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    Talk of the Towns, Dec. 5, 2019 – The Recorder - December 5, 2019 by admin


    The First Congregational Church (UCC) of Ashfield will host its annual Winter Fest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. St. Johns Episcopal will also be joining in the fun. Both churches will offer homemade Christmas cookies and other baked goods, jams, fresh wreaths, local crafts, books, Rada cutlery, Palestinian olive oil, Deans Beans coffee, gifts for bird lovers and more. The First Congregational Church will sponsor a drawing with many items (you dont have to be present to win) and Ms. Claus will be there. On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Ashfield Community Band will host its Holiday Family Carol Sing in the First Congregational sanctuary. The winner of the drawing will be announced at 3 p.m.

    Smoking Cessation: Led by Tim Sweeney, tobacco treatment specialist. Meets Mondays, 6 to 7 p.m. Athol Hospitals cafeteria.

    The Community Clothes Closet at 83 Foundry Village Road will be open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.through Dec. 14, and resume in early April. Residents of all towns are welcome. Clothes are free and suit all ages. The closet accepts donations of clean clothing, which can be delivered anytime at the buildings rear. Contact Linda Wagner at 413-625-6157 or Sarah Looman 413-625 6169 for more information.

    Greenfield Community College Chorus will present An Informal Holiday Concert in the GCC Main Lobby Friday from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. The audience will be invited to join in singing, and refreshments will be available. The program will comprise traditional music for the season, early American anthems, music by Haydn and Brahms, and recent arrangements by Susan Brumfield and Victor Johnson. Performers will include soloists from the chorus: Kate Walker, cello, in Hashivenu; Henry Gaida, accompanist; and Margery Heins, conductor of the GCC Chorus. Information about joining the chorus will be available at the concert, or call 413-775-1171. For accessibility accommodation, contact the Coordinator of Disability Services 413-775-1812.

    Friends of the Greenfield Public Library "Taste of the Towns" raffle drawing will be Saturday at noon at the Greenfield Public Library. Tickets are 1 for $5 or 3 for $10. Light refreshments will be served in the lobby of the library from 10 a.m. to noon.

    Healthy Desserts: Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Greenfield Senior Center, 35 Pleasant St. Do you have a sweet tooth? Have you ever wondered how to make desserts healthier by adding or substituting fruits and veggies? Then this workshop and cooking demoby Emily Lawler,RDN, is for you. Registration required. Call 413-772-1517 ext. 0 or stop by the front desk to register.

    Christmas Craft Fair: Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 41 Main St. The fair will offer hand made crafts, angels/nativities, floral arrangements, Christmas decor items, books, white elephant, collectibles, jewelry and more. There will also be raffles and grab and go lunch and bake sale.

    Leyden Glen Sheep Farm Holiday Open House,31 Glen Road: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Join artist, author and sheep farmer Kristin Nicholas and her husband sheep farmer Mark Duprey as they open their 1751 home and sheep farm for the 5th Annual Holiday Open House. See colorful hand-painted, handmade decorated farmhouse that has been featured in Yankee Magazine, Country Home, and more. Also sheep grazing. Special local guests artist Alicia Hunsicker, jeweler and textile Specialist Deborah Garner, dyer Gail Callahan and soapmaker Juliana Farina (from Amherst Soaps) will be selling handmade items. Celebrate the season, sample farm-raised lamb, and get a jump on holiday shopping.

    The Pioneer Valley Regional School band will host its Mistletoe Market Holiday Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school. There will be crafters, food, sweet treats, raffles more. All proceeds to benefit the band as they will be going to Chicago in the spring to compete against other high school bands.

    Christmas Bazaar sponsored by Dick's Angel Relay For Life will be Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Northfield Town Hall (downstairs, use back door). Bake sale, tomato cheddar soup, coffee can drawings, and more. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

    The Kiwanis Club of Northfield will conduct its annual holiday fair and raffle on Saturday in the gym at Northfield Elementary School, 104 Main St. Crafts booths will surround the gym and a giant raffle table fills the center with prizes, including a quilt donated by Pickering Farm Quilt Shop and a meat smoker donated by Aubuchon's of Winchester. Prizes are awarded at the end of the fair by celebrity guest prize picker, Mary Bowen of the Northfield Creamie. Proceeds provide food and clothing gift certificates for needy families. The PTO will be selling hot food, beverages and books.

    Santa and Mrs. Claus invite all to the Orange Historical Society's Christmas Bazaar Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 41 North Main St. The tin can raffle has more than 140 quality items valued over $3,500 and a bake sale.

    The Cellar Closet at Central Congregational Church of Orange, 95 South Main St., will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers have been accepting and arranging clothing for women, men and children, along with jewelry and accessories, shoes and household items. All items are reasonably priced and special sales are offered occasionally. for information, call 978-544-6895 or email

    Serendipity Shop: Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Congregational Church basement. Mens, womens and childrens clothing, shoes and sneakers. Most items $1. Mens suits and all coats, $3. Womens suits, $2. Donations accepted. Proceeds to benefit the church. 413-665-2890.

    St. Nicholas Bazaar will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 84 K St. Coffee and donuts will be served in the morning. The bazar will feature gifts, religious goods, bake sale, Polish food sale, vendors, raffle, lunch and more.

    Puzzle Swap: Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at Greenfield Savings Bank, 282 Avenue A. Come swap with other fellow puzzle-masters. Light refreshments courtesy of Greenfield Savings Bank. No reservations required. All welcome with a puzzle to swap. Puzzles for all ages.

    Franklin Area Survival Center: 96 4th St., 413-863-9549. The thrift store, which is open to the public and helps finance the food pantry, is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The food pantry is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In an emergency, such as a fire or flood, the center will supply needed clothing, linens and food to help the disaster victims.

