Archive for the ‘Outdoor Activities’ category

A Breathe Easy Benefit

September 3, 2010

When talking with Nolan Courchesne, a 19 year old native of Chicopee MA, you begin to really understand the value of life. “Even if my life isn’t long, I want to accomplish as much as I can,” stated Nolan to our local Republican Newspaper. Nolan is just one of many who deal with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and can clog some of the organs in the body, mainly the lungs. For Nolan, he has never known what it was like to breathe freely, and after his hospitalization this past winter, Nolan decided it was time to do something to raise awareness about his condition with Cystic Fibrosis.

Having Cystic Fibrosis is extremely limiting to what activities you can do. Nolan had told us that he used to be able to play baseball, one of his favorite sports, and now it’s not as easy to actively play. When the mucus builds up and clogs some of the organs, such as the lungs, it can make breathing very difficult. The constant build up of mucus can lead to inflammation and even infection that can ultimately damage parts of the organ its’ contained to.  Over 300,000 people suffer from Cystic Fibrosis currently and to date, there is no cure, which is why it is important to help raise awareness on the seriousness of this disease. As sited in the Republican, the median predicted age of survival is now 37.4 years, which has risen 5 years since 2000. Nolan, who refuses to be confined due to his condition, serves as an excellent example of how to make the most out of life. “People look at me like I’m a tough kid. I can’t lie down and give up and waste away” stated Nolan in the Republican. The idea of the benefit first sparked when Nolan first listened to the song “Breathe” created by Matt Scales. Matt, who wrote the song to capture what it’s like to live with Cystic Fibrosis, is no longer alive though his words live on through the lives he’s touched when he produced the song. “I wanted to do my part to raise awareness, and that’s why I started planning the Breathe Easy event” said Nolan.

With the help of his family and extensive amount of friends, Nolan put together the “Breathe Easy Fundraiser” to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and to make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help researchers find a cure for this disease. “Growing up and not being able to play sports, like baseball, it was hard for me. I want to help kids in the future who go through the same condition as me, and contribute to finding a cure. To be able to play sports and be active without having to worry about having Cystic Fibrosis is something that I want young kids to be able to do.”

 The fundraiser was Nolan’s way of contributing to the Cystic Fibrosis Community, and was a huge success as the event raised over $10,000. With a successful turnout in attendance and beautiful New England weather, the Breathe Easy Benefit was surely an event to remember. It was easily accessible from all surrounding cities as it was held at the Summit View on Northampton St in Holyoke, MA. Entertainment was provided for all ages including two bounce houses for young children, horse drawn hay rides, face painting and even a massage station for all. Guests were encouraged to participate in ongoing games, an extensive Chinese raffle of donations and various musical performances all set the atmosphere for a good time. Food provided from Hamel’s Creative Catering left the guests fully satisfied with buffet style offerings of BBQ chicken, baked ziti, baked beans, fresh salad and rolls. Local bands Shades of Blue, The Shock Waves and the Glisten Effect kept the good times rolling as the event lasted from 1pm-10pm.

Ross Insurance was glad to help sponsor the event, and some of our team members even had the privilege of experiencing the fun first hand. We are extremely grateful that Nolan and his family have helped Ross Insurance to better understand why it is important to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. With wisdom far exceeding his age, Nolan welcomed all guests to freely ask questions about his condition and encouraged all to help his efforts in donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The event was a remarkable experience and we thank the Courchesne family for allowing us to be a part of it!

Going To The Chapel, And We’re…Stopping To Buy Special Event Insurance First!

August 27, 2010

Nice weather and vacation time usually means that weddings are around the corner. Something about the season in bloom makes for a perfect opportunity to share your love with close friends and family. It’s a day to remember and a big step forward in a relationship, but also a big expense. These days, the more elaborate the wedding the more expensive. During this year, residents and visitors found that Tennessee’s flooding put the brakes on many ceremonies and celebrations. Due to extreme weather conditions, popular venues were closed because they were submerged from flooding. Just this past April in Rhode Island, we experienced that stores and businesses had to close their doors and turn away customers because their environment was consumed in water! In New England you can never plan the weather, it is constantly changing around us. One minute it could be raining and the next minute it is hot and humid. Located in Holyoke, we are familiar with the ever changing ways of the weather, which is why we also recommend coverage for “The Big Day”. Ensure your special day goes off without a hitch and look into our special event insurance for your wedding

Make Those Last Few Summer Days Fun!

