As the spring and summer seasons arrive, warmer temperatures and sunnier days bring higher foot traffic to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, which can be a boon for small businesses. Increased traffic can also mean increased energy costs as you spend more on cooling, lighting, and equipment to keep your business running. This year, don’t let energy waste create unnecessary expenses: find out how to optimize your energy use by getting started with Cape Light Compact’s free energy assessment.
Signing up for this assessment is easy: just call 1-800-797-6699 and the Compact will arrange for an approved energy specialist to visit your small business. During this visit, the specialist will:
1)Talk with you about your priorities as a business owner as they relate to energy use,
2)Examine your energy bills to understand primary energy needs and identify any trends that stand out, and
3)Explore the building to inspect features that affect electricity use or gas consumption, such as HVAC systems, thermostats, water fixtures, lighting and controls, pumps and variable frequency drives, duct sealing, and insulation.
Through these three steps, the specialist will be able to develop a customized report with energy-saving measures that can provide greater efficiency and comfort at your business.
Should you choose to move forward with these measures, the Compact is here to help arrange and finance the upgrades. Small businesses can receive many of these features for free, including new lighting, aerators, showerheads, spray valves, and smart strips. For owner-occupied buildings, Cape Light Compact will cover up to 80% of costs for additional measures. To qualify, the building must have an active electric account, be located within the Compact’s territory, and have an annual energy use of less than 1,500,000 kWh.
For buildings that are instead occupied by tenants, there are similar resources available. Tenants with an annual energy consumption of 1,500,000 kWh or less can participate in the Small Business Energy Assessment Program, through which they will also have an opportunity to receive up to 80% of the costs of eligible energy-efficiency upgrades. Tenants with an annual usage of 30,000 kWh of less may be eligible for an enhanced incentive: having up to 95% of costs covered. Before enrolling in the Compact’s program, tenants should examine their lease to determine whether the owner needs to be involved.
Once you have agreed on the energy efficiency measures you wish to have installed, the Compact’s vendor will schedule a time to perform the installation. To learn more about this process, check out our Business Energy Assessments webpage, along with our Frequently Asked Questions.
Want an even closer look at what the business energy assessment entails? Check out this video featuring Jen Villa, owner of Little Beach Gallery, part of the Love Local Collective in Hyannis. Through the free energy assessment, Jen was able to make upgrades that enhanced safety, increased comfort, and lowered operational costs at her small business.
This year, the Compact hopes you join businesses like Little Beach Gallery by participating in our small business energy assessment program. Just call 1-800-797-6699 and we’d be happy to help jumpstart your savings.
Cape Cod is an outdoor lover’s paradise for man and man’s best friend alike – especially during the summer months. While enjoying all that Cape Cod has to offer, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center wants to remind you that the heat can adversely impact your dog’s health and wellbeing – particularly in a parked vehicle.
Even with outside temperatures below 80 degrees, the threat of heat stroke persists, as the temperature inside a vehicle can rise well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes – even with the windows cracked. Animals do not sweat like we do, making them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat.
Symptoms of heat stroke include difficulty breathing, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting or seizures. If an animal is suffering from any of these symptoms, immediate veterinary attention is needed.
Aside from the health hazards, Massachusetts law prohibits confining an animal in a vehicle when extreme hot or cold conditions could potentially threaten the animal’s health. The law also allows first respondents and ordinary citizens to enter and remove the animal should it be determined that the animal’s life is in danger.
If you spot an animal in a vehicle that you deem to be in danger, before entering you must:
• Make reasonable efforts to locate the vehicle owner;
• Notify law enforcement/call 911;
• Determine the vehicle is locked with no other means of entry;
• Not use more force than is reasonably necessary to gain entry and remove the animal;
• Have a good faith belief that entry into the vehicle is necessary to prevent imminent harm to the animal.
ARL wants your pet to be happy, healthy and safe this summer and in that spirit -- prevention is the best solution. When it’s hot outside, leave your dog home in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room. If they are outside, find a shady spot with ample breeze to help prevent overheating. Hydration is key! Always have a cool bowl of water accessible at all times.
