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April Showers . . .

Ahhh. . . April. How we love you. With your warm breezes and gentle showers. Honeysuckle and honeybees. Dogwoods and daffodils.  And in the immortal words of Satchmo, “skies of blue and clouds of white.” In April, the canvas of our beautiful, wonderful world begins to be dotted with gorgeous splashes of color. And it’s truly a sight to behold. 

Much of that beauty, those colors, that new growth is largely owing to those self-same April showers. The spring rain. That life-giving, earth-renewing, liquid-silver elixir that can help transform the barren ground into lush green fields. And don’t forget the flowers. Bring on those May flowers!

Night and Day: The Vernal Equinox

On March 20, the vernal equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This spring equinox marks the moment when the sun crosses the equator going from south to north.

What does that mean? For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, March heralds a beautiful change. The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter. Trees are budding, birds are singing, bees are buzzing, and gentle breezes are blowing. These are some of the delightful daily proclamations of spring’s arrival. Some changes are subtler. If you stop to look at the arc of the sun across the sky, you’ll notice that it’s shifting toward the north. And butterflies and birds are making their migrations toward the north as well, along with the path of the sun.

So, what brings about this glorious transformation of the earth?

How are you Weathering this Winter?

When temperatures drop, and snow and ice threaten, there is no better haven from the cold than a cozy, warm house. However, winter weather can take its toll on a home, causing expensive damages and high utility bills. Winterizing your home can help prevent unexpected surprises, such as busted pipes, and will help with energy costs. Hopefully you were well prepared for the winter, but if you’re feeling the chill, we have some helpful tips for “weathering” this weather well.

What's New? Extreme Weather

As we look back on 2015, and look forward to 2016, we cannot look away from headlines around the world proclaiming weather extremes of epic proportions. From heat waves to cold waves, from blizzards to tornadoes, 2015 ended with some out-of-control record-breaking weather.

A Season for Giving

As I finish off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers and say goodbye to the remaining houseguests, I realize (as I do —with a jolt—every year) that the holiday season has only just begun; there are more houseguests, more leftovers, and much gift-giving soon to come.  The very instant that Thanksgiving is over (actually, maybe even BEFORE Thanksgiving is over), the mad rush to buy gifts begins. Black Friday. Cyber-Monday. And then December is upon us, and it seems to flash by in an instant. The holidays are rushing towards us, and there is so much to do to get ready. And we want to give good gifts to the people we love. That long-awaited toy, that special handmade sweater, that I’m-still-not-sure-what-to-get-for-my-father-in-law gift.

Certainly, it is a season for giving.

In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow

November 11, 1918.

On November 11 of 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice went into effect, a cessation of hostilities between the Allied Nations and Germany, ending the “war to end all wars.” The official end of World War I would not be declared for seven more months, at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but the end actually came on that November day, when the truce was signed, the opposing forces laid down their weapons, and the war known as the “Great War” was over.

Imagine a Day without Water

Could you go a day without water? No water to drink or make coffee. No water to shower, brush your teeth, flush the toilet, or do laundry. Firefighters couldn't put out fires and farmers couldn't water their crops. 

We know that water is essential.  That’s why we want you to know about a nationwide educational effort called “Imagine a Day Without Water.” On October 6 – 8, the Value of Water Coalition is coordinating a national advocacy and educational event, Imagine a Day Without Waterto raise awareness about the most essential resource we have: Water.  Across the country, water agencies, mayors, engineers, contractors, business leaders, community members, schools, organizations, corporations, environmental advocates, and more are joining together to educate people about how water is essential, the challenges facing water and wastewater systems, and the need for investment.

Even though water is absolutely vital to everything we do, it too often is forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Many people take water service for granted. Clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water comes out of the tap and flows down the drain without a second thought. But the massive infrastructure, much of it underground, which brings water to homes and businesses, takes it away, and treats it, is aging. A water main breaks somewhere in the U.S. every two minutes. Most pipes have an average life expectancy of 50 years, but in many major cities, water pipes are more than 100 years old. Communities cannot afford to go a day without water if those systems reach their breaking points.

What is the message of Imagine a Day without Water? Keep reading . . . 

Getting Prepared for Winter . . . Check.

September has arrived, and autumn is well on its way. As the summer heat begins to fade, and the first hints of red and gold begin to appear, it’s a great time to relax and enjoy the mild weather. Next Monday, September 7, is Labor Day (US) or Labour Day (Canada), a day which honors the achievements of our workforce —a "yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our countr[ies].” (http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm) So, take a break, rest from your labor, and enjoy the respite. 

Then, after your rest, take advantage of this time to plan ahead. September is an easy-going month, a month when Nature takes a break from anything extreme, and gives us sunshine and cool breezes. That makes this “calm” the perfect time to prepare for any “storms” which might be ahead. September is even considered “National Preparedness Month” in the US, a month to get ready, to get prepared for harsher weather and conditions that will be coming.
So, use this September to make sure that you —and your home— are ready. 

The Deadliest Creature on Earth . . . lives right in your backyard

Yes, it’s true. The creature that kills more human beings than any other on the face of the earth is summer’s most common pest. The blood-sucking fiends that plague your backyard barbecue are more than just a nuisance —they are dangerous. The humble mosquito is responsible for 725,000 deaths a year (600,000 of those are from the transmission of malaria). Sharks, who get such bad press that there is a whole week devoted to “Sharks are scary” TV programming (wasn’t Shark Week just a couple of weeks ago?)

So, how much do you know about Mosquitos, and, more importantly, how can you keep them away?

Drink More Water!

Water is foundational for life. We can’t live without it. Literally!

Indeed, the more of it we drink, the healthier we get. Why then do so many of us find ourselves drinking significantly less water than we should? Studies show that men should be drinking around 3 liters (13 cups) of fluids each day and women need about 2.2 liters (9 cups). If you’re not drinking nearly that much, read on for “Why" and “How” to drink more water...

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