One minute I’m wearing the badge of full-time employment and a snazzy job title with the reassurance that those direct deposit checks will show up in my bank account every other Friday. Next, the dreaded news comes. For me, it happened midway through writing an article. Then I realized I didn’t have to finish it – and there I was, an unfinished story. And my resume suddenly needed updating.
Being unemployed in the South Coast ain’t easy. The job market is tough. We are living in New England, after all, not the warm south where the economy is booming. Even some of the area’s largest employers are slashing their ranks. Many folks have to cast their nets as far as Providence or Boston to find employment that will pay the bills.
My take on the journey of getting laid off:
Disorientation – You wake up, confused—sort of like that first morning your baby sleeps through the night. You can’t quite place where you are or what you’re supposed to do. People ask where you work and you can no longer cling to your sound bite on how cool your job is. Instead, you have to rewrite your answer so you have enough dignity to get through the day.
Un-Free time – The ultimate paradox of getting laid off: You have more free time, but it’s the stressful kind. You become OCD on the job sites, entering in every keyword under the sun, hoping for something to match up. Going on a walk, at first, is even hard – because it just doesn’t feel right to do anything until you get this all resolved.
Unemployment office – You embark on that Kafka-esque journey of navigating the state unemployment office. For me, it was my first time. The backlog is insane, so clearly I’m not alone (The last digit of my Social Security # is 8, so they’ll only take my call on Thursday.)
Resignation – You give in. First it’s one House of Cards show then it’s the whole season. You can feel Frank Underwood reprimanding you for still being in your PJs at 10am. And is that a bowl of ice cream? “I couldn’t possibly comment.”
Products? – You start poking around your house. Using that exfoliating foot scrub tucked deep into the bathroom closet. Experimenting with eye shadow. One day, you are alarmed to find your hair looking perfect. A good hair day and you won’t even be at the office?
Productive? – You are ahead on your laundry. You pick up that Ken Follett novel collecting dust on your nightstand. Will the universe implode?
Reaching out – You offer yourself to volunteer. Make lunch dates. Write cards to old friends—the snail mail variety. Suddenly you feel human. You don’t need the sound bite anymore, you just need to be able to laugh and relate. So much of life has nothing to do with work, after all.
Possibilities – After the morning cup of coffee, the ideas begin to cascade over you. An online course? Get a certification? Get more freelance assignments (luckily still had those)? It’s overwhelming, but it’s a start.
It’s going to be okay – It’s like bungee jumping. You think you are going to hit the ground hard but instead you find yourself floating in air, somehow safe. In our independence-obsessed culture, it’s nice to find that when you’re struggling or stuck in a snowbank for the third time in a week, your friends step up and your loved ones still believe in you. That’s a hell of a better narrative—even when I had a regular paycheck.
Epilogue: After a couple of months I did manage to find a job! But I still feel solidarity with those who have gotten laid off. Remember: At the end of the day, you are still you and you are still awesome.
Wine tastings, history, architecture and cruises characterize 2015 Members’ Trip to Porto
How does the sound of a trip to one of the world’s most beautiful, sun-shine filled port cities sound? What if that city was deemed by wine connoisseurs, travel experts, and casual travelers alike as the most beautiful wine regions on the planet? Not, “one of,” but “the” most beautiful? What if this city was chosen as the Best Destination in Europe for the past two years (2013-2014), won the Top Wine Producing Region in the World award, and even the Top Wine in the World award?
Sound good? Well, that’s just the start.
Imagine that the trip’s itinerary, travel, wine tastings, cruises, meals, and trips to the city’s key highlights – including UNESCO World Heritage Sites – were all arranged? Top all that off with the entire trip being led by experienced, friendly, and knowledgeable guides who know the city well and you have exactly the dream vacation that is being offered by the Whaling Museum, Chamber of Commerce, and Sagres Vacations.
The history of Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, goes back to the 4th century A.C.E. when it was occupied by the Romans who developed it as a commercial port due to its location on the Southwestern part of Portugal, and the fact that the Douro river empties into the Atlantic. Some time in the 8th century, the Moors would invade the Iberian Peninsula and rule over it for a century and a half.
