Connect with us

News

8 Step Guide to Transform a Startup Business to a Successful Venture

Published

on

There are no limits and not set rules as to who can become a successful entrepreneur and who cannot. The doors are open to all, and it is not necessary for someone to have a college degree or to be rich by birth to get into the business. However, on the other hand, you may need a strong plan, bright ideas, will to win, and a strategic approach to business in order to make it successful.

As per Wikipedia, A startup is an entrepreneurial venture that is newly emerged and fast-growing by effectively meeting the marketplace needs by developing a more viable and sustainable business model around an innovative product or service.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur and wants to enjoy business success, here we will go through some essential steps which will help convert your big idea into a sustainable business.

Step #1. Do a self-evaluation

 

A startup businessman needs to start with the most basic question. Why do you like to start a new business? This simple question has the power of guiding you through the entire business planning process. Some need extra money, some want to enjoy more freedom, some others want to boast of their success. Once if you have the reasons by answering this question, start asking more subsidiary questions to define yourself like:

  • What are your skills?
  • What is your passion?
  • Which area you have expertise in?
  • How much can you afford to invest, knowing that there is a chance of failure?
  • What is your lifestyle?
  • Are you prepared to be an entrepreneur?

Don’t be biased while answering these questions. Writing down all these answers genuinely will put the foundation for your business built up.

Step #2. Do proper market research

Once if you are set with your business ideal, check if anyone else is offering the same product or service. If so, what different you are going to make?

Do a proper market researching as to who your rivals are and what they do in the market. Doing this will help break down your business objectives to complete and strategize your business delivery. You may conduct some interviews with the potential customers face to face or through telephone. In fact, there are many agencies also now helping with market research, which you can make use of if needed.

Step #3. Understand startup database

There are various types of startup databases exist out there, and all of these boils down to what you need for a startup database. Say, for example, some of the startup databases are best for the retail businesses whereas some others are ideal for investment professionals. There are some others which are ideal for B2B sales, and some can be used as a combination of all these.

Setting up a database

While considering database set-up for a startup business, you need to consider the long-term requirements in mind than just taking care of the minimal existing requirement of the times. As we can see, data is considered to be one of the most sic asset of any business organization now, which is not only a collection of customers and transactional informational but being used to do a critical analysis of the business performance and also to take strategic business decisions.

Relational vs. non-relational

From the beginning onwards, databases always remained relational as in case of MySQL or SQL server, which is known as a relational database management system.  However, in the time of big data and machine learning, the database is now changing to non-relational DBs too like MongoDB, etc., which can handle a huge volume of unstructured data from various sources and offer optimum analytical capabilities.

Even when the initial requirement of database management is limited for a startup business, it is ideal for taking the service of an expert DBA like RemoteDBA.com if possible, to properly structure and manage database administration, which will help achieve optimal performance over time.

Step #4. Make it official

Once if the basics are ready, next get all the legal aspects cleared and make your business legal. With this, you can avoid any future complications of a business partnership or get sued personally from anything which you never expected coming. A baseline checklist is:

 

  • Nature of business entity as LLC, corporation, or partnership
  • Registering business name
  • Getting Federal tax ID and
  • Getting all permits
  • Operational license
  • Starting a business bank account
  • Registering all trademarks, patents, and copyrights

It is ideal for getting the assistance of a legal and taxation expert in order to get these things set right.

Step #5. Prepare a good business plan

A proper business plan will help you approach the investors and present your business ideas in front of the stakeholders.

A good business plan consists of:

  • Title page.
  • Executive summary.
  • Business description.
  • Market strategies.
  • Competitive analysis.
  • Design and development plan.
  • Operations and management plan.
  • Financial factors and projections.

Step #6. Finance your startup

There are many different ways to find resources to start a business. You can get a bank loan, support of angel investors, to public fundraising as one of the latest avenues for business investments. Based on your business plans and requirement of funds, you may explore various options and get an adequate resource which may work the best for you.

