Wealth Book Review: The Kabbalah of Money – Jewish Insights On Giving, Owning And Receiving

By: Rabbi Nilton Bonder (1996)

Published by Shambhala Publications, Inc., Horticulture Hall, 300 Massachusetts Ave. Boston, Massachusetts 02115

ISBN 1-57062-804-1

Book Price: $22.95

Rabbi presents Jewish teachings

Rabbi Nilton Bonder was born in Brazil and ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of several books revealing Jewish teachings: Yiddishe Kop; Creative Problem Solving in Jewish Learning; Lore, and Humor; The Kabbalah of Food; and The Kabbalah of Envy.

Rabbinical teaching on money

Rabbi Nilton Bonder shares timeless Jewish money principles in ten chapters. He addresses such topics as, the limits of wealth (Ch. 2); wealth increased by having less (Ch. 5); living in the material world (Ch. 6); agents of livelihood (Ch. 7); obstacles to wealth (Ch. 8); death and wealth: can you take it with you? And much more!

Enhancing money beliefs via the Jewish context

Rabbi Nilton Bonder converses with readers in an informal, educational style. He relies heavily on Jewish thinking to inform his readers. This is seen in his opening remarks, “A Jewish aphorism tells us that a man shows his character in three ways: by his cup (that is, his appetite), his pocket (his relationship to money), and his anger.”

Insights gained from a Rabbi’s perspective amplify and qualify Bonder’s presentation. He affirms rabbinical views often, as follows, “The rabbis tell us that… our money is an extension of our reactions and beliefs.” & “The rabbis saw poverty as an unparalleled tragedy. In the Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 31:14) we read: “Nothing in the universe is worse than poverty; it is the most terrible of sufferings. A person oppressed by poverty is like someone who carries on his shoulders the weight of the whole world’s sufferings.”” He clearly communicates Jewish ideals.

Rabbi Nilton’s aim is clearly to motivate readers to embrace and act upon rabbinical wisdom, seen here: “… it is our duty to create maximum abundance for all without generating scarcity. In the language of the rabbinical Market, this is the ideal condition in which “one party doesn’t lose, and the other gains.”” Sounds like win-win!

Bonder is pointed in much of his addressing of solutions to our financial crisis. His answers carry a convicting sting as he states, “Much existing wealth cannot be made available to us, because of our unwillingness to share.”

Jewish concepts release money to us

Rabbi Nilton Bonder shares Jewish concepts that release money to us, helping readers to overcome poverty.

Success Step: List 3 things you believe about money. Let your money beliefs be cultured by Jewish thought.

Hand-Colored Photographs by Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers

Although Wallace Nutting was widely recognized as the country’s leading producer of hand-colored photographs during the early 20th century, he was by no means the only photographer selling this style of picture. Throughout the country literally hundreds of regional photographers were selling hand-colored photographs from their home regions or travels. The subject matter of these photographers was very comparable to Nutting’s, including Interior, Exterior, Foreign, and Miscellaneous Unusual scenes. The key determinants of value include the collectability of the particular photographer, subject matter, size, and of course condition. Keep in mind that only the rarest pictures, in the best condition, will bring top prices. Discoloration and/or damage to the picture or matting can reduce value significantly.

Major Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers: Several photographers operated large businesses and, although not as large or well-known as Nutting, they sold a substantial volume of pictures which can still be readily found today. The vast majority of their work was photographed in their home regions and sold primarily to local residents or visiting tourists. And it should come as little surprise that 3 of the major Wallace Nutting-Like photographers… David Davidson, Fred Thompson, and Charles Sawyer…each had ties to Nutting.

  • David Davidson: Second to Nutting in overall production, Davidson worked primarily in the Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts area. While a student at Brown University around 1900, Davidson learned the art of hand-colored photography directly from Nutting, who happened to be the Minister at Davidson’s Providence RI church. After Nutting moved to Southbury in 1905, Davidson graduated from Brown and started a successful photography business in Providence which he operated until his death in 1967.
  • Charles Sawyer: A father & son team, Charles H. Sawyer and Harold B. Sawyer, operated the very successful Sawyer Art Company from 1903-1970’s. Beginning in Farmington ME, the Sawyer Art Company moved to Concord NH in 1920 to be nearer their primary market of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Charles Sawyer briefly worked for Nutting in 1902-03 while living in southern Maine. Sawyer’s production volume ranks #3 behind Nutting and Davidson.
  • Fred Thompson: Frederick H. Thompson and Frederick M. Thompson were another father and son team that operated the Thompson Art Company (TACO) from 1908-1923, working primarily in the Portland, ME area. We know that Thompson and Nutting had collaborated because Thompson widely marketed an Interior scene he had taken in Nutting’s Southbury home. The production volume of the Thompson Art Company ranks #4 behind Nutting, Davidson, and Sawyer.
  • Charles Higgins: Working out of Bath Maine, some of Higgins finest pictures rivaled Nutting’s best. No firm connection has been found between Higgins and Nutting.

Minor Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers: Hundreds of other smaller local and regional photographers attempted to market hand-colored pictures comparable to Wallace Nutting’s during the 1900-1930’s time period. Although quite attractive, most were not as appealing to the general public as Wallace Nutting pictures. However, as the price of Wallace Nutting pictures has escalated, the work of these lesser-known Wallace Nutting-Like photographers have become increasingly collectible.

A partial listing of some of these minor Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers include: Babcock; J.Carleton Bicknell; Blair; Ralph Blood (Portland, ME); Bragg; Brehmer; Brooks; Burrowes; Busch; Royal Carlock; Pedro Cacciola; Croft; Currier; Depue Bros; Derek; Dowly; Eddy; May Farini (hand-colored Colonial lithographs); Geo. Forest; Gandara; H. Marshall Gardner (Nantucket, Bermuda, Florida); Gibson; Gideon; Gunn; Bessie Pease Gutmann (hand-colored Colonial Lithographs); Edward Guy; Harris; C. Hazen; Knoffe; F. Jay Haynes (Yellowstone Park); Margaret Hennesey; Hodges; Homer; Krabel; Kattleman; La Bushe; Lake; Lamson (Portland ME); M. Lightstrum; Machering; Rossiler; Mackinae; Merrill; Meyers; William Moehring; Moran; Murrey; Lyman Nelson; J. Robinson Neville (New England); Patterson; Owen Perry; Phelps; Phinney; Reynolds; F. Robbins; Royce; Fred’k Scheetz (Phila, PA); Shelton; Harry L. Standley (Colorado); Stott; Summers; Esther Svenson; Florence Thompson; Thomas Thompson; M.A. Trott; Sanford Tull; Underhill; Villar; Ward; Wilmot; Edith Wilson; Wright.

The same guidelines that apply to Nutting pictures typically apply to Nutting-Like pictures as well:

  • Exterior Scenes are the most common.
  • Some photographers sold colonial Interior scenes as well.
  • Subject Matter, Condition, and Size are all important determinants of value.