Nobleman and Gallaecian, Vímara Peres, was sent by Alfonso III, King of Asturias, Léon and Galicia, to reconquer the west coastal fringe of Gallaecia – the swath of territory from the Minho River to the Douro River. Peres was successful and Alfonso III dubbed the territory, Condado de Portucale and the capital city was called Portus Cale in Latin. As the astute readers can see, this city would eventually provide the name for an entire nation. The city’s name would change over time, from Portus Cale to Porto the name it retains today.
Though wine-making has been around in the Douro Valley since the 5th century B.C.E. (by the Romans) it wouldn’t be until the mid-12th century that it would be made into a commercial enterprise by the monks of the Catholic and Anglican Cistercian order. By the 13th century wines produced in the valley would be transported to Porto down the Douro River using barcos rabelos, or flat, sailing vessels.
The Douro valley produced marvelous wines because of its geographic position, rich mountain soils, and Mediterranean climate. The Marão and Montemuro mountains serve as a buffer against the winds coming off the Atlantic and the Douro river, and its five tributaries provided the primary ingredient needed for wine, fresh water. The black grapes, e.g. Bastardo, Mourisco tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz, produced the world famous Port wines, and the white grapes, e.g. Donzelinho branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, and Viosinho, were the source of the popular table wines.
By the 14th century, Porto was a major European hub for commerce, trade, and shipbuilding. It would be the site of a royal marriage between John I of Portugal and Phillipa of Lancaster, England – forming the world’s oldest military alliance.
In the 15th century, Prince Henry the Navigator would use Porto as a base to launch further re-conquests of territories from the Moors in North Africa. This would set a precedence for Europe’s Age of Discovery; an era of exploration by legendary figures such as Bartolomeu Dias who would reach the Indian Ocean, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan. Many lesser known Portuguese explorers like João de Santarém, Pedro Escobar, Lopo Gonçalves, Fernão do Pó, and Pedro de Sintra would make names for themselves.
The 18th century would place Porto on the “wine map,” and Porto would share its Port wine with the rest of the world to compliment the table wines they were already well-known for. Porto would prosper for centuries because of its naval culture, wines, and trade. Napoleon would send his troops to invade Porto in 1809, but because of their military and trade relationship with England, Napoleon’s troops would be rooted out by Anglo-Portuguese troops led by the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. Wellesley would use the barcos rabelos to transport his own troops across the Douro and flank the French army.
Porto helped Portugal establish its identity as a powerful nation, source of the world’s greatest navigators, pilots, cartographers, fishermen, shipbuilders, and explorers. This is something the Portuenses, as the citizens of Porto call themselves, have a great sense of pride about. The city of 1.4 million people has a deep, rich history and played a significant role in European, and world history.
Today, the city of Porto is a travel destination because of its rich history, intoxicating scenery, fabulous architecture, numerous bridges (it is often called City of Bridges), and the steep terraced, family-owned vineyards that line the banks of the Douro. It is a photographer’s, historian’s, and oenophile’s delight.
The 2015 Members’ Trip to Porto takes place September 11 – September 19, includes 7 nights’ accommodation at a 4 Star Hotel, round-trip air fare, private transfer to and from Logan Airport, 14 meals including welcome and farewell dinner and guided trips to many of landmarks. Here are just a few:
Vineyards & Wine Cellars: Visit the family owned winery estates along the Rio Douro, that produce award-winning local Port and Douro certified wine. Enjoy private wine tastings and pairings with local cuisine. Visits include Taylors, the “home of Port Wine and Croft founded in 1588. At the Croft Estate you will have the chance to experience a vintage fire-opening ritual.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Porto City Tour (Half Day), Douro Valley Tour (Full Day), Minho, Guimarães, Braga (Full Day), Monção, Viana do Castelo (Full Day).
Sao Bento Train Station: Beautiful mosaics depicting the history of Portugal, adorn the inside facade of this train station in the city’s Baixa district. Started in 1900, Portuense architect José Marques da Silva, designed the French Beaux-Arts influenced building that was inaugurated in 1916.