    Helpful Programs at LifePath: LifePath provides assistance with light homemaking, home-delivered meals, personal care and adaptive equipment. Caregivers can take a break to de-stress with LifePaths respite services. In addition, the Consumer Directed Care Program allows elders in need to select their own caregiver perhaps a friend, neighbor or even a family member who can be paid through this program (excludes spouses). For more information, email or call 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259. Read more at

    Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE): SHINE counselors are volunteers who provide free, unbiased health insurance information, education, and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and adults with disabilities to help people figure out what their best health insurance options are based on their unique needs. Contact a SHINE counselor at LifePath at 413-773-555 or 978-544-2259. Email or learn more at

    Vigil for Racial Justice Every Saturday, 9 to 10 a.m., on the Greenfield Common. Bring your own sign or use one of ours. For more information:

    Eventide Singers: Offering songs of hope and healing for seriously or terminally ill people, their families and caregivers. The service is offered in homes, hospitals and care facilities, without charge. The music can be selected in response to spiritual preference. For more information, visit or call Marcia Schuhle at 413-774-2335 or Joe Toritto at 413-774-5828.

    Straight Spouse Support: One-on-one support for straight individuals currently or once married to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender partners. Confidential helpline at 413-625-6636 or email

    Help the Blind: Your car, truck or camper may be worth more as a donation than a trade-in. Call the Massachusetts Association for the Blind at 888-613-2777 for details. Old lawn mowers are also accepted. Donations are tax-deductible and towing is free. Proceeds benefit blind and vision-impaired people in Massachusetts. Alternatively, email Barbara Sciannameo at

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    Talk of the Towns, Dec. 5, 2019 - The Recorder

    Homeless in Monroe: The man on the bench – Monroe Evening News - December 5, 2019 by admin

    This is part of a special report by The Monroe News on the issue of homelessness in Monroe County.

    To Kyle and Adeana Buckley, a married couple living in Monroe, he is simply Uncle Joe. But to many others in Monroe, he's known as the Man on the Bench.

    Thats the name often volleyed at Joe Gentile, a 58-year-old man whos experienced homelessness on and off for the last 10 years.

    He often could be seen around the city and neighboring municipalities, his signature cart carrying his possessions not far behind.

    Joe, like many experiencing homelessness, suffers from schizophrenia, a disorder that affects an individuals ability to think, behave and feel clearly. He also struggles to verbalize his thoughts and feelings sometimes, an added burden caused by his illness.

    But his disorder and situation didnt deter the Buckleys from taking an interest in the man nor did it keep them from helping him, whether it be a ride to the market or giving him water when hes thirsty.

    As they got know Joe, they realized he was a person in need of compassion and help, which they were willing to give. They recently helmed a fundraising campaign, drawing more than $3,500 to help get Joes life on track.

    For so long I really did pray that something would change and he would get help, Kyle said. Sometimes you just have to be the change.


    Kyle introduced himself to Joe about two years ago. Kyle, who works in the lawn-care industry, was coming home from a job when he noticed Joe sitting on the bench near the former Kmart store at Stewart Rd. and N. Monroe St. He had seen Joe throughout the community many times before but had never actually spoken to him.

    It was midsummer and the temperature was stifling. Kyle had several cold waters left over from work and decided to offer some to Joe. He approached Joe, who was bundled up in his standard outfit of a coat and sweatpants, and started talking with him.

    Hes continued those conversation ever since. Kyle kept talking with Joe, sitting down wherever he came across the man and the cart with which he never parts.

    I would let him know Im not there for anything else other than to get to know who you are, Kyle said.

    If it was raining or cold out, hed ask Joe if there was somewhere he could take him. Kyle learned that Joe often stayed under bridges or viaducts throughout Monroe.

    For the longest time, he would just say, I just need somewhere warm to stay, he said.

    Heartbroken, there was little Kyle could do. He and Adeana, a nurse, have four kids and a grandson, so their space at home was limited. Theyd also seen how others had treated Joe.

    It wasnt uncommon for people to throw food at him or become angry when he didnt accept what they offered Joe doesnt eat fast food. Sometimes people would initiate confrontations with him, uncaring or not understanding that Joe battled mental illness. He also was the common target of criticism on social media where people would post demeaning things about him, Kyle says.

    This is a human being, Kyle said. If (those people) are in a position like this one day, I hope society doesnt treat them (the way they treated Joe).

    The breaking point came in September when Kyle came across Joe a day after rain had drenched the region. It had been cold overnight and Joe was huddled on one of his favorite haunts: the bench in front of Key Bank on N. Telegraph Rd.

    Kyle approached him, intent on once again giving him water. But Joe was shivering and wet and Kyle couldnt bear it any longer.

    (Joe) just looked at me and said, Im cold and wet, Kyle said. And that was a defining point in my heart.

    He talked to Joe a little bit and then left, calling Adeana on his way home. In their hearts, both knew something had to be done.

    They went and picked up Joe and took him to a local motel. Using their own money, they put him up for the night, unsure of what the future held for the man.

    If nothing else, he could at least spend a night in a warm place, Adeana said.

    And he hasnt been back to the bench since that day, she said.


    The battle would be to find Joe long-term housing and to come up with a strategy. Kyle and Adeana launched a GoFundMe account the day they took him to the hotel, explaining Joes situation and what they were aiming to do.

    With winter coming, they at least wanted to find a way to keep Joe warm for the season. Part of his illness is that he doesnt handle crowds well and feels unsafe, triggering outbursts or episodes of anger. Shelters werent a long-term option, though in moments of desperation he had visited them.

    We told him were not going to take you anywhere you dont want to go, Kyle said.

    The couple sought to raise funds to keep Joe in a room until they could locate an apartment or housing option for him. They couldnt afford the venture on their own but thought maybe the community would step up and help out.