If there a scope, then the best approach is to fund your business by yourself. Bootstrapping may take a lot of time, but the good part is that you will have full control of your destiny by owning all equities. You may also try to pitch your needs to the immediate circle of friends and family who trusts you.

Step #7. Build your team

In order to scale up your business, you may need some responsible people with you. Build a strong team. In fact, it is not mandatory that you need to hire everyone as employees but look for partners, freelancers, and associates who can work with you. Make sure that the pilot team you set up share the same dream with you.

Step #8. Start generating sales

No matters which product or service in whatever industry, the future of your business is fully based on the revenue through sales. There are plenty of sale strategies you can employ, but the primary rules are:

  • Listen to the customers
  • Ask for commitments
  • Don’t be fearful about hearing a ‘no.’

Learn how to generate leads and figure out the right sales funnel and the apt strategy to convert those leads into revenue.

You can call yourself as an established business once you reach up to this level, but further need to plan for growth and make appropriate moves. You may think of expanding, acquire another established business, expand your range of products and services, or start to target newer markets to grow exponentially over time.

 

News

Franks: Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs

Published

on

Franks:  Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs

The last time Congress successfully fulfilled its administrative duties was during my third term in Congress in 1996 for fiscal year 1997. At that time, all 12 regular appropriation bills to fund the federal government were enacted before the start of the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Since then, we have been relying on continuing resolutions to fund the government. How can we stop the madness?

Just imagine if you failed to perform your job for 25 years, but still boldly requested a new service agreement every two to six years, per House or Senate re-election. Your boss may be impressed by your chutzpah, but he or she would likely laugh in your face and suggest you admit yourself into some other type of institution other than Congress.

This is a bipartisan problem. The mainstream media should be screaming daily about this, demanding that members of Congress do the basics and informing Americans of their negligence in doing so.

Americans should also know that Congress has only 15 cents to every annual dollar to spend on discretionary items once massive spending for our military/national defense is removed. It was not this way when I was in college. We had more than 60% of our federal budget for discretionary items and federal government agencies.

What has changed? Our national debt for one thing. It is out of control. As of today, our debt has ballooned to more than $28 trillion. It first eclipsed $1 trillion in 1981 when Reagan was president and Joe Biden was a senator. Our national debt is a bipartisan failure.

Of the $4.4 trillion federal budget of 2019, most of the dollars spent went toward mandatory entitlements, which accounted for nearly 62% of the whole. These entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid being the largest — must be paid to those eligible to receive them.

Then we must attend to our massive debt, which grows by the second. This debt accounts for about 8% of our entire budget. Defaulting on our debt payments is not an option.

That leaves 30% for discretionary spending. Remember, about 15% of the 30% is spent on our national defense. That leaves us with a dime and five pennies, or, if you prefer, three nickels. Not good.

Solutions

1. Make the funding of the government and all budgetary matter biennial. Congress has more than proven that it cannot do the job on an annual basis. With an additional 12 months, hopefully, it can be accomplished on time via regular order and frequent open rules on the House floor for rigorous debate.

2. Seriously discuss entitlements, the elephant in the room. They cannot be allowed to eat up most of our yearly budget, despite the obligations to our fellow Americans, who did nothing to deserve ill treatment or a severely diminished quality of life.

3. The people who deserve admonishment are our politicians. Today, yet another potential federal government shutdown looms.

Congress and the White House should be able to at least complete the basics of governing smoothly or be forced to do so by risk of a personal penalty or fine.

The three triggers for punishing members of Congress should be related to the three most basic parts of their job — passing a budget, funding the federal government under regular order and managing the debt status of the United States.

A fine should be a percentage of their adjusted gross income from their most recent federal tax return. This would make it fair. Make the fine equal to 10, 15 or 20% of their AGI payable to a nonprofit like the United Way of America.