References Books:

  • The Collectors Guide to Early 20th Century Hand-Painted Photography, by Michael Ivankovich, 250 pgs, illustrated with pricing information.
  • The Hand-Painted Photographs of Charles Henry Sawyer, by Carol Begley Gray, Michael Ivankovich & John Peters, 60 pgs, illustrated with pricing information.

The Wallace Nutting Collector’s Club: Established in 1973, the Wallace Nutting Collectors Club holds annual conventions, usually in the northeastern portion of the country. Since there are no collectors clubs specifically dedicated to the works of any of the other photographers, collectors generally gravitate to the Wallace Nutting Collectors Club for information on early 20th century hand-colored photography.

Chucking Wood

Woodchucks belong to the marmot (large ground squirrel) family and goes by a variety of names- groundhog, thickwood Badger, monax, wood-shock, whistler, whistlepig (due to a warning sound made through their big front teeth), moonack, weenusk, red monk and in our family – PEST! Found throughout North America, woodchucks are primarily in the eastern United States and much of southern Canada. This morning it was spotted in south central Massachusetts, in our lakeside gardens. In New England, they inhabit both urban and suburban yards, fields, meadows, woodland clearings and are often found along grassy edged highways.

How do you identify a woodchuck? Look for a brown, thickly coated critter with small ears and beady little brown eyes, about 16 – 20 inches in length with a six-inch tail, weighing anywhere between six and 12 pounds. They have short, strong legs designed for digging and large front incisors. Despite their stocky appearance, woodchucks are accomplished swimmers and occasionally climb trees to survey their surroundings or escape when being chased. Luckily for them, they don’t have many predators to worry about because of their size, although foxes, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, and dogs will go after their young.

Normally you won’t find a woodchuck active during the day, as they are diurnal. They live in extensive burrows two-to six-feet deep and up to 40 feet long. Burrows contain many chambers for various functions, such as love nest, sleeping, nursery, bad weather hideout or waste. There can be as many as five openings in the den for the woodchuck to come and go. The main entrance will usually have a big dirt mound to the side for the woodchuck to observe or rest.

In summertime, you will spot a woodchuck feeding in early morning and late afternoon, spending the remainder of the day snoozing or sun bathing. Such a life! In late summer, they begin to bulk up with weight in preparation for moving to their winter dens – one of the true hibernators found in Massachusetts. Interestingly while hibernating from October to April, their body temperature drops from 99 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heartbeat slows from 100 to four beats per minute!

Mating doesn’t occur until the spring of their second year. In the wild their average lifespan is between five to six years. Females raise their young on their own after a 32-day gestation period. One litter will contain four to six kits or chuckling. After weaning around six weeks old, they are ready to leave the burrow with their mother. Once late summer arrives the kits venture off to discover the world on their own.

The diet of a woodchuck is primarily vegetarian (herbivorous) and this is where our garden trouble begins. They feed on a variety of grasses, clover, alfalfa, dandelion, and many varieties of wild and cultivated flowers. They also enjoy blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and other fruits (our blueberries), along with hickory and maple tree bark. It is understood, a fresh vegetable garden is a favorite feeding table for the seemingly always hungry woodchuck. Common veggies preferences include broccoli, peas, beans, carrot tops, lettuce, and squash. Basically, everything we planted this spring! On the flower side, they target asters, daisies, lilies, marigolds, pansies, phlox, snapdragons, and sunflowers. I would add lupines to the list, as we saw our annoying woodchuck strip young lupine stalks like he was eating corn on the cob! It should be noted that they also will munch on grasshoppers, June bugs, grubs, snails, and other large insects when the green leafy delicacies become sparse.

Woodchucks are notorious for being a serious nuisance around farms and gardens. Fencing is the only viable humane solution to protect vegetation from these hungry rodents. Chicken wire fences that not only go up with a bend outwards at the top, but are buried down at least a foot underground can often work as a deterrent. Another method is to lay the chicken wire around the garden perimeter and secure a four to six-foot-tall fence. These critters climb and dig, so you must build up, down and around if possible. Other options include repellents – planting gopher plant or crown imperial fritillary around the garden or sprinkling the areas with fox or coyote urine, diluted Tabasco sauce, red pepper flakes, or human hair. If you have a dog, allow your pet to periodically visit the garden area to “mark” his or her territory.

Finally, woodchucks like all mammals, carry rabies and are known to be aggressive. Avoid close contact. Don’t even consider relocating a woodchuck in Massachusetts, as it is illegal. Darn. What’s a gardener to do? Ever see the movie Caddy Shack with Bill Murray?

Trespasser by Paul Doiron – Mystery-Thriller Book Review – Asian Murder, ATV Adventure, and Amore

Twenty-five-year-old Mike Bowditch is a passionate Maine state game warden. It's been seven months since the ordale with his father, Jack Bowditch at Rum Pond (considering reading Doiron's award-nominated debut novel, The Poacher's Son as a preface to Trespasser ).

Bowditch responds to a dispatcher's call to investigate a deer / car collision on Parker Point Road. He arrives to find a damaged, red, rental sedan, and deer bloodstains in the middle of the road, but no driver, no deer.

What happened to the driver and the deer? Who anonymously alerted the authorities from the pay phone at Smitty's garage two miles away about the accident?

The rental car agreement found in the glove compartment indicative the current driver as Ashley Kim, 23, from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

State trooper, Curt Hutchins arrives at the scene soon after Bowditch. He assures him that he'll continue pursuit of Kim, now that it's a state police matter. Bowditch is skeptical. Something's not right and Bowditch knows it.

Bowditch is compelled to do his own investigation of Ashley Kim's disappearance. He joins the help of town clerk, MaryBeth Fickett and legendary, retired warden pilot, Charley Stevens. Stevens befriended Bowditch during his search for his father.

Fickett discovers that Hans Westergaard owns a summer home not far from the accident site. Westergaard is also from Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Harvard Business School professor. The Kim / Westergaard connection is too close to ignore. Bowditch calls Westergaard's wife, Jill, and learners that Kim was her husband's research assistant. She informs him too, that Hans left for a conference the day before and has not been heard from since.

Bowditch and Stevens explore the massive, oceanfront Westergaard home where they discover the mutilated corpse of Ashley Kim. The killer had carved the word SLUT on her body. With no sign of Westergaard, early suspensions focus on a romantic relationship between the two gone sour.

Seven years ago, Earland Jefferts, an affable, handsome, former lobsterman, was convicted of murdering twenty-year old, Nikki Donatelli. The crime occurred on a hot July night after drinking and seduction at the Harpoon Bar. Interestingly, Bowditch learns that Donatelli's body also had the word SLUT carved into her body.

