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What is a HELP Certified Specialist?

What is a HELP Certified Specialist?

There was a time when a professionals word and expertise could be counted on and their commitment to placing your needs above their own was a given.  Not only was it expected and accepted as the norm, for a professional to do otherwise caused them to be ostracized to such a degree that they had to literally leave the business.

Today, sadly, far too often the public encounters “professionals” who may have been able to pass the initial test in order to be affiliated with their chosen profession, but they fail to adhere to the sprit in which their professional standards originally called out for.

When Sociologists study what led to the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, they point out two main culprits: ignorance and greed.  Ignorance on the consumers part and greed on the professionals side.  USA HELP’s goal is to successfully address both of these issues now and into the future.

USA HELP, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to being a resource for consumers and professionals alike with respect to housing and lending.  We have set up training courses to assist homeowners and home buyers understand the process a little better and ensure that the consumer will be less likely to be taken advantage of.  We believe in consumer protection through education.

So what is a HELP Certified Specialist?  They are the new Gold Standard.  A HCS is one who has agreed to be listed on our site, only after attending, at their own expense, a two day intensive course consisting of the following;

  • Annual (As opposed to every four years) Ethics & Agency training
  • Review of Fiduciary Responsibility and updates on the Business & Professions Code
  • Critical cross training of Realtors & lenders to benefit the public
  • Understanding FHA’s mission and major benefits to the public
  • Understanding VA’s mission and major benefits to the public
  • Short sale training and understanding the REO market to benefit the public
  • Understanding loan modifications & what is legal & what is not & who qualifies
  • Understanding ALL of the first time buyer programs and unique lending opportunities that exist today and where to find them.

The professionals must pass a written test with a passing grade of 80% or higher.  In addition, they will have signed HELP’s Code of Conduct, which will afford HELP the ability to remove from our list, immediately, those who fail to uphold the standards we have set forth in order to best serve the publics interest.

It is an honor to be a HELP Certified Specialist and the potential referrals from the public is a reward that places you in control for the first time.  No longer will you the public have to file numerous complaints against those who refuse to honor their commitments and act in a professional manner.  A team of their peers will review consumer complaints and act in the best interest of the public.  Penalties may range from being removed from our list of Certified Professionals to HELP actually filing a complaint on the consumer’s behalf.

HELP’s goal is to be a resource for the public and reward/highlight those are willing to set themselves apart.  HELP will educate you the public, for profit professionals, public agencies for non-profit professionals so that those who would deceive or otherwise act in a manner which does not place the clients interest above their own, will have a far more difficult time.  Knowing ones rights and the proper qualifying questions to ask will ensure those who act responsibly and honestly will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage.  Consumer protection through education, a goal we can and must achieve.

800.336.3629 Bringing families Home Serving the Entire Antelope Valley Since 1990 Find more at



April 11, 2011 Posted by | Help Certified Specialist, keep my home lancaster, keep my home palmdale, short sale palmdale | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanging in the Sun

Hanging? In the sun? Not talking about laying on the beach, or at a secluded sunny area. Not talking about plants. Not talking about a trip to Hawaii.


I’m talking of the joy of hanging clothes on the clothesline !  Hanging sheets, towels, and blankets on the clothesline!  Another thing of the past, but my present. An activity I actually enjoy.


Fortunately, I have a huge yard with a huge custom welded clothesline that I love.    “How trashy” , some people say. It’s “trashy” when you see clothes that are strung on fences, trees, and whatever. My clothesline is the absolute best. It’s really long, over 20 ft., has just the right spacing between rows.  Why not use solar power to create great-smelling clothes, towels, and sheets? Forget the chemical smell of dryer sheets to make fabric smell “fresh.” Besides, we live in the desert.  In the hot summer months, we would hang up one load and those would already be dry when we hung up the next load !


I grew up hanging clothes outdoors. All our older generations did the same. How did it become “low-brow”, “no-class”, and an “embarrassment?”


