Noah’s Place Playground

received_2096830007197076.jpegWelllllll, what do we have here?

 

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It”s Noah’s Place playground, which just opened up on Pope’s Island in New Bedford

 

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It is designed to serve the needs of children who might not be able to use other playgrounds around town.

 

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It may be the only fully inclusive playground in Southeastern Massachusetts.

 

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Noah Fernandes was the inspiration for the park. Noah had mitochondrial disease, but that didn’t stop him from getting to the playground when he could. Not all playgrounds were suited for children with special needs, but thanks to the Team Noah Foundation, there is now a fully inclusive playground in Southeastern Massachusetts.

 

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I don’t even know what that is, but I know that I want to play with it. I’m 49, by the way… going on 7.

 

 

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Mayor Mitchell says that he has never seen a project where the groundbreaking was so close to the ribbon cutting. They got this sucker up-n-open in less than a year.

 

 

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I thought they were trying to go with New Bedford High School’s colors, but New Bedford High School is red and white. Blue and yellow looks better for a playground.

 

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The playground is on 102 Pope’s Island Road on the New Bedford/Fairhaven border.

 

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It is up and running, just in time for summer.

 

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There is a nice view of Fairhaven Harbor, available to True Swingers.

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See?

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Big ups to the sponsors…

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Hope to see you there!

 

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Rehoboth Beast Hunting

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We heard reports of a bear in the Ash Street area of Rehoboth, so we scrambled the crew and headed out to see what was what. The first thing we found was a man’s man barbecue.

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We didn’t catch the bear (we were only going to shoot him with the camera), which was probably a good thing for all parties. We did catch a duck posse.

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Rehoboth, which is the Hebrew word meaning “broad places,” was founded in 1643. It originally stretched to Providence. The Native Americans took a few cracks at Rehoboth during King Philip’s War, burning houses and saw mills and generally scaring the bejesus out of the colonists. The white boys paid them back by killing Anawan (a Wampanoag sachem who took over after King Phillip perished) there, ending King Philip’s War in this part of the state. Duxbury”s Benjamin Church, America’s first ranger, led that mission.

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All of this matters very little to the ducks, who just want to be left alone to hang around on Ash Road. I found out later that they are free range Muscovy ducks, and sort of serve as the neighborhood’s conscience regarding speeding down that road

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I had to shoo them along, as cars were coming. I didn’t want them to get run over, because they were there both days that I searched Rehoboth and I had grown attached to them.

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One of them even sat down in the road like she thought she was an Occupy Rehoboth protestor.

 

 

January Weather In Eastern Massachusetts

New England is one of those cold places in America. We get a bit spoiled in Cranberry County (SE Massachusetts), as our lows aren’t as low as they get further inland. We’re actually the balmy part of New England, which I doubt is of any great comfort to you.

New Englanders are logical, and we’d be quick to point out to someone who is suffering in our climate that many parts of America have it worse than we do with Old Man Winter. Everything from the Great Lakes west to the Rockies along our latitude is colder than we are, as our climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream. As cold as our air is right now, there is a touch of Florida to it that is saving us from the true Ice Bowl stuff.

Still, New Englanders sometimes forget that a lot of the country is comprised of states that are much warmer than we are. Any state which once had people picking cotton is warmer than us. Any state Mexicans sneak into is warmer than us. Any state where people surf, any state with a Disney park in it, any state with palm trees, any state with more than one NASCAR track… you guessed it, warmer than us.

Winter is officially when the axis of the Earth is tilting away from the sun in our hemisphere. Weathermen sometimes call winter the 3 months with the coldest temperatures. Other people go by length of day, vernal equinox dates, animal migrations, and a ton of other omens.

Winter brings the coldness. Cold is a subjective perception thing. Someone from New England might scoff at what someone from Georgia considers to be cold, while someone from Alaska might find the Yankee to be a bit of a wuss. The coldest temperature ever recorded reliably was above Lake Rostov in Antarctica, which clocked in at -128 Fahrenheit. That’s just about as cold as the polar ice caps of Mars, if you need a scale of reference.

Cold will happily kill you if you don’t protect yourself from it. Humans have an optimal operating temperature in the 90s. We’re not designed (fur, down, blubber) for colder conditions, and we only survive in places like New England or Finland because we’re crafty suckers who figure out stuff like fire and electricity. Without that, we’d be Peopsicles.

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How cold does it get around here?

Although it is not Cranberry County, Boston has extensive weather records. Boston is a bit north of Cranberry County, but it also has a more concrete-ish urban heat effect. They are generally just a bit colder than coastal Cranberry County, and warmer than inland Cranberry County.

The same basic logic applies to snowfall, with Boston getting the lesser snow of an East Falmouth rather than the heavier snowfall of an East Bridgewater.

I just happen to have the January weather records for Boston right here. This year and her frigid start are not included in these stats. They go back to 1920. Let’s roll through some fun facts, shall we?

– January is the coldest month, with an average high/low temperature range of 36/22. Second coldest? February, follwed by December, March, November, April, and October.

– Rolling through the lowest January temperatures, we get a -2 in 2011, a -7 in 2004, -4 in 1994, 1988 and 1981, and an ungodly -12 in 1957. For highs, we hit 69 degrees in 2007 and a lay-out-and-tan 72 degrees in 1950.

– Boston’s record for coldest high temperature in a January day is 7 degrees. It was -4 that night, so people were happy with the 7. However, the temperature never dropped below 55 degrees on a day in 1950.

– The state in January has an Average Daily High temperature range running from 21.9 degrees in the Berkshires to 29 in Boston to 31 on Martha’s Vineyard.

