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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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We are almost done with the Olympics already. Can you believe it! It has been a blast to watch especially with all the medals being won by the US. The gymnastics and swimming alone made the Olympics for me. Watching Phelps and the Team Ladies Gymnastics Finals was impressive to say the least. The US has won 16 gold medals in just swimming. No other country has that many all sports combined. So what is left in the games and where are we so far?

The medal count as of today is as follows:

Screenshot_1

Most of the big ticket events are behind us now with the exception of Simone Biles going for another gold today. Badminton, Track, Cycling, Volleyball, Sailing, Tae Kwon Doe, and a few other less known events are still on tap to finish out these games. 

Here is tomorrows schedule:

Women’s 5000 Heats, 8:30 a.m.

Women’s Pole Vault Qualifying, 8:45 a.m.

Men’s Triple Jump Final, 8:50 a.m.

Men’s 1500 Heats, 9:30 a.m.

Women’s 100 Hurdles Heats, 10:05 a.m.

Women’s Discus Throw Final, 10:40 a.m.

Men’s 200 Heats, 10:50 a.m.

Men’s High Jump Final, 7:30 p.m.

Women’s Javelin Throw Qualifying A, 7:35 p.m.

Men’s 110 Hurdles Semifinals, 7:40 p.m.

Women’s Long Jump Qualifying, 8:05 p.m.

Women’s 400 Hurdles Semifinals, 8:10 p.m.

Men’s 400 Hurdles Semifinals, 8:35 p.m.

Women’s Javelin Throw Qualifying B, 8:50 p.m.

Women’s 200 Semifinals, 9 p.m.

Women’s 1500 Final, 9:30 p.m.

Men’s 110 Hurdles Finals, 9:45 p.m.

Badminton:

Men’s & Women’s Doubles Semifinals, 7:30 a.m.

Women’s Singles Quarterfinals, Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal, 4:30 p.m.

Basketball Women's Finals:


Australia vs. Serbia, 10 a.m.

Spain vs. Turkey, 1:30 p.m.

United States vs. Japan, 5:45 p.m.

France vs. Canada, 9:15 p.m.

Volleyball:


Men’s and Women’s Semifinals, 3 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Semifinals, 10 p.m.

Boxing:


Women’s 51kg, Men’s 56kg, 64kg, 75kg, 91kg-plus Prelims, 81kg Semifinal, 10 a.m.

Women’s 51kg, Men’s 56kg, 64kg, 75kg, 91kg-plus Prelims, 81kg Semifinal, 60kg Gold Medal, 4 p.m.

Canoe-Kyak – Sprint:


Men’s C-1 1000 Finals, 8 a.m.

Men’s K-1 1000 Finals

Women’s K-1 200 Finals

Women’s K-2 500 Finals

Cycling/Track:


Women Sprint, Quarterfinals (1st Heat), 9 a.m.

Men Keirin, 1st Round

Women Sprint, Quarterfinals (2nd Heat)

Women Sprint, Quarterfinals (3rd Head)

Men Keirin, repechages

Women Sprint, Places 5 to 8

Women Sprint, Semifinals 1st Heat, 3 p.m.

Women Omnium, V Flying lap

Women Sprint, Semifinals 2nd Heat

Men Keirin, 2nd round

Women Sprint, Semifinals (3rd)

Women Omnium, Final Points race 25km

Women Sprint, Finals 3-4 & 1-2 (1st Heat)

Women Sprint, Finals 3-4 & 1-2 (2nd Heat)

Men Keirin, Final 7 to 12

Men Keirin, Final 1 to 6

Women Sprint, Finals 3-4 & 1-2 (3rd)

Diving:


Men’s 3-meter Springboard Semifinals, 9 a.m.

Men’s 3-meter Springboard Finals, 3 p.m.

Equestrian:


Jumping Team Qualification, 9 a.m.

Field Hockey Men:

Argentina vs. Germany, 11 a.m.

Belgium vs. Netherlands, 4 p.m.

Gymnastics – Artistic


Men’s Parralel Bars Final, 1 p.m.

Women’s Floor Final, 1:47 p.m.

Men’s Horizontal Bar Final, 2:34 p.m.

Sailing:


Men’s Finn (medal race), Noon

Men’s 49er

Women’s 49er FX

Mixed Nacra 17 (medal race)

Soccer Semi-Finals:


Sweden vs. Brazil, Noon

Germany vs. Canada, 3 p.m.

Swimming:


Men’s Marathon, 8 a.m.

Swimming:

Duet Free Routine (final), 1 p.m.

Table Tennis:

Women’s Bronze Medal, 10 a.m.