    The response was overwhelming. The page was inundated with donations from area residents, many stating they wanted to help Joe for years but didnt know how to do it.

    Monroe has really stepped up to help him, Adeana said.

    The couple endeavored to help Joe navigate the complex system of aid available to him. He had run-ins with various agencies in the past and many held a negative opinion him, Kyle said.

    That wasnt the only barrier. Because Joe was lodged in a motel temporarily, many agencies claimed he wasnt technically homeless. Some even suggested that the only way to ensure Joe receive aid would be to take him back to the bench.

    Incredulous, Kyle refused to bow to such a bureaucratic demand. Many of the benches Joe slept on were removed shortly after he began staying at the motel. Kyle pushed ahead and helped Joe complete a mountain of paperwork to receive aid.

    From day one, we said we dont care what it takes hes not going back to bench, Adeana said.


    Talking about his past is a trigger for Joe, Kyle said, adding he sometimes goes to places of darkness and sadness when he reflects on his life. Those bouts consist of rants and angry words, but theyve lessened in recent months. He said he often redirects Joe towards happier, simpler things made of light instead of letting Joe fixate on the darkness of his inner demons.

    He feels as if there is a negative spirit out to get him, Kyle said. I just bring light and he relates to it well. He doesnt even think in the same through patterns anymore.

    Joe has become a permanent fixture in Kyle and Adeanas life and family, visiting for meals and keeping in contact several times a week. He even has plans to spend the holidays with the family.

    Hes warm, hes fed, hes got friends and family now, Adeana said. Hes so much better now.

    Getting to know Joe has shown how wrong people in Monroe were about the man, said Adeana. Underneath the gruff exterior and the layers of stereotypes foisted on him is a kind, sweet person, she added. He loves music and enjoys listening to station AM 500. Hes also intelligent and appreciative of the help he receives, said Kyle.

    He enjoys grocery shopping, Kyle added, saying he reads labels and has an understanding of what's healthy and the dangers of poor nutrition. The family often takes him to the market.

    Theres also a self-awareness of his mental health issues, according to Adeana. Although hes not in counseling, he understands when an episode may be imminent. Hes even started taking medication for his issues.

    He knows (when) hes feeling symptomatic, Adeana said. He recognizes he may need something to get out of this.


    Today, Joe moves into an apartment in Monroe. Its a touching moment for him and the Buckley family, especially considering the journey it took to get to this point, the couple said.

    All the stigma that has been placed on him has been wrong, Adeana said. Our approach as been different weve been patient and willing to get to know him.

    On the other hand, Joe is happy to have a place to call his own again. He plans to spend the day making sure everything works. Oaks of Righteousness is donating the furniture for the apartment.

    I really appreciate everyones help, Joe said. Im excited its better than being on the street. I was on the street all last winter.

    The Buckleys will continue to support Joe and help him navigate life. Hes part of the family now, they say, adding the GoFundMe has been reframed to focus on Joes daily needs rather than the emergent situation of shelter.

    They plan to reach out and help more homeless people. Joes story touched them and they want to be able to keep doing good for others.

    Its an idea the community can embrace as a whole, Kyle said, adding that there is much wealth among those living in the county and its churches. For those where money is an issue, there's always the ability to the give time, a comforting hand or just an ear, he said.

    There are always ways to support a cause, Kyle said. Anyone who can help, in any way, thats what we need.

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    Homeless in Monroe: The man on the bench - Monroe Evening News

    Cleveland Orchestra slates Fellowship of the Ring film concerts at Blossom – - December 5, 2019 by admin

    CLEVELAND, Ohio A second blockbuster film is destined for the Cleveland Orchestra treatment this summer at Blossom Music Center.

    On Tuesday, the group announced its plan to perform Howard Shores score to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring live in concert, in sync with the film.

    There will be three performances, all of them beginning at 7 p.m., on Friday through Sunday, July 17-19. Ludwig Wicki will conduct, and the Blossom Festival and Cleveland Orchestra Childrens Choruses will take part in the performances.

    Tickets to the performances go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 10. Prices are $26 for individual lawn tickets and $36-$121 for seats in the pavilion. Lawn ticket books are also are available for $155, and the Under 18s Free program will apply.

    This concert also will be included in the 2020 Blossom Music Festival pops subscription package, details of which will be announced later.

    The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three films in director Peter Jacksons adaptation of the Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. It follows a hobbit named Frodo as he takes possession of and embarks on a dangerous quest to destroy a ring of ultimate power.

    It will be the first of two popular fantasy films headed to Blossom Music Center this summer. The second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, announced earlier this season, will be presented Aug. 29 and 30.

    For more information, go to or call 216-231-1111.

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    Patients Need to Know the True Cost of ‘Free’ Screenings – AAFP News - December 5, 2019 by admin

    I was in college the first time I observed World AIDS Day.( I spent the night with others from our Gay-Straight Student Alliance, tying red ribbons and placards to the palm trees that lined the main campus lawn. Our focus was raising awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in different communities and fighting the stigma associated with the disease.

    Since then, the focus (for the alliance and other advocates) of subsequent World AIDS Days, which is observed each year on Dec. 1, has shifted from simple awareness of HIV/AIDS to supporting free proactive HIV screening tests and education about pre-exposure prophylaxis.

    The results of these collective efforts (along with making HIV medications accessible to people living with HIV) are as you would expect. Progress is slow, but the rate of new HIV infections is at the lowest level ever.( However, we are still missing critical populations. Black men who have sex with men, for example, account for a high proportion of new HIV diagnoses.

    There's an obvious lesson here: When it comes to health awareness and screening, it's all about getting the right methods into the right communities. This is consistent with what we already know about screening asymptomatic patients for disease, a practice that is based on longstanding, clear principles( (availability of an accurate test, identification of an appropriate population and ability to act on results obtained).