Cathedral Se do Porto: One of the city’s oldest monuments, the Romanesque cathedral was started in 1110 and wasn’t completed until the 13th century. Over the centuries the cathedral would undergo renovations and additions. Characterized by towers, buttresses, crowned with a cupola, a Baroque port, Romanesque nave and apse, crenelated arches, Gothic funeral chapel and cloister, silver altarpiece, and three red marble holy-water fountains, the cathedral is breathtaking to behold.
Barco Rebelo cruises: Take a ride on the flat, sailing vessels that transported wines (and even troops!) for centuries. Enjoy a farewell dinner aboard the barco rebelo along the shores of the historic center of Porto.
Lello Library: Built in 1906 by Antonio and Jose Lello, the Neo-Gothic and Art Deco library is considered the world’s most beautiful library. A posh red staircase, built-in wheelbarrow on rails, stain-glassed roof, carved wood ceilings, are just some of the architectural features of this ornate library.
Ribeira District: Stroll through the medieval streets, arches and alleyways, old riverfront square with its two large fountains, and ancient buildings that make up the city’s old quarter. Stop in at a cafe and watch the barcos rebelos navigate the Douro, go shopping at the many shops, and dine at its world-class restaurants. See up close why the district was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Cafe Majestic: This iconic Art Nouveau cafe designed by architect João Queirózis , is a medley of marble, stone, and wood decorated with Flemish mirrors, marble, leather upholstery, and local art. Inside you will find a natural conservatory, patio, marble busts, and much more. For centuries, the Cafe Majestic was a destination for intellectuals, Bohemians, artists, musicians, and members of high society. Today, all are welcome to enjoy wine, tea, ice cream, coffee and othe rlibations. Sorry, no absinthe!
You can view the full itinerary by clicking here. $2,709 per person based on double occupancy (all taxes included). $500 non-refundable deposit due at time of booking. Reserve your spot by June 19th, 2015. For more information, please contact Ian Abreu at 508-999-5231, ext.24., or Caitlin McCaffery at 508-717-6816 or email@example.com.
2015 Members’ Trip to Porto
Offered by the Whaling Museum, Chamber of Commerce, and Sagres Vacations.
Phone: Ian Abreu at 508-999-5231, ext.24. or Caitlin McCaffery at 508-717-6816
EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Atlantic White Cedar Swamp a Little Known Local Treasure
by Emily Neal
It has been a long, cold winter, and I have been really looking forward to getting back outside. As a dog owner, mom, and nature enthusiast, I am always searching for new places in the SouthCoast area to get out and go for a walk. Recently I found one: the Acushnet Cedar Swamp in New Bedford.
The Acushnet Cedar Swamp State Reservation encompasses over 1800 acres of wetlands in New Bedford and North Dartmouth. It contains an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp, a type of swamp characterized by thick stands of Atlantic White Cedar trees growing from moss-covered hummocks that rise from brownish water. This Atlantic White Cedar swamp was designated as a “National Natural Landmark” by the National Parks Service in 1972, and is only one of eleven Natural Landmarks in the state. It is one of the largest cedar swamps in Massachusetts, and is rumored to be exceptionally wild and impenetrable.
It is currently managed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and is protected by the “Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act,” which regulates any activity that may affect the health of the swamp, like land clearing or filling. Atlantic White Cedar Swamps are a very unique and delicate ecosystem that only occur on the east coast; many are currently threatened by commercial and residential development.
Atlantic White Cedar (scientific name: Chamaecyparis thyoides) is an evergreen conifer tree that is in the Cypress family. It has soft, flat sprays of scaly leaves and tiny light-blue cones. The tree grows in a cone shape and can grow up to 80 feet tall. It is possible for these trees to live to 1,000 years but most live to around 200 years old. The wood of the cedar tree is very fragrant and durable. For over three hundred years it has been harvested in Massachusetts to be used for shingles, posts, fencing, boats, and more. Harvesting of wood these days is limited, however, due to the negative impacts that it has on the health of the swamp.
For much of the year the trees are partially submerged in standing water. They rely on regular water level fluctuations throughout the year in order to survive, which makes them especially vulnerable to land clearing for residential and commercial development which can change local water levels.