The J-Team, led by Jeffert's aunt, Lou Bates, is determined to win him a new trial; convinced the prosecution did a botched job of presenting the evidence. They approach Bowditch about joining their mission. He initially Declines. But, given the similarities between the Kim / Donatelli murderers, he finds himself drawn into investigating Jeffert's conviction.

Danica Marshall is the Assistant Attorney General who helped prosecute Earland Jefferts. Often referred to as "courthouse sex symbol," and "Black Widow," she warns Bowditch to stop investigating Ashley Kim's death, and revisiting the details of Jeffert's conviction.

The Square Deal Diner is the town's gossip hub. Upon entering, Bowditch has been the topic of conversation, both during his father's disappearance and Ashley Kim's murder.

Adventure accentuates Trespasser, as Bowditch engages in a death-defying ATV chase on an ice-filled, snow-driven night to lure local Calvin Barter. Bowditch is sure he's the culprit who ATV tracks have been ruining neighbor, Hank Varnum's property: "I shifted into a lower gear and gassed it, aiming for as much momentum as possible and hoping to hell my wheels did not lose traction on the icy surface. "

Bowditch met his live-in girlfriend, Sarah, during college. After her affluent upbringing, she was attracted to his raw, love for the outdoors. "She recognized something feral underneath my clean-cut exterior, and like many good girls from proper families, she was aroused by the scourge of danger."

His affinity for danger, both during the search for his father and now in the Ashley Kim murder investigation, have take its toll on their relationship. Her tolerance for his availability, both physically and emotionally, has peaked, especially now that she's secretly pregnant.

Well-written fiction mirrors reality, often presenting insightful dialogue. One of the best lines in Trespasser worth contemplating is "You never really know someone until they're no longer in your life."

If you enjoy reading crime fiction, you'll appreciate Doiron's newish voice. It's one that's sure to become more recognizable over time.

The 2012 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, October 4-7. To learn more about this gathering of some of the world's best crime fiction writers, visit: http://bouchercon2012.com/

Hiking The Southern Section Of Mount Greylock State Reservation

On the far western corner of Massachusetts in the northern tip of the Berkshires lies Mount Greylock State Reservation. This reservation holds over 12,000 acres of pristine New England woodlands, 50 miles of hiking trails and over 1,500 recognized National Natural Landmark acres. Marking the top center of this reservation is the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. At its summit of almost 3,500 feet lies the historic 100 foot tall war memorial and the rustic stone lodge, both almost 100 years old.

Unlike most other hiking areas in the region the southern section of Mount Greylock State Reservation does not use the Appalachian Trail as its core hiking trail and very few significant side trails actually spin off it in this area. One word of caution about the area however is that the trails in this area range from very easy to very difficult. It is not always simple to discern which is which from the trail-head and a novice hiker who has already defeated an easier path may find themselves in trouble if they are not careful.

Probably my favorite trail in the area is the Round Rock Trail. It is a simple one mile round trip hike with a few pleasing extras. Short and sweet this trail is perfect for a quick afternoon hike or to burn off a few calories if you happen to be nearby. Now when most people go nature hiking they specifically do not want to see man made intrusions but two such items make this trail unique especially considering how short it is. If you head uphill from the southern trail entrance you will the first item you will find is the old town marker. Erected in 1912 this pillar designates the New Ashford-Cheshire town line. I know it seems rather plain enough but things like this in the middle of nowhere always catch my interest.

Just a few hundred feet further down the trail you will come across the site of a tragedy. In 1945 a small plane crashed here and all that remains is the rotting frame and a small wooden cross. Although sad one cant help but to ask what the story behind the crash was, did anyone survived or how many perished. I know it is morbid but places like this or an old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere just appeal to the mystery lovers in all of us. By the time you have finished reflecting on the issue you will already be back in the parking area and probably thinking you got a lot out of such a short trail.

Another trail that adds a little man made flavor to the scenic beauty is the old Dynamite Trail. Roughly a mile and a quarter long this trail runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail however the two do intersect at its southern trail-head. Not far from this intersection you will see the old storage box used in the early 30’s to store the dynamite used to carve the roads in the area.

If you are in the mood for more scenic adventures we recommend starting at the top of the southern section at Mount Greylock. Besides the lodge and war memorial the summit itself offers spectacular views. If you follow the trails to the southwest of the mountain you will find at least a half dozen intersecting scenic trails. It is easy to get lost amongst so many intersecting trails however and they do vary in terms of difficult so best to keep a sharp eye.

Green Light to Expunge Fraudulent Restraining Orders?

Green light to expunge? Can records of fraudulently obtained 209A Restraining Orders finally be expunged in Massachusetts?

Records of 209A orders live long and are unforgiving. Even an ex parte order that lasts a mere 10 days and is not renewed creates a record that will haunt the Defendant if there is ever another 209A case against him or in bail proceedings, just to name a few instances. Two recent decisions by Massachusetts courts may well have paved the road to expunge some of these records. These cases and their implications are discussed below.

In March of 2006 the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled on a case that’s been dragging for four years, and the ruling shed light on an issue that’s been dragging on the minds of falsely accused 209A Defendants for much longer: does a District Court judge have the inherent power to expunge a 209A Restraining Order from the statewide domestic violence registry when the order was obtained through fraud on the Court. In short, perhaps surprising but much welcomed: YES. The case was Commissioner of Probation v. Adams, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 725 (2006).

The case commenced when a couple (for reference, court designated pseudonyms of Jones and Adams will be used) obtained mutual 209A Restraining Orders against one another, which were later extended for one year. Sometime during this time period, after Jones was charged with violations of the 209A Order and criminal harassment in two different courts, Adams filed a motion to vacate the 209A Order against her and to expunge all records of the order. Here ensued the typical game of judicial ping pong. The judge granted the motion to vacate after finding 19 statements made by Jones to be false, but denied the motion to expunge. Adams filed a second motion to expunge the now vacated 209A Order, which the Commissioner of Probation (the office maintaining these records) opposed. The judge granted Adams’ motion to expunge, but the Commissioner filed a motion to reconsider. The judge denied the Commissioner’s motion, and the Commissioner appealed claiming that the judge had no authority to allow the expungement. The Commissioner argued that, while the Legislature specifically authorized and directed the development and implementation of a system containing records of all issuances and violations of 209A orders in Massachusetts, there was no provision for expungement of data because, according to the Commissioner, the purpose of the system was to preserve “complete information about a Defendant.”

The Commissioner was correct in that the 209A Law did not contain any provisions allowing for expungement of even incorrectly issued orders. While it is no surprise and no secret that the 209A statute is a poorly written and overly broad piece of legislation, short of the legislature specifically saying that no expungements are allowed, this vagueness left a hole and an opportunity for judges to make some good law on top of bad, for a change. This is exactly what the Appeals Court decided to do by returning to the lower court judges the power that was never expressly taken away by the Chapter 209A, but which the judges were timid to exercise in 209A settings: the power to fix judicial errors and to attempt “to secure the full and effective administration of justice” when there has been a finding of fraud on the court. In such instances, said the Appeals Court quoting various earlier cases, “lack of statutory authorization is immaterial,” moreover, such power “cannot be restricted or abolished by the legislature.”