Traveling to the Cape? If you’re staying at a pet-friendly establishment, make sure you can leave your animal in your room unattended. If that is not allowed, there are a number of facilities throughout the Cape that offer doggie day care services.
Finally, and this is one that many people overlook, when it’s hot outside, limit outdoor exercise for your pet to times when it’s coolest – early morning or late evening.
Remember, when the temperature rises, it’s Too Hot for Spot! For more animal-related safety tips, please visit arlboston.org.
The ARL has served Cape Cod since 1921. Their Brewster shelter is equipped with a stable and paddock to accommodate large animals, as well as animal housing and adoption center for companion and small animals.
Compared to the rest of Massachusetts, Cape Cod is a big place. Stretching more than 60 miles from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown, all of Cape Cod is contained in Barnstable County; meaning that all of Cape Cod’s divorce, child custody, and family law cases are heard in a single courthouse: the Barnstable County Probate and Family Court located in picturesque Barnstable Village on Route 6A.
For those who grew up on Cape Cod, the peninsula’s strange geography is taken for granted. “I grew up in West Barnstable, a village that is located in the town of Barnstable, which itself is located in Barnstable County,” says Jason Owens, an attorney at Lynch & Owens who was born and raised on Cape Cod. “A Cape kid learns early on that everything fits in Barnstable County.”
The Cape’s strange geography creates some unusual dynamics when it comes to selecting a family law attorney, however. “It wasn’t until I became a lawyer and was assigned as a judicial clerk in Barnstable County that I noticed how unusual it was for people to drive almost 60 miles to get to their local courthouse,” says Owens. “It seemed like all of the divorce lawyers, court staff, and Probate and Family Court judges are concentrated in the same little village on Route 6A.”
Two Judges to Rule Them All: The Barnstable Probate Court
The Barnstable County Probate and Family Court has just two judges. For the last decade, these judges have been Hon. Robert A. Scandurra and Hon. Arthur C. Ryley, two former Cape attorneys who were appointed to the bench by former governors William Weld and Deval Patrick in 1994 and 2008, respectively. For the last ten years, Scandurra and Ryley have been the only game in town for Cape residents with divorce or custody cases.
In mid-July 2018, Judge Scandurra will reach mandatory retirement age for Massachusetts judges (age 70). Who will take Scandurra’s seat in Barnstable Village remains an open question amongst court-watchers. But no matter which judges are sitting in Barnstable Village one thing is clear: having only two judges for every divorce, child custody, and family law issue across all of Cape Cod makes Barnstable County unique. “Most counties have four or five judges,” says longtime Cape attorney Carmela Miraglia. “A lawyer doesn’t need to maintain a perfect relationship with every judge all of the time.” On the Cape, Miraglia explains, a divorce lawyer’s livelihood is closely tied to his or her standing in the eyes of the two judges.
“The attorneys, court staff, and judges are a very tight-knit community on Cape Cod,” says Miraglia. “In a lot of ways, this is a good thing: close relationships help [settle cases].” The small world of family law on the Cape, however, is not always a positive.
“The problem is that it’s sometimes the attorney’s job to challenge a judge,” says Owens, who also appears in Barnstable County. “When dealing with tough issues—like child abuse—an attorney can’t always please the judge.” Because many Cape-area family law attorneys practice exclusively in Barnstable County – appearing almost exclusively in front of the same two judges – attorneys from off-Cape firms can feel like outsiders in a very tight clique.
However, for some clients an attorney from outside the “Barnstable bubble” is exactly what is needed.
A World in Two Halves: “On-Cape” and “Off-Cape”
“People who spend time on the Cape quickly learn that the natives believe the universe is split into two halves: on-Cape and off-Cape,” says Owens. “Everything Cape Codders know and love is ‘on-Cape.’ The rest of the universe is ‘off-Cape.’” It’s not that Cape Codders distrust outsiders, says Owens, it’s just that off-Cape service providers – lawyers included – can seem remote and away. “As kids, we’d joked about [Cape residents] breaking out in hives when they crossed the Sagamore Bridge.”
