Tool makes it easy to open packages

By Times Staff, Wires
Published December 8, 2007

If you've had it trying to cut through plastic clamshells and blister packs . . . or unscrew battery compartments in home electronics . . . or slit open a cardboard box . . . here's the all-in-one tool: the Open It! from Zibra. Its angular jaws cut through tough plastic or zip and twist ties. The dual-head mini-screwdriver opens battery compartments and performs quick repairs. The box-cutter blade slices through cardboard, tape, cellophane (have you tried to open a CD package lately?!). The tool was designed by women who were suffering from package wrap rage. You may want one of these close at hand under the tree Christmas morning. It's $10.99 at Walgreens and Home Depot, or visit www.enjoyzibra.com/openit.

Energy efficiency can earn tax credit

If you installed energy-efficient windows and doors, a roof or heating and cooling equipment, or if you added insulation this year, you may be eligible for a federal income tax credit. Visit www.ase.org/taxcredits to see whether you qualify and how to claim the credit..

Remodeling's model member

Tom Tafelski, president of Thomas Construction of Largo, has been named 2008 Remodelor Member of the Year by the Tampa Bay Builders Association. Among Tafelski's accomplishments: increasing the visibility of remodeling contractors through participation in the annual Parade of Homes, and fighting unlicensed contractors.

Most affordable places to live

Indianapolis maintains its unbroken reign - since the third quarter of 2005 - as the nation's "most affordable" large metro area, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The builders said 87.5 percent of homes were affordable to families earning the area's median household income of $63,800. At the other end of the scale, Los Angeles hung onto the title of least affordable large metro, a distinction it has maintained since the fourth quarter of 2004. Just 3.7 percent of new and existing homes were affordable to those earning the area's median family income of $61,700. Want the charts and details of cities nationwide? Visit www.nahb.org/hoi.