Is it time to reopen Town Hall? Mass. cities and towns taking different approaches to COVID precautions

Laveta Brigham

As the weather turns colder, some Massachusetts cities and towns are setting plans to reopen their facilities to the public. Others don’t plan to fully reopen municipal buildings anytime soon — and they say some of the new ways they’ve been connecting with residents could be here to stay.

As of Aug. 10, at least 35 communities had reopened their city and town halls to walk-in service, with some operating on reduced hours, according to a voluntary survey compiled by the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The survey indicates that a larger portion of municipalities have reopened city and town halls on an appointment-only basis, while most libraries and senior centers remain closed aside from curbside service and virtual programs.

Bellingham’s town hall has been open to the public since mid-June, though the town is encouraging residents to do their business online when possible, Town Administrator Denis Fraine told the News Service.

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5 tech trends that will redefine finance in the next 5 years

Laveta Brigham

As one of the most ancient tenets of human societies, money and finance have been constantly evolving with advances in technology and science. As technology continues to take leaps and bounds and permeates every aspect of life, we can expect banking and finance to change.

So, how will technology transform financial services in the next few years? We asked experts to share their perspectives, and here are six trends we think are worth watching.

Natural language processing

The past decade has seen tremendous advances in natural language processing, the field of artificial intelligence that extracts meaning and context from spoken and written language. Natural Language Processing (NLP) provides an unprecedented opportunity to obtain value from Word and PDF documents, emails, chat logs, social media posts, and the vast amounts of unstructured data that constitute much of the web.

In the world of finance, we’re already seeing the

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Best car insurance for military and veterans in 2020

Laveta Brigham

Car insurance is an essential part of driving, but premiums can cost thousands annually, which makes for a headache — especially when combined with payments on your car. Thankfully, if you’re an active-duty US service member or a veteran, you might be able to save a significant amount of money on your auto insurance rates with a military car insurance discount.

“Current and former military [personnel] should shop for insurance just like everyone else,” says Dan Karr, CEO and founder of ValChoice, an independent platform for insurance analytics and ratings. “This means claims handling should be included as an important factor. The difference for former and current military [personnel] is they may have additional options available that may not be available to the general public.”

Many of the largest insurers in the country offer military discounts to service members and veterans. These discounts, which take different forms, are offered by

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Will COVID-19 make gyms extinct? Worries mount for health clubs

Laveta Brigham

I hated to do it, but I recently canceled my membership at a health club I’ve belonged to for a decade.

I’m sticking with outdoor exercise, YouTube classes and a home gym for now — a personal decision partly based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit indoor group training sessions.

Experts say people who are breathing heavily are likely expelling more respiratory droplets — the main way infected people spread the coronavirus — so it’s extra important to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Fitness buffs worried about it all have plenty of in-home options, adding to the stress of gyms trying to stay afloat after the national shutdown this spring.

The fitness industry has been “absolutely devastated” by COVID-19, said Meredith Poppler, vice president of communications at the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a trade group that represents fitness facilities.

Almost

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5 things you may not know about personal insurance in 2020

Laveta Brigham


 


a group of people posing for the camera: Life insurance from FWD, NTUC Income, critical illness changes, payment deferment from Life Insurance Association are some new changes in 2020


© Provided by MoneySmart
Life insurance from FWD, NTUC Income, critical illness changes, payment deferment from Life Insurance Association are some new changes in 2020

Insurance has become more important than ever these days, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, global economic doom and gloom, and all the bad things that have happened in 2020, sending people scrambling to find some measure of protection.

Insurance policies with lower premiums and shorter terms, as well as investment-linked policies, saw increased demand this year as consumers sought more affordable coverage. Some companies such as AIA, DBS, Great Eastern and HSBC also started offering free Covid-19 coverage for a limited period of time, while others introduced or added dengue coverage to their offerings.

More recently, local insurer Singlife also announced plans to merge with Aviva Singapore — a move that will make them one of the largest insurance companies in South-east Asia

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Why Cincinnati business leaders are working to attract more minority entrepreneurs to the Tri-State

Laveta Brigham

The protests have quieted down here in the Tri-State, but the calls for racial equality and justice are still loud and clear. WCPO will examine where the movement goes from here in “From Protests to Solutions – The Movement for Change,” airing at 7:30 tonight on WCPO and wherever you stream WCPO 9.