“I have been appearing in Barnstable County for over ten years,” says Miraglia. “The fact that I represented off-Cape clients was a bit of a novelty.” Most Cape Cod family law attorneys focus primarily – or exclusively – in Barnstable County, Miraglia says.
In the world of family law, off-Cape translates to court houses with more than two judges. Plymouth Probate Court has four judges. At any given time, Norfolk County has between four and five judges. Bristol County? Four. As a South Shore law firm with offices in Hingham and E. Sandwich, attorneys from Lynch & Owens regularly appear in front of more than 15 judges across Barnstable, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Bristol counties.
“The difference is pretty striking,” says Owens. “In courts with four or five judges, the judicial lineup changes quite a bit, with new judges coming and going. Hundreds of different attorneys appear in these courts. It is very different from Barnstable County, where the attorneys appear before the same two judges constantly for a decade.”
The small-town intimacy of Barnstable Probate Court means that, like Cheers, everybody knows your name. However, this intimacy comes with a downside: “If you are arguing a case in front of a judge who presides over 50% of your cases, you need to be careful about challenging that judge’s authority,” says Owens. “Off-Cape attorneys can sometimes afford to take more risks on behalf of clients in Barnstable County.”
Inside Knowledge vs. Independence: Picking a Family Law Attorney on the Cape
Lawyers like giving the same answer to every question: it depends. “People with divorce and custody cases on the Cape sometimes struggle to decide if they should hire an on-Cape or off-Cape attorney,” says Owens. On-Cape attorneys are generally insiders in the tight-knit legal community in Barnstable Village. They know the other attorneys, the court staff, and the judges—often on a first-name basis. “In many cases,” Miraglia says, “that kind of inside knowledge benefits clients by allowing the lawyer to tailor his or her arguments to the particular views of the judge.”
“I’ve spent more than [a] decade cultivating relationships in Barnstable County,” Miraglia says. “Most of the time, those relationships are big assets for my clients.”
In some cases, however, Miraglia says it’s a relief knowing that she appears regularly in three other courts. “It’s a small world for attorneys who work exclusively in Barnstable County. I used to do it myself. A bad day at court feels a lot worse when the judge who chewed you out is in charge of half of your cases.”
For Cape clients whose cases have been in front of the same judge for years, using an off-Cape attorney can be preferable. “There are cases – often involving child custody – that keep returning to the same judge, again and again, for years,” says Owens. “The judge gets to the point where he or she feels [that they] know the parties. [The] Judge can develop preconceptions about the parties that can be hard to change, even when they are presented with new facts. An attorney sometimes needs to challenge the judge to open his or her mind.” Off-Cape attorneys are sometimes better positioned to challenge a judge’s entrenched view of a particular case.
“Trust me, this is not unique to Barnstable County,” says Owens. “Judges develop hardened views about parties in every court.” What’s different about Barnstable is that on-Cape attorneys feel less latitude to challenge judges whose approval plays a big part in that attorney’s livelihood. “If 90% of your practice is in Barnstable County, maybe you can’t afford to alienate one of the two judges. It’s just a reality of doing business,” says Owens.
When Independence Trumps Inside Knowledge, Clients Should Consider Off-Cape Attorneys
In cases where independence trumps inside knowledge, an off-Cape attorney may be preferable. “There is no one size fits all answer,” explains Owens. “In almost every case it is important for the attorney to ‘know your judge.’ That’s true for both on-Cape and off-Cape attorneys. The question is: what [to] do with that knowledge? For some cases, an insider attorney is the best fit; in others, an outsider view is preferable.”
“By having a strong presence on-Cape and off-Cape, we see both sides of the coin,” says Miraglia. “It’s important to know the judges and fellow attorneys in your community, but you don’t want to be so close to the establishment that [you] can’t challenge the status quo.”
Lynch & Owens are divorce and family law attorneys who appear regularly in Barnstable County.
If your business is based in your home, what should you use as a business
address? You have five options.