In this case, vacating the 209A Order against Adams is insufficient to protect the integrity of the courts and does not send an appropriate message to the public. Vacating the order leaves a record of the order in the system. Not only does this leave a permanent mark against Adams, but it also leaves, in perpetuity, a record of a fraudulently obtained court order. Although labels such as “dismissed” or “closed” are applied to records in the system, no explanation is provided as to why the order was dismissed or the case closed. Many vacated 209A orders are vacated because of the victim’s failure to prosecute. Law enforcement officials will not be notified that the order was vacated because it was obtained by fraud on the court. Rather, they may presume it was vacated because of the victim’s failure to prosecute or because of insufficient evidence. The perpetuation of a fraud amounts to a defiling of the court itself when law enforcement officials rely on inaccurate information produced by the court. Just as vacating the order is an insufficient remedy in those circumstances, sealing the record of the order is equally inadequate. When records are sealed, they do not disappear. While sealed records become unavailable to the public, the raw data continues to be available to law enforcement officials (police, probation officers, and courts). Law enforcement officials would retain access to information that is inaccurate and misleading and was obtained through fraud on the court. Therefore, sealing would not remedy the defiling of the court.

Id. at 731-732 (citations omitted).

Bravo? Can we run and request that all vacated 209A orders now be expunged? Not quite. First, the court made it clear that only orders procured through fraud on the court are subject to expungement. As an example of the type of orders NOT to be expunged the court cited the Vaccaro v. Vaccaro case, where a 209A order was vacated because there was not enough evidence to extend it, as opposed to an order initially obtained by fraud. 425 Mass 153 (1997). The court said that, in the case of a merely vacated order or a dismissal for failure to prosecute, but where there is no finding of fraud, there exists “value” to law enforcement officials in retaining records of its issuance.

Second, the court set out a rather stern definition of what it considers fraud, namely “where it can be demonstrated, clearly and convincingly, that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party’s claim or defense.” Adams, at 729-730 (citations omitted).

Third, the court spoke of the timing for a motion to expunge, ruling that 209A defendants “have adequate opportunity to assert [the fraud] argument” at the 10 day and the extension hearings. “If the judge does not make a finding of fraud on the court, the defendant will have no basis for a subsequent motion to expunge the record of the order from the system. Nothing in G. L. c. 209A, or in this opinion, requires a hearing on a defendant’s motion for expungement. Furthermore, the ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard of proof required for demonstrating a fraud on the court finding will necessarily limit the number of instances when expungement may even be considered as an appropriate remedy.” Id. at 736-737.

Far short of an open floodgate, the Adams case seems to offer an ever so slight crack in the door for expunging certain 209A orders when backed by strong evidence of fraud and brought at the precisely right time.

Less than six months after the Appeals Court decided Adams, much closer to the daily reality of 209A Orders, Judge Gregory Flynn in the Waltham District Court rendered a decision applying the new standards from Adams. The case was Chamberlain v. Khanlian, Waltham District Court Docket No. 0651-RO-99. Here the Plaintiff failed to appear at the 10 day hearing and the 209A Order against the Defendant expired on that day. Another 11 days after that, the Defendant brought a motion to expunge the record alleging fraud on behalf of the Plaintiff. The Defendant supported his motion with several affidavits that set out facts in support of the fraud. The Plaintiff failed to appear at the hearing on the motion to expunge, but the Commissioner of Probation appeared and opposed the expungement in this case as well, though this time claiming that its sole purpose in opposing the motion was to make sure that the standards set out in Adams are followed.

“In light of the allegations made in the relevant pleadings, the factual support presented by the accompanying affidavits, the failure of the petitioner to appear to be heard on the allegations of fraud, the court is clearly convinced that the original restraining order was granted only upon a fraudulent set of facts presented to the Court,” wrote Judge Flynn. “Accordingly, in conformity with the standards set forth in Commissioner of Probation v. Adams, the motion to expunge was allowed.”

This being an “unpublished” District Court case, no further light into Judge Flynn’s reasoning or rationale is shed from his brief decision. It is interesting to note, however, that seemingly the timing standards set in Adams by the Appeals Court were not met here. In Adams, the Appeals Court noted that the Defendant’s only opportunities to raise allegations of fraud would be at the 10 day hearing or any further extension hearings. Here the 10 day hearing came and went without a motion to expunge. Yet, Judge Flynn still allowed the expungement when the motion was brought 11 days later. It is also interesting to note that both defendants in the two cases discussed above were women, and both had career motivated reasons for seeking expungements: one was an attorney while the other was a licensed pharmacist.

Whether other judges will see Adams as Judge Flynn did, and whether dozens of the falsely accused men in Massachusetts will be able to obtain relief from this turn in the law — only time will tell.

The Rise and Fall of Napster

With one single program written in 1999, an 18-year old Northeastern University computer science student named Shawn Fanning would unwittingly forever transform how people use the internet. The name of his program was Napster. Dubbed after his teenage nickname because of his nappy hair, Napster was a free downloadable program that could transform individual computers into servers that shared MP3 music files across the internet. Rather than a central server where all music files were stored, Napster instead worked as a medium. Users could log in to Napster, search for an artist or song title, and then proceed to download directly from another logged-in user’s hard drive. In a little more than a year after its initial launch, Napster soon became one of the most notorious and wildly popular sites in internet history. At its peak, Napster was touting a grand total of some 60 million users worldwide (Collins, 2002). Little did Fanning realize that his brainchild would soon become as ubiquitous on the internet as email and instant messaging. Nor little did Fanning realize the ensuing legal tempest that his creation would eventually create. Ultimately what began as a simple program written for his friends to share music soon caught the attention of not only young people worldwide, but also the ire of the recording industry.

The story of Napster begins just south of Boston in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts. A 17-year old Colleen Fanning was a high school senior there in 1980. One night, her older brother threw a party celebrating his high school graduation and hired a local band called “MacBeth” to play at the party. It was a resounding success, with some 3,000 people mobbing the house. Colleen’s younger brother John went around with a hat raising money to pay for the band and netting a couple of grand by the end of the night, his first entrepreneurial experience. That same night, say the Fannings, Colleen hooked up with one of the musicians and wound up pregnant. With her dad’s support, Colleen kept her baby, and named him Shawn. However, Shawn’s biological father who happened to be the son of one of the richest families in Massachusetts bailed out. Colleen eventually ended up marrying an ex-Marine who drove a delivery truck for a local bakery. His name was Raymond Verrier. The couple had four more kids, and Colleen took care of them all while her husband worked. “Money was always a pretty big issue,” Shawn said in a 2000 Business Week article. He added, “There was a lot of tension around that” (Ante, 2000).