CINCINNATI — Joe Vazquez started his construction company in 2008 — hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt but convinced his background as a CPA would help him succeed in business during an economic downturn.

Now, with close to 100 employees and nearly $50 million in annual revenue, Vazquez is looking to grow Vazquez Commercial Contracting, LLC to $250 million in revenue within the next seven years.

He expects much of that growth to occur more than 500 miles away from his company’s Kansas City headquarters — right here in Greater Cincinnati.

“I see Cincinnati being bigger

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Why breaking your mortgage early for lower rates won’t save you money

Laveta Brigham

A growing number of homeowners are asking about breaking mortgage early for lower rates (Getty Images)
A growing number of homeowners are asking about breaking mortgage early for lower rates (Getty Images)

Record low mortgage rates might make breaking your term early seem enticing, but the penalty costs will wipe out the potential savings.

Variable mortgage rates have fallen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a string of interest rate cuts by the Bank of Canada. Fixed rates are also lower because of market forces pushing bond yields lower. 

According to Ratehub, mortgage shoppers will find better deals on 5-year variable mortgages at around 1.6 per cent, compared to around 1.64 per cent for fixed. 

Unless you are able to renew your mortgage at more favourable rates, current homeowners are locked out of the potential savings. That leaves breaking your mortgage early.

Online mortgage agency Nesto says there’s been an increased interest in breaking early in 2020, especially in August.

“Before the pandemic, most

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Restaurants brace for long COVID-19 winter

Laveta Brigham

Restaurant groups are scrambling to secure funds to help an already hard-hit industry make the transition from summer to winter, when outdoor seating that helped many owners stay afloat during the pandemic will become much harder if not impossible to continue offering.

Many cities have become accommodating by making more sidewalk and street space available for bars and restaurants during the warmer months, but that may not be enough to attract customers as temperatures drop.

One in six restaurants have closed since the coronavirus took hold, and many fear that the next six months will be too much for small-business owners in colder climates.

Seventy-seven percent of full-service restaurant operators said they would likely take advantage of incentives, like a tax credit, to help them purchase tents and patio heaters, among other equipment, to extend the outdoor dining season, according to the National Restaurant Association.

“Congress is about to leave

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Nutraceuticals Market Trends, Development, Revenue, Demand and Forecast to 2026 | Says MarketReportsWorld.com

Laveta Brigham

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Sep 29, 2020 (The Expresswire) —
The globalnutraceuticals marketsize is predicted to reach USD 486.36 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CGAR of 8.14% during the forecast period. The growing demand for functional food and beverage will create new opportunities for the nutraceuticals market growth during the forecast period. The surge in product development and innovation activities and rising availability of nutraceutical products will augur well for the market. In addition, the increasing adoption of unique marketing strategies by key players will enable healthy growth of the market in the forthcoming years.

According to the published report, by Fortune Business Insights, titled“Nutraceuticals Market Size, Share and Industry Analysis, By Product Type (Functional Foods, Functional Beverages, and Dietary Supplements), Distribution Channel (Supermarkets/ Hypermarkets, Convenience Stores, Online Retail and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2019 2026”the market size stood at USD

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Middle East and North Africa Digital Payments Market Latest Advancements, Trends and Huge Business Opportunities 2020 to 2025

Laveta Brigham

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Sep 29, 2020 (Market Insight Reports) —
The Middle East and North Africa Digital Payments Market report is a compilation of first-hand information, qualitative and quantitative assessment by industry analysts, inputs from industry experts and industry participants across the value chain. The report provides an in-depth analysis of parent market trends, macro-economic indicators and governing factors along with market attractiveness as per segments. The report also maps the qualitative impact of various market factors on market segments and geographies. We analyzed the impact of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) on the product industry chain based on the upstream and downstream markets, on various regions and major countries and on the future development of the industry are pointed out.

The Middle East & North Africa Digital Payments Market is expected to CAGR of 6.5% over the forecast period 2020 –

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