1 – Your Home Address
While tempting because it is free and convenient, it is the worst
option. Reasons include privacy concerns, professional image, and inability
to verify a Google My Business account which requires a physical business
2 – The Post Office Box
The next option is the PO Box. While this option solves the privacy problem
it does not solve the professional image and Google problems. It also won’t
be accepted by banks and most government agencies as a business address.
Costs vary by individual post office location and by box size, but they range
from about $20 to $75 for a six-month rental. It is definitely one of the least
expensive options, but there are better alternatives that are perfectly
3 – The Shipping Store
A shipping store (like a UPS store) will rent you a mailbox with a physical
street address and provide some assistance with mail handling, such as
forwarding mail and notifying you when you have packages but still has some
professional image problems and limited service options.
Costs vary by store, box size, and added services but they start at around $30
4 – The Digital Mailbox
The digital mailbox is a physical address that you can rent through a
website. You select from a list of address options, open an account and pay a
subscription fee. You download an app through which the digital mailbox
operator sends you scanned images of your mail pieces and gives you options
like forwarding, scanning, or shredding.
A disadvantage, at least at this time, is that location options are limited, so
the nearest one to you may be in another town or city many miles away. If
your business is local and you want a local address there is a good chance one
won’t be available if you are not in a major urban area. There is also no
pickup option, which means you either need to be comfortable with the
operator opening and scanning your mail, or wait for it to be forwarded.
The subscription fees start very low, some under $10 per month, but
additional fees will likely apply for the forwarding or other handling of your
5 – The Virtual Office in a Coworking Center
The virtual office in a coworking center solves all problems of the other
alternatives, and has added benefits. Coworking centers rent furnished
office space on flexible terms with lots of business services. You pay a
membership fee which can include only the mailing address (or “virtual
office”), or can include access to the co-working center and its other services.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the home-based business is lack of a
professional setting in which to meet with clients. Coworking centers offer
professional meeting space that you can rent by the hour. You can also rent a
desk or an office by the hour for those days when the home environment is
too isolating, or too distracting.
Coworking centers have business services and amenities, like internet,
coffee, copy/print/scan/fax equipment, administrative services, and tech
The biggest advantage, according to surveys, is the community. Members of
coworking centers are people just like you, solopreneurs, freelancers and
remote workers, with whom you can interact and find opportunities for
social and business networking.
Virtual office prices vary depending on center, location, and the services
bundled into your membership. But most offer a variety of membership
packages to fit most budgets. The cost for a prestigious address in a major
city can be over $100 per month. But in other areas they can be comparable
with shipping store prices.
The virtual office is the only option that will solve every business address
problem, offer a package of business amenities, and connect you to a
community of independent professionals. So, while the cost may be a little
more, you are likely to find that the extra cost is worth it for all the added
Contact CapeSpace to learn more about whether a virtual office is right for
Robbin Orbison, President at CapeSpace LLC
To all of our East Coast readers riding out the “bomb cyclone,” we hope this finds you at 11 a.m. still in your pajamas, warm cup of cocoa in your hand, hunkering down on your couch to finally catch up on Stranger Things.
If this recent cold snap isn’t enough of a clue, 2018 is already a year for the record books. According to the Energy Information Administration, the lower 48 kicked off the New Year by experiencing the coldest day of the 21st century on Jan. 1. And with those
bone-chilling temps, the demand for natural gas skyrocketed, helping to set a new record for natural gas consumption.
Overall, demand reached 150.7 billion cubic feet, which passed the previous single-day record of 143.3 Bcf on Jan. 7, 2014. However, residential and commercial natural gas consumption didn’t appear to set a record day despite
much colder-than-normal temps.
Titan Energy New England www.titanenergyne.com/
Some of Old San Juan’s Most Famous Residents Finding Homes in Boston The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL)
is broadening its reach in Puerto Rico by partnering with Save a Gato, a nonprofit group dedicated to rescuing cats in
Old San Juan; the partnership began with a transport of nine cats this past week.
