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Today is the day when we vote for the next president.

All we have heard for the past year and a half is Trump or Clinton. No one spends any real time talking about the ballot questions that will actually affect us. We've all seen the commercial spots that are for and against all of the ballot questions. For those heading to the polling stations, you will have more to vote on than just the presidential election. There are 4 big ballot questions that will be voted on and I am going to break them down for you and how much they will cost us.

Marijuana – Voting yes will allow the use and growing of this plant to people over 21 years of age. No one is doing it now so you can see how this is a big deal 🙂 There are many groups rallying behind this equal to the number against it. I do not myself smoke this, but honestly I am tired of hearing about the legality of what 80% of the population already does.

Slots – The next question is expanding the slot realm and add another slot parlor. the town of Revere is very opposed and is trying to battle off major support for this new parlor.

Schools – This is where we will be hit in the wallet. The state is looking to add up to 12 new charter schools. This will be a close contest I imagine as it is the only question that has a massive monetary effect.

Lastly Chickens – this question basically says that no one can sell animal meat or by products of animals that were treated cruel. If this does not pass, I will lose all faith in humanity.

So that's the scoop people. What way will you vote? We will all find out soon enough!

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A new study shows that people over 50, who engage in new activities, are less likely to develop dimentia and could live an average of 1.3 years longer. In other words, ditch the vitamins and get a pottery wheel! I think this is a fabulous idea and I know all of us have tons of things we'd love to learn and try. You've always thought about them, but never had the time. Well, now it is good for your health so get out there and get creative! To help you out, I have gathered a list of local classes and groups that I think are great! Know of another class not listed? Post it in the comments and let me know!

Learn an instrument – Rick's Music – Raynham
http://ricksmusic.com/music-lessons/
For over 30 years, Rick’s has introduced over 10,000 beginners to music. If you have the desire, we have the know-how. And if you need an instrument, Rick’s friendly staff will guide you in choosing the right instrument for you. Learn Guitar, Piano and much more.
Zumba! – All over Raynhamhttps://www.zumba.com/en-US/party?search=Raynham%2C+MA%2C+USZumba is a blast. I've gone many times and every time it feels like dancing rather than exercising. People of all shapes and sizes go so it is not awkward at all. If you have not tired it, it is a must.

Indian Cuisine Cooking Classes – Sandhya's Kitchen – Franklin, MA – (630) 864-0468
http://www.sandhyaskitchen.com/
Learn to cook all the flavors of Indian Cuisine. Master the techniques and then host an unforgettable dinner party.

Pottery and Clay – Just Claying Around – Bridgewater, MA
http://myjca.com/Just Claying Around is a creative space for all ages. Come in to have Fun and Create Memories! Whether your skill level is beginner or expert our amazing staff will guide you through your projects from start to finish.Our crafts include Pottery, Clay, Mosaics, Stuff-a-Plush and Glass Fusing.

Dancing – Revolution Performing Arts – Raynham, MA
http://www.revolutionpa.com/
Revolution Performing Arts is a cutting-edge studio for professional dance lessons in Raynham, MA. Our instructors are certified to teach by Dance Masters of America and The Dance Teacher's Club Of Boston and are excited to share their knowledge and experience with others. Voice lessons too!

What do you do to in your spare time? Let me know in the comments!

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Apple picking around here is an annual mandatory requirement for those of us in the southcoast. Once October hits, we all head out into the orchards and pick us a ton of applies, snap family photo's, and take our bounty home. Okay, but then what? If you are trooping a family out to the orchard, chances are you will now have a mountain of apples that seemed like a fabulous idea to pick at the time. Sure, you will snack on a few, but what about the other 100? I wanted to share some ideas with you on what you can do with this sweet and juicy fruit and give you a couple of recipes that are delish.

Apple Pie

Apple Crisp – oh yes

Apple Turnovers

Candy Apples – so yum

Baked Apples

Apple Jelly

Apple Juice

Dried Apples

Applesauce

Apple Butter

Apple Fritters

Cider Doughnuts

Apple Tarts

Oh, so much more…

Apple Tart –
1 whole sheet puffed pastry, cut in half

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 whole apples, cored, halved and sliced, but not peeled

Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that's been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice to the apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
Arrange the apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Serve with caramel sauce and chopped pecans.

Apple Crisp –

Apples

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced and chilled

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Crisp:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced and chilled

1/4 cup caramel candy squares, quartered

Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the apples: In a large bowl, combine the apples with the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, orange juice, diced butter and cinnamon and reserve.

For the crisp: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands, rub the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Pour the apple mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Sprinkle on the caramel squares and salt. Place the crisp mixture on top of the apples, scattering evenly without pressing it down. Bake until crispy and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

What do you bake? Tell me in the comments!