The result? Congressional gridlock would end. There would be a rebirth of compromise and bipartisanship. The work in Congress would get done.


Gary Franks is a former U.S. representative from Connecticut and visiting professor/adjunct at Hampton University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia. He is now a public policy consultant and columnist. This column provided by Tribune News Service.

Continue Reading

News

McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back

Published

on

McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back

Nonunion workers make up nearly 90% of the U.S. workforce. President Joe Biden is stabbing them in the back.

The massive $3.5 trillion budget bill Biden and Democratic lawmakers are trying to ram through Congress discriminates against nonunion workers and even forces some of them to pay higher taxes than union workers.

Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for over 50 years. Biden is bent on reversing the trend, using the federal government to rig the system in favor of organizers and twist the arms of nonunion workers and employers.

Biden said that unions “brung me to the dance,” and he has promised to be “the most pro-union president” ever. Nonunion workers are in for a raw deal, starting with the budget bill.

The bill offers an up to $7,500 tax credit to almost all buyers of electric vehicles, but adds a $4,500 sweetener for buying a union-made vehicle. That sweetener discriminates against nonunion auto workers and threatens their jobs.

Toyota objects that it pits “one American autoworker over another.” But Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who took the lead in drafting this provision, says that “in a time when we’ve seen decreased rates of unionization,” he wants to “tilt the scale.”

Coercive tactics such as this don’t belong in legislation. But Biden and his party are determined to make the renewable energy sector unionized. Workers’ rights be damned.

The bill’s tax provisions slam workers who refuse to support a union’s political activities. Union members can write off a portion of their dues even if they take a standard deduction. But some workers in unions choose not to join and instead pay an “agency fee.” That gives them representation without compelling them to support union politicking. The bill punishes that, barring any deduction for agency fees. Workers get stuck with higher taxes for refusing to fund union politics.

It’s a scheme to coerce workers into paying into the union’s political kitty, which — you guessed it — almost always end up filling Democratic campaign chests, no matter what the rank and file want. A whopping 88% of labor union donations went to Democrats in 2020, though Biden got only 57% of the union vote.

The Democrats’ budget bill also threatens hefty penalties on employers who “misrepresent” employees as independent contractors. It’s a backdoor attempt to discourage employers from using freelancers and gig economy workers such as Uber drivers. Why? Because employees can be organized and made to pay dues. Congressional Democrats would like to eliminate independent contracting altogether, but legislation of that nature can’t be crammed into a budget bill under Senate rules.

Also slipped into the Democrats’ colossal bill are new limits on what employers can do when a union tries to organize, though these changes will probably be stripped from the bill by the Senate parliamentarian for failing to be budgetary in nature. Even without them, the bill stacks the deck for unions.

In February, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union launched a campaign to organize Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Biden got behind the effort, blasting out a pro-union video and offering to send the first lady.

The White House pulled out the stops, but Amazon workers still voted 1,798 to 738 against unionization. However, there’s an ongoing appeal to the National Labor Relations Board.

Unfortunately, Biden and the Democratic Party won’t take no for an answer. They’re also pushing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would outlaw right-to-work laws in 27 states, forcing workers to fall into line and pay dues once their workplace is organized. And in April, the White House announced a task force to identify other ways the federal government can push union membership.

Biden claims it’s to build the middle class. In truth, it’s to benefit the Democratic Party. That’s an outrage.

Workers should be free to choose whether to join a union or not, without Uncle Sam strong-arming them.


Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic.”

Continue Reading

News

Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths

Published

on

Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths

Heily is a bright and engaging young girl of Hispanic descent. Heily is very creative and expresses herself well. She likes being creative, doing arts/crafts, dying her hair with paint, baking and listening to music. Heily also enjoys being out in her community. She also loves animals and is very caring towards them. She is a personable child who cares deeply about the people in her life. She is able to build strong connections with both peers and adults. Heily does well academically and enjoys being in a school setting.