Once at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the cats were placed under a state-mandated 48-hour quarantine
period, given thorough examinations, vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. From there, the gatos were made available for adoption, and to no surprise have been adopted very quickly.
An Internationally Known Colony Save a Gato manages cat colonies throughout Old San Juan, including along the Paseo
Del Morro – a trail that once serviced as a maintenance road for the massive stone protective walls of the city that date back to the 1630s. For visitors to the National Recreational Trail, the numerous cats along the route are part of the experience, and many say that some of the cats are actual descendants of the original cats who came on ships when the first Spanish settlers came to the island. To see video of one of the adorable gatos, click here!
Gatos and Satos Along with Save a Gato, in 2017 ARL began its partnership with All Sato Rescue, and has transported dozens of dogs from the island, including an emergency transport of pups following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
There is an abundance of homeless animals in Puerto Rico. These transports allow ARL to supplement the number of animals the organization takes in locally, while giving our partner organizations the ability to continue their important work and make room for more animals in need. Additionally, ARL receives monthly transports of puppies and dogs from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and Alexander County Animal Services – both based in North Carolina.
Written by Michael DeFina www.arlboston.org/author/mdefina/
The coffee tradition of our country and especially of the central coffee area have made possible the development of processes that allow to obtain one of the best Mild Colombians, tinged with the rich flavors and aromas that give the mountains where it is produced, also have the tenacity and strength of the working people of the region that contribute to that objective.
This process involves men and women throughout the production cycle from preparation of seedlings to the strict work of gathering where men and women are responsible for collecting the ripe fruits that characterize and ensure the physical and sensory quality of this coffee.
Because of the location in the mountains of the Coffee Region of Colombia, it has been considered a "high property" attribute that contributes to excellent quality and cup profile. Emphasis is placed on the preservation of natural resources, product safety to ensure food security to the “caficultor”, social responsibility with all those involved in the different production processes and to maintain and manage a reliable and traceable information to ensure and responsible production.
There exists a permanent commitment in pursuit of the implementation of Good Agricultural Practice BPA, it is how they have involved neighboring BPA processes allowing a community that seeks responsible coffee production.
You’ve hired good people, but how do you keep them happy and productive when raises, bonuses, and other forms of compensation may not be in the budget? That’s a dilemma many corporations face—especially in today’s economy.
One possible solution is to improve your company’s benefit package. In fact, a recent report by the Society of Human Resource Management found that “many job seekers frequently place greater importance on health care coverage, flexible work schedules, and other benefits rather than on their base salaries.”
Unfortunately, however, some benefits—such as employer-sponsored health care coverage—can be prohibitively expense. That’s why you may want to look into a Voluntary Payroll Deduction (VPD) program like employee-owned life insurance. VPD has become one of the most popular ways for consumers to purchase life insurance, and it can be an easy, cost-effective way to show your employees you care. In most cases, these programs can be set up using your existing payroll system, and they are therefore simple to administer. Because the insurance company usually provides all the information and materials, there are virtually no direct, out-of-pocket costs to your business.
If your company can’t afford to give raises this year—or if you just want to help your employees feel a bit more secure—consider adding a Voluntary Payroll Deduction program to your benefit package. When it comes to retaining key employees, it could be the best and the least-expensive investment you ever make.
Note: Employee participation in a payroll deduction insurance program is completely voluntary. Since this program is not intended to be subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), employers cannot contribute to, or endorse, this program.
This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Simon Bloomfield, Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Simon at 508 362 4279, [email protected]
What makes a consumer of a service or product choose one company over another? Is it customer service, good prices, or is it the sales person? It might be all of these, but when it comes to choosing a website design company, the buyer wants one that is knowledgeable, and offers personal interaction for the site’s creation.
A Good First Impression:The design of a website may not be the most important factor overall, but it does play a role in making a good first impression. People often place too much emphasis on the design and not enough on the functioning of the site. Your website represents who you are, and what you offer. There are several questions that you should ask.
Pixles Place Design; www.pixlesplace.com. We offer different web design packages.