    But we are shifting into a world of direct-to-consumer screening tests, and the result is that patients think that acquiring information -- in any form -- is better for their health. There is a drive to constantly track and improve our health.

    That's why it's even more interesting to reflect on why HIV screening tests are (somewhat) a success story in the world of patient-driven screenings compared with other offerings.

    Take, for example, the carotid artery ultrasound. Most people don't need this test to screen for carotid artery stenosis. So imagine my surprise when, early in my career, a healthy patient in her 40s told me she needed a referral to a cardiologist after she had somehow gotten this test at a mobile health fair offering "heart screening."

    I've since learned that hospitals and third-party vendors offer things such as stroke screening packages. For my patient, it was the carotid artery ultrasound. For others, the free or low-cost screenings may involve EKGs or ultrasounds of the abdominal aorta.

    The subsequent harms from these tests can be tremendous. They may yield false-positive results or incidental findings that lead to riskier procedures and increased costs to our health care system -- all while failing to make people healthier.

    In the medical community, the idea that screening tests might cause more harm than good is far from novel. Robust studies have shown no to low reduction in mortality from certain screening tests.( Every physician understands the sensitivity and specificity of screening tests. We know the pitfalls of false negatives. We know the fallacy of the idea that early detection prolongs life and we know the definition of lead time bias.

    Yet despite the evidence and our education, we've collectively failed to deliver cohesive messaging to patients about screening tests, especially information regarding which patients to screen.

    For the HIV screening test, most patients are able to appropriately self-select while avoiding overscreening. In fact, many patients who should get tested still don't. Contrast that with EKGs or carotid artery ultrasounds, which many patients think they would benefit from although most patients don't need them.

    Mass media is partly responsible for this critical missing piece of the narrative. Patients who are the exception to the rule generally get airtime, telling stories that are often steeped in fearmongering: the missed pancreatic cancer diagnosis, the rare young patient with a stroke or the atypical presentation of a heart attack.

    "Disease of the month" awareness campaigns often are well-intentioned but may also lead to unnecessary overscreening. Breast cancer screening is probably the most misunderstood example of screening complexities. Only 10 of 10,000 women in their 50s will have their lives extended by annual screening mammography, but 940 patients will undergo an unnecessary biopsy. And 62 of those 10,000 women will still die from breast cancer.(

    But patients still believe the blanket "early detection is key" mantra and insist that mammograms will save their life.

    Given all these nuances, patients shouldn't be expected to navigate the confusing health care landscape on their own. Literally, the reason the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force exists is to guide clinicians, and earlier this year, the USPSTF published its first recommendation on preexposure prophylaxis. The task force recommends that clinicians offer PrEP to patients who are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection. That recommendation, supported by the AAFP, carries an "A" rating, which means the treatment should (eventually) be covered by payers.(

    Family physicians are the first line of defense when it comes to patient education. It's our role to show patients that screenings are not primary preventive care. No screening test can actually prevent cancer; rather, they exist to detect cancer.

    When it comes to reducing risk of disease, primary prevention is best. Eating your vegetables, quitting smoking, taking PrEP. Giving PrEP to just 10 young black men who have sex with men will prevent one new HIV infection.( No screening test can beat those numbers.

    On World AIDS Day this past weekend, I reflected on the work being done to fight AIDS -- the research, the increased access to medications, the times I've appropriately screened a patient for HIV infection, the times I've diagnosed it and initiated treatment. I'm proud of all that work. But I'm even prouder of the times I've taught my patients about PrEP and reduced their risk of being infected in the first place.

    Natasha Bhuyan, M.D., is a board-certified family physician in Phoenix. You can follow her on Twitter @NatashaBhuyan.(

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    How do you want to enjoy the Mississippi? St. Cloud’s Riverwalk plans to be finalized soon – SC Times - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Planned repairs to the roof of St. Cloud's drinking water treatment facility will require the grass to be torn up and allow for development of the riverwalk.(Photo: City of St. Cloud)

    ST. CLOUD A new way to embrace the Mississippi River just north of downtown St. Cloud could be open to the public within the next two years.

    The city of St. Cloud is wrapping its vision for a Riverwalk into scheduled improvements at the city's drinking water treatment plant along Fifth Avenue North.

    The public is invited to attend an open house from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Whitney Senior Center to give opinionson possible Riverwalk features.

    The proposed Riverwalk site has changed since it was first proposed in 2015. Preliminary drawings showed an interactive river channel and swimming area, amphitheater space, a canoe launchand event buildings on the site ofCathedral High School's Rau Field.

    The updated plans instead feature amenities near Hester Park including the transformation of the green space on top of the water treatment plant, which is tucked under the turf.

    Residents at the open house will be asked about their preferences for the space. That could include music or performance space, benches, flexible lawn space, an athletic field, space for family and community events, and space for picnics, among other things. Landscaping could include a shelter or pergola, a wildlife habitat, a sculpturegarden or other gardens.

    Matt Glaesman, community development director, said he expects the council to approve final plans and bids for the project in the coming months.

    The roof of St. Cloud's drinking water treatment facility is tucked under green space that the city plans to redevelop as part of a riverwalk.(Photo: City of St. Cloud)

    The overall plan also includes the relocation of two lift stations along Fifth Avenue North near Cathedral High School. That project is estimated to cost $1.4 million and is funded by sewer utility revenues.

    The water treatment facility improvements are expected to cost $25 million, funded by a state revolving fund. Planned improvements include advanced treatment and disinfection systems.

    Tracy Hodel, public services director, said the improvements are primarily related to water quality compliance. Construction is anticipated to begin in the summer and be completed by 2022.