Legally freed for adoption, Heily will do best with a local family who can keep her in contact with her siblings and those she is close with. She will thrive in a two-parent family or in an experienced one-parent household that is structured, energetic and can give her the attention and support that she needs. A family with either much older children or no other children in the home would be best for Heily. She may also benefit from having a visiting resource.

Who can adopt?

Can you provide the guidance, love and stability that a child needs?  If you’re at least 18 years old, have a stable source of income and room in your heart, you may be a perfect match to adopt a waiting child. Adoptive parents can be single, married or partnered; experienced or not; renters or homeowners; LGBTQ singles and couples.

The process to adopt a child from foster care requires training, interviews, and home visits to determine if adoption is right for you, and if so, to help connect you with a child or sibling group that your family will be a good match for.

To learn more about adoption from foster care, call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange at 617-964-6273 or go to mareinc.org. The sooner you call, the sooner a waiting child will have a permanent place to call home.

Continue Reading

News

BLO’s new challenge: stage ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ at rock venue

Published

on

BLO’s new challenge: stage ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ at rock venue

In 2015, director Giselle Ty created a series of immersive theatrical installations at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Titled “All at Once Upon a Time (or Variations on the Theme of Disappearing),” the project took audience members through three floors of the Gardner-Pingree House for dreamlike performances created specifically for the National Historic Landmark. At first blush, Ty’s Peabody Essex installations seem a world away from the director’s upcoming production of  “Cavalleria Rusticana” from the Boston Lyric Opera.

But in a theater scene still figuring out how to thrive while coming out of a pandemic, Ty has adapted what she’s learned in the past to create a unique telling of composer Pietro Mascagni’s one-act opera at a rock venue.

“I’ve done a lot of site specific work where you have to be flexible with what you can do in a space and how an audience lives in that space,” she told the Boston Herald. “At the Peabody Essex Museum, where the space is so present, not only are there logistical concerns like you can’t screw anything to the walls of these historic houses, but also each space has its own vibration, its own soul. You have to acknowledge truthfully and honestly what the space is. Everything doesn’t fit everywhere.”

Boston Lyric Opera’s Michelle Johnson rehearses a scene from “Cavalleria Rusticana” with Adam Diegel.” (Photo by Liza Voll)

For the BLO production of “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Ty needs to navigate a space diametrically opposed to the history halls of the Peabody Essex. The BLO opens its new season with Oct. 1 and 3 performances of  “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Leader Bank Pavilion, a concert venue on the Boston Waterfront that hosted Alice Cooper, the Violent Femmes and Megadeth in recent weeks.

The move could make these two of the BLO’s best-attended performances — the Pavilion can hold over 5,000 for rock shows, it is an open-air venue on the breezy waterfront making it safer than an indoor space, and tickets start at $10 (that’s less than the cost of a movie). It also makes mounting the show a logistical challenge.

“If you are used to touring with Lady Gaga or pop stars, the show is set and they have done it 200 times,” Ty said. “We have very little time to tech it. Normally BLO would be in residency for a week with more time to do lighting, more time to do spacing, more time to settle into the space.”

At the Pavilion, the BLO can’t bring in a set. The team has only a few hours to map out the production in the space. One performance is at night, one during the day, so lighting will have to shift dramatically.

The BLO team seems to be rising to the challenge — for instance, lighting designer Molly Tiede has created a 3D-model of the lighting design with cutting edge software. Costume designer Gail Astrid Buckley and wig-makeup designer Ronell Oliveri have been instructed to “go a little wilder than a traditional opera house (production).” Ty is working with choreographer Levi Marsman to bring an emotional depth and excitement to the stage without a lot of clunky set pieces.

“I tend to not love naturalistic or realistic staging anyway,” she said. “I’m not a fan of huge, heavy operatic sets even when it’s not a question of time or money. I like things to move.”

