Fun Facts About Autumn

The cool, crisp days of autumn have arrived. As fall foliage creates a colorful display and kids frolic in leaf piles on the lawn, you may want to pay some mind to a few lesser known facts about this beloved time of year. Autumn may call to mind Halloween and the return of school, but there are other factors that make this season unique.

  1. The first day of autumn is known as the autumnal equinox. On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal. This is because the sun is aligned with the center of the Earth between the north and south of the planet.

  2. In Greek mythology, autumn was a time when Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. During this time, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was distraught and the ground grew sparse and cold. When Persephone returned in the springtime, plants and life bloomed anew because of Demeter’s happiness.
  3. Those who live closest to the equator, which is the center of the planet, never experience the season of autumn. Around the equator, the temperature remains consistently warm.

  4. Yellow, orange and variations thereof always reside in the pigmentation of tree leaves, but they are just overpowered by the abundance of green from the chlorophyll in the leaves. Come autumn, however, when the sun weakens and days grow shorter, the amount of chlorophyll in leaves diminishes, allowing the other pigments in the leaves to show through.

  5. Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.

  6. Fall is a peak migration time for many species of birds. During autumn, birds will y to other areas as they seek more hospitable climates. The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration. That is like going all the way across the United States about three and a half times.

  7. Contrary to popular belief, squirrels who have spent the entire autumn collecting acorns and other foods do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, they spend the majority of their time in nests they built to shelter them from harsh weather. When squirrels do come out in winter, they are usually tunneling under the snow to find the food they buried during the fall.

  8. Several cultures have ancient traditions that coincide with autumn. For example, the Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival to give thanks for a successful summer harvest.

  9. Halloween is a large part of autumn. The concept of wearing masks and costumes hails from ancient Celtic tradition. The Celts believed ghosts roamed on Halloween, and people wore disguises to hide from the spirits.

  10. You’re bound to see pumpkins as part of autumn decor. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”

  11. Evergreen trees will not lose their leaves like deciduous trees. Their leaves, also called needles, are covered with a thick wax. This wax protects the inner components of the needles, preventing them from freezing.

  12. Autumn also signals another colorful spectacle apart from the tree leaves. The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, tends to be visible this time of year. This is because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall thanks to cool evening weather.

 

Do You Have Questions About Medicare?

By Roni Bell

You are NOT alone! I have seen much change so I stay current and informed so I can give you a choice, convenience and counsel is important to me.   Choosing insurance plans can be difficult. I have listed several of the most frequently asked questions below.

WHAT AGE DO I NEED TO BE TO SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE?

  1. Original Medicare is a federal health insurance program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for those who are:
  2. 65 and older
  3. Any age and disabled (after 25 months)
  4. Diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (Kidney disease requiring dialysis)
  5. IF I RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY, AM I AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN MEDICARE?
  • If you are collecting social security, you will automatically be signed up for Original Medicare and receive your Medicare card in the mail 3 to 4 months before you turn 65.
  • Otherwise, you need to go to www.medicare.gov and formally enroll in Medicare Parts A & B in order to be signed up and get your Medicare Card. You may also call or visit your local Social Security office for help or to sign up for Medicare.
  • If you are covered under your (or your spouse’s) CURRENT employer group health plan, you may delay enrollment into Medicare Part B.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN vs. THE MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN?

  1. Original Medicare never intended to pay 100% of health care costs. You have two options in Medicare if you want additional coverage, either a Medicare Supplement or an Advantage plan.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (Medigap) help with the coverage gaps in Original Medicare. (You will need to add a separate prescription drug plan – Part D.) Original Medicare is still the primary payer of claims; you choose an insurance company that helps fill in some/all of the costs that Original Medicare does not cover. (deductible, co-insurance)

With a Medicare Supplement Plan or Medigap, you pay little or NO out of pocket cost when used (for medical). These plans have NO network. They are accepted nationwide by all doctors/hospitals who accept Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plan:

You still pay your Part B premium. You choose a plan with a private health insurance company, and they will pay your doctors and hospitals. You will be charged out-of-pocket costs when the plan is used. That means you will pay copays at the doctor, hospital, outpatient surgery, labs, etc.

You will need to be willing to use network providers, as these plans can be HMOs or PPOs. They have a maximum out-of-pocket cost for medical (prescriptions not included). Most Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug coverage. They may also offer some added benefits such as vision, dental, hearing, fitness, etc. These plans can have a lower cost or no additional cost to you, in addition to your Part B premium.

HOW DO I SELECT THE BEST PLAN TO FIT OUR NEEDS?

  1. I highly recommend meeting with a licensed insurance agent. HealthMarkets and my team are here to help, and there is no charge or fee to meet with an agent. You will pay the same rate that you would if you trudge through it on your own.   There are many things to take into consideration in choosing the most appropriate plan for you. There is no BEST plan in Medicare; it is really determining the plan that fits with your lifestyle, your medications, and your individual situation.

I do like to make sure that clients know that they are eligible to purchase a Medicare supplement with no health questions asked, in your guarantee issue period. (This is 6 months beginning with turning 65 or enrolling in Part B, whichever is later.) There are some other special circumstances, typically 63 days after loss of coverage.   After your guaranteed enrolment period ends, you will be asked medical questions to determine if you are eligible for a Medicare Supplement. They can either decline or charge a higher rate based on health.

Please reach out if you have questions. We will work to find the plan that best fits you and your family. ~Roni

Here’s How to Achieve Your Goals Once and For All!

By Jeff Tomaszewski, Chief Life Transformer, MaxStrength Fitness

Do you have unmet goals? If so, you aren’t alone. Most people live with unfulfilled aspirations.

