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Seminars to show danger of radon in homes

January is Radon Action Month and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has planned a series of radon awareness and healthy indoor air seminars to alert area residents about the danger it presents.

Radon is a radioactive gas that poses health risks, including lung cancer. It is the number one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and greatly increases the risk of cancer for smokers.

According to the cooperative extension, one in four homes has elevated levels of radon gas. When trapped indoors, in can accumulate to harmful levels.

The presentations will be at local branches of the Clark County Library District. Additionally, all participants will receive a free radon detection kit that they can use in their homes.

Scheduled presentations are: Jan. 3, 11 a.m., Radon Awareness, Enterprise Library, 25 E. Shelbourne Ave., Las Vegas 89123; Jan. 18, 11 a.m., Healthy Indoor Air, Enterprise Library; Jan. 22, 3 p.m., Radon Awareness, Whitney Library, 5175 E. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas 89122; and Jan. 23, 2 p.m., Radon Awareness, Centennial Hills Library, 6711 N. Buffalo Drive, Las Vegas 89131.

For additional information or to find out where to get a test kit, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website, www.RadonNV.com, or call the Radon Hot Line, 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610). The Southern Area Radon education coordinator is Laura Au-Yeung; she can be reached at 257-5550 or by e-mail at au-yeungl@unce.unr.edu.

Local middle-schoolers win radon poster contest honors

Two students from Hyde Park Middle School in Las Vegas were recognized in the 2011 National Radon Awareness poster contest.

This year, 54 posters were entered from three counties in Nevada. Judges selected winners and runners-up in each category. Nevada’s top three winners were: first place, Alexandra Resney, a homeschooled student from Gardnerville; second place, Melissa Liang; and third place, Cade Walley, both from Hyde Park Middle School.

The top three Nevada posters were sent to the national contest, sponsored by Kansas State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Schools from all 50 states, U.S. territories, tribal nations and the Department of Defense participated in the contest, which asks students between the ages of 9 and 14 to create a radon awareness poster.

The goal of the contest was to raise awareness of the harmful effects of elevated levels of indoor radon gas and encourage radon testing.

Poster entrants chose from five poster topics: What is radon? Where does radon come from? How does radon get into our homes? Radon can cause lung cancer. Test your home for radon.

Radon, a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas, can cause lung cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General lists it as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. This radioactive element moves through the ground to the surface and can easily enter homes and buildings. There is no way to detect whether radon is present except by testing.

The two Southern Nevada poster contest winners will be presented with a $25 prize and a certificate of participation Jan. 10 at 4:30 p.m. at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s office, 8050 Paradise Road. The public is invited to attend the presentation.

Caution issued against using unlicensed contractors

The Nevada State Contractors Board is advising area homeowners to beware of scam artists who offer home repairs, especially in wake of flooding in the town of Mesquite, surrounding vicinities and flood warning areas in the Las Vegas Valley.

Unlicensed contractors usually target areas after a natural disaster to solicit homeowners with bargain repair prices. Historically, their work is substandard and will deteriorate rapidly.

Beware of unlicensed contractors offering emergency repairs, especially if they use high-pressure tactics to accept their offers. Many times these unlicensed contractors ask for cash payments up front or before completing the work. Their written contracts are either nonexistent or generally written with no details of the work to be completed.

These unlicensed contractors do not have bonds or liability insurance, and their workers are not covered by Workman’s Compensation benefits. If an unlicensed contractor or his employees are injured on your property, you may be liable for the injuries.

It is important to verify that a contractor is licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board before giving any money or authorization for rain or flood-damage repairs .

Any contractor who performs residential or commercial remodeling or repairs must have a valid Nevada State Contractors Board license and display it on his contract or invoice and must provide his pocket licensed contractor ID card, if requested by the homeowner.

To check on a contractor’s licensing status, contact the board at 486-1100, ext. 1144, call the unlicensed contractor hot line at 486-1160, or visit the board website at www.nscb.state.nv.us.

Contacting without a license in Nevada is a misdemeanor for the first offense, a gross misdemeanor for the second offense and a Class E felony for the third offense .

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