Gasoline Prices Down Another 8 Cents

Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are down eight cents from last week, according to AAA Southern New England.

AAA’s October 27th survey of prices in Massachusetts found self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $3.09 per gallon, down eight cents from last week. Prices locally are 29 cents lower than a month ago. The current price is five cents more than the national average for self serve unleaded of $3.04. A year ago at this time the Massachusetts average price was 25 cents higher at $3.34.

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 51 cents, from a low of $2.92 to a high of $3.43. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every trip, every time.

“We are rapidly approaching a $3.00 per gallon average in Massachusetts, with dramatic price drops at the pump in each of the last 3 weeks. That’s good news as we head into the holidays, giving motorists a bit more to spend on gifts, travel, and basic expenses,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Southern New England Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.

Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:

Self Serve                                                Grade

$3.099 ($2.929-$3.439)                                    Regular Unleaded

$3.389 ($3.099-$3.899)                                    Midgrade Unleaded

$3.549 ($3.199-$3.999)                                    Premium Unleaded

$3.699 ($3.409-$3.999)                                    Diesel

Find the most up-to-date local gas prices with the AAA Fuel Finder by logging onto AAA.com and clicking on Gas Saving Tips & Tools. AAA members can also obtain a copy of the Gas Watcher’s Guide at their local AAA Southern New England office.

AAA Fuel Saving Tip of the Week

Accelerate smoothly and brake gradually. It’s safer, uses less gas, and reduces brake wear.

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Halloween Safety: Watch Out For Children

As children take to the streets this Halloween, AAA Southern New England reminds motorists and parents that in the excitement of the evening, trick-or-treaters often forget about safety. AAA has some tips for keeping young ones safe on Halloween:

Motorists

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to any children who may dart out into the street.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they’ll be harder to see at night.
  • Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and front porches.

Parents

  • Ensure than an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise youth under age 12.
  • Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
  • Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.
  • Establish a time for children to return home.
  • Tell children not to eat treats until they get home.
  • Review trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.

Trick-or-Treaters

  • Be Bright at Night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
  • Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
  • Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it facedown in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine it into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
  • Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
  • Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
  • Tell your parents where you are going.

AAA Southern New England is a not-for-profit auto club with 51 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey providing more than 3.5 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

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1.7% Social Security Benefit Increase For 2015

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration announced Oct. 23.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $118,500 from $117,000. Of the estimated 168 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2015, about 10 million will pay higher taxes because of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2015 is available at www.Medicare.gov.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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Don’t End Up With Jack O’Lantern Teeth This Halloween

By Dr. LINDA VIDONE

Each October, children look forward to dressing up and going from house to house collecting candy for Halloween. But in October, we celebrate more than just Halloween – it is also National Dental Hygiene Month so it’s the perfect time of the year to teach our children good oral health.

Here are five of my favorite tips for making it through Halloween with healthy teeth and good oral hygiene: 

Certain candy is better for teeth than others

As a dentist, I don’t recommend eating a lot of candy; however, there are some that can be more damaging than others. Candies that are sticky and chewy tend to get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and cause cavities. Candies that stay in your mouth longer, such as lollipops and Jolly Ranchers, also have the potential to be harmful because your teeth are being exposed to the sugar for a longer period of time. I recommend sorting out these types of candies from your child’s Halloween candy and only keeping the candy that is quicker to eat and lower in sugars, such as chocolates and powdery candy.

Make the candy a treat

Children often tend to consume more candy around Halloween because it is lying around the house. Instead of having the candy out, stash it away – and make it a treat or privilege. This will prevent kids from consuming the candy whenever they want. Reward your child with a piece of candy for completing their chores, getting a good grade, having a good attitude, etc.

Practice good dental hygiene after eating candy

Brushing twice a day is always important to maintaining good oral health; however, when your sugar intake increases, it is especially important to increase your oral health hygiene as well. Brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth after consuming candy can reduce your chances of tooth decay. Also, make sure your little ones drink a lot of water (even better if it contains fluoride); this will help wash the candy particles away.

Donate extra Halloween candy

Donating your child’s Halloween candy is great way to limit how much candy your child consumes. I recommend sitting down with your child to help them pick a few of their favorites and then packing up the rest. There are many charities, dentist offices and organizations that take candy donations. Some dental offices will even reward patients for bringing in candy.

There are alternatives to candy

Consider purchasing healthy snacks or non-food treats for those who visit your home. Crackers, pretzels, raisins, stickers, pencils, yo-yos, coloring books, and of course toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss are all great things to handout and are still fun for kids.

Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for parents and dentists if you follow these tips. Happy Halloween!

Dr. Linda Vidone is the Dental Director of Delta Dental of Massachusetts.

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It Will Be “An Old Fashioned Christmas” Parade

“An Old Fashioned Christmas” submitted by Thomas O’Connor of Quincy has been chosen as the theme for the 62nd annual Quincy Christmas Parade.

O’Connor’s theme was one of 30 entries submitted to the Quincy Christmas Parade Committee in the annual contest to give the traditional event a theme. The theme is central to the groups and organizations that make floats and to the school children who take part in poster contest. Both the float winner and the poster winners receive the opportunity to ride the parade route in antique automobiles on the day of the parade.

This year’s parade will be held Sunday, Nov. 30th.

O’Connor is a member of the Braintree Moose Lodge that has built floats for the parade for a number of years. A retired veteran of the United States Coast Guard, he will also receive a commemorative plaque at the events annual award ceremony.

The parade committee is accepting applications from groups, schools, and organizations who would like to participate in the parade by building a float. Floats are judged and cash prizes are awarded in several categories at the conclusion of the parade.

Commercial floats my also be entered in the parade, however they are not considered for the cash awards and an entry fee is charged.

For information on group or commercial applications or to request an entry package, contact the parade committee at 617-376-1394.  The number of floats accepted is limited and early entry is encouraged.

 

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