Home fire risks increase as weather cools

(NAPSI)—The fall and winter seasons bring cooler temperatures, holidays, and images of cozy nights by the fireplace. Yet the change in seasons also comes with the chance of severe weather and an increase in fire risks. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more home fires occur in winter than in any other season.

“Space heaters, generators, and fireplaces all present fire hazards if not properly used and maintained,” said Steve Hirsch, chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “Residents should be aware of the dangers and take the steps to make sure their families and homes are protected.”

Follow these tips to minimize home fire and safety risks:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Test monthly to ensure they work.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms and test them at least once a month.
  • Know where the gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are and how to use them.
  • Place fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, and living room, and make sure all household members know how to use them.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it with the entire family.
  • Keep portable generators outside and away from the home.
  • Install a screen in front of each fireplace or wood stove. Store cooled ashes in a metal container outside the home.
  • Have chimneys professionally inspected and cleaned every year.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, or other heat source.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended, and keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

Residents can also take an active role in protecting their communities from hazards such as fires, medical emergencies, and much more. Fire departments across the country are looking for volunteers to serve as firefighters, EMS providers, and auxiliary members.

“The majority of firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers—neighbors helping neighbors in an incredible and rewarding way,” said Hirsch. “We need more people to answer the call to serve.”

Training is provided by the department, and volunteers can serve in a variety of roles, from providing life-saving emergency response services to conducting fire prevention programs and disaster preparedness planning.

Learn more and find a volunteer fire service opportunity by going to www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: The Good Wife’s Guide

by Debbie Walker

This was copied from Good Housekeeping magazine May 13, 1955.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. (a ribbon, oh, please!)
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it. (duty! Not because you care.)
  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. (Oh, please!)
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. (Yeah, right, little angels.)
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You my have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. (Cough, Cough, with eyes rolled.)
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. (all night, that’s some job!) Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or a warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. (Time to leave!)
  • A good wife always knows her place.

I’m just curious what your thoughts are on this subject. I can tell you I would not have been a good wife! Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks again for reading!

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: The Rainy Day

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Rainy Day

Maine’s own Henry Wadsworth Longfellow achieved in one poem, very simply titled “The Rainy Day,” a harrowing depiction of the gray days we all face in more ways than meteorological:

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Because of his belief in the hope of eternity, Long­fellow did call for his readers to “cease” weeping and came close to being predictable and stupidly cheerful in “Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: There are no small companies; Paul’s start up story

by Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

There is no such thing as having a company that is too small. No matter if you are the smallest of all, a one person operation, you can still handle yourself professionally. You can still do things the right way and poise your company to grow primarily because of great customer service.

Okay let’s go exploring…some ideas, that is. Here’s the scenario, you’re working at a job you don’t like, you’re not making much money and the boss is a jerk, but hey, it’s a job so you go in every day and you do what you have to do to get that paycheck. You gotta eat right?

Now, because the boss is such a jerk, he screws up the business and goes bankrupt. He’s done, the company is done, and you’re done, no job and no prospects. That’s about as bad as it gets. What are you going to do? Oh, did I forget to mention that unemployment is over seven percent…there are no jobs out there!

You don’t have much, but you do have, your health, your energy and your ambition. If you have those things and you are willing to work. Here is a sure fire, yes, I mean sure fire way, to not only make some money, but also work for yourself. You offer your services to homeowners you will simply do whatever they need you to do. No, this is not a made up pipe dream of an idea, not at all, I know two people who got started exactly that way.

Let’s take my friend Paul, for example. The scenario I started this column with was exactly his deal. This is what happened to him. And this is what he did when he found himself unemployed through no fault of his own. Keep in mind that old adage, “when a door closes, a window will open.”

He sat down and evaluated what he could do, what services he could offer. He knew he could provide unskilled labor to homeowners. He could provide all the services that the professionals could not or would not do. He decided to hire himself out as a handy man, he could clean out attics, and cellars and take the junk away. He could wash windows, he could clear brush and clean out yards, he could fix and paint fences, he could seal driveways, he could haul junk away. He could do minor repairs on a house, he could paint the house, he could do all the jobs that are too small to call the pros to do.

Then, once he had decided what he was going to do, he went to the library, used one of their computers, and created a neat flyer, made one hundred copies for just a few dollars and went to the various neighborhoods in town passing out his flyers. He made sure the flyers were well-written with a clear definition of his services and, of course. how to get in touch with him.

In a matter of days, his phone started ringing. Now remember, he had not even been unemployed long enough to get an employment check yet and, by the way, he also was looking for a job all this time, too. He was covering all the bases. But honestly, in a matter of two weeks, he was getting more orders than he could handle.

And he was in business!

Now I’m not saying he wasn’t a bit lucky, but remember the old saying… “the harder you work the luckier you get?” Well that was Paul’s deal, and he had, in a matter of days, started a small business with nothing more than optimism, ambition and some creativity.

But stay tuned, this is only the first chapter of Paul’s small business story. We’ll visit with Paul again soon and talk about how he grew his business.

Two local graduates receive Maine Dental Association scholarship

Two local graduates were selected to receive the 2019 Alva S. Appleby Scholarship from the Maine Dental Association Charitable Foundation.

Jenna Fongemie, a graduate of St. Dominic Academy, in Auburn, who attends the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and Stephanie Watson, a graduate of Cony High School, in Augusta, who attends the University of New England College of Dental Medicine, were two of 14 students that were selected for the scholarship.

Each of the students was awarded $3,500. To be considered for the annual Appleby Scholarship, a student must be from the state of Maine, have completed their first year of dental school, and be currently enrolled in a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association.

Fongemie is the daughter of Jeffrey and Joline Fongemie of Augusta, and Watson is the daughter of Thomas and Lisa Beeckel of Augusta.