The BLO has a reputation for reinventing spaces: Right before the pandemic, the company reimagined an adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” at a Harvard gymnasium and transformed an ice skating rink in the North End into a roadshow carnival with midway games and circus performers for “Pagliacci.”

This version of “Cavalleria Rusticana” looks to continue that tradition while playing to its director’s strengths.


For tickets and details, go to blo.org.

Continue Reading

News

Best TV and streaming picks for the week ahead

Published

on

Best TV and streaming picks for the week ahead

DON’T MISS: “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” — “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. hosts a lively concert special celebrating the joys of live theater and the reopening of Broadway. Among the stars appearing at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre and performing stage musical classics are Annaleigh Ashford, Kristin Chenoweth, Andre De Shields, Jake Gyllenhaal, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Platt, Chita Rivera and more. The special follows a livestream presentation of the “74th Annual Tony Awards,” honoring the top shows and performances of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, which was halted by the pandemic. “Broadway’s Back!” (9 p.m. Sunday, CBS); “Tony Awards” (7 p.m., Paramount+).

Other bets

SUNDAY: The new drama series “BMF” tells the true story of two brothers — Demetrius and Terry Flenory — who rose from the streets of Detroit in the 1980s to form a powerful crime operation. Their unwavering belief in family loyalty would be the cornerstone of their partnership and the crux of their eventual estrangement. (8 p.m., Starz).

MONDAY: As a new season of “The Good Doctor” begins, Shaun and Lea’s upcoming engagement party has everyone in a festive mood. Meanwhile, a young single mother learns her son may have contracted his cancer from a surprising source, and Mateo finds out if his previous issues in America will be resolved. (10 p.m., ABC).

TUESDAY: Someone obviously believes prime time could use a good, old-fashioned disaster saga. So bring on “La Brea,” which kicks off when — yikes! — a massive sinkhole opens in the middle of Los Angeles, pulling hundreds of people and buildings into its depths. (9 p.m., NBC).

WEDNESDAY: Tonight’s edition of “Nova” deals with “The Cannabis Question.” It examines America’s relationship with the long-demonized plant and delves into what scientists have discovered about its effects on the body and brain, including the potential risks and medicinal benefits. (9 p.m., PBS).

THURSDAY: Shondaland dramas “Station 19” and “Grey’s Anatomy” launch their seasons with a crossover event. Beginning with “Station 19,” much of the action happens at Seattle’s annual Phoenix Festival, which brings out some reckless behavior that challenges the teams at Station 19 and Grey Sloan Memorial. The storyline continues on “Grey’s Anatomy.” (8 and 9 p.m., ABC).

THURSDAY: Jon Stewart’s back. Will viewers still want to hear what he has to say? The former “Daily Show” host headlines “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” a weekly one-issue series that will focus on current events and issues. (Apple TV+).

SATURDAY: Horror-loving fans should get a kick out of “The Haunted Museum.” Produced in collaboration with filmmaker Eli Roth, it’s a new anthology series that presents hellish tales inspired by the creepy relics on display at Zak Bagans’ paranormal museum in Las Vegas. (Discovery+).

Continue Reading

News

Editorial: Instagram is no place for kids

Published

on

Editorial: Instagram is no place for kids

Social media is a minefield of adolescent anxieties, as any parent can attest. Numerous studies have suggested a connection between excessive use of online platforms (and the devices used to access them) and worrying trends in teenage mental health, including higher rates of depressive symptoms, reduced happiness and an increase in suicidal thoughts.

Even in this grim context, Instagram, the wildly popular photo-sharing app owned by Facebook Inc., stands out. Its star-studded milieu — glossy, hedonistic, relentlessly sexualized — seems finely tuned to destabilize the teenage mind. Studies have linked the service to eating disorders, reduced self-esteem and more.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that an internal research effort at the company, revealed this month, found that teens associate the service with a host of mental health problems. “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” said one slide. “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

If Facebook was concerned about these findings before they became public, it didn’t do much. In July, Instagram rolled out several policy changes it said were intended to protect teens, such as limiting how advertisers can target them and setting their accounts to private by default. “Instagram has been on a journey to really think thoughtfully about the experience that young people have,” a company rep said at the time.