I have been excited to visit this site for some time. I have been to other Atlantic White Cedar Swamps, both on Cape Cod. There is a beautiful boardwalk trail through the cedar swamp in Welfleet, near Marconi beach. The boardwalk winds over the water between the trees, minimizing impact to the ecosystem but still allowing hikers to get a close-up look at this amazing ecosystem. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any such boardwalk trail through the cedars here in New Bedford.
I did find a lesser-known entrance on the west side of the Reservation on High Hill Road in North Dartmouth. The entrance is marked by nothing more than a brown metal gate, and there are one or two spaces for cars by the side of the road. The trail leads into the woods and splits off toward private properties on a few occasions. The trail was wide and seemed relatively well maintained. Since three feet of winter snow just recently melted, the trail was very wet and at times nearly impassable. Other than the wetness, it was quite a pleasant walk. The trail seemed to skirt the edge of the Reservation and stayed upland from the swamp. We walked in dry, mixed woods the entire time, and I never saw a single cedar tree! I noticed mostly beech and pine trees, among other species that characterize these drier, upland areas associated with the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp.
I didn’t hike all of the way to the end of the trail. I am not sure if this trail even leads into the cedar swamp, or if it simply goes around it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the trail did not enter the wetland area unless there is a boardwalk, because the water would likely get very deep. I will go back to this site and explore further, however. There were a few side trails (watch out for those marked “Private Property”) that I want to explore, that appeared to head down in elevation a little bit (and possibly into the swamp itself). I think at this point I will wait until the ground dries out some more.
There is also access to the Acushnet Cedar Swamp at Turner Pond in New Bedford, and maybe there I will have some luck. Overall I had a very difficult time finding information about the swamp, and subsequently a way into the swamp, and I admit I still have some exploring to do. But I will continue my search, as these magical watery forests are well worth the effort.
Appearance of Dandelions Marks the Start of a New Foraging Season
by Emily Neal
A familiar weed has recently made its first appearance in my yard: the dandelion. Although they can be a nuisance, dandelions aren’t all bad- they are edible and may have medicinal value as well. Dandelions are highly nutritious, delicious, and easy to find. Eating dandelion salad in the spring brings back fond memories for me, and I am excited to try it this year, and maybe some new recipes as well.
Dandelions (scientific name: Taraxacum officinale) are one of the first wild edible perennials to show up in spring. They have familiar toothy yellow single flowers and tufty white seed balls and are part of the sunflower family. They are one of the most common and easily recognizable weeds and can grow just about anywhere- roadsides, driveways, meadows, and gardens, as well as wooded areas. Dandelions are one of the first plants to colonize newly disturbed soil, and can be a persistent pest to homeowners due to their abundance and resilience.
All of the parts of the dandelion plant can be eaten:
The roots can be roasted, ground and brewed like coffee.
The young leaves (before flowers appear) can be eaten in a salad or as a cooked green.
The mature leaves can be dried and made into tea.
The flower buds can be boiled or pickled.
The flowers can be made into fritters, or used as a salad garnish.
The crown (the white part just below leaves and above the root) can be eaten as a cooked vegetable or made into fritters.
Dandelions have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The plant is known to be an excellent source of Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, iron, protein, antioxidants, and calcium. Tea from dandelion roots has been used as a laxative, a diuretic, and as a blood cleanser. It also can be used as a liver tonic and may be able to help rejuvenate a damaged liver. Other parts of the plant have been used to bring down a fever, stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and decrease congestion. The antioxidants found in the plant may help to prevent cancer. Dandelion sap may be used directly on skin irritations, as it has antimicrobial, anti fungal, and insecticidal properties. Dandelion may be used to help regulate blood sugar levels, treat anemia, jaundice, high blood pressure, and acne, among other medicinal uses. Many health food stores carry dandelion tea and supplements meant to treat some of these conditions. The effectiveness of dandelion for any medicinal use has not been approved by the FDA.
Despite potential health benefits, dandelions have worn out their welcome by invading people’s lawns. Many people choose to use pesticides on their lawn, but while these chemicals are effective, they can also be very dangerous. Exposure to pesticides poses a health risk to children, dogs, and other household pets. Many of these chemicals used can be passed on through breast milk, and have been linked to cancer, leukemia, and miscarriage. Also, pesticide runoff can contaminate groundwater and local streams and rivers, having negative effects on local wildlife. Eating dandelions is an excellent way to get them off our lawns without introducing harmful chemicals to our environment. When harvesting with intent to eradicate, be sure to dig up the large tap root, which will continue to regenerate dandelion leaves and flowers unless it is pulled.