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This is by far and away the best reason to live in New England. I'm talking about Fall people! The pumpkins, the harvest, the falling leaves, picking apples, the smell of burning in the air, corn mazes and haunted houses, and of course Halloween! I could go on and on and so could you figuring out where to go and what to do. I decided to put together my list of the top places to see this season. Please make a point of going to at least one!

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze- We go every year and every year it gets bigger and better. It is a blast. Each year they feature a new maze and this year is the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". You can get lost in the maze while solving the mystery, plays tons of games, eat great food, ride out to the pumpkin patch, and so much more. – http://www.sauchukfarm.com/Maze.html

Roger Williams Park Zoo – Join your family and friends for this amazing fall tradition: A nighttime display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns all along our beautiful Wetlands Trail, with well over 100 of the pumpkins carved into veritable works of art. It opens this weekend!

Great Pumpkin Fest – Held at Ecotarium. This Halloween event features over 1000 carved pumpkins, live entertainment, family fun with trick-or-treating, displays and more.

HONK Festival – Parade features six stages of live entertainment; dozens of international food vendors; street vendors selling artwork, jewelry and vintage clothing; neighborhood sidewalk sales and HONK! bands from around the country.

Sturbridge Harvest Festival – This popular festival takes place on the Town Common and at the Public House Historic Inn. Local crafters, artisans, food vendors, food from the harvest and a popular Scarecrow Contest.

Where will this fall take you? Comment below and let me know!

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WOW, what a show. That is really what it should be called, an entertaining show, not a debate. All night long both candidates skirted around questions and answered few with any real reply. Plenty of insults and self propagation was to be heard. Trump was most entertaining though with his eye rolling, facial expressions, and his "WRONG" commentary. Clinton was her usual political self saying everything but really saying nothing. It must be exhausting.

It really makes you wonder how this country chose these 2 individuals. They are going to lead our country after all and I am starting to see what people all over the world are seeing the US for. It is very sad. Our country is young, an infant compared to others, and we have already turned this nation into a joke. Solution? Let's make the brunt of the joke one of these two.

Right on cue, the Clinton campaign stepped up the ugly commercial game. Wow, there were some low blows even for her. Did any of you catch the teen girl montage one? Brutal.

This debate was the most watched debate in history and it was a gross display. There are still 2 more debates to go and Trump needs to step up his game if he has any shot. Honestly, he probably does not as Clinton was chosen long ago. Odd that he makes no mention of her recent odd fainting spells or the fact that her husband cheats. Makes you wonder…

What did you all think of the debate? Are you for Trump or Clinton or no one? Sound off in the comments!

 

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The weather is really starting to turn, pools are being closed, school is back in session, and folks are starting to think hibernation. Living in the North means always having to prepare for a new season and Fall is no exception. While it is still mild, there is some maintenance that needs to be done. Winter will be here before you know it and preparations need to start now. I have put together a list of things that I do myself and a few things that other people do that I do not. What do you do to get ready for the upcoming season? List it in the comments below and let's see some helpful tips we may not have known!

1. First up is cleaning out your gutters. This is often overlooked and very important. It would be a good idea to get some of those gutter screens installed too. You can pick them up at Home Depot or Lowes and install them in a weekend. It is affordable and avoids having to climb up there and scoop out the muck.

2. Have your fireplace swept and your wood stoves cleaned. It is going to be freezing before you can blink and you really want to have these in top shape.

3. Replace your filers in your furnace and vents. You'd be amazed how fast these get gunked up and cleaning them is essential.

4. Drain your hose lines and irrigation systems. You can hold off till the first freeze, but that is cutting it close. Most likely your garden is done bearing now so it is a good time to get the lines drained. You can water your mums with a watering can.

5. Install new weatherstrip around your doors to ensure no leaking. You will be cranking up the heat before you know it so get ready to keep that heat in.

6. Stock up now on ice melt, pellets, scrapers, wood, etc.. Buy now before the cost goes up.

7. You should also have a storm shelf. You should stock this with a few cases of bottled water, batteries, flashlights, radio, matches, and other various items you will need if the power goes out. If you have a generator, grab some gas and store it in the garage. When the power goes, those 5 gallon jugs will fly off the shelves so grab them now.

8. Clean all your garden tools and store them in the garage.

9. You should also winterize your lawnmower and weedwacker. Having these stored properly will ensure they run properly in the Spring.

10. Give you home that final power washing of the season. Get rid of all the pollen buildup and get it clean for the new season.