Women’s Gold Medal, 6:30 p.m.

Handball:


Netherlands vs. Brazil, 9 a.m.

France vs. Spain, 12:30 p.m.

Sweden vs. Norway, 4 p.m.

Russia vs. Angola, 7:30 p.m.

Volleyball:


South Korea vs. Netherlands, 9 a.m.

Japan vs. United States, 1 p.m.

Russia vs. Serbia, 5 p.m.

Brazil vs. China, 9:15 p.m.
 
Water Polo:


Hungary vs. Montenegro, 10 a.m.

Greece vs. Italy, 11:20 a.m.

Brazil vs. Croatia, 2:10 p.m.

Serbia vs. Spain, 3:30 p.m.
 
Weightlifting:


Men’s 105kg-Plus Prelims, 2:30 p.m.

Men’s 105kg-Plus Final, 6 p.m.

Wrestling:


66kg and 98kg Group Stage, 9 a.m.

66kg and 98kg Medal Stage, 3 p.m.

 
 

 

 

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The weather has cooled off a bit and in turn created beautiful camping weather. There is nothing like sitting on the beach and just not doing a darn thing. Massachusetts is filled with some of the best camprounds in the country so go take advantage! Here is a list of my top favorites. I've been to all of them and they are all stellar! Happy Trails!

MY TOP PICK! – Normandy Farms – Nestled deep in the woods between Boston & Cape Cod, Normandy Farms is a luxury camping destination that has been a family tradition since 1971 and widely recognized as one of the premier resorts in the world. Relax and enjoy the unique seasons of New England in your RV, tent, or in one of our deluxe cabin or YURT rentals. We also have pop-up trailers and safari tents for those seeking an elevated camping experience. Either way, your family is sure to have a truly memorable vacation. – http://www.normandyfarms.com/

Sippewissett Campground – Sippewissett is the perfect “home-base” for a Cape Cod vacation. Service is our specialty. Situated in an ideal location, our knowledgeable staff is prepared to assist you in making the most of your stay, whether biking, shopping, or relaxing on nearby beaches is your idea of the perfect day. We are here to help you make your vacation memorable. https://sippewissett.com/

Pine Acres – Pine Acres has been awarded a five star rating by industry leaders and continues to cater to camping enthusiasts who enjoy the great outdoors at one of New England’s finest year round resorts. This is a great campground. My family and I have stayed here numerous times and it is just great. http://pineacresresort.com/

Sweetwater orest- Sweetwater Forest is a peaceful, family oriented Campground with full services and sites for Tents to RVs. Sweetwater's 250 sites are spread over 80+ beautiful woodland acres, with frontage on Grffiths Pond, and situated less than a mile from the inside elbow of Cape Cod Bay. Sweetwater Forest's central Cape Cod location in the recreational oriented lakes area of our home-town of Brewster, Massachusetts adds to the recreational activities available just minutes away. http://sweetwaterforest.com/

Ellis Haven – Enjoy modern camping facilities and all of the most sought-after amenities. Our spacious full hookup sites include cable TV, and there simply isn't a camping location more convenient to all of the outstanding Plymouth area attractions. All of this … and only 30 minutes from Boston and only 10 minutes to the gateway to Cape Cod! http://ellishaven.com/

Sandy Pond  – Sandy Pond Campground is located in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts – just three miles from the Cape Cod canal. With over 200 wooded and open sites, a beautiful sandy beach and all the amenities of a full service campground, we provide a relaxing nature getaway for the whole family to enjoy. http://www.sandypond.com/

Jellystone – Such a fun place – Our Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort has the very best in amenities and activities and is #1 for family fun! Located one mile from Old Sturbridge Village, and just an hour from Boston in Historic New England, we provide an affordable and fun-filled getaway for kids and adults alike. http://www.jellystonesturbridge.com/

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There is plenty of Waterfire left for the season. If you have not been before, I encourage you to attend. There are tons of vendors, music, and great food. You can also ride a gondola though the waterfire. See below for the remaining dates.

Saturday, August 6th – C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C
Full Lighting – Sunset: 7:59 p.m.
Sponsored by HepCHope.com
Event Details | Music Program

For the third year in a row WaterFire Providence is partnering up with RI Defeats Hep C for the “C is for Cure” event. The evening will be full of activity as they work to encourage discussion about a formerly taboo now completely curable disease; helping to eradicate hepatitis C in Rhode Island.