I am interested in trying all of the parts of the dandelion that are edible. So far I only have experience eating young dandelion leaves. I usually have them fresh tossed with oil and vinegar and a bit of salt. This way of eating them is reminiscent of the way my Italian grandmother made dandelion salad when I was young. Although dandelions have a distinct bitter flavor, I remember loving this salad that she prepared every April. In fact, it was a Marathon Day tradition for my family. We would go watch the race (near the eight-mile marker) and then head back to my grandmother’s to watch the finish on television. We always had dandelion greens with chicken soup for lunch as we watched. Now my grandmother is 94. She no longer lives at home and does not pick dandelions. I’ve stopped going to the Boston Marathon since the experience has changed so much in recent years, and I won’t be going this year, either. I will, however, make some more dandelion salad and continue that part of the tradition- possibly this time with some dandelion crown fritters as well.
“The Unadoptables” web show coming this summer; sponsors needed
Puppies, kittens and cute dogs and cats are very adoptable. Older dogs/cats, those with behavioral or medical issues, are not. In many ways these animals are “unadoptable” and languish for long periods of times, sometimes over a year, in pet shelters. There are plenty of humans willing to offer a loving home to them, but they just need to be alerted of a pet in need. Along comes a weekly film project called “The Unadoptables.”
The concept is to coordinate with pet shelters in the South Coast, MA area and have them send details on the least adoptable dogs, cats and other legally adoptable pets. The ones that are too old, have medical conditions, don’t do well with children, etc. We’ll then have a “team” of experts (vets, trainers) work with the animals, help make them adoptable and provide future care once the pet is adopted. We will also have sponsors pay the shelter’s adoption fee and provide a “starter kit” of supplies to the new owner. Basically, the show will take away every barrier for adoption and provide the marketing to a 100,000+ residents in the South Coast, MA area.
Here are a list of sponsors needed:
Veterinarians: We need several veterinarians to sponsor an initial check up and a few months or more of future care.
Dog trainers: We need trainers willing to offer their serves for initial work and for one month or more.
Pet stores: We need pet stores to provide a new owner starter kit (food and supplies for a new pet owner).
Sponsors/Advertisers: We need advertisers willing to pay for the cost of production and pet shelter adoption fee.
In return for sponsoring the show, sponsors will be mentioned in the TV show with a “thanks to our sponsors” or a short advert. Additionally, sponsors may get advertising on New Bedford Guide’s website and social media presence. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sponsor The Unadoptables web-based show.
A Walk with Cody the Coyote at the Buttonwood Park Zoo
New Bedford Guide visited the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Massachusetts and attached two GoPro cameras to Cody the Coyote. Here’s the video of Cody exploring the zoo. The video was made possible by the amazing staff at the Buttonwood Park Zoo and with he support of Ashley Ford.
An orphaned coyote pup, now named Cody, came to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in July of 2014 from Minnesota. Cody was found at 4 weeks old and was bottle fed by a wildlife rehabilitator in order to survive. Since Cody has imprinted to humans, he can no longer be released into the wild and was welcomed to the Buttonwood Park Zoo.
Zoo staff spent several months acclimating Cody to his new surroundings with the goal of making him an animal ambassador for his species. Since coyotes are shy and skittish by nature, it took considerable time and effort to get Cody to become comfortable with all the sights and sounds of the zoo.
Visitors may now regularly see zoo staff and Cody out on walks exploring the zoo, educating visitors about coyotes, and allowing an up close look at one of the zoo’s newest members. Many of the animals residing at the zoo, like Cody, are orphaned or injured wildlife that can no longer be returned to the wild.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell State of the City Address
Highlights from Mayor Mitchell’s 2015 State of the City Address
Mayor reports steady progress across a wide range of municipal issues
1. Continued progress on crime, overall crime rate down 2%
2. New Bedford High School graduation rate highest in fifteen years
3. New Bedford economy firing on all cylinders, building permits up 40% since 2011, 5,000 jobs added since 2011, progress on unemployment rate, new businesses being created, cites new seafood restaurant, “The Black Whale” and job creation at existing companies like Joseph Abboud-up 200 jobs last year.