Unfortunately, all that thoughtful thinking yielded an incoherent result. In the very same post in which Facebook announced the changes, it also conceded that it was moving ahead with a new version of Instagram intended for children under 13. Dubbed Instagram Youth, the concept was so obviously distasteful that it earned the opprobrium of health experts and consumer advocates, lawmakers of both parties, and nearly every state attorney general in the country.

A letter from health experts could hardly have been blunter. “The platform’s relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents’ privacy and wellbeing,” it said. “Younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges, as they are learning to navigate social interactions, friendships, and their inner sense of strengths and challenges during this crucial window of development.”

Facebook justifies this plan on the (rather shameless) theory that, since it has largely failed to keep children off of adult Instagram, the kids’ version will “reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age.”

One might ascribe all this to Facebook’s standard-issue tactlessness. Its Messenger Kids app is targeted at users as young as 6, even though experts have warned that it’s highly likely to “undermine children’s healthy development.” That these schemes keep going horribly awry doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent.

One wonders what would be. As a start, lawmakers should pressure Facebook to scrap Instagram Youth entirely and make a more earnest effort to protect teenagers across its services. Congress should consider extending existing online protections for children to all users up to age 15, for example, and create a legal expectation that platforms do more to prevent minors from lying about their ages.

Social media is hard enough on consenting adults. It’s no place for kids.

Continue Reading

News

Head to Vermont for vivid, vibrant fall foliage

Published

on

Head to Vermont for vivid, vibrant fall foliage

The days are shorter and still feel a bit warm here in the Northeast. But in the evening, that crisp autumn air is blowing in.

And I say this: Forget the pumpkin spice flavored everything: Give me the foliage.

Few places give you more ways to celebrate all that seasonal color than Vermont.

This week, as far northern Vermont moves toward peak color and all points south from there begin their show, it’s a great time to head north.

First, some honesty from Michael Snyder, Vermont’s “Chief Foliage Forecaster,” (or as he is officially known, commissioner of forests, parks and recreation for the State of Vermont).

“I was burned by too many misguided snow reports as a kid, so I always like to be transparent,” he said.

Snyder notes that the state did experience an uptick in LDD caterpillar impact on the west side of the state, as well as some Maple Leaf Cutter caterpillar impact on some hillsides throughout the state.

The good news, he said, is that most has grown back and even with the spots where it has not, the vast majority of trees are healthy, the weather has been cooperative and the colors are starting to burst.

In other words: The show will go on.

Dylan Debruyn, meteorologist for Local 22 and 44 in Burlington, told the Herald that viewers are already sending in photos showing brilliant color against the Vermont backdrop with enthusiastic comments.

“The geography of Vermont makes it unique and beautiful,” said Debruyn, who grew up in Plymouth.

“The lakes, the mountains, the fields — it’s all just a perfect backdrop for this,” he said.

“The hype is there for a great foliage season,” he added. “It always lives up to expectations.”

How to see it all?

Snyder says the timeline can dictate where in the state you head — and can also give you a few opportunities to see peak colors over the coming six weeks or so.

First up, he said, is the Northeast Kingdom, “where the show begins.”

The Northeast Kingdom is sparsely populated and dotted with quaint towns. Taking Route 2 can bring you to some great spots.

Pro tip? Head to Jay Peak (jaypeakresort.com) and take a tram ride — or hike — to the top of the mountain for foliage views of both the U.S. and Canada.

The foliage peak moves south bit by bit, into mid Vermont in early October and then spreading both west and south.

Vermont has ample spots for cycling, hiking, kayaking and canoeing as well.

“Seeing foliage from the water is a special experience,” Snyder said. “The combination of the water, forest and hillsides, well, you just cannot go wrong with it.”