Shawn grew up near the public housing projects in Brockton. At the time, Verrier could see her already-shy son was withdrawing from the inner-city chaos constantly surrounding him, “He went inside himself real deep and said, ‘I want to get out of this.’ Even though it meant losing him a little bit, it’s what I wanted for him,” said Verrier, employed then as a nurse’s aide. As Shawn grew older, Verrier turned to her business-minded brother, John, to help guide her son. As an incentive to learn, for each “A” he brought home from school his uncle John Fanning gave him money. He also bought his nephew an Apple Macintosh computer that Verrier could never have had the money for (Menn, 2003). Life for Shawn at the Fanning household however was steadily worsening. The relationship between his parents finally culminated when his mother and stepfather had a split. For a year Shawn and his siblings were forced to live in a foster home (Ante, 2000). Nevertheless, Shawn’s entrepreneurial uncle John Fanning was always there to offer support to his young nephew. Shawn worked summers as an intern in the Chess.net division at his uncle John’s internet company, NetGames, in the nearby town of Hull. There, Shawn became quite deft at programming from fellow interns who were studying computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. Yet in spite of John taking a vested interest in his nephew, Shawn was reluctant to absorb his uncle’s attentive work ethic. Shawn had difficulty completing assignments and instead would often focus on playing video games. “I was just getting into programming, so I spent a lot of my time just fiddling with projects and hanging out,” Shawn said (Ante, 2000). It was also during this time however that Shawn learned about what would soon make him notorious, MP3 digital music files (Menn, 2003).

Soon upon graduating from Harwich High School in 1998, Shawn enrolled at nearby Northeastern University. What would eventually become Napster was created in the freshman dorm room of Fanning’s roommate at Northeastern University. After listening to the complaints of his roommate finding nothing but dead links for MP3 music files with conventional search engines like Lycos and Yahoo!, Shawn looked for an easier alternative. His idea was simple. He wanted to combine the conventional ease of use of the internet with file transferring technology similar to the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network. Shawn knew that there should be a way to combine the breadth of search engines like Google with the “presence awareness” of systems like instant messaging, which know who is signed on at any given time (Menn, 2003). This was combined with having the option of individual users choose what files could be shared with others while connected to the Napster network. These innovative elements of the Napster program and network finally eliminated the problems associated with dead links. Additionally, by having all users store their music on their own computers, the electronic pipes would not clog if the new system just connected a pair of people and then dropped its own connection to them (Menn, 2003). Finally, added to these elements was a feature that enabled online Napster users to chat amongst each other in real-time.

Shawn dropped out of Northeastern in January 1999 in order to devote his full time to perfect his invention. According to Chess.net former colleague Tarek Loubani, he has seldom seen anyone so focused. “I don’t think people can appreciate how hard he worked,” said Loubani (Menn, 2003). He remembers only vaguely that stage in mid-1999, unable to recall exact months, weeks or days. Among the only memories he has of that time is being hunched over his Dell notebook computer, writing the code and snoozing on his uncle John’s couch or floor. Afraid of having a software company introduce a similar product before him, he obsessively wrote the entire source code of Napster in 60 straight hours (Greenfeld, 2000). In May 1999, Shawn’s uncle John incorporated the company as Napster. John Fanning would retain a 70% stake in the corporation while nephew Shawn would only retain 30% stake in the corporation. The justification offered by uncle John was that Shawn desperately needed a seasoned businessman like him to handle the nuances of running the company. (Menn, 2003).

Word quickly spread around the Northeastern University campus as soon as their former classmate Shawn had a preliminary beta program of Napster ready for testing on June 1, 1999. Soon, hundreds of college students were busy trading music. This new revolutionary file sharing service quickly became the buzz among the internet literati frequenting bulletin boards and chat rooms. The Napster network was growing and it was growing at a speedy pace. Faced with the prospect of unprecedented popularity within such a short period of time, the Fannings set out to raise capital for additional bandwidth and servers. The company relocated from Hull, Massachusetts to San Mateo, California to a more spacious location and hired additional workers. The additional capital investment in Napster came just in time. Napster became so popular that some college campuses were experiencing clogged up servers from the amount students using Napster alone. Schools such as the Pennsylvania State University in 1999 issued a moratorium on the use of Napster on campus computers and internet connections in an attempt to alleviate the problem. Napster’s woes were only beginning.

The notoriety eventually caught the attention of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA filed a lawsuit against Napster on December 7, 1999, alleging copyright infringement. Furthermore, the RIAA wanted compensation of $10,000 for every single copyrighted song traded across the Napster network. The unprecedented lawsuit garnered much media attention and further propelled Napster’s popularity, in particular with college students. Escalating droves of young people flocked to Napster to swap music, and the community soon touted millions of members worldwide. At any given time during this period, there would be millions of users online, trading hundreds of thousands of songs.

Later during spring of 2000, the heavy metal band Metallica learned that an unreleased studio outtake of their song “I Disappear” had been leaked and was being traded on Napster. The result was that the single was heard on numerous radio stations across America. Metallica was determined to find out how the song became so widely disseminated. The obvious culprit was Napster. A copyright infringement lawsuit was filed on April 13, 2000. After hiring consulting firm PDNet, Metallica soon discovered that during one weekend in April 2000, over 335,000 individual Napster users were trading their music online. On May 3, 2000 Napster was presented with 60,000 pages of user names that had allegedly traded copyrighted Metallica songs over the Napster network. Metallica demanded that Napster ban the 335,000 users for trading their copyrighted material, and Napster acquiesced. Napster attorney Laurence Pulgram stated, “Napster has taken extraordinary steps to comply with Metallica’s demands to block hundreds of thousands of its fans from using the Napster system.” He further added, “Napster has always stated that it would act in response to notice from copyright holders, and it has lived up to that commitment in good faith.” (Dansby & Uhelszki, 2000).

On May 5, 2000, Napster received a fatal legal blow. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that Napster was not entitled to “safe harbor” status under the 1992 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Napster’s original defense in its RIAA suit was that it was included under section 1008. This section in the Act explicitly stated that:

“No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright [1] based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or [2] based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.”

The Court found that Napster’s users were engaged in widespread copyright violation. Furthermore, the ruling also stated that Napster is “contributorily and vicariously liable for their actions.” The exclusion under Section 1008 of the AHRA was inapplicable here, because the Act provides immunity only from noncommercial copying and not public distribution. The Napster network was composed of over 20 million people. Therefore, each time a user was logged onto the network and shared his or her hard drive contents, that user was distributing copyrighted material to the masses. Section 1008 of the AHRA deals with the reproduction and not the distribution of copyrighted material. Therefore According to the court, Napster users were in violation of copyright infringement and the Napster was facilitating copyright infringement. Judge Patel granted the RIAA request for a preliminary injunction and the site was ordered shut down on July 26, 2000.

