Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smaller towns attracting professionals

Interesting article about some rural areas that are attracting professionals. They're attracted by the pleasant life and enabled via telecommuting.

So access to the highway isn't the only seller (although it's one of Auburn's biggest) to attract residents. Quality of life and proper communication infrastructure is becoming more important for upscale tax paying residents. Something to think about for the marketers of Auburn (where ever they might be ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fuel subsidies fuel high prices

A provocative article in NYT today on energy prices and the link to governments who provide incentives for businesses and consumers to essentially waste fuel.

From Mexico to India to China, governments fearful of inflation and street protests are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. But the subsidies — estimated at $40 billion this year in China alone — are also removing much of the incentive to conserve fuel.

The oil company BP, known for thorough statistical analysis of energy markets, estimates that countries with subsidies accounted for 96 percent of the world’s increase in oil use last year — growth that has helped drive prices to record levels.

In most countries that do not subsidize fuel, high prices have caused oil demand to stagnate or fall, as economic theory says they should. But in countries with subsidies, demand is still rising steeply, threatening to outstrip the growth in global supplies.

So the high price of diesel ALSO has an effect on the high price of home heating oil. If only we could disengage subsidies in the developing world some of this would end up fixing itself. And there is a ripple effect throughout the economy as well, also encouraging cutting back on consumption.

MIxed use or unused?

A little lesson for those planning new developments: don't try and create something that doesn't make sense. (at least in this market)

Some of the comments are funny: "Condos that look out over Mattress Giant aren't selling?" ;)


I think this stuff can be done, but it's got to make sense - traditionally cities are where these types of areas succeed, because naturally the infrastructure and style of living mesh together. Also there are planned communities where this type of thing has succeeded: Celebration Fla (associated with Disney) is one, my father has worked with the lead architect of this, Robert Stern. Of course, they are adjacent to Disney so there's a bit of an advantage there. I was unaware somewhat of just how addicted people become to the Disney touch until I got married - it's amazing. My in-laws re-introduced me and if you have a family it's just so pleasant. They've figured it out as far as customer service and family fun.

Anyway, the point is you need to have a really serious commitment to a holistic approach to community design, not just plop down condos in a strip mall, to get this stuff to be attractive to people. That means money, political power and will as well as a vibrant market, and the right location.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Little gas incentives

In the light of $4 gasoline, seems a lot of businesses are offering gas coupons to entice business.

Kettlebrook is offering $5 and $10 gas coupons for playing there. It's a bit of a hike from our quaint Packachoag course but at times when I want to play 18, it's a nice place to do it. Of course there's Pine Ridge a bit closer also.

Shaws recently offered money off tanks of gas for buying groceries there. If you have your Shaws card you might be able to not only afford their prices (not an easy task ;) but also buy free gas at Irving gas stations. There's one near Gigueres I know of.

Every little bit helps ... and might hook consumers into paying a visit to your store also.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Booster seats now law

Perhaps in its continuing efforts to nanny-ize every aspect of our lives the Commonwealth has enacted mandatory booster seat law ala the seat belt law to protect us against our own bad judgments, under punishment of law.

So now your child has to be 8 years old or 4'9" to use a regular adult seat belt in your vehicle. Yet another reason to get pulled over was my first reaction ... great!

But to be honest, when our little 6 yo got to be over 48" last year and his child seat broke, we were tempted (and even tried for a short time) to have him in a regular seat belt. Looking at the slack belt and seeing how undersized he really was in it though, we decided it wise to keep him in a booster seat for now. You just figure this stuff out if you're a concerned, aware, intelligent parent. Every now and then if we were going a short distance and didn't have the vehicle with the seat in it we'd revert to the regular adult belt.

No more though, sayeth the mighty and wise Legislature of the Commonwealth. They figure you might not know any better and they are better off making some more rules to live by and punish those who forget. Intolerance thy name is Massachusetts! {Heavy sigh} ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Young cyclist killed in DC - traffic!

She was originally from the area - Northborough Mass.


I was just talking with friends over the weekend about traffic in town and the reason I don't bike anymore - used to a lot when I was younger. Also makes jogging or running difficult or dangerous. In fact Sheldons owner Orville got in an accident on Rt 20 last year or year before for the first time in his 60+ years (most riding) because of someone making an illegal left turn right near Sheldons.

It'd be nice for towns folks to have an alternative like bike or even running paths, not even going into sidewalks, which are mostly in disrepair around town. Quality of life is what will attract good people to our town who can afford to make things nicer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

FDA warns on Cipro, Levaquin

Tendons can rupture - apparently the antibiotics can produce inflammation of the tendons severe enough to rupture them. Don't want a ruptured Achilles (or ACL etc)!