4. Port poised for growth: multiple offshore wind energy projects on the horizon, Deepwater Wind advancing off Block Island and 2 major European industry players stake new claims for development rights in waters off Martha’s Vineyard. Record number of cargo freighters this winter and doubling of the tonnage, each port call injects $250K into local economy, new harbor launch for recreational boaters a tremendous success, 1,300 users, mooring rentals triple.
5. Improvements to city services: solar program on track to save millions, automated trash collection system doubled city’s recycling rate, replacement of 10,000 streetlights with LED technology dramatically reduces energy costs
6. Cultural milestones include: historic return of the Charles W. Morgan brings nearly 40,000 visitors, Feast of the Blessed Sacrament celebrated 100 years, largest and best Veterans’ Day Parade in decades, adoption of Community Preservation Act
Mayor announces the City will be releasing in weeks ahead guiding principles to ensure future development projects include opportunities for New Bedford workers and companies
“I am proud to announce a set of principles for public and private investments in the City called “New Bedford Works.” These principles will be rolled out in the weeks ahead, but the basic idea is a set of mutual commitments by the City and anyone wishing to invest here concerning the hiring of City residents and contracting with City businesses.”
“At time when major investments like the casino, the harbor clean up, and other projects are or could be coming on line, we need to establish an understanding of what obligations are owed to this community.”
Mayor explains his fight for casino terms that address the city’s long-term interests including protections for the downtown and the waterfront
“The deal we fought for and struck with KG Urban is a good one for New Bedford. It is on New Bedford’s terms.”
“I shared the concerns voiced by many that a casino might diminish the appeal of the downtown, the availability of waterfront land, and the City’s image. So I fought for terms that directly address these issues.”
“The agreement limits the number of shops, restaurants and hotel rooms so casino patrons will spill over into the downtown. We put in a conference center could hold two thousand people, not all of whom will want to gamble, but would rather spend time at our cultural attractions. We’ve protected the Zeiterion, created a voucher program to encourage tourist spending in New Bedford, and required the operator to procure a minimum of $10,000,000 goods and services from New Bedford businesses. We made sure the harbor bulkhead is put to good use, creating as much new space of commercial fishing berthing as possible and using the remaining area for a marina.”
“This project represents a unique opportunity for New Bedford. We should not regard the project as the goose that laid the golden egg. The annual payments should not be viewed as an opportunity to loosen up the purse strings and spend freely. This money needs to be reinvested wisely…The priorities are all spelled out explicitly in the Host Community Agreement: funds should be reinvested in economic development, port development, community preservation, and be used to improve city services and stabilize the city’s finances.”
“The casino should be seen not as an end in itself, but as another means to create opportunity for our residents. “
Mayor calls for continued efforts to expand UMass presence in the urban core
“New Bedford and Lowell are often cited as two New England cities are on the upswing, but the part of the story that must be told is that while the UMass system has made a whopping $600 million in new capital investments in Lowell since 2009, during that same period it has made not spent a dollar in new capital investment in New Bedford.”
“We need UMass to be a partner in the city’s resurgence and grow its physical presence in the city, for the city’s sake or for its own sake.”
“There have been encouraging signs of late. Chancellor Divina Grossman has worked with the city to kick start the long-stalled SMAST expansion in the South End, and now that project has traction. UMass-Dartmouth is now actively looking for opportunities in the downtown as well. And the university is supporting some of the new technology incubators that are setting up in the city. This is just a start; there’s a long way to go, but the effort is now moving in the right direction.”
Over 100 employers to attend South Coast Job Fair (April 8, 2015)
Know someone looking for work or a new career? The area’s largest job fair will be at the Tripp Athletic Center UMass Dartmouth (285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA) on Wednesday, April 8th from 10am – 3pm. There will be nearly 100 employers on site to conduct interviews.
