VanDyk Mortgage - October 2018

October 2018

Letters From The Hart Give us a call! 239-437-4278 Or visit Corporate NMLS #3035


Raise your hand if your kids can’t stop talking about Fortnite. Even though I can’t see it … I know you raised your hand.

Pretty much ever since the video game became the obsession of apparently every kid in the country, my sons Eli and Mason have been begging us to get them an Xbox. My wife priced it out, discovered the whole package would be somewhere around $400, and told them to put it on their Christmas list. Turns out, that wasn’t quite soon enough for my sons. Recognizing a teachable moment, I told them if they wanted to shoot down their friends in Fortnite any time before Christmas, they’d need to find a way to earn the money. Eli was already getting a few bucks to help us pull weeds and cut the grass — the kid couldn’t wait for the grass to grow every week — but not quite enough to save up for an Xbox just yet. Together, we came up with a plan for them to earn the money they needed. People in my neighborhood already seem to have a lawn guy, so, since my sons had previously helped their mom wash her car before, we decided to set up a mobile car wash instead. First, they had to drum up some business, The three of us got in the golf cart and went door-to-door around the neighborhood. I sat back in the cart while they walked up, rang the doorbell, and gave their pitch. Honestly, it was awesome to watch. Over time, their speech evolved — they made sure to convey the car wash was mobile, our neighbors could schedule a time for the boys to swing by, and they weren’t charging a penny; they were only working for tips. They were even up front about what they were saving for. I gotta give it to my neighbors; everyone was really receptive to their idea. Even the one guy who didn’t want a car wash paid them 20 bucks not to come back. Within a few days, the emails started coming. My kids organized their incoming emails and put themselves on a schedule. When the time came, we loaded up our cart and zoomed over to the car we were washing. We grabbed soap, buckets, towels, sponges, and our hose, and we brought the whole setup to our

neighbors. I worked right alongside the kids but tried not to overstep. To their credit, they did a great job, aside from the occasional times they sprayed each other “on accident” with the hose

or missed a spot for me to fill in. When it came time for payment, my kids were so appreciative to our neighbors. I can tell you, these people were being extra generous with their tips. It meant a lot that they would join in on teaching my kids this valuable life lesson, and of course, the kids and I made sure that their cars were sparkling clean. It only took them a little over a month to amass the $400, buy Fortnite, and start playing with their friends. And they’re already thinking of more ways to make and save money for the future. I’m proud of them for setting a goal and sticking to it with a solid work ethic. Honestly, I feel like this kind of thinking is a massive head start for young people who’ll enter the workforce in a few years. I can already see a budding entrepreneurial spirit in my kids, applying their creative abilities and drive to build the lives they want to live, even if it’s still early days. For now, Fortnite and school are enough to keep them busy, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t washed our last car.

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Happy Halloween, you goblins, ghouls, witches, and spooks! It’s that time of year again when kids and adults alike can dress up and roam the streets as their favorite heroes, frights, or princesses. While kids are eager to show off their outfits and fill their pillowcases with sugary treasures, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers on Halloween night. Practice Street Safety Make sure your kids understand basic road safety. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “Children are more likely to be struck by a vehicle and killed during Halloween than any other day of the year.” Before heading out for some good old-fashioned trick-or-treating, take the time to go over basic safety tips. Teach kids to look both ways before crossing, use crosswalks and traffic signals, cross streets on the corners, and never run across the street. Making eye contact with drivers before walking in well as human and animal waste, like the kind that comes from seepage from sewage and septic sources, are both major causes. “It’s not necessarily that there’s 100 times more nutrients this year than there was last year,” James says. “They’ve been ramping up year by year, building and building, increasing the odds of a really bad red tide occurrence.” Hurricane Irma resulted in a particularly large dose of nutrients from the land running into the ocean, along with many other factors, resulting in the red tide that’s been killing ocean wildlife. Of course, as serious as this issue of red tide has become in Florida, the local southwest Florida community is even more worried about the blue-green algae that’s been turning our waters to sludge around town. As many locals know, the blue-green algae blooms are starting in Lake Okeechobee. Then they move through

the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries and flow right along with the water. But again, why has it gotten so bad this year? James didn’t have an easy answer for me, but as with the red tide, he suspects that “the levels of pollution (nutrient based) have continued to increase,” along with weather conditions and other more difficult-to-pinpoint factors. This polluted water usually flows from the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee and then down to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie, further spreading the reach of blue- green algae and nutrient-rich water. So then, what’s the solution? It’s complicated, of course, but James has an idea. “What I would like to see is a return to a more natural situation, more natural flow,” James says. “Because there used to be little or no connection to Lake Okeechobee in the Caloosahatchee River … until about 100 years ago, people

dug a canal from the lake into the river.” The same thing happened with the St. Lucie Estuary. “At the same time, they built a dam at the southern end of Lake Okeechobee,” he says, forcing the water that used to flow south to the east or west, making its way to places like Fort Myers. “That central message that people have been repeating — ‘send the water south’ — from a scientific perspective, is a central part of the solution, in my opinion.” As you can tell, blue-green algae and red tide are incredibly complex issues. If you’d like to learn more, check out the rest of my interview with James Douglass on my YouTube channel (Tim Hart) or my Facebook page (facebook. com/TimHartJr/) for more information.



front of their cars is also a good way to make sure the driver knows the child is there. Choose Smart Costumes Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes! They should be fun, but you can also make them safer by following a few simple guidelines. Add reflective tape to candy bags and costumes and wear light

colors to stand out in the dark. Buying or making the right-sized costumes is also important. If they’re too large, they create a tripping hazard, and if they’re too tight, they can restrict movement. If your child wears a mask, make sure they can see out of it properly. Make a Plan Before heading out to trick or treat, create a plan and discuss it with every member of your family.