I had some long periods of not having the luxury of outdoor fabric hanging. Some periods were years long. I dried my things in a dryer, like everyone else. I know not everyone can or even would, hang in the sun. I’m glad I had the opportunity to raise my kids using the clothesline from their babyhood ( nothing beats the sun for those cotton diapers)  all the way up to their teen-age jeans. As soon as they could reach the clothesline, they helped out. I have a dryer that I bought used, from friends, in 1975.  It gets used when wanted or needed.  Amazingly enough, my dryer still works just fine…



Graphic Experience 661.945.1718 624 W. Lancaster BLVD



April 11, 2011 Posted by | antelope valley custom frames, frames lancaster ca | , , , , | Leave a comment


@avveterinary An important message from the CDC



April 11, 2011 Posted by | lancaster dogs, lancaster family pet, lancaster kittens, lancaster puppies, Lancaster Veterinary | , , , , | Leave a comment

Have you hugged your pet today?

Stop by the office and pick up a free car magnet ..Show the world how much you love your pet!

330 West Avenue I Lancaster, CA 93534

661.948.5065 @ Smith Veterinary Hospital, we are dedicated to taking care of your pets and animal friends. Our veterinarians are some of the finest in the area.







April 11, 2011 Posted by | lancaster dogs, lancaster family pet, lancaster kittens, lancaster puppies, Lancaster Veterinary | , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring News from Your Family Pet Care Provider

330 West Avenue I Lancaster, CA 93534

661.948.5065 @ Smith Veterinary Hospital, we are dedicated to taking care of your pets and animal friends. Our veterinarians are some of the finest in the area.





April 11, 2011 Posted by | lancaster dogs, lancaster family pet, lancaster kittens, lancaster puppies | , , , , | Leave a comment


I was fifty-nine and a half-years old and planned to retire at age 65 from the Palmdale School District, where I was a band director.  But as I found out health problems can alter the best-laid plans.  That’s what happened to me.

A large, insidious throat tumor almost took my life.  I first became aware of it when I woke up gasping for air, but just as quickly was able to breath again.  I thought it was just a quirk and did nothing about it.   The second time in the middle of the night, I wasn’t as fortunate.  Hearing his mother’s desperate screams, David ran into our room and immediately applied the Hendrick maneuver, as I was turning blue.  I felt a pop and air came rushing down my throat.  A few minutes later when we all calmed down, we knew it was time to see my nose, throat, and ear doctor.


That morning when Dr. Jackson entered one of his examining rooms where I was waiting, he approached me and said, “My God, you have an enormous tumor. “  He could actually see it from the outside.  His staff immediately made arrangements for an operation the next morning, December 23, when the tumor was removed.


The following week after the tests came in, Dr. Jackson told me with a look of concern, the tumor was cancerous, but he didn’t believe it was.  He sent it to special lab in Chicago, but the results didn’t come back for THREE WEEKS!  It was one of the longest three weeks of my life.  The good news was that it was benign.   By this time I had already been working for a couple of weeks.  When Dr. Jackson examined me after giving me the good news, he said because I was constantly using my voice to teach band, the tumor was growing back and I had to retire.  Since my full retirement wasn’t going to go into affect for four more months, I continued to work using a microphone and speakers, whispering instructions to my band students, so I wouldn’t reinjure my sensitive throat.  My throat healed within months.


My retirement had taken me by surprise and I wasn’t prepared to deal with it.  I had no idea what my wife Shirley and I would do.  The first two weeks I sort of relaxed.  We decided the inside of the house needed painting, so I began with the walls in the hallway, and I can sincerely say I hated painting!  While I was on the ladder I began daydreaming about a boy who played the bass drum in the school band, and he had a pet.  I thought maybe it could be a mouse, but a famous Hollywood producer was already using a mouse.  Maybe a dog, but then again everybody had a dog.  But this dog would be different.  He would have a large tail that looked like a drumstick and he played the bass drum, too.  I got down from my ladder and gravitated toward the computer.  I began writing about a boy, Nick, and his dog, Knobby.  I titled this first story in a series of eight, “Nick Meets Knobby.”


