USS Constitution Museum Marks 40th Anniversary June 30

The USS Constitution Museum will celebrate its 40th anniversary with “A 40 Year Journey” in the Charlestown Navy Yard at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 30.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will officially open “Forest to Frigate”, the Museum’s new, interactive exhibit which allows visitors to explore President George Washington’s decision to create a navy to protect our growing American merchant fleet.  A complement to USS Constitution’s current restoration in dry dock, the exhibit follows the story from the forest in which “Old Ironsides’” timbers grew to her launch as a fully formed frigate.

The event kicks off the Fourth of July weekend with a salute to our nation, the unfurling of the giant (90′ x 45′) Mt. Rushmore American Flag, a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and patriotic medleys by the Navy Band Northeast, and presentation of the USS Constitution Color Guard and 1812 Marines.  Participants will include representatives from the City of Boston and Navy Yard partners, USS Constitution, National Parks of Boston, and the History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston.

The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides” and those associated with her.  Welcoming over 400,000 visitors each year, this award-winning Museum provides a hands-on, minds-on environment where inter-generational groups seeking an enjoyable, educational experience can have fun while learning and exploring history together.  The USS Constitution Museum strives to educate and engage a global audience through scholarship and innovative exhibits to share the legacy of USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State.

 

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Gasoline Prices Drop Six Cents

Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are down six cents this week, according to AAA Northeast.

AAA’s June 20th survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.24 per gallon, six cents less than a week ago. The Massachusetts price is nine cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.33. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 52 cents higher at $2.76.

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 39 cents, from a low of $2.10 to a high of $2.49. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.

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

Self Serve                                           Grade

$2.24 ($2.10-$2.49)                            Regular Unleaded

$2.47 ($2.24-$2.85)                            Midgrade Unleaded

$2.64 ($2.34-$2.99)                            Premium Unleaded

$2.36 ($2.19-$2.85)                            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.

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Stop & Shop Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign To Help Cure Childhood Cancer

Stop & Shop stores in Quincy has launched its annual month-long fundraising campaign to support pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. From June 10 through July 10, Stop & Shop customers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Help Cure Childhood Cancer campaign at store checkouts.

Customers donating $3 or more will receive a coupon booklet featuring over $85 in savings. Stop & Shop’s fundraising goal is to raise $2.5 million through the campaign.  100% of the donations raised will benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer institute and the Jimmy Fund.

The participating locations include the Stop & Shop at 65 Newport Ave. and 495 Southern Artery in Quincy.

Entering its 26th year of partnership with the Dana-Farber, Stop & Shop has raised over $60 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment through its fundraising activities.

“The money Stop & Shop is raising with our customers is making a significant impact in the advancement of research and treatment of pediatric cancer,” said Mark McGowan, President, Stop & Shop New England Division. “We encourage shoppers to visit their local Stop & Shop and donate to help cure childhood cancer.  For every $3 donation, customers will receive a coupon booklet full of incredible savings for the entire family.”

Dana-Farber patients Maddie, 7, from Canton, Massachusetts and Emma, 17, from Colchester, Connecticut will serve as ambassadors for the Help Cure Childhood Cancer campaign.

“We are making strides in the treatment of childhood cancer,” said Lisa Diller, MD, clinical director of pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Thanks in part to the incredible support of Stop & Shop and their customers, we have been able to expand our research and find new treatments for children with life-threatening cancers. With the knowledge gained from our work at the Dana-Farber, the generosity of Stop & Shop will benefit children not only locally but globally.”

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BBB Offers Ten Giving Tips For Orlando Tragedy

In the wake of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, the BBB Serving Central Florida and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau, caution donors about potential red flags in fund raising to help Orlando victims and their families, and to be aware of the different circumstances that often emerge in tragedy-related philanthropy.

“Tragedy inspires people to give, and this terrible tragedy is drawing incredible response already from people all around the world” said H. Art Taylor, President & CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance “The best way to help the victims, their families, and the people of Orlando is to make sure that donations end up where they belong. We are already hearing about click-bait schemes and questionable solicitations, and we expect there will numerous scams and frauds. We urge those generous donors to give wisely so their gifts can do the most good.”

Holly Salmons, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Florida, notes that “The world has rushed to support the City Beautiful and the victims on this heinous crime. We encourage those who want to show their support through donations to do so with caution. Scammers depend on heightened emotion and often follow closely behind tragic events.”

BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are “Ten Tips for Giving with Confidence” –

1. Thoughtful Giving

Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.

2. State Government Registration

About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.

3. Respecting Victims and Their Families

Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Some charities raising funds for the Colorado movie theater victims did not do this and were the subject of criticism from victims’ families.

4. How Will Donations Be Used?

Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims’ families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.

5. What if a Family Sets Up Its Own Assistance Fund?

Some families may decide to set up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that such funds may not be set up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately (e.g., paying for funeral costs, counseling, and other tragedy-related needs.)

6. Advocacy Organizations

Tragedies that involve violent acts with firearms can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations that address gun use. Donors can support these efforts as well but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax exempt as charities. Also, watch out for newly created advocacy groups that will be difficult to check out.

7. Online Cautions

Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.

8. Financial Transparency

After funds are raised for a tragedy, it is even more important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent. Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so that anyone can find out and not have to wait until the audited financial statements are available sometime in the future.

9. Newly Created or Established Organizations

This is a personal giving choice, but an established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed.

10. Tax Deductibility

Not all organizations collecting funds to assist this tragedy are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors can support these other entities but keep this in mind if they want to take a deduction for federal income tax purposes. In addition, contributions that are donor-restricted to help a specific individual/family are not deductible as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity.

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE
BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. National charity reports are produced by the BBB WGA and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at Give.org

ABOUT BBB
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.

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BBB Offers Tips On Summer Solicitors

With the summer door-knocking season underway, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) is warning consumers about deceptive sales tactics. BBB urges consumers to stay alert for unreliable solicitors and to have a plan in place when it comes to door-to-door salespeople.

Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are others who are only looking to make a sale and move on as quickly as possible – often leaving customers wondering if they’ll receive the product or service they’ve paid for or if they’ve just been scammed.

“Summer is here and the warm weather will bring salespeople to our front doors offering home improvements, alarm systems, and more,” said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “It’s important to inquire about licensing and research the business before signing any contracts.”

BBB offers the following tips on door-to-door solicitations this summer:

Inquire about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a solicitor’s license. Ask the salesperson if they’ve checked in with the city and obtained proper licensing. If you’re unsure if your city requires a permit, contact your city offices.

Massachusetts Licensing

Maine Licensing

Rhode Island Licensing

Ask for identification. A reputable seller will provide you with all of the information you request, including a photo ID and a business card.

Verify the individual and the business. If you’re interested in doing business with the solicitor, get everything in writing. Tell the solicitor you will look into it and get back to them. Research the business and contact them directly to verify the salesperson is an employee. Be sure to research the business at bbb.org.

Read the contract. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions before signing a contract. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could be viewed as a contract.

Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the business to cancel the agreement. By law, the business must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Steer clear of scams. A classic tactic of less-than-reputable solicitors is to tell consumers they have extra product leftover from a job down the street and will perform the work for a minimal cost. Professional contractors typically know how much product is needed for a job and rarely have material leftover.

Consumers who have issues with door-to-door salespeople can contact their BBB at bbb.org, as well as with their local law enforcement, and the state Attorney General’s office.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston or like us on Facebook.

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