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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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Nothing says summer better than backyard cookouts. Family, friends, games, and the grill all make for a spectacular day. Food is a huge part of these parties and I am here to share my recipes and tips/tricks for a successful party. I have been hosting these for years and with good planning it can be a piece of cake for anyone. First thing you need to do it pick the date and send out your invites.  Next is food planning and that is what we will focus on. Here is a great menu to get you started.

Appetizers before the grilling commences!

 – You can't go wrong with a cheese and fruit crudite platter. Load up a cool old butcher block or chalkboard tray with all your favorite cheeses, fruits, and crackers.
 – Set up some veges with ranch dressing – classic
 – Hot artichoke & spinach dip – click here for the – recipe
 – Buffalo Chicken Dip – recipe
 – Make a pile of nachos. Real simple – Toss a big pile of tortilla chips on a big platter and add tomatoes, cheese, olives, beans, and whatever else you like. Add a side of sour cream

Drinks

– Pineapple Mango Margaritas – recipe
– Peach Sangria – recipe

Main Dish

– Burgers, hot dogs, linguica are all staples of a good cookout so don't forget those.
– Grill up shrimp on kabob sticks. All you need to do is mix some olive oil, garlic, S&P, & some seasonings. Then coat your shrimp and grill. Delish!
– Grill up some chicken on a stick. Marinate with your favorite rub and toss them on the grill too.
– Grill Sausage, steaks, vegetables, almost anything tastes good with grill char.

Dessert

– Angel Food Cake with fresh berries and hand whipped cream
– Cupcakes, Cookies – All homemade of course.
– Fruit Salad in ofcourse a cool carved watermelon bowl
– Chocolate covered anything
– Make a ice cream sundae station, kids and adults love this!

Remember, the simpler the better and plan ahead. Having all your food prepped the day before goes a long way on party day. You will be running around decorating and setting up and having to prep food at 5 am is never fun. You want to look fresh and alive at your party 🙂

Happy grilling!

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4th of July weekend is here! The weather looks to be sunny and hot all weekend long so it will be perfect for all your parties and activities. And of course, the fireworks. There is a ton going on in our area so here is a list of activities and fireworks you can head to this holiday weekend.

Firework Shows:

Orleans: Fireworks will be set off at dusk at Rock Harbor. You can also see the Rock Harbor fireworks display from Cape Cod Bay beaches in Brewster and Eastham. They’ll be off at a distance, but still fun to see.

Nantucket: Enjoy a quintessential Fourth of July celebration on Nantucket. See the annual fireworks display at Jetties Beach on July 3, and on July 4 enjoy family activities on Main Street, include pie-eating contests, a dunk tank and a parade.

Boston: Pops’ annual Fireworks Spectacular will feature Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas. Fireworks will light the sky over the Esplanade after the concert.

Bridgewater: Fireworks at Legion Field at 9:30 p.m.

Falmouth: The fireworks display will be held at dusk at Falmouth Heights Beach. Do you have a portable radio? Be sure to bring it with you, and tune to PIXY 103 (102.9 FM) to hear the music that accompanies the fireworks.

New Bedford: Celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks display over New Bedford Harbor. Presented by Mayor Jon Mitchell and the city of New Bedford, in collaboration with local partners, the fireworks spectacular will take place overlooking State Pier at 9 p.m.

 

Worcester: July 2, 9:30 p.m., East Park

Attleboro: July 3, dusk, high school

Gloucester: July 3, 9:30 p.m., harbor

Haverhill: July 3, 9:15 p.m., Riverside Park

Lynn: July 3, approx. 9 p.m., Red Rock Park

Milford: July 3, 10 p.m., Fino Field (rain date July 5)

Nantucket: July 3, dusk, Jetties Beach

Needham: July 3, dusk, Memorial Park

Sharon: July 3, dusk, Memorial Beach

Walpole: July 3, 9:30 p.m., Blackburn Memorial Park

Weymouth: July 3, 9:30 p.m., Wessagusset Beach

Bellingham: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Bellingham Middle School

Beverly Farms: July 4, 9:15 p.m., West Beach (rain date July 5)

Boston: July 4, dusk, Esplanade (after Pops concert)

Bridgewater: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Legion Field (rain date July 5)

Canton: July 4, 9 p.m., Irish Cultural Centre

Fall River: July 4, approx. 9 p.m., over harbor

Falmouth: July 4, dusk, Falmouth Heights Beach

Hyannis: July 4, dusk, Lewis Bay

Lincoln: July 4, 9:15 p.m., Codman Pool

Lowell: July 4, LeLacheur Park, 9 p.m. (rain date July 5)

Marblehead: July 4, 9 p.m., over harbor

Martha’s Vineyard: July 4, dusk, Edgartown

New Bedford: July 4, 9 p.m., State Pier

Newton: July 4, dusk, Albemarle Field (rain date July 5)

Plymouth: July 4, 9:15 p.m., harbor

Provincetown: July 4, dusk, over harbor

Salem: July 4, dusk, over harbor

Salisbury Beach: July 4, approx. 10 p.m., over ocean

Waltham: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Leary Field

Festivities:

Bourne: The “Bourne of the 4th of July” parade will step off at 9 a.m.

Bridgewater: Festivities will begin with the downtown parade at 10 a.m. After the parade, the Arts and Music Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at “the quad,” Boyden Hall, Bridgewater State University.

Fairhaven: Classic and antique cars and vehicles gather at Fairhaven High School for the raising of the Big Flag at8:30 a.m. They will then depart at 9 a.m. to cruise through town, ending with a ride south on Green Street to Fort Phoenix. At Cushman Park a parade of floats and marchers will step off to follow the car cruise to the fort for the annual Independence Day Ceremony at 10 a.m.

Marion: The town of Marion and the Benjamin D. Cushing VFW Post 2425 of Marion are organizing the annual Fourth of July Parade, scheduled for 9 a.m. The parade will form beginning at 8 a.m.

Too many to list! For a full list head to our Facebook page!

Have a blast and Happy 4th!

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