1. Archive

Dispute over replacement cost

In 1995, the directors of my building decided that extensive work needed to be done to the outside of the building and the patios. The company of Wilson-Kehoe ended up doing extensive work, but there are matters that haven't been cleared up.

When the repairs started, I asked the workers if I needed to move my furniture from the patio corner where I kept it stacked. They told me no, they were only going to use my patio to store their large scaffold and equipment at the end of each day.

While on the job, the workers would pull out my furniture to sit on to smoke or take a break. I did not have a problem with that. Then I had to go away for six or seven days and when I returned I found the following: new screens of my three rooms that face the patio had big rips in them; a plastic umbrella stand I had recently purchased was smashed; some large pottery dishes I kept plants in were broken; three new large brooms had been taken from a closet and used _ I found them with broken handles among the work equipment; my furniture pads had been thrown on the ground and had stuff from other apartments on them.

I talked to the foreman, Joe. He was very nice, told me to replace the damaged items and send the invoices to the building manager. I did so and submitted invoices totaling $60 for a new umbrella stand, three new brooms and a dust pan.

After three or four months passed, I contacted the building manager and was told that the bills had been submitted to Rob Wilson of Wilson-Kehoe. I called Rob Wilson and he said I was trying to rip them off and offered me $20.

The screens were replaced, but they are not of the same quality and do not have any latches. I thought I was doing them a favor in only asking for $60 in damages. Rob Wilson won't talk to me about it. _ George Baldwin

Response: Rob Wilson said your building management sent notices to all owners asking them to remove all furniture and other belongings from their patios because of the work that needed to be done. Most people complied; some refused.

His men may have broken or lost the brooms so he offered you $20, which he said he felt was fair. He says he feels you are trying to take advantage of them. He has no problem with legitimate claims, he said, but the apartment management already has bought you a new umbrella stand and the screens, most of which were rotten, were replaced. Wilson says he feels he has been fair.

Alcohol in NA beer

I would like to ask some questions about non-alcoholic, "NA," beer.

On the can it says "contains less than 0.5 percent alcohol." How many cans of NA would it take to equal one can of regular beer? How many cans of NA would you have to drink for your blood alcohol level to be over the legal limit if you were stopped for DUI? _ K. Townsend

Response: The federal government, specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, regulates the labeling of alcoholic beverages. According to Art Resnick, bureau spokesman, non-alcoholic beer is defined as beer that contains less than 0.5 percent alcohol per volume. Regular beer, by contrast, contains between 4 and 5 percent, with "lite" beer containing somewhat less, ice and certain malt or specialty beers containing more.

Non-alcoholic beers range in alcohol content as well, according to the method used to make it. The original method, resulting in non-alcoholic beer in the range of 0.3 to 0.4 percent, is made by brewing regular beer and removing the alcohol. The newer method involves using special strains of yeast that produce little or close to no alcohol.

We put the question of how many cans of non-alcoholic beer you would have to drink to equal one can of regular beer to Dr. Anthony Reading, chairperson of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the University of South Florida's College of Medicine. The short answer is: a lot.

It would take 10 or more cans of 0.4 percent NA beer to equal the same amount of alcohol that's in one regular can. And you'd practically have to drown yourself in the non-alcoholic brew to attain a blood-alcohol level that would make you legally intoxicated. Consider that an average person can metabolize approximately one beer an hour, resulting in a negligible increase, if any, in blood-alcohol level. Translated to NA beer, you'd have to drink significantly more than 10 or so cans an hour for your blood-alcohol level to rise.

Because non-alcoholic beer nonetheless contains some alcohol, Reading said that people who must avoid alcohol would be well advised not to drink it.

If you have a question for Action, or your attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request for Action. Names will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.