Saturday, August 20th
Full Lighting – Sunset 7:37 p.m.
Sponsored by Fidelity Investments and National Grid

Saturday, September 24th
Full Lighting – Sunset 6:38 p.m.
Sponsored by the Confucius Institute & US-China Institute at Bryant University and Nortek

Chinese Culture Night at WaterFire – The US-China Institute and the Confucius Institute at Bryant University will be hosting interactive displays on Steeple Street all evening long!

Also join WaterFire Providence and the RI Department of Education in recognizing the excellent educators in our community at the Salute to Rhode Island Educators brought to you by Nortek. Enjoy exhibitions showcasing a wide variety of creative and innovative approaches in education happening in RI.

Saturday, October 1st – Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™
Full Lighting – Sunset: 6:26 p.m.
Sponsored by Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and Lifetime Medical

The Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ event includes educational and awareness activities for survivors and their families from the afternoon into the evening in Station Park. Kicking off the evening portion of the event will be the Illuminations of Life tribute on the steps of the State House followed by a procession of torch bearers walking down to Waterplace Basin which will include performances and the lighting of the braziers.

Saturday, November 5th – WaterFire Salute to Veterans
Full Lighting – Sunset: 5:34 p.m.

For this incredibly important event the community comes together to recognize the service and sacrifice of the men and women that have served in America’s military. WaterFire Providence looks forward to celebrating and thanking our veterans at the 4th Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans event which will include a Veterans Resource Fair, ceremonies and tributes throughout the night.

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Over 55 communities are on the rise and the advantages of living in such a community are growing by the day. When thinking of calling us, ask your self why you want to live in a community like ours. Read below to review some of the top reasons to live here. There may be some reasons you have not thought of…

Friends are everywhere, literally. You have an entire community of like minded and like aged people to converse with. Many people overlook this, but living in a community like Pine Hill Estates has many benefits and this is just one.

Sense of community! Living in an over 55 community as opposed to a neighborhood that stands alone, can have a huge impact on your well-being and overall quality of life. And for 55-Plus active adults, living in a 55-Plus community gives them a world of social opportunities and the warm feeling of home and friendships!

Activities and social clubs – Pine Hill Estates, we as well as other communities, offer many different social activities and clubs. We have a clubhouse and host daily activities that include groups, parties, and social outings.

Unlike other communities that design homes with the builders in mind, our homes built for 55-Plus communities are built with you in mind. This means that every single square foot of the home was designed and developed to make active adults like yourself comfortable. From the square footage and number of bedrooms to outdoor patios and open floor plans, you’ll instantly feel at home.

Peace and Quiet. Over 55 communities are for people that are over 55. No children will be running amuck with the exception of visiting grandchildren. All of the clubs and events will be attended by people of your own age group. Nice and quiet.

55-Plus communities are well-known for the tremendous amount of service projects, community improvement, charity fund raising and government involvement. The vast knowledge and experience that resides in 55-Plus communities includes teachers, doctors, corporate executives, and others with the ability to mobilize and accomplish great things.

Lastly the convenience of it all. Parks like Pine Hill Estates are almost always next to major shopping centers and areas of interest. Pine Hill Estates is set in a beautiful New England setting, free from noise pollution and traffic. Yet, 5 minutes away, you will find your self in the middle of any store or restaurant you desire.

Pine Hill Estates – Your premier over 55 community in Massachusetts

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By now I am sure everyone has heard about the major heat wave coming this week. It is going to get HOT, like humid hot. While the hot weather makes for a fun beach day it can also be very dangerous. I'm not talking about sunburns, I am talking heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most people don't think about these conditions so I thought it would be a good idea to list the symptoms so you can be aware of yourself and those around you.

Heat exhaustion occurs when you have been exposed to super hot temps and humidity. You will most likely become dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms can include excessive thirst, cramps, dizziness, headache, feeling week, and fainting. If you experience any of these get out of the sun immediately and seek shade and hydration.

Heat stroke takes it a bit further by adding the possibility of organ damage and even death. Common symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, urine that is dark colored, dizziness, headache, nausea, heavy sweating, and a fast heartbeat.

Treatment for heat exhaustion and stoke include the removal of yourself or the person from the sun immediately. If you have been exposed you are advised to drink plenty of fluids and remove any restricting clothing. Take a cool shower or bath and try to get into an AC filled room or atleast in front of a fan. If you still are experiencing discomfort or have an elevated heart beat or pulse, seek medical attention.

Prevention is rather easy. Wear light weight clothing and a hat. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Bring tons of fluids and ice. If you know you are going to be exposed to the sun be prepared with a beach umbrella or beach tent. Know when to remove yourself before you get sick.

Fun in the sun is a must as long as you take certain precautions. Be cool everyone and enjoy the wave!

 

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