– The lowest temperature ever recorded in Massachusetts was -37 F, in Chester. Nominally warm states like Arizona, California, Missouri and Mayland have all had colder days than that. California also somehow owns the national snowfall event total record at like 20 feet or something.

– Cape Cod, the South Shore, Bristol County and Boston get, generally, about 2/3 the snow that Worcester gets.

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Average annual snowfall totals (days with at least .1″ of snow, and inches of snow per year) for towns in our area, through 2014:

Boston 22.4 days/43.6″

Boston is our standard, and we’ll lead off with it.

Chatham 11.7 days, 28.9″
Martha’s Vineyard, 9.7 days, 23.6″
Hyannis, 6.1 days, 15.6″

Chatham and Martha are further out into the ocean, and get clipped by storms more than closer-to-the-mainland Hyannis. The totals spike upward when we go to the mainland, although the South Coast is subject to the same Gulf Stream effect that Cape Cod is regarding to moderate temperatures.

Taunton, 10.3 days, 28.0″
New Bedford, 14.7 days, 33.2″
Wareham, 14.3 days, 36.1 inches
Plymouth, 13.1 days, 36.2″
Hingham, 25 days, 47.1″

Hingham’s totals illustrate how the snow is more regular as you move north. Plymouth, Taunton and Wareham (and even the Cape and Islands, once you stare at the numbers a lot) illustrate how, when they do get snow, they tend to get a lot of it. Plymouth gets rain half of the time when Hingham gets snow, but they get more than 2/3 of Hingham’s snow in that same time frame.

Blue Hill, 29.1 days, 62.7 inches
Lowell, 20.3 days, 51.9″
Amherst 16.6 days, 36.9″
East Brimfield, 23.1 days, 59.0″
Worcester, 31.7 days, 64.1″
Great Barington, 22.1 days, 61.0″
Worthington, 52.6 days, 79.7″
Ripton, 366 days, 1968″

Worcester, which is in the hills a bit, is used as the Central Massachusetts benchmark on most news programs. Blue Hill is a mountain, or what passes for a mountain in EMass. Amherst is in the Connecticut River Valley, which gets lower totals than, say, Great Barrington. I’m amazed that there is a need to differentiate between the eastern and western pats of Brimfield, but it probably matters a lot to Brimfieldians. Ripton is a fictional community, so I gave it fictional snowfall totals.

– Boston is the windiest of major US cities, with an average wind speed of 12.3 mph.

We’re windier than Chicago, the Windy City, which clocks 10.3 mph. Tornado-ridden Oklahoma City only gets 12.2 mph.

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January snowfall totals in Boston

2016, 9.5″

2015, 34.3″ (February was the backbreaker that year)

2014, 21.8″

2013, 4.8″

2012, 6.8″

2011, 38.3″

2010, 13.2″

2009 23.7″

2007, 1.0″

2005, 43.30″

1996 39.80″

1992, 0.40″

1986, 0.80

1978, 35.90 (that’s BEFORE the Blizzard, btw)

1957, 20.6″ (They also had a 72 degree day that month)

1945, 42.3″

1920, 24.8″

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Snowy, Treacherous AM Commute Wednesday

An overnight snowstorm will powder up Massachusetts for your morning commute on Wednesday.

This won’t be a blockbuster, although northwestern parts of interior Plymouth and Britsol Counties could get 6″ of snow. This will be a quick-hitting Alberta Clipper-type system.

Much like many areas of life, timing is everything. This storm will whiten us up overnight, and the snow will still be falling for your commute into work Wednesday morning. It should be through with us by lunchtime, but that isn’t going to help you much as you slog into Boston over a skating rink.

Snow will start in our coverage area (Plymouth and Bristol Counties, anyway) at 3 AM or so. At least WBZ has Cape Cod staying as snow until 6 or 7 AM, when the change to rain commences. The rain line pushes from Outer to Mid to Upper Cape Cod by 10 AM, stopping somewhere on an east/west axis around the central South Shore. The storm will end as rain for people south of that line.

Much of Plymouth County and Bristol County should see 3-6″ of snow. As you get closer to the coast, the totals will lower, from 1-3″ to Coating-1″. As you get closer to the Cape, you will see a turnover to rain. Cape Cod may be left with no snow at all, the South Coast may also get blanked and Plymouth (town) could be hit or miss.

Even the towns that get Nada will start off as snow, and it will be snowing for much of the morning commute. There is also a chance, that not everyone who I watched agreed on, that there could be a change back to snow as the storm pulls away from Massachusetts.

Either way, at least the AM and possibly the PM commute could be problematic. Plan accordingly.

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Here’s a Winter Weather Advisory from the good people at the NWS.

As for the pros….

WBZ… rain for the Cape, 1-3″ for southern/eastern Plymouth/Bristol Counties, 5-8″ for central and northern Plymouth/Bristol Counties.

WCVB… Cape Cod, Plymouth (town) and South Coast get blanked, interior Plymouth/Bristol get 2-4″.

WHDH… 3-6″, 8″ north and west of Route 495.

NECN… highest forecast totals for our region, 1-3″ for the Cape, 3-6″ for all of Plymouth and Bristol Counties.

Accuweather… I should add beforehand that Accuweather is always wildly conservative with snowfall total predictions….  Duxbury, about an inch…. Eastham, 1.1″…. Bourne, .9″…. New Beffuh, .7″, Halifax, 1.2″… Brockton 1.6″… Taunton, 1″…. Weymouth, 1.8″

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“It’s so cold in the D…”