August 26, 2010

A great way to beat the heat of summer is to take advantage of the thriving outdoor activities that you have in your own backyard and all around the New England area. Summer activities are all around, all you have to do is to load up the car and take a beach adventure, or gas up your ATV for a ride around some of the best beaten paths that Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield, Southwick and West Springfield have to offer. There are so many different ways of enjoying the summer, but before the fun gets taken out of hand, considering the event of an accident before heading out is beneficial to you and your family members. Did you know that as soon as you leave your property your home insurance is no longer going to protect you if you got into an accident with your ATV? How often do you actually stay on your property, probably never. That is why it is so important to purchase an Off Road Vehicle policy. This policy gives you the option of purchasing physical damage coverage for the bike, plus liability coverage to protect you in the event someone is injured. The time to worry about insurance coverage is before the accident happens, and we are dedicated to giving you the satisfaction of covering all of the corners before you take your first trip off road. We understand that these vehicles are fun, so let us give you a free quote so that you don’t have to worry about insurance if the fun gets taken out of hand. Do you own an ATV or dirtbike but are unsure of where to travel? Check out the Berkshire Trails Council website that offers tips and locations on where you can maximize your off road experience!

Are You Prepared For A Hurricane?

August 19, 2010

With the summer season making its way out there more people are looking forward to the fall season, however one season that most do not think of is hurricane season and it is currently in its peak. Hurricane Season is a period of time where tropical cyclones are likely to form in the Atlantic Ocean and usually begins June 1st and will continue on to November 30th. These dates signify a history of when tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, were more likely to occur. With the 5th Anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina approaching it is important to prepare in the event of a hurricane before it approaches.  Hurricane Katrina which occurred August 23 of 2005, was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States and one of five deadliest. Forecasts are predicting that 2010 could be a big year for hurricanes and reminding everyone to keep a close watch on the weather. Hurricanes usually only affect the coasts, which is why areas such as Haiti and U.S. Coasts including New Orleans and Texas should be especially watchful of what this years hurricane season may consist of. There are however a few ways to protect yourself this year.

Get all important papers or pictures in order and secure them in water resistant bags. Identification cards and papers are hard to replace and are extremely important in a time of need so get together all diplomas, permits, social security cards, deeds, titles and any other important information.

Take pictures and videos of your property– This will help you later when dealing with your insurance and what claims for damage you may need to file.

Try and stay with an out of town relative. If you or someone you know is living in a hurricane zone, find another place to stay until the storm passes over. It’s important to consider safety at all times and if staying with a relative is not an option consider booking a room at a hotel.

Create a hurricane kit– Include extra cash, generator, flash lights, battery operated radio, bottles of water, toilet paper, non perishable foods like crackers or canned goods, candles and any over the counter medications that you need. Make sure that there are more than enough supplies when packing so that nobody in your family has to go without in this time of need.

Those who were living in New Orleans when the levee broke and did not have flood insurance, were responsible for their own replacement costs and were not insured for flood damages. This is why purchasing flood insurance can ultimately save you from having to deal with the costs of repairing your home due to flood damages. Contact our agents or visit our Virtual Insurance Office and learn more about how you can ensure that your property is prepared for a hurricane.

Come One Come All To MA Tax-Free Weekend!

August 13, 2010

This weekend happens to be one of the most anticipated holiday’s that Massachusetts has to offer, it is Tax-Free Weekend! Thanks to Governor Deval Patrick, who has signed the bill deeming this weekend, August 14th – 15th 2010 tax free! This means that when purchasing any items costing $2,500 or less, you will not have to pay the 6.25% sales tax. It’s a great time to make those bigger purchases that you may have been holding off on. Have your eye on a new 3D television? Or has your washer and dryer completely failed you and your in the market for a new one? Feel that extra push into the buying direction knowing that you will benefit from the Tax-Free weekend. Also, consider keeping your insurance agent in the know with whatever luxury purchases you will be making. In order to get the broadest coverage for your items, we suggest that you schedule them onto your homeowner policy. With original receipt or an appraisal of your items, you can schedule items onto your policy and feel confident in knowing that if you lose your items due to theft, you will be covered in full. Scheduling items will also extend your coverage beyond the basic homeowner policy for things like the stones falling out of your ring, or if you lose your jewelry. Now is the perfect opportunity to look for those items this weekend, and if nothing else feel proud that living in MA has its benefits, at least once a year!