    The Riverwalk, which will connect the downtown Beaver Island Trail extension to Hester Park, is estimated to cost$5 million. It will be funded by $2 million in local-option sales tax revenues, $1 million from a grant and $2 million in private donations.

    The Riverwalk project is a partnership between Mississippi Partners, Rotary Club of St. Cloud and the city of St. Cloud, among others.

    "These are the three things coming together that are creating the corridor improvements," Glaesman said of the projects.

    The Riverwalk project also provides an opportunity to restore the eroding shoreline of the Mississippi River and fits with Mayor Dave Kleis' priority to spotlight the mighty river that runs straight through the heart of the city.

    Those efforts spurred the Beaver Island Trail bridge, a sloping bridge snuggled up against the downtown riverbank that connects the trail from River's Edge Convention Center to Fifth Avenue North. The bridge, which cost about $8.44 million, opened in October 2016.

    The city's comprehensive plan also shows proposals for new riverfront restaurants and hotels along the east side of the Mississippi River.

    The city and region has worked to embrace the river as an asset in recent years, with a 2009 regional plan earning St. Cloud the River Friendly City of the Year Award from Minnesota Waters.

    "That established a regional vision for how we embrace the river and be good stewards while also using the river for redevelopment purposes," Glaesman told the Times in 2017. "We've certainly made a concerted effort to re-engage the river."

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    How do you want to enjoy the Mississippi? St. Cloud's Riverwalk plans to be finalized soon - SC Times

    Tasmanian News: Water restrictions coming soon to Hobart and surrounds due to ‘weather patterns’ – ABC News - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Updated December 05, 2019 15:27:16

    Here's what you need to know today:

    Stage one water restrictions will come into effect across the greater Hobart area on December 20 due to "below-average rainfall across south-eastern Tasmania", "projected demand" and the "longer-term outlook for weather patterns in the region", the state's water utility says.

    In a statement, TasWater said it was enforcing the following measures:

    Garden and lawn watering is allowed on any day during the following times:

    Watering of sports grounds is allowed on any day during the following times:

    In a statement, Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said the restrictions would "ensure that there is sufficient supply for residential and business use, fire preparedness and farmers".

    "These measures are needed due to an extended period of dry conditions coupled with increased demand," he said.

    "While the vast majority of Tasmanians enjoy plentiful access to water, there are those in rural communities in drought for whom, water is liquid gold."

    The restrictions are expected to be in place until the end of February 2020. More information can be found at the TasWater webpage.

    An economic assessment of a second undersea power connector between Tasmania and Victoria has found it is technically feasible and commercially viable.

    The proposed Marinus Link would operate in addition to the Basslink interconnector, which links Tasmania to the national electricity grid.

    The business case study, released overnight by Tasmania's state-owned energy provider Tas Networks, found the 1500-megawatt Marinus link and supporting transmission would deliver broad economic benefits to both Tasmania and Victoria.

    It estimates the project would create more than 2,300 jobs in the construction phase in Tasmania, and over the long-term would add more than $1.4 billion in economic value and create 1,400 jobs in each state.

    It was not clear how the project which could cost up to $3.5 billion would be funded but analysts have suggested Victoria should contribute given it also stands to benefit.

    Tasmania's water provider has revealed it took more than seven hours to send a technician to check its Macquarie Point sewage treatment plant after a power failure in August a fault that resulted in six million litres of untreated sewage and stormwater spilling into Hobart's River Derwent.

    TasWater chief executive Mike Brewster was questioned by the Tasmanian Greens about the incident during government business enterprise scrutiny hearings on Wednesday.

    Mr Brewster said TasWater's operational control centre in Devonport was notified soon after the power went out, but only decided to send someone to check the facility hours later after conducting a complex assessment.

    "When they got to the bottom of it they said 'hang on a minute, we should send someone out' so they sent someone out seven or eight hours later and that's the reality of the situation," Mr Brewster said.

    He said the uninterruptible power supply switched itself off, causing the failure, but it remains unclear how that occurred.

    Scientists at the University of Tasmania are hoping the hatching of a clutch of red handfish could help save the world's rarest fish.

    The 50 juveniles were hatched in an aquarium at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic studies this month.

    Scientists had collected two egg masses from one of the last handfish sites in Southern Tasmania, where fewer than 100 adults survive.

    IMAS researcher Jemina Stuart-Smith said the babies would be released back into the wild when they're about 12 months old.

    "While they're in captivity, we can protect them from things like predation and other adverse environmental conditions and make sure that things like food availability is not a limiting factor," she said.

    "Little is known about red handfish biology, reproduction and early growth, and these juveniles will also allow critical research that can help us to ensure this is not the last generation of their species," Dr Stuart-Smith said.

    The forecast for Tasmania is for showers, more frequent about the west, south and central areas. Fresh to strong and gusty westerly winds.

    Friday is forecast to have showers about the west, south and central areas, and Bass Strait islands. Afternoon showers are possible elsewhere, although less likely about the east coast. Fresh to locally strong and gusty west to south-westerly winds are expected.

    A full and updated list of warnings can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology's Tasmanian Warnings summary webpage.

    As of 6:00am the Pinnacle Road to the summit of Hobart's kunanyi/Mount Wellington was closed at The Springs.

    Check the council website for the updated status of Pinnacle Road.

    Source: Bureau of Meteorology


    First posted December 05, 2019 06:53:31

    Tasmanian News: Water restrictions coming soon to Hobart and surrounds due to 'weather patterns' - ABC News

    Penn State Health St. Joseph schedules classes and support groups – Reading Eagle - December 5, 2019 by admin

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    Penn State Health St. Joseph schedules classes and support groups - Reading Eagle

    Earth Matters: Long Island Water suppliers’ plans for reducing peak water consumption – Blog – The Island Now - November 29, 2019 by admin

    In 1978, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated Long Island, a Sole Source Aquifer because of its total dependence on groundwater for its water supply. The conservation of this resource continues to be crucial to the future of Long Island.