Some less busy and totally worthy foliage spots include the Molly Stark State Park (vtstateparks.com/mollystark.html), a lovely park just past the Massachusetts border in Wilmington, where you can hike to a fire tower, have a picnic with a view and savor nature. That’s a great choice for later in the season, as the southern locale means later peak color.

Farther north, should you head out sooner, Elmore State Park (vtstateparks.com/elmore.html) offers fire towers along hikes, water views and more.

Those who like bikes should consider heading up to Burke Mountain, where mountain biking is king. Located far north, Burke is a great spot for any level cyclist, even a first timer, to get out and move among the color.

It also should be a law that every foliage peeper spends some time hanging out at a Vermont brewery. Yes, the beer is great (craft beer was pretty much born in Vermont) but so are the settings. You can find just the right brewery for you via the Vermont Brewer’s Association (vermontbrewers.com). And yes, most are family friendly.

Another favorite foliage visit many have may seem strange: Montpelier.

The state capitol is a city, but it’s quaint, comfortable, walkable and most of all, tucked up against nature. The view of the capitol building surrounded by autumn colors is totally worth a visit, and their downtown is perfect for shopping and dining among the beauty.

Foliage season is busy in Vermont, but with its wide open spaces, plentiful lakes, unique mountain towns and an endless supply of “oh my gosh” vistas, there’s room for all.

“You can’t go wrong, is my point,” said Snyder. “Vermont foliage is well known for a reason.”


You can learn more, including updated foliage maps, at vermontvacation.com.

Continue Reading

News

Go to court & put together parenting plan

Published

on

How to avoid the blame game

What would family court think of my ex, a mother who prompted our separation (we were never married, but have two children together) and then three months later proceeds to move in with my brother? What’s good ex-etiquette about that?

Although morally questionable what you describe is not against the law in most states. A handful of states still have laws on the books offering various fines and restrictions if you move on too quickly when you have been married, but I know of none that have those restrictions if you were never married. (Remember, I’m not an attorney.)

In states where no law has been broken, although a judge might reprimand the parties from the bench, the main concern is the safety of the children. If they are not “safe,” Child Protective Services would most likely be involved, and that adds another layer to the story.

Some might question the children’s emotional “safety” under these circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the emotional aspects. Safety is most often determined by outward scars and bruises.

So as reprehensible as you feel your ex’s behavior was, I don’t believe the courts will intercede. My suggestion is to keep the lines of communication open, no matter how you feel. That means look for ways to communicate calmly. Respond when she calls about the kids, and never badmouth her in front of the children, no matter what you think of her. The last thing your children need right now is two parents bickering about things they probably do not understand.

Finally, under the circumstances, I suggest you do go to court, but to put a parenting plan in place so you can successfully share the children’s time and keep arguing to a minimum. Routine and stability are important for children, especially immediately after a breakup. The not knowing where you will be and with which parent can be very confusing. A parenting plan will assign days and times, and they will then know when they will be with mom and when they will be with dad, and hopefully be able to settle in more quickly. It will also reduce the time you and their mother will spend negotiating things that could erupt into arguments.

You are right in the middle of your breakup turmoil. It will not be easy for anyone. The most important thing, no matter how angry and hurt you are, is to be a stabilizing force for your children. That is good ex-etiquette.


Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation” and the founder of Bonus Families, bonusfamilies.com. 

 

 

Continue Reading

News

New MA online child support calculator useful tool

Published

on

Sharing a home during divorce can work

My ex is on SSDI. I do my best to make ends meet as a home health aide with the funds the children get from SSDI and his nominal $25 per week child support payment but it is incredibly stressful. I only work part time because child care is so expensive. I know the child support guidelines are changing in October and I hoped this meant he was going to pay more. But someone told me his support might be cut in half. That would be so unfair. I can’t imagine why they would cut my support.

