The first total solar eclipse in the 21st century to pass over the United States is going to occur this year! It isn’t too late to plan a getaway trip so you can experience this marvelous event. The total eclipse will happen on Monday, August 21, where several states will experience darkness for a few minutes. The path of totality will begin in Oregon and move its way down diagonally through the United States, through parts of South Carolina.
People on Earth have witnessed eclipses for centuries, but they were not always enjoyed and appreciated. Many ancient civilizations believed that a solar eclipse was a sign that something terrible might happen. There were civilizations that firmly believed that the sun was being attacked or threatened, so they performed special rituals until they saw the sun was “restored.”
It wasn’t until around 500 B.C. when scientists were able to predict the solar eclipses. And scientists today are able to predict not just which cities will see the total eclipse, but at what time and the exact duration of the total eclipse.
Make sure to visit the 2017 Eclipse website linked below to see which cities in the United States will be in the path of totality.
As we welcome the new year, many of us wish to make it the best year ever. But how can we have a great year without putting some effort into it? There is one thing that we all can do — that many of us haven’t done in a long while — that will improve the quality of your life and the life of others around you.
Let’s be honest. Volunteering sounds like a lot of work, especially for those who have full-time job. But for those who are retired, it turns into a tremendous blessing. With any lifestyle you may have, consider the following benefits and values of volunteering:
- The feeling of accomplishment: Giving up your time to do something for others can make you feel wonderful. Knowing that you chose to help others instead of sleeping in on the weekends will make you feel accomplished and productive. Helping kids with their homework at the local libraries or in your mobile home park club house instead of spending time watching television shows will make you feel like you make a difference.
- Meet new people, make new connections: In any place that you volunteer, you will definitely meet new people. Depending on the type of the organization, you can even make new friends and new connections. Volunteering in your mobile home community will help expend your friendships. Talk with your park manager about starting a home work club and tutoring for children in your park, or ask about residents who are unable to get out much. Stopping by for a visit would mean a lot to them.
- Learn something new: A great thing about volunteering with non-profit community organizations is that you can choose an organization that interests you, or you can choose one that is completely different and challenge yourself to something new. And through volunteering you can acquire new skills, new ideas, new hobby, or even a new perspective.
- Get a new perspective: As long as you keep an open mind while volunteering, you will definitely gain some new perspectives. You will be humbled by your experiences of helping others. Perhaps you will realize how much you have rather than how much you don’t have.
- Help save a life: There are many places that you can volunteer to help save a life other than hospitals. You can volunteer at a youth center or local Boys and Girls clubs to inspire young minds to stay above the influence and to stay in school. You can also volunteer at your local animal shelter to help improve the quality of life of the animals until they are adopted.
These are only some of the values and benefits of volunteering. But you can make your 2017 the best year ever if you can spare some time to volunteer. Many organizations are very flexible and will coordinate with your schedule so that you can make a difference. You can search for volunteer opportunities by reading your local newspaper or visiting your city website. If you are a senior, contact your local Office on Aging.
If you live in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties, you can use the links below to your county’s Office on Aging website.
Orange County: http://officeonaging.ocgov.com/opportunities/volunteer
Riverside County: http://www.rcaging.org/programs_services#vol
San Bernardino County: https://hss.sbcounty.gov/daas/
Are you up-to-date with the new California tax rate? Sales tax rates have been decreased by 0.25%. Use the link below to find the new sales tax rate by city.
Keep in mind that if you are returning an item that you purchased before January 1st, the store must provide you the refund of the old tax rate. However, if you purchased something before January 1st but you receive it after the New Year, you are still charged the rate used at the time of purchase.
An article published by the Golden State News states the following:
“A retailer who continues to charge and collect the higher statewide sales and use tax after January 1, 2017, must either refund the excess tax collected to their customer or pay the excess tax to the Board of Equalization (BOE). If the excess tax collected has been paid to the BOE, the retailer may request a refund on behalf of their customer by completing form BOE-101, Claim for Refund or Credit.”
Remember that sales tax rates differ by cities and counties, so make sure you look up your area using the California State Board of Equalization website!
What could be a worse way to start the New Year than to be sick? Flu viruses seem to make their way into millions of people starting as early as October, and they can ruin our most precious holiday seasons. Regardless of your immunity, there are 4 simple steps to follow to stay flu-free during the start of the new year.
- Get the flu shot. Flu vaccines are a sure way to protect you from catching the seasonal virus. What’s convenient about getting flu shots is that you don’t have to have health insurance or visit your physician’s office to get one. You can stop by at your local pharmacy, or you can even get one for free! There are a lot of cities that provide free flu shot events, and even college campuses provide them for their students. Make sure you do some research to see where you can get a flu shot for free!
- Dry your hands. We all know that it is crucial to wash your hands, especially after touching millions of germs outside. But what you may not know yet is that it is equally important to dry your hands after washing them. Even though you wash your hands thoroughly with soap, damp hands can easily spread germs to and from the surfaces you touch.
- Don’t touch your face. When you touch a surface that many other people touch, such as shopping carts, doorknobs and ATMs, then touch your eyes, nose and mouth, you are creating an easy route for the virus and germs to enter into your body. And, take advantage of stores that provide disinfectant towels to wipe down shopping carts.
- Stay away from sick people. Those who are infected by the flu virus are contagious for up to one week. If you are unfortunately sick this New Year, take a sick day from work! The last thing you want to do is be the spreader of virus. If someone at work or school is suffering from flu-like symptoms, keep your distance and be sure to have bottles of hand sanitizers around! It would not hurt to drop subtle (or not so subtle!) hints to let them know that they’re infected because the rest of the office doesn’t want to get sick, too! And if you’re meeting any sick family members, kindly give them an air-hug and blow them a kiss. Avoid touching someone who is sick.
There are many other things that you can do to avoid getting sick — and you should do them. Because why would you risk getting sick for the start of the New Year?
Reference: Boost Your Flu IQ: Need-to-Know Info That Will Keep You Protected This Season by Catherine Winters