List of companies, jobs they are hiring for and required education level here:
Understanding this season’s lack of efficacy against Type A influenza
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. Each year thousands are hospitalized or die from the virus and vaccination is the attempt to lessen the symptoms or prevent catching the virus in the first place. The particulars of the three types of viruses – type A, B & C – go beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that type A & B are the most serious and therefore of greater concern. Generally each vaccine is made to protect people against three flu types – two “A” strains and one “B” strain.
The typical influenza vaccine is between 40-65% effective in reducing the severity of the virus or preventing it altogether. Making headlines all across the world is the news that this season’s influenza vaccine was far less effective than it is typically. In America, estimates are that the vaccine was somewhere around 25% effective and in some parts of Europe, an abysmal 3% effective. This season, influenza has reach almost all 50 states. How is this possible? Why did this happen?
Each February, the World Health Organization culls its international data received from reference laboratories on circulating influenza strains and forecasts what they believe will be the following Winter’s most common and likely culprits. The reason this is done so far in advance – just shy of a year – is due to the amount of time that it takes to manufacture the vaccine, package and then ship it to waiting pharmacies and medical practitioners. The reason that each year one must get another vaccination is because the strains of the flu virus mutate and replace the older strains.
This year’s vaccine was effective against the Type B strain, but performed poorly against the Type A strain. Between the time that the WHO forecasted the strains they felt would be this season’s perpetrators and the time that people began to have the vaccine administered, the Type A strain had mutated – rendering the current vaccine less potent. This mutated strain was not included in this season’s vaccines and thus reach epidemic levels across 47 states.
The suggested solution for the immediate future is to make sure that the vaccine includes all types of Type A influenza and the development of better forecasting methods. In the U.S., federal agencies are seeking to develop a safe, universal vaccine – one that would encompass “broad protection against subsequent exposures.” By targeting the less-changing stem of the virus as opposed to the “branches” or mutations, forecasting as a method wouldn’t need to be relied on as heavily. In addition, the universal vaccine would last almost a decade.
This universal vaccine has been in an animal testing phase since 2010, but is expected to reach human trials soon. Some professional predict its availability in 5-7 years.
The current flu vaccine does offer some protection, and of course, some protection is better than no protection at all. It goes without saying, that restricting interaction with infected individuals, washing one’s hands frequently, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces will go far in lessening your chances of contracting that virus. Covering one’s nose and mouth and/or calling in sick will help prevent the spread of influenza.
Double Bar Music: helping people have a rewarding musical experience regardless of age!
Thinking about investing in your child through the rewarding experience of music? In the bouquet of life, there are many experiences available that are rich in their reward and highly fulfilling. One of these experiences is that of music. As a musician of three decades, I can’t think of many more mediums that have allowed me to have a veritable cornucopia of experiences and emotions – high and low and everything in between. There is joy, melancholy, frustration, sympathy, longing, pining, contentment, and more.
Learning to continue on in the face of frustration while traveling the musical path, teaches one to develop extended focus, patience, zeal, and tenacity. One must be creative to solve many of the physical and mental barriers to learning. These become parts of your personality. Just think of the personalities of your musical friends.
Of course, being a musician doesn’t happen in a vacuum and serves a base purpose when only done in isolation. In addition to the variety of personal experiences, the people I have met and shared a multitude of experiences with are some of the best I’ve had in life. The aforementioned character traits are generally found in abundance in all musicians – for you can’t excel within music without having these traits to a high degree. It helps connect people across languages, cultures, classes, you name it.
Having said all that, there is another practical benefit beyond the metaphysical and spiritual: the ability to play darn good music. There are quite a few places in the South Coast to choose from, but if you are looking for world class instruction, high quality instruments, and an effective curriculum, you really don’t need to look beyond my personal favorite, Double Bar Music in Westport.
Double Bar offers private lessons, group classes, ensembles/bands, instrument accessory sales, special order sound equipment, instrument repair, and orchestra/band instrument rentals for students – a serious, full service music center. There are even online lessons!