This ensures that if someone in your group wanders off, they’ll know where to look for you or where to go. In case you’re separated, label your child’s costume with your name, address, and phone number. If your children are old enough to trick or treat without adults, make sure that their cellphones are charged and on them at all times, and schedule regular check-ins.

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Costume Safety Tips for Kids

For many kids, picking out a costume is the best part of Halloween. Will they be a spooky witch, a wildcat, or their favorite superhero? There are so many options! But in all the fun, it can be easy for parents to overlook certain risks that Halloween costumes can pose. Here are important safety tips to remember when choosing the best Halloween costume. Look for fire-resistant costumes. Candles inside jack-o’-lanterns and other open flames are everywhere on Halloween night, so make sure your child’s costume isn’t a fire hazard. Most store-bought costumes are made from fire-resistant materials, but you should still check the labels on all costumes, wigs, and accessories. The same goes when you’re buying fabric for homemade costumes. And remember, fire-resistant is not the same as fireproof. While fire-resistant material takes longer to burn and can be put out quickly, it

can still catch fire and cause serious injuries. Remind your child to use caution around open flames and avoid costumes with flimsy, hanging components, like flowing sleeves, long skirts, and capes. Test makeup first. Halloween is a great time to have fun with face paint, and makeup is a good alternative to masks, which can obscure a child’s vision. However, a lot of costume makeup isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Before letting your child cover their face in makeup from the Halloween store, test their skin for allergic reactions by putting just a little bit on the back of their hand first. Practice prop safety. What’s a Jedi Knight without her lightsaber or a wizard without his magic wand? The right accessories can really bring a costume together, but it’s important that props —

especially weapon props, like swords, knives, or guns — are not mistaken for the real thing. Choose props that are obviously fake, with round edges made from soft, flexible material. And if your child wants to wear their Halloween costume to school or some other event, check the rules on props beforehand to avoid any trouble. Halloween is a night for ghosts and goblins to come out to play, and with these tips, your kids can safely dress up and join in the fun.


Tyler McGowan & Savannah Loos with their Realtor Jay LaGace VanDyk Testimonial

Here is what our clients had to say about their experience with VanDyk Mortgage:

Inspired by


• 3 packages

• 1/4 teaspoon • kosher salt • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract • Powdered sugar, to coat

Client: “Tim Hart and his team were organized and efficient and they were there for us every step of the way. They made themselves easily accessible for any questions and made me feel welcome to contact them. I’d recommend them every time!” –Tyler McGowan and Savannah Loos

unflavored gelatin

• 1 1/2 cups

granulated sugar • 1 cup light corn syrup


1. In a mixing bowl, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Let sit while you make the syrup. 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water until the sugar dissolves. 3. Raise heat to high and bring syrup up to 240 F, using a candy thermometer to check for temperature. 4. With an electric whisk on low speed, slowly whisk syrup into gelatin mixture. Switch speed to high and whip for 15 minutes, until very thick. Fold in vanilla after whipping. 5. Dust a nonmetal baking dish with powdered sugar and spoon mixture into dish. Smooth mixture, top with more powdered sugar, and let stand uncovered overnight. 6. Cut into squares, decorate, and serve.

Tyler McGowan and Savannah Loos with their Realtor, Jay LaGace

Agent: “Plain and simple, you do what you are supposed to do every time. You communicate well, as do all your staff members. We absolutely love working with you guys, hands-down the best of the best.” –Jay LaGace, RE/MAX Realty Team

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Answer the question on page 2 and win a $20 Publix gift card!

Inside This Issue Tim Hart, NMLS #354676 8280 College Parkway Suite #101 Fort Myers, FL 33919 My Kids’ Fortnite Obsession PAGE 1 James Douglass Discusses the Red Tide (Continued) Trick-or-Treating Safety! PAGE 2

Give us a call! 239-437-4278 Or visit

What Parents Need to Know About Halloween Costumes October Testimonial Homemade Marshmallows PAGE 3 FGCU’s James Douglass Discusses the Red Tide PAGE 4

FGCU Associate Professor James Douglass Gets to the Bottom of the Issue RED TIDE AND BLUE-GREEN ALGAE EXPLAINED

Water quality is a big deal every summer in southwest Florida, but this year, the blue-green algae and red tide plaguing our local waters have risen to the headlines of the national news cycle and brought a lot of emotions to the boiling point around town. But what exactly is going on? To learn more, I spoke to James Douglass, an associate professor at the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. “Red tide is one type of what they call a ‘harmful algae bloom,’” James says. It’s a microscopic, single-celled algae called “Karenia brevis” that’s part of a group of organisms we call “dinoflagellates.” These cells have two small tails that allow them to move around, even though they’re plants. “When they’re present in abundance, they stain the water red, and that’s what we call red tide,” James says.

But what causes these algae, which are always present in the water in small quantities, to multiply and cause problems? “When they have the right conditions of light, temperature, and most importantly, nutrients, then they start to grow

This year’s massive red tide has been fueled mostly by “nutrients that have come from man-made sources coming off into the ocean and fueling the red tide,” James says. Fertilizer, such as the kind that enters the ocean as runoff from lawns, as

and divide and divide and divide,” James says. Plants like dinoflagellates get their nutrients — namely phosphorus and nitrogen — from dissolved chemicals in the environment, taking them directly out of the water.


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