    Nearly 40 years later, in January 2016, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation directed all public water suppliers on Long Island to develop plans to reduce peak water consumption (e.g. summer water demand) by 15 percent over the next three to four years and to submit reports on their plans and progress.

    The following information summarizes the progress and plans outlined in the information submitted by the Long Island water suppliers to the DEC around April 2017:

    Non-revenue WaterThere were several actions that nearly all water suppliers reported on. One issue was tracking the amount of water that is pumped from the aquifers but is lost from the water system or is unaccounted for. Water suppliers now refer to this as non-revenue water. This is water the does not reach the customer or generate a payment to the water supplier. A typical level of non-revenue water for a water system is 10 percent. Eleven suppliers reported levels that were above the industry standard of 10 percent.

    Reducing Water ConsumptionMost suppliers are installing new or upgraded water meters that have enhanced features such as remote reading and time of use metering. The new meters provide more accurate information about water use and help improve water use tracking by suppliers.

    Old water meters tend to undercount water use. Unusual spikes in water consumption due to leaks can be detected more quickly with the new meters. Year-to-year comparisons of water use are also easier to generate and report to customers by using the new meters.

    Tiered water rates are becoming the industry standard on Long Island. A tiered rate structure is one that charges higher amounts for a given quantity of water as consumption increases. This is a good tool for promoting water conservation.

    Top 10 Water Users in each water system is reported by most water suppliers. Some water providers are contacting their top 10 and offering them assistance to reduce their water use through actions such as water audits and water conservation strategies.

    Lawn irrigation and outdoor water use is the single highest water-demanding activity reported by most water customers. Water use in cold months is viewed as the baseline water demand level, representing indoor water consumption.

    The aquifers and water infrastructure systems are most stressed during the warm summer months when large amounts of water are used for irrigation. Pumpage in summer is 2 to 3 times greater than groundwater pumpage in the winter.

    Also of note are the benefits of landscaping with native or drought-tolerant plants, including low-maintenance grasses.

    Reducing indoor water demand is promoted by many suppliers who may offer water conservation kits, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Some districts promote the U.S. EPA WaterSense program that provides information to help customers find water-saving devices and practices. Products that can reduce water use by at least 20% or more can display the WaterSense logo.

    Additional benefits of conserving are reported by water suppliers. Pumping and treating water requires a significant amount of energy and other resources. For example, the Suffolk County Water Authority reported that in winter, it can operate with fewer than 100 wells, but in summer over 600 wells are needed to meet demand.

    SCWA is the largest energy consumer in Suffolk County in the summer. A similar demand for energy in summer is likely created by water suppliers in Nassau County. Using less water reduces demand on the energy grid, and saves money on chemicals and other treatment costs.

    Note: In the summer of 2019, various water suppliers promoted the use of smart irrigation system controls that help to reduce or stop irrigation when lawns do not need additional water.

    (Elizabeth Bailey prepared this report.)

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    Earth Matters: Long Island Water suppliers' plans for reducing peak water consumption - Blog - The Island Now

    Trump’s Handwritten Note Gets The Meme Treatment [Videos] – 2oceansvibe News - November 25, 2019 by admin

    Hey, do you know what makes you seem really innocent? When you appear in front of the press with handwritten notes that remind you to say how innocent you are.

    As the Trump impeachment inquiry rumbles along, delivering either damning evidence (according to the Democrats) or a look at the Deep State in action (yeah, the Republicans), the president continues to rant about how hard it is being him.

    Witchhunt, total scam, and all the other greatest hits he trots out daily you know the drill.

    Back to those handwritten notes, though, with Rolling Stone setting the scene:

    While EU ambassador Gordon Sondland was testifying during Wednesdays impeachment hearings President Donald Trump attempted to defend himself to the media. The president held a pad of paper with words written in all-caps with a sharpie and read aloud in dramatic fashion.

    Skip ahead to the 30-second mark below for the reading:

    Another totally normal display of human behaviour, there.

    Also, yes, Trump did spell the name of the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, incorrectly.

    His reading of the note lends itself very nicely towards memeification, and it wasnt long before they began to circulate.

    Morrissey, anyone?

    Decent, but that has nothing on the emo reading:

    The Ramones remix is also a work of art:


    If youre after a rather immature chuckle, fair enough, because its been a long week. This might do the trick:

    You act like a giant toddler, and you get treated like one.

    Expect more inane, and insane, ramblings over the weekend as the impeachment heat is cranked right up.


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    Trump's Handwritten Note Gets The Meme Treatment [Videos] - 2oceansvibe News

    The Best Lawn Care Services of 2019 | - October 15, 2019 by admin

    The Best Lawn Care Services

    A lush green lawn is practically the American dream. Because a beautiful lawn is a healthy lawn, the best lawn care providers tend to the holistic health of your yard the soil, its nutrient balance, the beneficial bugs burrowing through it. We compared national lawn care companies to find which best combine ecological landscape practices with reliable customer service.

    We opted to focus on major lawn care companies doing business in a sizable number of states more than half the country by geographic area. Its important to note that we looked for lawn care providers whose primary task is treating the health of your grass. You may be interested in contracting a local lawn care company to mow once a month, or a full-service landscaping firm to install a water fountain or retaining wall. In those cases, our guide below can still help you find a reputable company.

    For our purposes, we sought out reliable and well-established lawn care companies with the resources to tend to the health of your lawn, not just mow or landscape. We pulled names from customer review sites like Consumer Affairs as well as industry reports of major players, then checked for stand-out companies that hit the following four criteria.