Pet ownership represents a large emotional – and financial – commitment. Whether you buy from a pet store or a breeder, adopt an animal from a shelter, or take in a stray, initial costs are just the beginning of the story. This guide examines the different costs associated with pet ownership and helps you know what to expect, how to plan for these expenses, and potential ways to reduce the financial burden of pet ownership.
The Lifetime Cost of a Pet
There are two main cost areas when owning a pet: the initial cost (adoption costs, vaccinations, training, etc.) and then general costs over your pet’s lifetime (food, toys, routine vet visits, etc.) Combining both of these costs together will give you a rough estimate of the lifetime cost of your pet. Even without some of the larger expenses like a fenced in backyard, initial costs like vaccines, heart-worm prevention, toys, training, and food can add up to $680 or more. Throw in routine expenses such as dental care ($40 to $80 per year), food ($240 per year), and grooming ($30 per visit) and you’re looking at $300-$400 per year before major medical expenses.
One of the first expenses of pet ownership is the adoption or purchase price. The price of purchasing from a breeder is typically influenced by the demand for that particular breed. Reputable breeders will charge fair, if competitive, prices, while backyard breeders will charge high prices to earn a profit. You should avoid purchasing from backyard breeders; their practices are driven by money rather than care for the animals. Backyard breeders often purchase from puppy mills and other unethical institutions. The Partnership for Animal Welfare provides a useful guide for identifying the differences between backyard breeders and legitimate breeders. Legitimate breeders know their breeds and can refer buyers to other satisfied customers, while backyard breeders will sell to whomever is willing to pay.
Adoption costs, on the other hand, cover a variety of expenses. Many shelters and rescues will microchip animals, provide medical care and heartworm care, and in some cases even spay and neuter animals. The cost of all this care can be upwards of $800, but shelters rarely ask this much. The upper range of most adoption fees is around $500, but can be higher in some cases.
Medical costs are arguably the most expensive aspect of owning a pet; even smaller expenses quickly add up. The average vet visit can be anywhere from $50 to $400, while dental care runs about the same. Vitamins are usually around $100 per year, and preventative medication for fleas and heartworms are each around $20 per month. None of this includes emergency treatments your pet may require. Pet insurance is another expense that can be marked as a medical expense, but is well worth it. We explain pet insurance in a later section.
Depending on the breed of dog or cat you own, grooming can be a relatively minor cost or a budget-breaking one. Long haired breeds require much more grooming than short haired breeds, although you can often reduce the cost of grooming by handling it yourself. Brushing your pet’s hair daily and trimming their nails at home can save $50 per month.
Pet food will be a large portion of your yearly pet budget, but despite common belief, your pets don’t have to have the most expensive food. Many pet food claims to be “all-natural” and “premium”, but there isn’t much regulation on what it takes to meet those qualifications, they are typically just marketing terms. Price isn’t the determining factor in quality, make sure to do your research on what best fits your budget and pet’s needs. A 22-pound bag of Purina One Complete cat food will cost around $17.48, while a 50-pound bag of Kibbles ‘N Bits dog food is around $22.98 from big-box retailers. Depending on the size of your pet, this could be enough for a single month.
Equipment costs vary wildly depending on the individual. If you need to fence in your backyard, you’re looking at well over $1,000 on average. However, for an indoor pet, you may only need water and food bowls and a few toys. This cost depends entirely on your personal circumstances.
Training is an optional cost. Cat owners likely won’t need to pay for training because most cats don’t require it but dog owners have two options: pay for training or train their pet themselves. If you have owned a dog before, then you may be able to get away with training it on your own unless it is a particularly difficult breed. If you’ve never owned a dog, then professional training can be worth the cost. Not only does training reduce behavioral issues, but it can also reduce costs later in the future; for instance, the cost of a lawsuit or medical treatments if your dog bites someone.
Joanne Lekas, CPDT-KA, of Happy Dog Behavior Training, has taken her love of dogs and her 25 years’ of sales and consulting experience and has transitioned these skills to help people live happier lives with their dogs.