Agent-restaurateur sponsors children as readers

Jack’s Cosmic Dogs is a popular eatery with outlets at 2805 N. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant and at 1531 Folly Road in Charleston.

It is also Jack Hurley’s brainchild. Along with launching Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, Hurley is a Realtor and Graduate Realtor Institute designee with Dunes Properties on the Isle of Palms.

The restaurant recently sponsored 50 children from Awendaw and McClellanville for enrollment in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Hurley says up to 61 percent of low-income families have no age-appropriate reading materials for children in their homes. He cited figures from a 2009 study on “America’s Early Childhood Literacy Gap,” commissioned by Jumpstart, a national nonprofit education organization.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is the primary source for reading material for 34 percent of its participants, he says.

For more information, call (843) 607-2510 or e-mail jhurley@dunesproperties.com.

Local affordable housing groups to split $16,500

A half-dozen local organizations will get grants via the Charleston Realtors Housing Opportunities Fund this year, the group says.

Receiving more than $16,500 in all are Operation Home, Rural Mission, United Methodist Relief Center, Human Needs Network, The Humanities Foundation and Sea Island & Berkeley County Habitats for Humanity.

The funds will go for everything from providing assistance and repairs to residents living in substandard rural housing to financial help for the prevention of homelessness, according to the fund’s backers.

Rural Mission applied for the housing opportunities money to repair leaky roofs for six homes where water damage was causing serious issues for the occupants and creating structural damage.

“We are so excited because it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get this family into their home, but now, with a few more dollars they are going to make it,” says Linda Gadson, executive director of Rural Mission.

“It’s an unfolding miracle and the funds came just in time.”

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors established the housing opportunities fund so that grants could be handed out to Lowcountry organizations who develop, maintain or repair housing for those in need.

The Coastal Community Foundation administers the fund. For more information, call (843) 760-9400.

Summerville agency touts Realtors of Distinction

Among the top honors bestowed on real estate agents in the Charleston area are the yearly Realtors of Distinction awards.

Charleston Trident Association of Realtors sponsors the program. For 2010, three of the agents are with Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate in Summerville.

The Prudential recipients are Jana Bantz, Cary Collins and Marianne Stabenau. Bantz earned the Executive Circle award, which is the most exclusive. Collins and Stabenau received the Director Circle honors.

Linda Collins, owner of Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate, commended the agents for their dedication to their clients.

Realtors of Distinction is a group of experienced real estate professionals who meet a production criteria based on sales in 2010.

It is a prestigious recognition of local Realtors, according to Prudential Southern Coast.

Give dwellings the once-over in home inspection month

Maybe it’s the old adage about showers, but April is National Home Inspection Month. So a house checkup next month couldn’t hurt.

“April is the perfect time for a spring maintenance inspection,” says Bill Jacques, president of American Inspection Service Inc.

Moisture intrusion is a leading cause of home maintenance issues and repairs.

“Between wet climate conditions and ice and snow melt from rising temperatures, a maintenance inspection is the best way to safeguard your greatest investment from potentially costly repairs,” he says.

The American Society of Home Inspectors, or ASHI, encourages homeowners to identify potential maintenance issues now before they become major expenses.

The group offers a “spring maintenance checklist.” It includes perusing the roof to look for broken, missing or otherwise damaged shingles that may lead to leaks; walking the perimeter of the home to check for signs of settling and for gaps that could allow rain to enter through the foundation; and taking a thorough look at the air conditioning system.

“While we don’t recommend that homeowners conduct inspections themselves due to safety precautions, there are several areas of the home that homeowners should pay close attention to,” Jacques says.

He recommends residents visually inspect hose bibs (the threaded end of the outside water tap or faucet where a hose can be attached) for signs of frost damage; pipes for separated joints or splits; window and door screens for tears and holes; gutters for broken or loose pieces; and surfaces for cracking or peeling paint and caulking.

Before hiring an inspector, homeowners should interview them to understand what the assessment will cover and to verify experience.

Jacques is an ASHI certified master home inspector with 21 years experience in the Charleston area. For more information, call (843) 693-6912 or visit www.aischarleston.com.

To learn more about the society and how to choose a certified inspector, visit www.ASHI.org or call (800) 743-2744.

Realtor joins Handsome Properties

An aficionado of historic restorations has signed on with a Charleston brokerage that handles high-end properties.

Handsome Properties recently added Brian Mello as a real estate agent. According to the agency, he has extensive knowledge in management and real estate sales, as well as “a passion for restoring historic Charleston homes.”

Mello is a member of the Charleston Trident, South Carolina and National associations of Realtors.

He is involved in the community and is member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League. For the past few years, he has helped in the league’s fundraising event, the CSOL Designer Showhouse.

Mello also supports his wife in her efforts at the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, a nonprofit that helps child abuse victims and their families.

Originally from Northern Virginia, Mello lives in downtown Charleston with his wife and daughter.