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Bonfire Safety Tips for Your Next Backyard Blaze

| September 19, 2019

Fall is a great time for campfires and backyard bonfires. Here’s how to stay safe (and avoid insurance claims) while you roast your marshmallows.

Contain it. Establish a safe zone for your fire that prevents it from spreading. Create a ring of rocks on the outside of the bonfire area. Clear away any grass and leaves around the bonfire, creating a 10-foot circle of dirt around the fire. To further establish this dirt-only zone, dig a hole two feet across and six inches deep for your bonfire, then pile dirt around this pit.

Extinguish it. Never leave a fire unattended. When the bonfire party is over, make sure the fire is completely out. To ensure it is extinguished, douse the fire with water, then stir the embers to make sure everything gets wet. Scrape any partially burned logs to remove hot embers, then mix the ashes and embers with some dirt. Before you leave the area, everything should be cool to the touch, including the ring of rocks.

Plan it. Before you light a bonfire, consider the environment. Check the National Weather Service for Fire Weather Warnings. If there is a Red Flag Warning, consider postponing your bonfire. Other conditions to watch for are dry air (low humidity, which increases the risk of wildfires) and high winds, which can quickly blow embers and ashes onto flammable objects.

Prevent it. Whether you use a portable pit or build a stone ring in your yard, make sure the bonfire is situated at a safe distance from your home. Keep in mind that embers can travel a significant distance from the source. Before you light the fire, take the necessary precautions so you remain safe and won’t have to worry about an insurance issue resulting from your bonfire.

Welcome Fall: It’s Time for Leaf Peeping Again!

Even summer lovers mourning the end of their favorite season can admit that fall foliage is something to be admired. But some of us take that admiration one step further. Enter leaf peeping. Leaf peeping is a niche type of tourism, where fall leaf enthusiasts travel to areas where the foliage is particularly spectacular. Organized leaf viewing tours are often called foliage excursions, while some enthusiasts refer to their own outings as “leaf peepshows.”

Observing the reds, oranges, and yellows isn’t just a nice seasonal pastime; it’s also big business. According to a 2014 Associated Press report, leaf peeping tourists who visit New England spend close to $3 billion. In New Brunswick, tourism officials have also cited increased tourism specifically related to fall leaves. Interested in doing some leaf peeping of your own? Here are four of the best places to do it.

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire: This nearly 34.8-mile stretch of backcountry is known as the “Kanc” to locals. Spend one or two days winding your way through gorgeous dense forest land.

Algonquin Park, Ontario: Start planning your visit to this huge northern Ontario provincial park in early September with up-to-the-minute online fall color reports.

Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts: In addition to stunning fall colors, this historic route (it was once a Native American trading trail) also offers views of both the Berkshires and Taconic mountains.

Saint John River, New Brunswick: Follow the river as it snakes through hills, valleys, and mountains and gawk at the canopy of fiery fall trees.


How to Avoid Losing Life Insurance

How secure is your life insurance?

Given how important it is to an individual’s financial plan, it seems like something that would be guaranteed. Without a stable provider, this might not always be the case.

Consider the recent bankruptcy of retail giant Sears, which announced earlier this year that it would end life insurance benefits for many of its 90,000 retirees.

According to the leader of the retirees’ association chapter in upstate New York, Sears sent notices to people in their 80s who had maintained life insurance coverage for a significant period of time. Affected retirees were given few appealing options, and one reported that he will have to pay more than $3,000 annually to maintain current coverage with another company.

Granted, this is an unusual case, but no one wants to end up in that situation. So, regardless of how you obtain your life insurance, it is worth exploring its security and considering options. 

It is critical to choose a financially strong life insurance company, because you want the company to be around to pay your beneficiary, whether you die in five years or 50.

You can research a life insurance company’s financial strength through independent rating firms, including Moody’s Investor Services, Fitch Ratings, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Ratings can be viewed for free on the firms’ websites, although registration may be required. Each of these firms has its own rating system, so you may not be comparing apples to apples.