Until this time I had never thought about being an author, and was surprised to find myself in front of a computer writing a story.  I never knew I had the ability to be creative.  I couldn’t believe the stream of ideas that came out of me.  From the start I wrote from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, six days a week for the next 17 years until my wife became ill.  Writing my stories was a true work of love.  It didn’t seem possible that I had found a third career.


I joined two wonderful children author’s groups, one in Leona Valley for 13 years, followed by 7 years with the other at Barnes & Noble in Palmdale, CA.  It didn’t take me long to become aware I had much to learn.  Someone suggested I add dialogue to my story rather than it be all narrative.  I went to the local library and read a few dozen children books.  I returned home and in a matter of hours inserted dialog to my boy and dog story that made all the difference.  The addition of dialog had given it added strength and character.   After finishing “Nick Meets Knobby,” I began a second story about the boy and his dog.  I did eight in a row.  My writing became more fluid, and I kept returning to the earlier stories to improve them as I learned more.


Right from the beginning I asked Shirley to read what I had written and asked for suggestions.  I realize now I just wanted her praise and nothing else.  At that time I was writing by hand, using a yellow pad, and then typed what I had written into the computer.  After Shirley read the story she changed the wording of a sentence and added a word or two.  When I saw the changes I became slightly annoyed.  She told me not to ask her to go over any other stories if I were unable to accept constructive criticism.  Later on in the quiet of my computer room, I realized with the turn of a sentence or her changing a word or two, she had a natural ability to make the stories stronger, so I soon stopped complaining.  I had a built-in editor.  But with my vanity it took me awhile to truly accept it, and finally I realized she was a great children editor.  After she edited a few other stories I couldn’t wait to see what changes she had made.


For the next 21 years I wrote 38 children’s stories, four of them published, and a novel, “Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era,” which was also published and given “Highly recommended” by Midwest Book Review.  Shirley didn’t have time to edit this story, as it was too long.  Throughout my writing period I returned to my grammar and punctuation books.  “The Elements of Style,” by E.B. White, also helped me.  I’ve continued to study and learn to this day.


I was fortunate to attain the services of John MacFarlane, Disney animator, who magnificently illustrated all four of my published children books.  John also illustrated covers for each of my 38 eBooks.


You’ll find 20 of my eBooks under my name, Felix Mayerhofer, in Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony, and  My published children books can be found in, and my novel, “Diary of a Young Musician,” in






April 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals, Learning Children’s Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment

PART TWO–BE YOUR OWN PERSON (By Changing Your Life Style)

When I graduated high school, I moved to New York City where I attended a world-famous music conservatory on full scholarship, the Juilliard School of Music.  To survive, I got a full-time job as an usher at the Capitol Theater on Broadway, the largest theater in the world at the time.  After being sick most of the year from lack of sleep and proper nutrition (the salary was low), I decided not to return to college a second year even though I had been awarded another scholarship the following year.  I instead went on the road with a professional big band.


My behavior during that year at school had been normal, but my life began to change at the tender age of 19.  I was introduced to another culture, the “big band world,” where a different behavior was counter to how I’d been raised, which I resisted for a couple of years.  Of course all the musicians I met weren’t like that, many were decent, moral people, but stronger than I.  I was influenced by the immorality and foul language of other musicians around me, but the choice to go down the wrong path was my own.  This is very similar to what daily immersion of TV can do to children and young people who aren’t supervised.  Movies, the Internet, magazines, and recordings are included in this group.   The only difference being I was older and could survive a lot better psychologically.


