Sunday, May 21, 2006

In Back of the Bus

It took a lot of people to move that bus in front of the Turner family's new home.

About one hundred anonymous community members, including the Mayor of Irvington, NJ and sent a news article to "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," hoping the design team could help! And now that the smoke has cleared, hundreds of dedicated contractors and workers, local builder Edgewood Properties and Clifton's Century 21 Construction(no connection to Century 21 Real Estate) and volunteers transformed the Turners' burned out house into a dream home in a remarkable seven days.

Roads were closed, celebrities showed up and neighbors gawked at the small army of blue-shirted contractors turning one disadvantaged family's modest house into a well-designed home. They also designed and rebuilt a much needed neighborhood park that will be a major asset to the town.

After finishing the season finalle, the crew moved up to Bergenfield for another Extreme Makeover to be broadcast later this summer.

The Llanes family - includes a blind father, a mother with cancer, a blind grandmother, two daughters who are going blind and a deaf son.

Along with demolishing and rebuilding the home's interior, the companies will pack the home with $100,000 worth of the latest technology designed to help people with vision and hearing problems.

"This house will have every piece of technology in it that we know exists on the planet Earth to help a family with disabilities," said Brian Stolar, president and CEO of developer Pinnacle, which is handling the 24-hour-a-day building effort.

The house will have the latest solar panels from BP Solar and the latest home-control software from Home Automated Living of Maryland. A member of the Llanes family will be able to speak into a phone or microphone and tell the system, for example, to turn out the lights or raise the thermostat.

Victor Llanes, the blind father, will be able to communicate more easily with his deaf son, Zeb, 16, using a software program called iCommunicator, which converts text to sign language.

"It was a house that was disabled," said deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who has met the Llanes family. "They are going to have less stressful lives," the actress said through a sign-language interpreter.


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