Gasoline Prices Inching Towards $2 Mark

Regular unleaded gasoline prices in Massachusetts, which had been inching closer to the $2.00 mark, are headed upward once again as the summer vacation season draws to a close, according to AAA Northeast.

AAA’s Aug. 22 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.07 per gallon, up three cents from last week.  A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 33 cents higher at 2.40 per gallon.

“Higher crude oil prices are driving up numbers at the pump, but late summer travelers are still benefitting from gasoline prices significantly lower than at this time last August,” says AAA’s Mary Maguire.

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 70 cents, from a low of $1.89 to a high of $2.59.  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

$2.07  ($1.89-$2.59)                           Regular Unleaded

$2.37  ($2.04-$3.19)                           Midgrade Unleaded

$2.55  ($2.37-$3.09)                           Premium Unleaded

$2.32  ($2.19-$2.57)                           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 Northeast office.

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 62 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 5.2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

Share Button

Keep Pets Safe From Mosquito Dangers This Summer

As the Zika virus continues to make news, pet owners everywhere are asking if mosquitoes could infect their dogs and cats. So far, experts say they simply don’t know how or if the mosquito-borne disease affects pets.

But veterinarians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners say it’s worth remembering that dogs and cats all across the country face another danger from mosquitoes. It’s not new or mysterious, but it is nasty and deadly.

It’s heartworm – which thankfully is also quite preventable.

“Heartworm prevention is a cornerstone of proper veterinary care,” said BluePearl’s Dr.  Erick Mears, who is board-certified in veterinary internal medicine. Mears also is medical director of BluePearl’s Florida hospitals.

Dogs and cats can get heartworm when they are bitten by mosquitoes that have been infected with heartworm larvae. Worms will grow inside pets’ bodies, causing serious health concerns.

In a dog, the long stringy worms can grow in the heart, taking up so much space that the heart has difficulty drawing in enough blood to circulate back out through the body. Worms also can travel through small blood vessels and get into the lungs.

Cats are more likely to be affected through their lungs. And because they have sensitive respiratory systems, a small number of worms can cause big problems.

Mears said dog and cat owners should talk to their primary veterinarians about which heartworm medicine is best for their pets. It’s very difficult to prevent your pet from getting bitten by mosquitoes, especially if you live in warmer areas such as Florida, and Texas, where mosquitoes are essentially a year-round concern. That’s why proper medicine – often given to pets on a monthly basis —  is the best solution.

Signs of heartworm in dogs include coughing, vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy. Signs in cats include coughing, lack of appetite and weight loss. It can be deadly.

If your dog or cat does have heartworm, your primary veterinarian will have recommendations for you, which could include going to a specialist like those at BluePearl. Specialists at BluePearl, including Dr. Mears, have received years of additional training and study to be certified as experts within their specialties.

In severe cases, BluePearl experts have performed surgery to remove heartworms. For example Dr. Laura Hatton, a board-certified cardiologist with BluePearl,removed an unusually large amount of heartworms from a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier last summer.

The threat of Zika is something that veterinarians are likely to learn much more about in coming years.

But for heartworm, this much is already clear: Prevention could save your pet’s life.

Share Button

Local Unemployment Rates Increase In 21 Areas of State

Local unemployment rates increased in twenty-one areas in the state during the month of June, and dropped in two labor market areas while one remained the same, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Tuesday.Compared to June 2015, the local unemployment rates were lower in all areas.

Thirteen of the 15 areas added jobs over the month, with the largest gains in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Barnstable, Framingham, Pittsfield and Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury areas.  Some of the job gains in the Information sector reflect the end of a temporary labor dispute in May.

From June 2015 to June 2016, 14 labor markets in the state added jobs with the largest percentage gains in the Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury area, along with Taunton-Middleborough-Norton; Pittsfield; and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy.

In order to compare the statewide rate to local unemployment rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for June was 4.3 percent.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 4.2 percent in June, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported last week. The unemployment rate is down 0.7 percent over the year.

The state showed an estimated 16,400 seasonally adjusted job gains in June, boosted partially by the resolution of a temporary labor dispute. The over-the-year job gains are estimated at 67,300.

The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

The estimates for labor force, unemployment rates and jobs for Massachusetts are based on different statistical methodology specified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES:The preliminary July 2016 and revised June 2016 unemployment rates, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Thursday August 18, 2016. Local unemployment statistics will be released on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi. See the 2016 Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.

Share Button

Red Cross Facing Critical Blood, Platelets Shortage

While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Alyson Barraza, Communications Manager for the Massachusetts Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

All blood types urgently needed

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

The American Red Cross will host three blood drives in Quincy:

7/29/2016: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington St.

8/12/2016: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Lee Kennedy Co Inc, 122 Quincy Shore Dr.

8/9/2016: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Quincy High School, 100 Coddington St.

Share Button

Quincy Awarded $28.5M For New Sterling

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Massachusetts School Building Authority voted July 20th to award Quincy up to $28.52 million for the construction of the new Reay E. Sterling Middle School.

The final price tag for the new facility has yet to be determined. One of the next steps in the process will be for the city and MSBA to enter into a project funding agreement, which will detail the project’s scope and budget, along with conditions under which Quincy will receive its grant from the state agency.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, the chair of the MSBA, and MSBA CEO Maureen Valente announced the $28.52 million in a statement.

“Upon completion, this project will provide a new, 21st century for our middle school students in Quincy,” Goldberg said. “Our goal is to create the best space to deliver the district’s educational commitments and goals.”

“Students will soon have a beautiful new space which will undoubtedly enhance and improve their ability to excel in the classroom,” Valente added.

The new Sterling – a 95,155 square foot facility – will have space to accommodate up to 430 students in grades five through eight. The school had an enrollment of 341 students in those grades at the start of the 2015-2016 school year, and has accommodated as many as 353 students in recent years.

The new facility will be built on the same site as the current school, set back further from Granite Street.

The current Sterling Middle School first opened its doors in 1927. The building suffers from deficiencies in major building systems including mechanical, electrical, envelope, windows and accessibility, according to the MSBA; the existing school also does not support the delivery of its educational program.

The new Sterling is following on the heels of the $50 million Central Middle School that opened in 2013 and the $126 million Quincy High School that opened in 2010. The city has already begun the process to replace the 97-year-old Squantum Elementary School as well.

 

Share Button