You also may want to avoid judging a company’s stability based on its size. Smaller companies often offer the same longevity and reliability as the bigger insurance names.

Are you looking for a stable life insurance provider you can count on?

We’d be happy to review your options with you and ensure you have solid coverage to protect your future. Simply contact our office today.


Worth Reading

How to Remember People’s Names (Almost) Every Time

By Patrick Ewers


First impressions can define relationships, which makes remembering names crucial. Remembering them involves repetition and imagination. Use the person’s name naturally in conversation with them and when talking about the meeting later. Write the name, and as you do, try to find a connection between the word and the person. Make sure you’re spelling and saying it properly to fully show you know the person’s name. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth09191

4 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Media and Entertainment

By Jennifer Spencer


Robots are no longer the subject of entertainment. Now, related technology, like artificial intelligence, is being used to create entertainment. Some uses are ubiquitous: algorithms help make recommended lists for streaming services. Others are more specialized. A Disney app, Play Disney Parks, gives users games to play while waiting in line for rides. It can also cause events to happen, like having characters appear near a ride related to them. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth09192

7 Kids’ Bedrooms That Are Perfect for Now and Later

By Bryan Anthony


Children’s rooms should be designed so children can play there now and enjoy them later. This article showcases seven examples, with tips for what makes them work. Current interests can serve as inspirations but shouldn’t dominate the room. Family heirlooms or vintage art can give a classic, timeless feel. Storage ensures functionality and longevity. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth09193


Home Disasters: Do You Need Extended Coverage?

Do you know the limit on your homeowners’ insurance policy? Every policy has a limit, which is the maximum amount of payout you can receive for a claim.

Most homeowner policies today are written with Replacement Cost terms. This means the insurance carrier will pay the full replacement cost for damages, even if the item being replaced has depreciated.

For example, if you need to replace your computer, and a new one costs $1,000, your Replacement Cost policy will cover this entire cost.

It does not take into consideration the depreciated value of your two-year-old computer, which may now only be worth around $500. Since it costs $1,000 to replace it, the Replacement Cost coverage provides the full amount. When it comes to homes, this Replacement Cost can get tricky.

If your house suffers significant damage and you need to completely rebuild, you might hit the limit of your Replacement Cost policy before you reach the full cost of rebuilding your home. If this happens, you might not be able to afford the repairs, even though you have homeowners insurance coverage.

This is where Extended Replacement Cost policies come into play.

With this coverage in place, the homeowner policy will pay up to a certain percentage over the policy limit if extra funds are needed to fully replace your home.


Mother and Daughter Inspire Women to Fly High

Piloting commercial airplanes is a male-dominated business. And while barely 6% of all commercial pilots in the world are women, Captain Wendy Rexon and her daughter, First Officer Kelly Rexon, are a dynamic duo in the Delta cockpit.

With widespread coverage in the news and social media, this mother-and-daughter team are an inspiration to girls and women everywhere. According to Wendy, there’s a shortage of women pilots simply because of lack of awareness.

The International Society of Women Airline Pilots reports that of the 130,000 airline pilots around the globe, only 4,000 are women. And of that number, only about 450 are captains.

But as the demand for pilots grows, the likelihood of more women entering the field grows too. Indeed, Wendy’s other daughter, Kate, is a Delta pilot too.

Wendy has been flying since she was 16, and when her daughters showed an interest, both she and her husband encouraged it.

For the entire family, it seems to be a dream come true.

Obviously, there’s a lot of flight-school training required to make the grade, but a bachelor’s degree in a related field is all that’s necessary for acceptance to a top-notch flight school.

Once there, a student receives ground training and flight training and can usually acquire the necessary hours of flying to become a real airline pilot in about four years.

Wendy is a vocal and enthusiastic advocate for more women in the cockpit.

Her husband is an American Airlines pilot, so the whole family is flying high. Wendy calls it “the family business.”


Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes on autumn:

Autumn... the year’s last, loveliest smile.

William Cullen Bryant

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.

Stanley Horowitz

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

John Burroughs

The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure upon the leaves.

Charlotte Bates

If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.

Victoria Erickson