AARP Tax-Aide program offered

Free federal and state income tax preparation offered to qualifying individuals

The AARP Tax-Aide program provides free federal and state income tax preparation and electronic filing to low- and moderate-income individuals. Returns are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers. The program is funded by the AARP Foundation, a tax-exempt charitable organization, and the IRS.

Counselors will help individuals navigate the many changes on the 2018 federal and state income tax returns. You do not need to be an AARP member to use this service. Assistance is available by appointment only at the following sites from February 1st to April 15th.

AUGUSTA: Buker Community Center, 22 Armory St.: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. Call 582-3053 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ONLY to make an appointment.

HALLOWELL: Cohen Community Center, 22 Town Farm Road: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Call 626-7777 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to make an appointment.

FAIRFIELD: Fairfield Community Center, 61 Water St.: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 643-2559 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ONLY to make an appointment.

MADISON: Crossroads Bible Church, 705 White Schoolhouse Road: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Call 643-2559 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ONLY to make an appointment.

Erskine senior receives Next Gen honorable mention

Eleena Lee

Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a nonprofit committed to ensuring that all students leave high school with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex financial world, is pleased to announce that Eleena Lee, a senior at Erskine Academy, has received an Honorable Mention Award in their third annual PAYBACK Challenge.

Over 900 students from across the United States submitted essays earlier last fall after playing the award-winning college finance game, PAYBACK. Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of NGPF, states, “Over 200,000 students played PAYBACK during the contest period. It was great to see the impact this game had on students’ attitudes and actions as they decide on their educational path after high school.”

Each of the honorable mention winners will receive a $500 award from NGPF to be used for educational purposes.

First Sci-Fi and Family Nerd fest planned

Contributed photo

The first ever Maine Sci-Fi & Fantasy Nerd Fest will take place Sunday, January 26, at the Fairfield Community Center, in Fairfield. There will be a bevy of fun things going on which include, light saber fighting, a D&D battle royale to win a real fantasy sword, amazing cosplay characters for great picture taking, tons of vendors like artists, crafts, toys, authors and books, not to mention, comics, jewelry, fortune telling, face painting, and so much more.

Grand Prix races slated for grades 2-5

Race track ready to go!

A free racecar event will be held at Kennebec Valley Baptist Church, 91 Marston Road, Waterville, on March 14, beginning at 2 p.m. Small wooden car creations built by youngsters age two through grade five with the help of a parent or other adult are raced. Trophies will be awarded for best design and fastest vehicle.

For the first time this year there will be a “race-after-the-race” for youngsters in grade six through adult. The $5 charge covers the cost of the wooden materials used to create the car. A “build day” will be held at the church where tools, building instructions, and helpers will be provided.

The Grand Prix is offered by AWANA, an international youth ministries program. The racecar project began in 1964 and is offered in more than 4,000 churches around the world.

To obtain a car project, folk may fill out a registration form at the church by February 1. The forms are available on Wednesday evenings between 6 and 8 p.m. For more information, call Patrick Simpson at 207-290-0341.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Five Self-Care Tips To Enhance Well-Being

(NAPSI)—In a world that moves so quickly, people can sometimes forget to take time for themselves. Self-care is a way to slow down and focus on taking care of your own well-being. Regular self-care also can have a strong effect on mental health, preventing burnout, reducing the negative effects of stress and helping you refocus.

Self-care is less about “treating yourself” as popularized in pop culture and has more to do with creating sustainable and attainable wellness for your whole self. Taking the time to intentionally care for your whole self—body, mind and soul—can keep you energized and can improve your mental health. And when you care for yourself, there’s more you can offer to others and you can help create wellness for the community around you.

Here are five things you can do to take care of your well-being:

  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Self-compassion is about giving yourself room to be human and not letting mistakes define you. It’s the ability to turn kindness, understanding and acceptance inward. Self-compassion has also been shown to correlate with less anxiety, depression, shame and fear of failure. Think of the way you would treat a good friend, or even a beloved pet, and then begin treating yourself accordingly.
  2. Reach Out to Others: Fostering connections with the people around you is also self-care. Take opportunities to connect more deeply with the people you care about. Loving and supportive relationships are perhaps the single most powerful thing to help people grow and thrive. Showing kindness toward others increases the production of the hormone oxytocin (which is associated with feelings of attachment and love) and the neurotransmitter serotonin (which is involved in good sleep and feelings of happiness).
  3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Research links mindfulness to better health, lower anxiety and more resilience to stress. The practice of mindful meditation involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future. Meditation not only leads to lower levels of stress and anxiety, it physiologically nurtures parts of the brain that contribute to well-being.
  4. Enjoy Nature: Nature and sunlight can improve your mood, restore your spirit and enhance your focus and clarity, helping you feel better overall. Good self-care includes making an extra effort to find ways to spend time in nature and get the benefit of natural light. Enjoy your morning coffee or tea outdoors, go for a walk during lunch, check out a new park, invest in indoor plants, take a weekend hike or just open up the blinds to let in the sunshine.
  5. Enjoy the Journey: Life is a messy, beautiful journey of ups and downs. But sometimes the pressure for everything to be perfect can get in the way of simply enjoying the things you look forward to.

Try these tips:

  • Accept that perfection is unattainable.
  • Spend time participating in activities, and with people, you enjoy.
  • Prioritize activities that make you happy.

Incorporate your own activities and enjoy the journey as you engage in meaningful self-care practices. Visit www.eachmindmatters.org for more information about self-care and mental health.

  • Each Mind Matters (EMM) is California’s Mental Health Movement, with a focus on ending stigma and uniting a community of people where mental health is a priority and each mind truly matters.