In the interim, Napster appealed the judgment on October 2, 2000. The Napster appeal was lost on February 12, 2001. A bid of $1 billion from Napster to settle out of court with the recording industry was shortly rejected. On March 5, 2001, the Ninth Circuit Court ordered Napster to stop the trading of copyrighted material on its network. As a result, Napster began to use filters in its search engine. The Napster system completely blocked any artist or song title that was copyrighted from user searches. Popular artists and song titles were no longer showing up in search results. As a consequence, clever users of Napster circumvented the filters by intentionally misspelling the artist or song title on their hard drives. Napster users could still be able to download copyrighted music. As a consequence, Napster completely shut down its whole network in July 2001 to fully abide by the court injunction. On September 24, 2001, Napster settled with copyright holders to the tune of $26 million for the illegal use of music, and $10 million up front to cover impending royalty agreements. Napster announced on May 17, 2002 an agreement with Germany’s Bertelsmann AG. The agreement would allow a subscriber-based form of Napster to develop featuring the Bertelsmann AG music catalog, in exchange for the German company to drop its lawsuit against Napster. However on June 3, 2001 Napster filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The sale to Bertelsmann AG was blocked, and Napster was forced to divest its remaining assets.

The current legal incarnation of Napster is as a subscriber-based pay service. Roxio purchased the Napster assets at auction in 2002. According to Wikipedia (2005) a monthly charge of $9.95 is billed to members that can provisionally rent songs, with the option of paying an extra $0.80 to $0.90 to permanently download songs. While the new Napster has only a fraction of the old Napster’s popularity, others have filled the void in the peer-to-peer file-sharing world. Popular services like Kazaa, Limewire and Morpheus utilize the technology made infamous by Shawn Fanning. Yet where the original Napster had a central server, these services rely on connecting directly to other network users. They are inherently more difficult to regulate for copyright infringement and likewise nearly impossible to stop.

Plimoth Plantation, One of the Great New England Museums

New England is rich in many things; prevalent among them are history, art and many diverse cultures. There are museums throughout the region that chronicle the past in many contexts. The best New England museums are, in fact, packed with all manner of fascinating artifacts, books, articles, furniture and the keepsakes of Native Americans, presidents, statesmen, the works and wisdom of our Founding Fathers, farmers, manufacturers, art, science and the sea faring, to name but a few.

For the purposes of this article about the Best New England Museums, I’ve chosen a “living history” institution from Massachusetts for its exemplary exhibits and realism.

Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, serves as a microcosm of what life was like when the Pilgrims arrived here in 1627.

The sense of history here at the Plantation resonates from every part of it. There’s great and reverent balance here. It’s not just about the English Colonists (the Pilgrims), the first Massachusetts settlement or the first Thanksgiving.

The curators have taken great care to place emphasis on the important role the Wampanoag Native People played in the opening act of American history.

In addition, the curators explain the evolution of Thanksgiving from its true origins, the food on that first Thanksgiving table and explores its evolution from how it began to the turkey-and-football event we know it to be today.

The Plantation comprises six major attractions: The 1627 Pilgrim Village; Hobbamock’s Homesite; The Mayflower II; Nye Barn; Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth & Meaning; and the Crafts Center.

The 1627 Pilgrim Village has been recreated in minute detail and the staff members, in period dress, go about their daily activities as if the Plantation was still the epicenter of the New World.

The thatch-roofed buildings offer a plethora of period artifacts that give ample insight into how the English Colonists lived, dressed, ate and interacted back in 1627, as well as how they survived against daunting odds. The staff members are extremely well versed in the history of Plimouth, and can expound at length on virtually any relevant topic.

Hobbamock’s Homesite gives visitors a very realistic view of how the Wampanoag People, who have lived in Southeastern New England for thousands of years, went about their daily lives. A traditional wetu (house) provides the same level of detail found in the English houses and realistically displays how different the Native lifestyle was from the colonists’.

When one compares the luxury and spaciousness of today’s ocean-going cruise ships to the Mayflower II, an exact replica of the original Mayflower, one wonders how the English colonists made the voyage, safe, sound and sane.

The size of the ship and the quarters of those who sailed aboard her are highly suggestive of a claustrophobic encounter of the worst kind. Imagine yourself 1 of 102 passengers and 18 crew on a ship 106 feet long with a beam 25 feet wide for a day, much less months.

Nye Barn conserves a great deal more than just history and architecture. The Plantation’s staff members are the caretakers of breeds of animals common during the 1600s, but extremely rare now. Breeding stocks for these beasts of burden are very low, but the Plantation is doing an exemplary job of helping the animals thrive and multiply.

The Crafts Center offers basket weaving, as well as pottery, joiner (furniture making) and tailoring as it was done by the colonists. Skilled craftspeople are happy to answer your questions about how they ply their trades, many nearly extinct, as well as how what they make was crafted at a time when there was no electricity.

There’s realism here that is neither contrived nor dispassionate. Everyone engaged in the day-to-day activities makes it truly living history, and it’s a New England museum that is worth every second of the visit.

Emission Inspection Stickers – Do I REALLY Need an Inspection to Get One?

Question: Can I get an inspection sticker for my car without going through an inspection?

Answer: Well, off the cuff, I’d say “No way José!” However, I thought that might be a poorly thought out response, so I thought I’d go to some US State websites and see what they had to say. I reviewed 10 states in various parts of the country, and here’s the surprising results of what I found…

New York – “All vehicles registered in New York State must get a safety inspection and an emissions inspection every 12 months. Both inspections are also required when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred. (Some vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections.) Both inspections are done at the same time by a DMV-certified inspector at privately-owned inspection stations licensed by DMV.” So, “NO” in NY.

New Jersey – “You can make an appointment online for State inspection facilities in Salem, Cape May or Washington (Warren county).” So, “NO” in NJ.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts introduced its “next generation” vehicle emissions testing and safety inspection program on, October 1, 2008. Vehicles 1996 and newer will be tested for emissions (On Board Diagnostic test) every year along with the annual safety inspection. Motorists will be able to choose which inspection station they use as long as the station is licensed. The cost of the test is among the lowest in the nation for this type of program. The Mass Vehicle Check will continue to cost $29 annually. So, “NO” in MA also.

Let’s move south a bit to Virginia – “Generally, all new car dealerships perform inspections. Many garages that repair vehicles are licensed to perform inspections. They will display a large white sign with blue lettering designating them as an official inspection station. Many businesses advertise inspection services in your local phone directory.” So, “NO” in VA.

Going west to the great (big) state of Texas – “If your vehicle is not registered in one of the emissions counties, then you will have to get the vehicle re-inspected at one of the local inspection stations in your area. Currently, there are no replacement procedures for non-emissions county motorists. Hmmmm… looks like a big “NO” in TX also!