You may be asking “Why way out in Westport?” Owners and Westport natives Marcelle Gauvin, and her daughters Kelsey Jacobsen and Kimber-lee Jacobsen were born and raised in Westport and have been lifelong residents. Their sense of loyalty goes beyond their favorite town, but they have seen the struggle that the Westport school system has gone through to maintain their music programs through the years. They felt it would be a way to bring music to the community of students who need it and that their presence would be a boon – they were more correct than they thought, as word-of-mouth about Double Bar spread like wildfire and their reach with clientele now extends to Dartmouth, Fall River, and of course, New Bedford and beyond.
One of the places their reach has extended to, is the Berklee College of Music, where Marcelle is an associate professor of voice. She is also the head of the UMass Dartmouth jazz voice studio
What separates Double Bar Music from many of the other music shops in the region, besides the talent, service and friendly staff? Their strong Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) voice studio: they are certified to train healthy vocal technique for pop, rock, R&B, country, music theater, jazz, and alternative singers. They also offer classical technique so all of the students learn to sound stylistically appropriate.
There are ensemble and band programs, such as: a Capella groups, rock bands, string ensembles, songwriting classes, improvisation classes, etc. and regular performance opportunities for the students. The students can collaborate with other students or work with Double Bar instructors. So the instruction there is not the “walk in, get taught, walk off into the sunset until the next lesson.” The instructors have a genuine interest in seeing students translate their skill into the public arena – I’d say it’s a passion.
One fun example of this is the very popular “Summer of Rock” program: an 8-week summer session that takes place every June. Kelsey and crew organize the musicians into bands based on age and skill level. Rehearsals take place 2-4 times per week and they work on songs that THEY want to do. At the end of the session they put on a 2 hour concert! These kids will be playing at venues that you visit soon enough!
The first “Summer of Rock” performed at St. Theresa’s Feast in Tiverton, RI for over 1,000 people and the subsequent event was at the Battleship Brewhouse (video) in Fall River for a packed house. By the reports from the kids and audience members, the shows were smashing successes. Here is a video of the Summer of Rock at St. Theresa’s Feast featuring an 8 year old drummer:
The ensemble programs come in two categories: educational which focuses on music theory, the industry or technology, and performance which prepares the student for the stage – from communicating with other musicians and the audience or developing a presence. Each lasts anywhere from 6-12 weeks, but can be as short as one week in length. It’s a focused, powerful way to impart a substantial amount of knowledge through experience.
A great way to see some of what Double Bar does, is to stop in and see one of their Hump Day Cabarets, which take place at the Heron Dance, Yoga, and Meditation Studio and open to the public. Many musicians, beginners and professionals, come together to make music purely for the love of it. Adults and kids that had never had the courage or opportunity to perform take the stage to share their art. Kelsey mentioned that these Hump Day Cabarets are by far and away the most rewarding and favorite moments by the staff.
So, what age should a child begin his or her venture into music? Kelsey suggest 7-8 years old as a prime age to begin. Of course, it is entirely dependent up the maturity level of a student and she does have some as young as 4 years of age. On the flip side, if you are an adult, don’t think you can’t partake in this whole experience. You are never too old to start and think of what kind of experiences you can have by taking up music with your son or daughter? Can you say impromptu jam session?! You’ll get to share some of your favorite bands growing up as I do with my daughter. Conversation comes easy and you may actually come across as “hip” and “cool” and not square!
The people at Double Bar understand that musical instruments can sometimes be expensive, and no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on one to find out it will turn into a fancy coat rack. Or like clothes, they are outgrown and made obsolete. With that in mind, they offer a variety of affordable musical instrument rentals: clarinet, flute, percussion kits, trombone, trumpet, viola/violin, saxophones, cello, oboe, and horns.
Double Bar even has a “Rent To Own” program whereby your rental fee is applied to the purchase of that instrument. If the moment comes, where you have fallen in love with your instrument, you can buy it at any time at a discounted price!
So whether you are looking to rent an instrument, learn to jam, want to expand your horizons, be a bedroom jammer or become a famous rockstar you’ll find a warm welcome at Double Bar Music. You’ve nothing to lose, by simply heading to Double Bar and browsing around and soaking up some of the positive energy that comes from everyone there. Tell them that Joe sent you and that you want the special treatment!
Double Bar Music
1093 State Rd
Phone: (774) 319-5554