When young people go down the wrong path, it may be caused by incredible peer pressure and broken families.  Even though heredity and the terrible social environment surrounding them may have been a bad influence, they still had their own will.  This could all be overcome.  Our present day apologists state that everyone but you is the cause of your problems.  FALSE!  YOU HAVE FREE WILL!  A former elementary school band student of mine, now an adult, once told me that the reason he turned to drugs in high school, was that he had been scared of me when he was in my beginning band years earlier.  And I only had him once a week for forty-five minutes.  This is what he learned in analysis in his mid- thirties.  Many “professional “people counseling others, make fantastic sums of money expressing poppycock like this.


After years of insecurity and many escapades with women during my twenties, I began questioning my life style and behavior.  I read a book by an English author about sex and marriage that described how a husband and wife should behave.  Basically, it said there should be love, respect, truth, honesty, and faithfulness to each other.  Included in the book were other virtues such as goodness, being humble, not to be judgmental, and to be free of immoral thoughts.  There were many other suggestions besides these that helped me.


Even though I wasn’t planning on getting married at that time, reading this book was the changing point of my life.  I didn’t act on all the advice at once, but realized I couldn’t continue the life style I’d been leading, as I hadn’t been raised that way.  My activities those years had caused me to be a nervous wreck with little peace of mind.  It was all a matter of good versus evil.  Almost from the time I finished the book my life improved.  The cleaner my thoughts became the better I felt, and the freedom of mind I had had as a young person slowly returned.  With freedom came happiness which works hand in hand.  But my new morality didn’t return by itself, I worked on it on a daily basis and still do.  Good things don’t come easy or overnight.


If you’re interested in helping yourself, you must analyze how your problems began, in some cases from the day you were born.  We all have a dark side that must be constantly fought because we’re basically good people.   With the breakdown of our culture controlled by Hollywood, the media, print press, the recording industry, and now the internet, young people don’t have a chance to lead normal lives, but it’s always there to be had by all.  You must unshackle yourselves of these controls!  To do so, you must be strong and resolute, avoiding pressures from your best friends and peers, who you will soon realize may not be your friends.  This may apply to your own family.  You must be the leader who sets an example by speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.  Again, this is all a matter of good versus the dark side.


But be prepared to be treated like a pariah and to be alone with your newfound freedom.  You’ll make new friends and some of your old friends may stay with you, as they recognize the dramatic and inspirational changes within you.  Change your life style today; it’s never too late to become a winner.






April 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals, Exciting Children’s Stories, Learning Children’s Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment

PART ONE–BE YOUR OWN PERSON (By changing your life style)

After I got married, my wife and I made the rounds to introduce me to her relatives.  Shirley’s Aunt Betty was in her seventies and had a wonderful sense of humor.  She said she had the body of an old person but the mind of a sixteen year old.  This comment impressed me, and the little time I spent with her, I realized what she meant.


Now that I’m in my eighties, I feel the same way.  The only difference between being old rather than young is that I’ve become wiser through experiences of time.  My only problem is that I sometimes forget what happens the previous day, but can vividly remember how I felt as a teenager, with complete clarity like it happened yesterday.  But there’s an incredible difference. Those lovely memories of yesteryear compared to what young people are going through today, not only makes me cringe in despair for them, but gives me great sadness.


Being raised in a small community by a large religious family, I can say I had a fun loving, relaxed type of youth, almost carefree.  I didn’t understand or realize I had such freedom, especially of the mind.  There was no influence by TV, Internet, or other electronic gadgets to fill me with mush; I had a mother who was always home, and the movies I attended once a week at the local theater weren’t filled with grasping and lust.  Instead, we had 15 minute radio shows like Dick Tracy, The Shadow, Little Orphan Annie, and my favorite, The Lone Ranger. They were all adventure episodes where we used our imagination without our morals being corrupted.  We didn’t have the computer world with the Internet, but read books and did research in our own encyclopedias, or at the local library.