Unfortunately, many widely used self-help techniques fail to deliver results. Case in point: You’ve probably heard of the “Yale Goal Study” where researchers interviewed Yale’s 1953 graduating class, asking whether or not the students had written down specific goals that they wanted to achieve. Then 20 years down the road the researchers looked up each student and discovered that the 3% of the class who had written down their goals had accumulated more personal wealth than the other 97% combined. Very compelling story, but complete fiction.

The “Yale Goal Study” never happened, though motivational speakers and self-help books have quoted it for years. Best-selling author and psychologist, Richard Wiseman, went on a mission to craft a no-nonsense response to the bogus self-help techniques. Using a diverse range of scientific data, he uncovered a proven approach to achieve any goal. The following 5 successful techniques (Do This) and 5 unsuccessful techniques (Not That) are from Wiseman’s book, 59 Seconds Change Your Life in Under a Minute.

1) Do This: Make a Step-by-Step Plan.

If you are serious about achieving your goal, then you need to create a step-by-step plan on how to do it. Successful goal-achievers break down their overall goal into sub-goals. Each sub-goal needs to be concrete, measurable and time-based.

• Not That: Motivate yourself by focusing on someone that you admire. Studies show that focusing on someone you admire is not a strong enough motivator to see you through your goal.

2) Do This: Tell Other People About Your Goal.

How badly do you want to achieve your goal? If you want it bad enough, you’ll tell your friends and family. This technique works on two levels. First, you’ve put yourself on the spot by letting the world in on your goal, so it’s all-eyes-on-you. Failure would be public. Second, your friends and family are there to offer support and encouragement. Don’t underestimate the psychological power of having someone in your corner.

• Not That: Think about the bad things. When you focus on the negative it becomes your reality.

3) Do This: Focus on the Good Things When Achieving Your Goal.

Remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goal. Make a checklist of how life will be better once you have achieved your aim. This gets your focus on a positive future, one that’s worth the effort.

• Not That: Try to suppress unhelpful thoughts. Rather than trying to erase that image of chocolate cake from your mind, learn to deal with the reality of temptation head-on.

4) Do This: Reward Your Progress.

Studies show that attaching rewards to each of your sub-goals encourages success. Your rewards should never conflict with your major goal. When aiming to lose weight, never use food as a reward.

• Not That: Rely on willpower. Willpower alone rarely gets anyone to their goal.

5) Do This: Record Your Progress.

Make your plans, progress, benefits and rewards concrete by expressing them in writing. Use a hand-written journal, your computer or a bulletin board to chart your progress. This process is priceless for maintaining motivation.

• Not That: Just fantasize about life after achieving your goal. Daydreaming is fun, but simply fantasizing about your new life will not make it a reality.

Are you ready to achieve your fitness and weight loss goal once and for all? Request your free initial consultation and demo workout at www.maxstrengthfitness.com now to get started on your spectacular health and fitness transformation. Now is your time to get into the best shape of your life in only 20 minutes 2 X week at MaxStrength Fitness.

Annual Appliance Inspections Ensure Year-Round Safety & Efficiency

Dominion Energy Ohio reminds customers an annual furnace inspection, by a qualified, reputable heating contractor, can help ensure maximum winter heating safety, comfort and efficiency.

An annual appliance inspection also can prevent any potential carbon monoxide problems. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors provide a second line of defense, but they should not be used as a substitute for an annual furnace inspection. Combined with an annual inspection, however, a single CO detector, placed in the sleeping area of a home offers additional peace of mind.

Dominion Energy Ohio also offers home energy assessments for just $50 to eligible residential customers, providing ways to save money year-round on home cooling and heating costs. The audits are available through the company’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program, administered by CLEAResult.

The program includes a home energy assessment to help diagnose high utility usage and other home comfort issues, and then provides rebates of up to $1,250 for completion of recommended energy-efficiency improvements. Dominion Energy Ohio customers may call 877.287.3416 to schedule an assessment or visit deohpwes.com for program details and eligibility information.

The assessment is the first step in the program. An energy auditor visits customers’ homes to help pinpoint energy losses through diagnostic testing and a professional evaluation. Following the energy assessment, customers receive a customized energy report with the results, plus recommendations and rebates available through the program.

Recommended improvements typically include air sealing and insulation, HVAC equipment upgrades, window and door replacements, plus much more. These improvements can help customers decrease utility bills, while increasing home comfort, safety, durability and resale value.

Residential customers also may receive such products as a programmable thermostat or carbon monoxide detector, high-efficiency showerheads, and water-saving faucet aerators at no cost (a $100 value). Customers also can use these no-cost/low-cost tips to get the most from their energy dollars this winter heating season:

• Save Money by Degrees: Dominion Energy Ohio also notes that customers can save from 10 to 15 percent on annual heating costs by setting the thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and down to 58 degrees at night, or when the resident is at work or away for an extended period.

• Caulk Around: Use inexpensive caulking around the fireplace mantle, inside windows and storm windows, electrical receptacle boxes, exhaust fan openings, pipes leading to bathroom fixtures, mortar cracks in chimneys, cracks in basement walls. Be sure to caulk around areas where the foundation meets the first floor plate and basement windows.

• Draft Stoppers: Block off drafts at the bottom of doors with a rolled up rug or bath towel. You also can make a long, narrow beanbag to fit against the bottom of the door.

• Switch Off Drafts: To seal off drafts, apply self-adhesive foam strips to the back of wall plates for electrical outlets and switches.

Dominion Energy Ohio
www.dominionenergy.com