching this moment means a lot to us.”

After entering the photo at Iwanna.com’s Contest Central, they checked their progress on the contest website every evening — telling family, friends, and co-workers to vote for them.

“It was really exciting to see the votes add up each day,” Jonathan said. “At first, we thought our chances were looking pretty good, but as other people’s photos started pouring in, it seemed that our chances of winning were pretty slim.”

Once Lisa found out their photo had won, she called Jonathan immediately with the good news. “To be honest, I was kind of shocked we had actually won – it was such a wonderful surprise hearing those words!”

As for the $1000 grand prize, Jonathan said that all the money will go towards Kali’s doctor visits.

“Our trips to Duke really add up, and there are times when we have to stay overnight,” he said. “So with gas, hotel stays, and food, on top of medical costs, winning this money sure does help a lot!”

Jonathan, Lisa, and Kali will be heading back to Duke in October for the results of Kali’s muscle biopsy, and are hoping for some definite answers.

“We just want to provide Kali a good home and a happy life,” Jonathan said. “Having her photo win out of hundreds makes us pretty sure that Kali has a few guardian angels watching out for her.”

You can see all 250 pictures entered in the contest at www.iwanna.com/summerfun.

You can enter other contests — including the latest “Win Tickets to Santa’s Land” — at Iwanna Contest Central.

Asheville fares well in mortgage analysis

How do Asheville’s real estate problems compare to other markets?

Not too bad, according to a mortgage analysis by CoreLogic, a leading provider of real estate reporting and analytics (www.corelogic.com).

CoreLogic released a report for 164 metro areas that shows Asheville ranking better than 90% of the rest of the country in “negative equity share.” That means Asheville is far better off than the rest of the country when it comes to home owners who are “underwater” or “upside down” in their mortgages — borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

“… 11 million, or 23 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter …  2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for nearly 28 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.”
via CoreLogic Negative Equity Report Q2 2010 (PDF)

The most recent data was better than the first quarter of 2010, but CoreLogic said the reason was because of foreclosures rather than stabilizing or improving housing prices. And where foreclosures are high, housing prices fall.

Las Vegas topped the list of metro areas with the highest negative equity report, with 72.8% of its  homeowners in negative equity. Comparatively, Asheville has only 6.6% in negative equity — 13th lowest in the country. That bodes well for home values here.

The worst states for underwater homes are California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona. But many experts expect housing prices to continue falling through the rest of the year.

“Negative equity continues to both drive foreclosures and impede the housing market recovery. With nearly 5 million borrowers currently in severe negative equity, defaults will remain at a high level for an extended period of time,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic.

Chevy Volt: Asheville will have to wait for it

While the big car news this week is the impending debut of the Chevrolet Volt on the nation’s roads, the electric car won’t be available in the Carolinas until 2011 at the earliest.

During Chevrolet’s rollout announcement this week, it suggested anyone could order the Volt and track it through the delivery process. However, a search for dealers selling Volt within 500 miles of Asheville zip codes at www.getmyvolt.com comes up with a big fat zero.

While you won’t be able to order a Volt locally for a while, on the upside, you may see a Volt-powered Cadillac in the next two years. Luxury green. Just wait for it, some more.

For now, you’ll have to go to one of the seven big rollout markets to get a new Volt. However, if you plan to go to California to buy one and drive it home, stay away from the HOV lanes.

In a regulatory mess, all-electric cars apparently can’t use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on California freeways. The Volt runs at highway speeds on its battery.

a Chevrolet Volt that does less than 40 miles a day may never burn a drop of gas, for instance, but will still be banned from the HOV lanes.Whereas the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid that’s being flogged down the freeway at 85 mph will consistently burn gasoline at its highest rate, and yet it will be able to do so from the HOV lane.

via Chevy Volt: No $5K rebate, carpool-lane access for CA buyers | VentureBeat.

At a $41,000 price tag, that’s an expensive investment to stay stuck in traffic.

You can follow live updates by subscribing to the Volt Twitter feed.

Rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated…

No, Iwanna isn’t going out of business.

That’s the short answer to an awful lot of questions being tossed our way after WLOS-TV Channel 13 broadcast a news item this week about the impending closure of the Iwanna press facility. For some reason, people equate the Iwanna printing plant with the published Iwanna newspaper products.

They’re not the same.

Our plant at 991 Sweeten Creek in Asheville has printed newspaper-like products for many years — including the weekly Iwannas in Asheville, Greenville, Hickory and Spartanburg. But we’ve also printed Iwanna specialty publications — including the growing and popular Sophie Magazine for women — at other locations. Lately, we’ve been test printing some regular issues of the Iwanna at other locations as well.

The Iwanna press facility is aging, and in many cases, it no longer meets the needs of customers who want a lot of color and more sophisticated print quality.
So, we’ve decided to consolidate the printing of our Iwannas and associated publications at the modern press facility of Fayetteville Publishing, our corporate parent in Fayetteville, N.C. It prints color-intensive products like USA Today.

Tragically, that means the end of 12 full-time and 12 part-time jobs at the Asheville Iwanna printing plant. The press facility will close at the end of August, and the employees working there will get severance packages depending on their length of service at Iwanna. Job assistance is being offered to some of the skilled press operators.

But as far as the Iwanna newspapers: You’ll still be able to find them, as always, at your local newstand or convenience store.

And soon, you’ll see a new cutting-edge website at Iwanna.com. But more on that later.

Charity auctions will benefit winner’s choice

Iwanna partner Boocoo Auctions will be running two-hour charity auctions the week of July 25-31, benefitting the favorite charities of winning bidders. As explained in their official announcement:

…users will have the opportunity to bid on seven of the most coveted electronic consumer items on the market. The auctions will have no reserve price and bidding will start at $1.00. All proceeds from the auctions will go to the winner’s favorite 501c3 charity.

“At Boocoo Auctions we are always looking for innovative, fun, and meaningful ways to improve the auction experience,” said George Willard Sr. the CEO of Ranger Data Technologies Inc., parent company of Boocoo Auctions. “We feel it’s important to experiment with new platforms and programs to improve the opportunities for buyers and sellers. The “two hour auction” is another example of that type of innovation,” said Willard.

The items and schedule for the 2 hour charity auctions are as follows:

Sunday July 25th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                 iPad™  Wi-Fi 16gb

Monday July 26th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                 Dyson-Ball™ Upright Vacuum DC 25

Tuesday July 27th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                 Xbox® 360 Slim 250 gb

Wednesday July 28th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                  iPhone™ 4  32gb

Thursday July 29th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                   Vizio™ 32” Razor LED HDTV

Friday July 30th
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                   Bose® Wave Music System

Saturday July 31st
8 to 10 PM (EDT)                                      iPad™ Wi-Fi 3G 64gb

Boocoo.com launched June 21st, with Iwanna as one of nearly 300 media partners. In the first three weeks following the launch, the site has already achieved nearly 6,000 registered users.

“With our large number of media partners, we will continue to test new ideas across a wide section of demographic and geographic territory,” said Willard.

Summertime rush hour…

Bison hogs the road

Picture taken from the car of an Asheville resident visiting Yellowstone this week.

What are you doing this weekend? Don’t forget to submit your photos to our Summer Fun Photo Contest, which could earn you $1,000 by the end of the summer!


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