Grab a Tissue-Major Allergy Season Coming

Man, this winter just keeps on giving. Turns out those record-setting, lower-than-normal temperatures we just suffered through are now going to cause higher-than-normal pollen counts starting this month. Or, as Susan Kosisky, chief microbiologist at the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Laboratory, told the Washington Post, “Grab your Kleenex. It’s coming.” Evidently the long cold spell has given trees more time to build up pollen, which basically translates to lots of eye-watering, sneezy-wheezy misery as the weather warms and all …

Spotlight: New York’s Rising Utility Rates

While Washington, D.C., has been home for the last 25 years, I grew up in New York and am still a New Yorker at heart. I miss many things about the Empire State, but definitely not the winters – especially this year, when the strong storms and bitter cold have been brutal. During the harsh winter months, it is critical that we all are able to keep our homes warm and the lights on. For New Yorkers, this is becoming …

Winter Weary? 6 Ways to Cheer Up

Sick of winter yet? The harsh winter has left schools and governments closed, thousands without power and even the usually sunny South at an icy standstill. It’s also caused a cabin fever outbreak of record proportions. Not only are we bored and craving sun; being stuck inside alone can be bad for our health. A University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems. >> Sign up …

Why Sidewalks Matter

Post by Melissa Stanton, AARP: It seems counterintuitive that heavy snows would make people appreciative of the sidewalks they’re shoveling, but some friends and colleagues are telling us that’s what has been happening this winter. Stay Informed: Sign up for the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter From Jeanne: “I had a nice encounter with a neighbor during all this snow.”¨ Sean and his family are new neighbors. This is their first winter in Northern Virginia. He has three daughters in elementary school …

Rising Propane Prices, Shortages Add to Winter Woes

Persistent record-setting low temperatures across much of the United States are making this a tough winter for many families. Households face higher heating bills as prices for heating fuels continue to increase with rising demand sparked by the cold. Price increases for liquid propane have been significant. The Department of Energy estimates that 6 million households, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, use propane as their primary source of heating fuel. Low inventories and high demand for the fuel have …

Beyond Brrrr: Stay Safe During Record-Breaking Freeze

This isn’t just cold, this is a life-threatening freeze that’s breaking decades-old records across a huge swath of the country. So far, 20 storm-related deaths have been reported, including three people in Chicago who died while shoveling snow. Called a “polar vortex,” for the whirlpool of bitterly cold air that has descended from Minnesota to Alabama, residents are being warned to stay indoors and take precautions if they need to venture outside. Even Southern states are bracing for record low …