    The diverse benefits of a well-tended lawn (good to look at, nice to roll in, more resistant to invasive weeds and pests) illustrate the importance of hiring a lawn care company that takes them all into account. One promising sign of a mindful provider: membership to national and regional landscaping organizations.

    The national membership we looked for: National Association of Landscape Professionals. As Kathryn Hahne, a water conservationist and landscaper, told MarketWatch, affiliation reflects providers education and professionalism in their field. A conscientious lawn care provider follows landscaping and agronomist best practices, as well as legislature about permitted turf and fertilizer types, that professional networks codify.

    We love the convenience of an online or over-the-phone quote for most services. But when it comes to your lawn, the company shouldnt have a preconceived number. You dont want a company doing half of a job because they quoted you the price of half the necessary work. The size, slope, and state of your lawn can only be accurately assessed in person. Even if a provider offers a ballpark quote to get you through the front door, final rates should be based off of an initial lawn consultation.

    Considerate landscaping feeds the soil, not the grass. We looked for lawn care providers that conduct a soil test before any other service. Healthy soil has the right pH balance for your region, as well as a specific nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) balance either 3-1-2 or 6-1-4. Before adding nutrients and recommending grass and ground cover, your lawn care provider has to know your soils current content.

    Landscape practices can either help or hinder the environment: both the micro-environment that is your lawn and the greater biome it takes part in. While fertilizing for growth and spot-treating weeds is necessary for that emerald carpet look, over-fertilizing or spreading weed and seed products hinders your grasss ability to plant deep roots and thrive long term. More globally, the runoff from excess chemicals can damage key species in the food chain. Proper amounts of fertilizer natural and slow-release versus synthetic and quick-release at spaced-out intervals is key. So is opting for manual weeding when feasible. We verified that our top companies ascribe to these fertilization practices.

    Best Full-Service Lawn Care

    Lawn Doctor

    A thoughtful range of services ensures you can pick just the lawn care elements you really want.

    ProsCustomizable treatment optionsThorough pest control servicesUnique lawn mower maintenance

    ConsNot available in 10 states

    Lawn Doctor boasts high customer service ratings on sites like Trustpilot and Yelp, and at least one reason for the companys success is its spread of services. Treatment options are varied and customizable. You can choose whichever specific service best meets your lawn care needs, or opt for the Lawn Maintainer Care Program. This annual program combines all of Lawn Doctors most popular services (fertilization, weed control, pest control), customized to your lawns individual needs. This plan is also available with organic products made exclusively with plant and animal waste.

    While both TruGreen and Weed Man USA have the products and know-how to combat common lawn pests like mosquitos, Lawn Doctor expands pest control into a whole practice area. The company claims to have practiced IPM (integrated pest management) long before the acronym gained popularity.

    This holistic vision of pest management seeks to put a damper on annoying critters rather than exterminate them completely. With it, Lawn Doctor treats the insects that wander onto your property when their season is ripe: mosquitoes, ticks, fire ants, grubs, armyworms, chinch bugs, moles, as well as perimeter pests like ants, spiders, clover mites, fleas, and ladybugs. (For a fuller discussion of IPM, check out our Pest Control Services review.)

    Another pest control service from Lawn Doctor we love: Special Event Sprays. If youre holding a reception or reunion in your backyard, leave mosquitos off the guest list with Lawn Doctors Yard Armour treatment.

    Like most lawn care providers, Lawn Doctor wont mow your grass. But Lawn Doctor goes a step beyond the competition by offering a unique service in select locations: maintaining your personal mower. Lawn Mower Maintenance includes cleaning and winterizing the engine and tank as well as sharpening the blades. This last step is key. The jagged tears made by a dull lawn mower leaves grass vulnerable to rot and disease. In other words, mowing your lawn without a properly sharpened blade could sabotage the very lawn care youre paying for.

    Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are still waiting for a Lawn Doctor outpost. Residents of all the above states save for Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont can turn to TruGreen. Those remaining three states will need to scout for local lawn care using our guide.

    Best Annual Lawn Care Plans


    A step up on annual plans and a nation of happy customers. And if you want to see evidence of its work, flip on the golf channel: Its the official lawn care provider of the PGA.

    ProsOutstanding annual planAvailable in the greatest number of states

    ConsNo natural planYearly plans automatically re-up

    If your lawn needs help from many angles, TruGreens four 12-month lawn care plans are some of the best in the business. Each plan offers different combinations of aeration, pH balancing, fertilization, weed control, and tree and shrub care. All include nine visits spread through the course of a year, plus four additional visits if you opt for the larger plans with tree and shrub care included.

    Other companies offer similar long-term plans, but these dont come with as thorough of a work guarantee as TruGreens the Healthy Lawn Guarantee promises return visits from a technician between scheduled visits whenever you feel your lawn needs aid. If you dont want to invest in a full year of lawn care (your first visit is a deal at $29.95, but subsequent visits will likely cost $40 to $50), TruGreen provides la carte services like aeration, overseeding, even mosquito defense.

    Every state save for Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont can receive lawn care from TruGreen. While TruGreens national and multi-market stance may make its services seem less personalized, the website offers a glimpse into the companys local approach with seasonal precautions and reminders based on your location. Enter your ZIP code at the top of the TruGreen homepage to make the information relevant to you.

    If you're interested in integrating natural lawn care (think organic fertilizer and no pesticides), then TruGreen may not be your best fit. While the website claims on one FAQ page to offer an organic program called TruNatural, the program is not listed alongside other services, and it takes some hunting to find any more information. For now, natural lawn care is likely better secured from a company that puts it front and center.