What else do you all do to get ready? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Football season is officially underway! With one game down in the books as a 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, it is sure to be a great season. What a win it was too. Who would have thought we could be that successful without Gronk or Brady? But successful we were and in a spectacular fashion.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo was the starting quarterback as Brady watched the game from his couch. Brady is currently on a 4 game suspension. He finished 24-of-33 for 264 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Not too shabby. After the game, Garoppolo was presented with a game ball from coach Bill Belichick, which Garoppolo said meant a lot to him. Let’s not forget, Brady replaced Bledsoe when Bledsoe could not play so….

 

Brady does not seem to be too worried though. He was watching the game and playing catch with Gisele. He had this to say after the game: was a great game to watch," Brady said. "It's a tough environment to play in. The team went in there and looked like they were focused and prepared. They played so well in so many areas. It was great to see the offense get off to a great start, it was a great first drive — lot of great plays by Jimmy, by the skill players; the offensive line did a great job. To get up 10-0 like that was huge, on the road. I think that was a great way to start the game for our team."

 

The next 3 games should be much easier now that the Cardinals are behind us. Time will tell what will happen with the QB position, but I have not been this excited to watch in a long while.

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The drought that is affecting this area is awful for many reasons. Crops, Jobs, etc.. Have you seen the Assonet River Dam lately?

But did you know that it will also affect our foliage turning? It's true. All those vibrant colors of fall we all look forward to could be much duller this year due to the drought. Drought can slow the color change process and in some cases of dry weather, cut it very very short. In very dry areas, the leaves will just turn brown and crispy and fall off without turning a singe shade.

Most places will see a color turn, but it will be short lived as the leaves will dry out much faster due to the dry air and the colors will not be as vibrant. Normally, the leaves still retain moisture which is why we can enjoy a few weeks of gorgeous colors.

Aside from the drought, gypsy moth caterpillars chewed leaves on 350,000 acres of trees this year, mostly in eastern Massachusetts, according to Gooch. Some of the trees aren't growing new leaves because of the drought.

Boston just had its driest summer on record with precipitation more than 6.5 inches below average. It also had its hottest August on record, which has helped bake in the dryness. Massachusetts and the rest of southern New England would need up to 9 inches of precipitation over the next month in order to drag the region out of drought.

Maine and New Hampshire are still looking okay on the foliage front so you may need to travel north to satisfy your foliage craving.

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It seems every time you read the news another chain of stores is closing a bunch of stores. What is going on with all of the retail stores? Is this a sign of the next housing bubble? Everywhere you look there are empty storefronts. Some have been empty for years. Perhaps brick and mortar stores are on the way out with online shops taking over. Do you think this is a sign of things to come? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Check this out:

Macy’s is closing 100 stores by 2017

Kohls is shutting down 18 stores this year, with more planned for 2017

Sports Authority is closing 140 stores and all 12 stores in Massachusetts

EMS and BOB’s is filing for bankruptcy and closing many of its stores in Massachusetts

Sears is closing stores left and right with Sears in Fairhaven, MA closing a couple of months ago.

78 Kmart stores are closing this summer

Walmart closed 269 stores across the country this year alone

Building 19 is gone for good now too

Let’s not even discuss Radio Shack

Also don’t forget all the small mom and pop shops that are closing or closed due to these stores opening.

Is this a sign of things to come? They say the housing bubble begins with commercial real estate and if so what does that mean for the residential side of things? Something to think about for sure in the coming years.

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If you are in retirement, receiving Social Security benefits, and are enrolled in Medicare you may want to read on. The latest Medicare Board of Trustees released a new report this month stating that most people may see a decrease in their benefits. The report states that the board is calling for a huge increase in premiums. 22.3% increase to be exact. That means if you are on Part B, your premium will increase to $149 a month from $121 in 2017. It may not sound like a lot to some, but those on a fixed income will feel the sting.

In 2016 rates were increased from $104 to $121. See a pattern here? 2018 will climb only higher.

To make it better, the Social Security Board of Trustees is also rolling out a new increase for COLA in 2017 for people who receive SS benefits. A whopping 0.2%.

There is a Federal Regulation though called the Harmless Act which basically states that a retiree that receives SS benefits, and one that is earning under the national average of income, and are enrolled in Medicare are not subject to benefit decreases in their Medicare. Social Security did not issue a COLA in 2015, so those retirees who qualified (about 70 percent of them) received protection under the Hold Harmless Act, and their Medicare Part B premium thankfully remained at $104.90 per month.

This year though, those 70% who were protected will see the 2016 rate increase to $121 a month. Seeing as they were held harmless last year, it is now going up. According to the Medicare Board of Trustees, "If the Social Security COLA is actually zero percent for 2017, then the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would be triggered, and the 2017 Medicare Part B premium would increase without the hold-harmless provision effects."

That basically means that if there is no COLA, every retiree will see an increase to atleast $149 a month as no retiree will be protected under the Hold Harmless Act.

Think this is the start of more bad things to come from SS? Send a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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