Maybe things are looser in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State’s regs read “If you live in the following counties, your vehicle may need to get an emissions test every 2 years:

  • Clark County
  • King County
  • Pierce County
  • Snohomish County
  • Spokane County”

So it looks like a good chance that if you live out of the 5 most populated areas in WA (unlikely as 90% of the population lives in these 5 counties), you can get by without an inspection. I also know that the State of Washington does not use stickers for the inspection, but they do keep track via the central computers in the state capital and they will come and get you. This is the state of my residence, so I know this to be the case.

What about the laid back Midwest. I decided to check Kansas, and a ray of hope if you can stand living among the corn stalks! “Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles. You are not required to have your vehicle tested, and, consequently, no related paperwork is required in order to register your vehicle.” So, a big “YES” for KS!.

Many moons ago, I lived in Mississippi. The folks down there seem pretty laid back, so I thought I’d see what I could find there. Good news! At least for the time being as you’ll see by the wording here. “Mississippi meets all federal guidelines for air quality, so it has not yet made smog and emission checks mandatory for the vehicles of its residents. So, for the time being, “YES” if you want to live in the alligator swamps! Well, at least in the south of the state.

Let’s catch one more state… that’ll give us a smorgasbord from around the country. How about Minnesota? When I checked in to Minnesota, I had a pleasant surprise! “Minnesota’s vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999, when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requested reclassification of the area’s air quality status from the federal government and got it.” I didn’t even know you could reverse something like this. Usually, once a bureaucracy is in place, they’re kind of like a cancer – very hard to remove. Kudos to Minnesota for a big fat “YES!”

So, as usual, the heavy regulatory states tend to be the most highly populated states in the Northeastern United States, and the socialistic leaning Western states, OR, WA, and of course, CA. But the good news is that the Midwest and the West (excepting the aforementioned triage) have clean air and no testing is required, at least of the three we reviewed.

So, if you live in those states, yeah, you better get those stickers. But if not, then you’re in luck. But I’m guessing by the way you framed your question, you’re going to have to move to the Midwest or the South or Alaska to avoid those stickers.

Here’s all the states in alphabetical order –

Alabama – Alabama does not require emissions testing of vehicles, although by state law any city can pass laws to begin testing. Currently none have done so.

Alaska – As of March 1, 2012 emission inspections are no longer required in Alaska. Another reversal. This may also speak to the fact that the US has so many emissions controls on vehicles.

Arizona – The Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) applies to vehicles in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas whose model year falls after 1967, mandating that the cars’ emissions levels be inspected 90 days before their registration renewal date.

Arkansas – Arkansas does not require annual vehicle inspections. However, the state still expects you to pay careful attention to your vehicle emissions. Yeah, I’ll bet every redneck in Arkansas is getting’ that emission checked out annually (smirk).

California – Whether you need it or not, the California DMV will mail you a registration renewal notice telling you whether you are required to get your vehicle smogged; it will also tell you if your vehicle requires a smog check at a test-only station. However, if your vehicle is six or less model years old, you are not required to obtain smog certification as long as you pay the annual $20 smog abatement fee. California will get you coming or going!

Colorado – An “enhanced test” is required in Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson as well as parts of Adams and Arapahoe counties. Even if you happen to live in a county that does not test, or only has the basic test (see below), yet you commute into these areas, then you also need to pass the enhanced test. A basic test is required in parts of Larimer, Weld, and El Paso counties. The area boundaries can get confusing, so if you are unclear as to your county’s requirements just give the local title and registration office a call. Or just scream.

Connecticut – If you have a vehicle registered in Connecticut that is more than four or less than 25 years old, you are required to submit it for a state emissions inspection every other year.

Delaware – You must pass the emission test to register or renew registration on your vehicle. The test you are given depends on the age of your car.

Florida – On July 1, 2000, the State of Florida abolished the auto emissions test requirement for all vehicles throughout the state after 9 years of testing.

Georgia – All gas-powered passenger cars and light trucks between 3 and 25 years old in 13 Georgia counties must pass an emission inspection before being issued license plates.

Hawaii – At this time there are no set emissions standards for vehicles in Hawaii. The state is on the frontlines of the electric vehicle movement and has many hybrids on the streets.

Idaho – Northern Ada County (home of Boise, the largest city in Idaho) is the only county in Idaho that requires the vehicles of its residents to go through an annual emissions test.

Illinois – Many vehicles registered in Illinois are required by the state to have their emissions checked every two years. A notice is sent to car owners when it is time to be checked.

Indiana – If you’re a resident of Clark, Floyd, Lake, or Porter counties, and your passenger vehicle is at least four years old, you will need to complete an emissions inspection every two years. If your vehicle was made before 1976, it doesn’t need tested.

Iowa – Iowa lacks the heavy population that creates smog problems, so there are no guidelines in place for vehicle emission checks.

Kansas – Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles.

Kentucky – While Kentucky did adopt a vehicle emissions testing program for three northern counties in 1999, the requirement ended in late 2005.

Louisiana – Louisiana vehicle inspections focus more on the mechanical parts of your vehicle; however, certain vehicle emission parts will be checked, too. The exception is for cars that are registered in Baton Rouge. These are required to be given On-Board Diagnostics as well.

Maine – If you drive a car/truck in Maine, your vehicle needs to pass a safety inspection annually. Vehicles registered in Cumberland County also need to pass an emissions inspection.

Maryland – The year of your vehicle determines what sort of testing it will undergo. Vehicles from the current two model years are exempt from the first round of testing.

Massachusetts – In Massachusetts, you have to get your motor vehicle inspected every year. And since 1999, Massachusetts vehicle owners have also been required to submit their vehicles to an enhanced emissions check.

Michigan – Michigan currently does not require automobile or truck emissions testing.

Minnesota – Minnesota’s vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999.

Mississippi – Mississippi does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle registered within the state.

Missouri – According to Missouri law, emissions inspections are required for drivers who live in St. Louis City or one of the following counties: Jefferson, Franklin, St. Charles, and St. Louis.

Montana – Montana does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle.

Nebraska – Nebraska does not have any official policy for vehicle testing.

Nevada – The urban areas located in Clark and Washoe counties are subject to strict emission testing requirements for most vehicles.

New Hampshire – To control emissions, the official licensed inspection stations are responsible for evaluating your vehicle’s engine emissions in accordance with your vehicle registration.

New Jersey – Motorists in New Jersey are required by the Motor Vehicle Commission to take their vehicles for an emissions inspection every two years.

New Mexico – Anyone who lives in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area shall have their vehicle checked – or get an exemption – before registering it.

New York – New York requires all registered vehicles to have two kinds of inspections each year: a safety inspection and an emissions inspection. These are performed simultaneously at privately owned inspection stations licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

North Carolina – When you register your newer gasoline-powered vehicles in an emissions county, your vehicle will have to pass an On Board Diagnostics emissions test. This is in addition to the safety inspection that your vehicle must also pass.

North Dakota – North Dakota does not require emission checks.