I knew the facts of life when I was a teenager, but there was nothing around to exploit it, so I was never consumed with sex or constantly thought about it, and my friends were the same as I.  When I was in high school and a girl looked terrific, the extent of our reaction would be, “Boy!  Would you look at that sweater!”  Naturally as young people we got aroused, but we never went beyond those comments.  Of course in each school there were a few students in the “Fast crowd,” who went too far and sometimes had to pay life-long consequences.  If a boy got a girl pregnant they mysteriously disappeared from the community after hurriedly being married, but were never seen again.  They left in disgrace and moved to another part of the country.


Because of this lack of complete knowledge concerning sex, we were able to grow up naturally, with our innocence and emotions intact, until we reached the age when we were mature enough to handle it without permanent damage.





April 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals, Exciting Children’s Stories, Learning Children’s Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment



Thank God for good doctors, modern medicine, and all my friends who prayed for me!  My cataract procedures the past two weeks have been a wondrous success.  For the first time in over a quarter of a century, I was able to read words clearly on my computer without the use of glasses.  I still have astigmatism but that will be taken care of in a few weeks.  I’ll be using eye drops the next three weeks, and then they’ll test me for new glasses.  That was the “Good!”


Now for the “Bad!”  During the past two weeks I caught a nose, throat, and chest cold, something I haven’t had in over 40 years.  Help!!!  I had forgotten how bad it was to be ill, a rarity for me.  For medical reasons I stopped practicing my harmonica so as not to put too much pressure on my eyes, and of course the cold, where I had no desire to serenade myself.  It was a good thing as I needed a rest from practicing.  From experience I know I’ll be a better player because of it.  For being such a good boy, I’ve rewarded myself with an upgraded Hohner harmonica, one recommended by one of the salesmen at the Music Merchants convention I attended in Anaheim a few weeks ago.  I’m looking forward to attacking it unmercifully in a few days.  I’ll be unrelenting until I’m content with my progress.


Here’s the “Worst!”  To make my week a little more interesting, the third grade boy across the street solicited me into buying Easter candy his school was selling.  I was an easy touch, and through experience he knew he would be the final recipient of the candy, as I don’t eat sweets.   When I went to his house with a check, I didn’t see his pit bull in the yard who proceeded to have desert at my expense.  He bit me on the lower leg.  Luckily, I had on heavy Levis or it would have been worse.  The mother told me the dog recently had rabies shots, but I wasn’t sure I could believe her.  I called up Animal Control to see what I needed to do for myself.  They said only a tetanus shot was required.  I called my doctor and within the hour a nurse proceeded to administer the shot.  It was a lot easier than the same shot I received in the service during the Korean War.


Meanwhile, through my operations, fever, and a dog bite, I conducted business as usual, promoting my children’s books the entire time.







April 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals, Christmas stories for children, Exciting Children’s Stories, Learning Children’s Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment


I had just finished talking to 7th and 8th grade students at Shadow Hills Middle School in Palmdale, CA, and was driving home.  I passed Cactus Middle School and decided to introduce myself to the band director, Garson Olivieri.


When I walked in he looked up in surprise and stopped the band from playing.  He introduced me like I was a world-wild celebrity, citing my background as a former professional trombonist, and my many years spent in the Palmdale School District as a band director.


The well-balanced beginning band consisted mostly of seventh graders who had only been playing for about two months with school instruments.  As I walked in I realized immediately this was a well-trained band with an equally good young director.


His approach to teaching band was similar to mine, with high intensity, but with patience.  He asked if I would critique the group while they played a few exercises for me from a very good beginning band method book.   Of course I obliged.


My method was to walk around, observe and listen, as the young musicians played their respective parts.  I was truly pleased with all sections of the band.  They were doing new material so I got a good idea how they were really progressing.


When they finished playing I spoke to the trumpet and trombone sections, explaining carefully how they could improve their playing.  I also made comments to the clarinets and percussion.  The sole tuba player who had only been playing for a couple of weeks added greatly to the ensemble.


The total maturity of the band with an open sound truly left me with a lasting impression.  I’m looking forward to hearing both this group and Mr. Olivieri’s advanced band during their spring concert.




April 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals | , , , , | Leave a comment