I was going to try to modify the order to get more money from him since your last column said day care costs are going to be shared. If I can get him to pay half of day care, I can work more hours, which I really want to do — I would like to make enough that I can start nursing school. Now I don’t know whether to try to get more or to sit here grateful for the small amount I do receive. What do you suggest?

The new child support worksheet calculator is now available on the Mass.gov website as a fillable pdf. You can find it at courtforms.jud.state.ma.us/publicforms/PFC0001_2021. Make sure to use a browser other than Internet Explorer if you want the form to work. In order to make a decision as to how to move forward, play with the form and run some different scenarios. The form now has distinctive places for you to include what your children receive on account of SSDI, what he receives and, of course, the amount of child care costs.

When I say play with the form, first put in the numbers used to arrive at your current support order when it was entered so you know what the new order would look like. Then increase your child care expenses, which will allow you to work more hours — of course you will also need to increase your income if you are working more.  See whether it makes sense to take on more hours and more child care based on the new formula and what that does to your child support order. If it makes sense, you need to enroll them in more child care and take on the new hours before you file a modification.

As you look at scenarios, keep in mind that the task force who came up with these new child support guidelines recognized that some lower income folks were losing out on government benefits because their child support was too high. The new minimum weekly order is $12. You have the previous weekly minimum so before you make a decision, you may want to inquire into what additional government subsidies you and your children might receive if your child support was decreased. While you are at it, look into whether there are low-income child care programs you are not already participating in that could also allow you to work more hours.


Email questions to [email protected]

Continue Reading

News

Dear Abby: Hubby’s been in the driver’s seat for 30 years

Published

on

Dear Abby: Social skills are ‘rusty’ after pandemic lockdown

Dear Abby: My husband and I have been married more than 30 years. We have a problem I cannot seem to get past: We didn’t have a church wedding because he threatened not to marry me if I demanded one. I went along with him because of my low self-esteem, and I’m still sad and angry about it. He also refuses to take vacations with me because he “traveled too much” during his career. What can I do?

— Pouting in the South

Dear Pouting: I can’t do anything about the church wedding you were denied, but I do have a suggestion. Quit pouting over what you can’t change and assume some control over your life. Accept that because you had low self-esteem, you were willing to marry someone this self-centered and controlling. Because you have a desire to travel and, I assume, can afford to, ask some of your women friends to join you. If you do, I’ll bet you will have a great time sending photos back to your homebody hubby.

Dear Abby: I have been divorced from my ex for 36 years. Our son is now 44. My ex and I haven’t spoken since the divorce because it was ugly. Now that we are older, for the benefit of our son, I would like for my ex and I to be civil to each other. I’m tired of hating and I don’t want him to hate me. I wonder if it would make my son happy if his father and I were on better terms, so I have been thinking of writing to my ex and asking if we could talk sometime. What do you think?

— White Flag in the West

Dear White Flag: I see no harm in writing the letter to your ex. However, do not expect a miracle. Because the divorce was “ugly,” do not expect him to react positively after more than three decades of icy silence. As to your son, whatever the situation has been for most of his life, he is accustomed to it.

Dear Abby: My granddaughter, “Suzie,” is getting married in a month in a fairly large wedding. She is my only grandchild. Suzie’s father is not in the picture. Because of the pandemic, my husband and I must decline the invitation. We are in our mid-70s and both of us have some health issues. The wedding party will mostly be young people. My daughter and granddaughter are very upset that we are not coming. What is your opinion?

— On the Side of Caution

Dear Caution: Given the fact that you and your husband have health issues, you are making a mature and appropriate decision. Soften the blow by agreeing to attend via Zoom or one of the other video-chat platforms. This may not fulfill your daughter and granddaughter’s fantasy, but it’s better than nothing. If Suzie loves you — and I am sure she does — she would never get over the guilt if one or both of her grandparents became infected and possibly died of COVID because she pressured them into attending.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

Continue Reading

Trending