Ohio – Currently, E-Check only affects residents of seven of the state’s 88 counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, or Summit countiesâ��and if you own a vehicleâ��you will need to have its emission system checked before you renew your registration.

Oklahoma – Oklahoma is one of the few remaining states that does not require emissions checks for any motor vehicles.

Oregon – The Dept. of Environmental Quality operates seven Clean Air Stations in the Portland and Medford, or Rogue Valley areas. These areas only are subject to emissions testing.

Pennsylvania – This state requires a vehicle emission test once a year. So as to alert you when it’s your turn, the state will stamp on your vehicle’s renewal notice the words “Emissions Inspection Required/Diesel Vehicles Exempt.”

Rhode Island – Emission checks must done every two years at any state-certified inspection station. Emission tests are done jointly with the annual safety inspection.

South Carolina – South Carolina does not require any smog or emission inspections on vehicles. The state meets all federal clean air standards.

South Dakota – South Dakota is one of the few states that don’t require vehicle emissions testing of any kind.

Tennessee – Only gas or diesel-fueled vehicles weighing up to 10,500 pounds, registered in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties, as well as those registered in Memphis, will be required to submit to emissions testing before they can be registered or have their registrations renewed.

Texas – All cars in Texas undergo an annual safety inspection. Where mandated, an emissions inspection is added to this process (major urban centers like Dallas and Houston).

Utah – Utahans in the densely populated Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, and Weber counties are required to take their cars in for mandatory emissions testing every two years.

Vermont – Vermont does not require drivers to submit to annual or semiannual emission tests.

Virginia – As with many states, Virginia requires most vehicles to be up-to-date on two separate types of tests: one for safety, and one for emissions.

Washington – Emissions testing is required for all other gasoline and diesel vehicles between five and 25 years old that are registered in the five most populated Washington counties.

Washington D.C. – In the District of Columbia, motorists are required to have their vehicles inspected before registration, and the inspection must be renewed every two years.

West Virginia – West Virginia does not currently require emission checks as a requirement for vehicle registration.

Wisconsin – Vehicles newer than 1968 registered in the most populated Southern Wisconsin counties must undergo emissions testing when it’s time for registration renewal.

Wyoming – Wyoming does not require smog or emission checks for any vehicles registered and titled in the state.

4 Good Reasons to Have a Roofing Contractor Roof Your Home in the Winter

If you live in an area of the country, such as Massachusetts, with harsh winters you might be wondering why anyone would consider roof replacement in the winter time. Well, it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Many roofing contractors offer their services year round even in cold and snowy regions like Massachusetts, which is where I’m from. Roofing Massachusetts homes during the winter is no different for a roofing contractor than doing it any other time of the year, with a few exception, and some roofing contractors and there crews even say that they prefer it. First let’s go over what makes roofing more difficult this time of year and the arguments against having a new roof installed right now.

It’s too cold outside for a roof replacement.

This argument just doesn’t hold any water. It may be cold out now but who cares? Your roof doesn’t care. The crew installing your roof doesn’t care. Don’t worry about the guys doing the installation. If the cold weather bothered them that much they wouldn’t be up there installing your new roof in the first place, they would be working an indoor job. I know a lot of guys that prefer roofing in cold weather just because it is cold. Try roofing a black roof in the middle of the Summer. Lots of fun, let me tell ya. In the Summer if it is 90 degrees on the ground it feels like 110 degrees up on that roof (and sometimes is).

There is too much snow on my roof to have it replaced right now.

This, my friend, is why God created snow shovels. It is really not a big deal to shovel the snow off of a roof. It usually takes a half-hour to an hour to remove the snow and most roofing contractors don’t even charge you extra for this as long as they are there to replace the roof and not just shovel snow (a service which many roofing companies provide in the North East). Does the crew need to be careful while doing this to avoid falling? Of course. However, the crew needs to be careful in every regard when it comes to roofing a house, this is nothing new. These guys are professionals and safety should always comes first, and does always come first with a responsible roofing company.

Alright, I just gave you 2 reasons why many people think roofing shouldn’t be done in the winter and why they aren’t really very good reasons at all. Now let me give you the 4 best reasons you should consider having your roof replaced this time of year.

1.) Ice dams causing leaks.

The winter time in Massachusetts tests your home and roof in ways unlike any other time of year. The most common cause of roof leaks during the winter is the dreaded ice dam. An ice dam is formed over the eaves of a house from built up snow melting and running down the roof only to refreeze at the very edge of the roof line. Here in Massachusetts, as well as other cold climate areas, roofing contractors use a product called “ice & water barrier” together with proper drip-edge flashing techniques to prevent ice dams from damaging your home and causing leaks. This technique, when done properly, provides added protection for at least 3 feet up from all edges of the roof. Many older roofs do not have “ice & water barrier” installed. If your roof is leaking because of ice dams this could be a great time to have the roof redone properly and insure that ice dams will not be bothering you and your home again.

2.) Winter conditions, in general, make a bad roof worse.

If you had a bad roof before winter hit it is only going to be in worse shape once spring arrives. There are many factors that adversely affect your roof in the cold weather. I already discussed ice dams but there’s more. During the winter as the temperature fluctuates it makes your shingles expand and contract causing curling and cracking in older shingles. Now let’s say some of your old roof shingles curl a bit, then you get a nice wet, heavy snow and the weight of the snow causes some of those curled shingles to crack. Now you have a potential new roof leak. Also, when that wet, heavy snow then freezes it will possibly cause even more damage to your old roof shingles. The thawing and refreezing that occurs throughout the winter time is nothing but bad for old shingles. Old roofs hate the cold winters.

3.) Faster service on your new roof installation.

It’s a simple fact that Massachusetts roofing contractors, and roofing contractors in general, are not as busy during the winter. What this means for a homeowner needing a new roof is that the roof contractor you choose might be able to install your new roofing in a matter of days from the time that you sign the contract as opposed to waiting weeks, or even months sometimes, if you hold off until the spring, summer, and fall months. For many homeowners this reason alone should be enough to have your roof done in the winter time.

4.) Save money by taking advantage of a slow time of year for roofers.

Who doesn’t want to save as much money as possible especially when it comes to an expensive home improvement project such as re-roofing. For the same reasons that you may be able to receive faster installation service on a new roof from a roofing contractor during the winter, you will also probably receive a better price than you would during the warmer months. Most professional roof installers will provide you with the same labor warranty for a roof installed in winter time as a roof installed any other time of year. The material warranty is provided by the shingle manufacturer and will be the same regardless of what season the roof was installed. Roofing contractors want to keep their crews busy and will give you a better price just to avoid having to lay off employees during the winter slowdown.

So what are you waiting for? If you have a house with an older roof that needs replacing get in touch with a local roofing contractor and find out for yourself why roofing Massachusetts homes or a home in any other area is a perfectly viable option in the winter time and often a bargain!