    Unless you personally cancel service before your 12-month TruGreen plan draws to an end, the company will automatically sign you up for another year. If you want to continue receiving regular visits, this automatic continuation will be a boon. But if you think of lawn care as a solution and not a management system, youll want to keep a weather eye on next years calendar or risk surprise charges.

    Weed Man USA

    A growing franchise company with a focus on residential lawns that get green by going green.

    ProsEncourages a natural yardWell-run and thriving

    ConsNo commercial services availableNot available in 15 states

    Environmentally conscious lawn care encourages the growth of native and pest-resistant plants and attempts to grow grass only where grass belongs off steep embankments and away from shady areas. Weed Man USA checks these boxes with organic lawn dressing options, targeted weed removal services, and affiliation with the EPAs Environmental Stewardship Program.

    Weed Man USA was included in Forbes magazines list of Best Franchises for two of the past three years. The list weighs system sustainability, system demand, value for investment, franchisor support, and franchisor stability to craft rankings, and Weed Man was called out as one of the best.

    Contributing to this major mark of success: the companys environmentally friendly lawn care, which appeals to consumers throughout the US and beyond (Weed Man also operates in Canada and the UK). Even if you arent interested in the landscaping business, Forbes kudos is meaningful. Weed Mans popularity reflects the efficacy of its natural approach and portends its increasing availability.

    Unlike our other top picks, Weed Man USA doesnt explicitly include commercial lawn care in its service menu. A residential-focused company, Weed Man gives your personal real estate its full attention. But if youre looking for a provider with experience handling commercial accounts, Weed Man may not offer the expertise you need.

    Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi. Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, and Vermont do not yet have access to a local Weed Man USA branch.

    While landscaping professionals often advise against choosing a provider that offers quotes sight unseen, plenty of good lawn care providers offer an online quote in conjunction with a free lawn consultation. If getting the best price is important to you, ask for quotes from several. While your price will depend on the state of your lawn and its square footage, Home Advisor provides a list of typical costs.

    Landscapers are not required to carry any official license, but they should provide their own insurance and be able to speak to their horticultural training. Apart from knowledge of native growth and the functions of common groundcovers, they should also be familiar with integrated pest management. Managing invasive pests without scouring the natural environment of your lawn is a cornerstone of responsible landscaping.

    If you want them to preserve the clover, tell them. If you want them to stick to organic products, tell them. Any desires for the treatment process and its outcomes should be relayed to your lawn care provider. Like a tattoo artist or hairdresser, its their responsibility to tell you if your vision wont turn out like you expect.

    If you are concerned about your provider accomplishing the tasks the right way, schedule visits when you can be at home. Just know that some visits will be short five to 10 minutes. Your provider isnt pulling a fast one; not every visit requires action. Quick visits allow your provider to monitor how prior steps are taking effect.

    What is the best grass for my lawn?

    Propagating grasses naturally agreeable to your local climate cuts down on excessive watering and fertilizing demands. But you also want to consider your expectations for look, feel, and maintenance, as well as your standard foot traffic. If your grass takes a beating, you need hearty grass, though these varieties require more maintenance.

    This image from Lowes shows the best zones for cool season grasses (blue) and warm season grasses (orange). The transition zone (green) is best planted with a mix of cool and warm varieties. If you live in this region and want to stick with one grass type, go with cool season.Warm-season grasses

    Cool-season grasses

    Cool- or warm-season

    How often should I water my lawn?

    Water your lawn less often but more deeplyrather than quick, daily showers, soak your lawn slowly two to three times a week. Your lawn needs one inch of water each week, year round. A pro tip is to scatter a few empty tuna cans throughout your yard as you water; when those have filled, its time to turn off the sprinkler. This allows a healthy inch of water to moisturize the roots, promoting a deeper root system. Lawn care experts also recommend watering your lawn as early in the morning as possible.Its also more than okay to let your lawn go brown during the hottest parts of summer. Grass can bounce back from a full month without water. During that time, it enters a harmless period of dormancy. If the grass goes from brown to pale, you know its time to turn on the sprinkler.

    How often should I fertilize?

    Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you live in the South, a little earlier on both ends of the summer. Remember that using organic, slow-release fertilizer is the standing order from modern landscaping. Youll also reduce the odds of harming your lawn if you take a similarly moderate approach to weed-fighting. Mulching grass clippings serves double duty as a nutrient-bearer and a weed-fighter. And if you are wrestling with existing dandelions or other unwanted sprouts, try sprinkling corn gluten meal on them rather than store-bought weed killer or harsh rock salt. This corn-byproduct remedy works by inhibiting the root growth of germinating plants.

    What happens if I over-fertilize my lawn?

    Over-fertilizing your lawn just makes it dependent on fertilizer. Thats because a superabundance of chemicals kills off earthworms and other organisms vital to a healthy lawn. Earthworms burrows allow oxygen and water to seep deeply into soil, and earthworms themselves release nutrients for plants use through their decomposition of dead matter. Without earthworms, your grass is more likely to develop a shallow and undernourished root system.

    What's the problem with fertilizer and pesticides?

    Fertilizers and pesticides in excess will run off from your lawn and potentially pollute bodies of water. The latter is a hazard for humans and wreaks havoc on small water-dwellers. As for fertilizer, it can nourish anything green that grows. Algae will gorge on the stuff, spreading thickly across the surface and denying fish access to light and food in the process.

    How should I water my lawn during a drought?

    While water restrictions during a drought mean you cant water your lawn as frequently as it needs, there are still measures you can take to help your lawn survive longer dry spells.

    How do I find the right lawn care service?

    What services do lawn care providers offer?

    Available services will vary between providers, so be sure to ask if you have a particular service in mind. Generally, most lawn care services perform the following tasks:

    You make a lot of purchasing decisions when it comes to your home. Choosing the best option every time is a tall order but we can give you a boost. Check out some of our home service reviews below:

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