Rules of The Road!

July 29, 2010

Did you know that motorists and bicyclists have the same rules for the road? Many people are unaware that these two must “share the road” but also share the same rules. When it comes to living in New England think of all of the overpopulated cities that have bicyclists and motorists fighting for who has more authority over major roads and lanes of traffic. From Northampton, to Springfield and even all the way out in Boston, we have a large amount of people who are now using bicycles as their means of transportation. For example, the debate over bikers not remaining in their lanes or the question of whether or not they are on the sidewalk are two prime examples of why some accidents seem to occur. The bike lane is meant to keep motorists out for the safety of the bicyclist, as obviously an auto mobile poses as a greater threat with its significantly larger size. The lane does not however mean that bicyclists must remain inside. Also, the reason why bikers are not on the sidewalks is that in some cities it is actually illegal for bicyclists to be on the sidewalk. Think of the risks involved when a bicyclist is driving down the sidewalk. There are people they must weave through to get around, the threat of doors constantly opening from vendors and even cars, the change of foundation beneath them as the sidewalk dips down for handicap access and list continues on. One piece of advice for bicyclists however is, that if they are going to ride with traffic, they should adhere to the same rules such as  using turn signals, and stopping at stop signs and red lights to remain with the flow of traffic. The advantages of stopping when cars do, is that bicyclists have a better feel for their environment and this gives them opportunity to catch their breath. Want to know more “Rules of The Road”? Check out the official Same Roads, Same Rules campaign and be kind to your fellow road mates!

Is It Fall Yet?

July 25, 2010

As summer reaches its peak it is becoming more evident that us New Englander’s cannot rely on the ever changing weather. From scattered thunderstorms to black outs lasting for hours, we are expected to prepare for bad weather even if the forecast calls for clear skies. Have you tried preparing for dinners in advance and then find that it is too hot to even be in the kitchen, never mind cook? Or planned on a nice relaxing night at home watching a movie and then the power goes out for hours on end? We understand that weather can be unexpected so here are just a few ways to enjoy the weather, and rough out the black outs as summer begins to tone down and fall makes its way back into our lives.

When dealing with a black out:

-Contact your local electric company when the power goes out to notify them of the power outage in your neighborhood. If you receive an estimated wait time you can better prepare your night.

-Bring in solar lights that you might have in your garden or lighting up pathways outside your home. These lights will have enough energy to last you through the night or until your power gets turned back on.

-Limit opening the fridge or freezer to keep the cool air in. Eat things like ice cream and yogurt if you wish, or else those items may have to be thrown out otherwise.

If you want to enjoy a delicious dinner without heating the kitchen:

Stir fry or stove top meals are easy and fun to cook. Using fresh seasonal veggies can help your local farmer and can be bought for almost half the price of grocery store veggies. Fresh out of stir fry ideas? Here is one that will bring in all of the colors that summer veggies can offer.

-Crock pot roasts are perfect for getting your comfort food fix without heating up the whole kitchen. You can prepare them in the morning and let them cook through out the day, and the best part is there is only one pot that will need to be cleaned! Love the concept of crock pots but need a starting point? Try out this recipe and revel in the tastes of hard work without all of the heat.

-Take advantage of your grill. Using a grill, whether it is a counter top or an outside grill, brings in a smoky flavor to your meal without having to use any spices. It is also a healthy way of locking in flavors of veggies and meats. Try this recipe to lock in some of those great flavors into your summer veggies using aluminum foil, which can be thrown away after you’ve eaten dinner.

We all know that the summer can be unbearable in New England, but we also know that nice weather is not going to last much longer. It’s important to get fruits and veggies while they are in season as during winter they are more expensive and do not taste as good when their growing peak is in nicer weather. Above all try and stay cool and take advantage of nights that are not as hot.