Food Safety for Easter

Honey Sliced Ham For Easter

Dyeing eggs and egg hunts are two of the most popular Easter traditions for children. As we get older, the allure of egg decorating often lingers such that we branch out beyond the tablets and vinegar to fancy up our eggs with paint, silk tie designs, shaving cream, natural food dyes like beets, and berries, or other crafty methods. Since opportunities for food-related illness are as plentiful as design options, we have a few tips to pass along to help keep your holiday as bright and fun as your decorated eggs.

Tips for Handling Eggs:

  • Inspect your eggs before buying to be sure they are clean and crack-free, as bacteria can enter an egg through a crack (University of Nebraska).
  • Store your eggs in the carton in the body of the refrigerator rather than in the door. The door is the warmest part of the fridge, and if frequently opened may not maintain a cool enough temperature to keep eggs safe. 
  • Thoroughly wash and rinse hands before handling eggs for cooking or dyeing.
  • Thoroughly cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm to kill Salmonella and other harmful bacteria (Foodsafety.gov).
  • When preparing for a hunt, avoid hiding eggs anywhere they could “come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals” (University of Nebraska).
  • Eat eggs or return them to the refrigerator within two hours as long as the shell is intact. Cracked eggs should be discarded, and saved eggs should be eaten within one week (University of Nebraska.)

Though the egg may be the focal point of the fun, it is less likely to be the focal point of the meal. The following are some tips for safely preparing popular Easter meats:

  • Pre-cooked ham that is vacuum packaged or canned from a federally inspected plant may be eaten without cooking or maybe warmed to an internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • Uncooked ham or ham packaged in a plant that is not federally inspected must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If you are unsure whether or not your ham is pre-cooked, look at the label. “Ham that is not ready-to-eat but has the appearance of ready-to-eat products will bear a statement on the label indicating the product needs cooking” (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If lamb is your tradition, you will still look for an internal temperature of 145° F regardless of the cut (University of Oklahoma”).
  • The US Department of Agriculture recommends an internal temperature of 145° F for various cuts of beef including roasts and steak, while ground beef (and any other ground meat) should be at least 160° F. 
  • Chicken and other poultry should be brought to an internal temperature of 165° F (US Department of Agriculture).

Whatever your Easter plans may be, our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a happy and healthy spring holiday! Stop by or give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"Egg Handling and Safety Tips" University of Nebraska Lincoln

"'Egg'cellent Food Safety Tips" University of Oklahoma

Foodsafety.gov

US Department of Agriculture

The History of Black History Month

Black History Month

In September of 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) (History.com). This organization was “dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent” (History.com).

In 1925 the group conceived the idea of Negro History Week, which was first celebrated in February 1926 during the week that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass (February 12 and 14 respectively) (Africanamericanhistorymonth.com). The occasion prompted celebrations and events recognizing contributions of African Americans in schools and communities across the nation.

By the time Woodson passed away on April 3, 1950, celebration of Negro History Week had grown. The Black Awakening of the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement increased our nation’s appreciation of the contributions of African Americans, and in 1976, the celebration was expanded to include the full month of February (Africanamericanhistorymonth.com). At the nation’s bicentennial celebration, President Gerald Ford called on Americans “to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history” (Africanamericanhistory.com).

In the spirit of celebrating the contributions of African Americans, we would like to recognize a few individuals and their accomplishments:

Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 and worked as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad. McCoy’s examinations of the inefficiencies of oiling axles led him to invent a “lubricating cup that distributed oil evenly over the engine’s moving parts” (U.S. Department of Transportation). This invention enabled trains to run for long periods without having to stop for maintenance. McCoy patented this invention in 1872--just one of the sixty patents McCoy received during his lifetime (U.S. Department of Transportation).

George Washington Carver is estimated to have been born in 1864, though no definitive date of his birth was ever established. The first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, Carver also earned a Master of Agriculture degree in 1896 (History.com “George Washington Carver). As a scientist and inventor Carver developed hundreds of products using a variety of crops including peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans (History.com “George Washington Carver). Carver also introduced the idea of crop rotation to the Rural South, allowing farmers to avoid depleting the soil of nutrients and increase yields over the long term (History.com “George Washington Carver).

Born in 1942, Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. In 1986, Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment, becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent (Biograhpy.com “Patricia Bath”).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we are proud to celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community and nation both past and present. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Africanamericanhistorymonth.gov

Biography.com "Patricia Bath"

History.com "Black History Month"

History.com "George Washington Carver"

Library of Congress "African American History Month"

U.S. Department of Transportation

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

This year many of us were experiencing some degree of cabin fever before the winter season even began. Fortunately, here in Connecticut there are so many opportunities for outdoor fun that everyone should be able to try something new or rediscover an old pastime. 

The Connecticut Office of Tourism (see link below) offers information about a variety of activities that allow you the opportunity to be outdoors, active, and still maintain social distance. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are obvious go-to winter activities. If you want to add a new twist, try going at night. If you are ready to bring it up to another level, you can try freestyle skiing or snowboarding. This involves jumps, rail slides, tricks, rides on half-pipes, and/or switch riding.

Another option is ski jumping at Satre Hill in Salisbury. Not ready to make the leap yourself or want to watch the experts do it? Check out Jumpfest 2021 on February 12-14 (Jumpfest.com). 

Kids can build a snowman or a snow fort, and when they are ready to explore beyond the yard, they may want to try snow tubing. Snow tubing is a fun activity for all ages and levels of athletic ability and can be enjoyed at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort.

Another option for the adventurous can be found ice climbing. Ascent Climbing and Ragged Mountain Guides can hook you up with the guides, advice, and training you need for your next adventure. Fat-tire biking, also known as snow biking or ski biking, is done with bikes built with frames to accommodate extra-wide tires that allow you to explore trails in the winter on dirt or snow. 

Adventurers who prefer more independence can cross country ski or snowshoe at a variety of scenic Connecticut locations including Winding Trails in Farmington, Gay City State Park in Hebron, Weir Farm National Historical Site in Wilton, White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield, or Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic (Connecticut Office of Tourism).

One more option that may not yet have crossed your mind is ice fishing. Ice fishing can be done with one friend or a bunch, and as any veteran winter angler will tell you, you don’t even have to catch anything to have a great time, as typical ice fishing can have a lot in common with tailgating. If you do catch fish worth keeping, you may be surprised to realize how tasty they are. “The ‘muddy’ taste you sometimes hear about from fish can be caused by blue green algae, which can proliferate during warmer months. Blue green algae is gone, or greatly diminished, in cold and frigid water, so it no longer affects the fishes’ taste” (Associated Press “Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing”). If you decide to try ice fishing, check out the link below from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for advice on how to know when the ice is thick enough to support ice fishing and other tips.

Whatever you are into this winter, the staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you health and happiness as we embark on a new year. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Associated Press "Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing"

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 

Connecticut Office of Tourism “8 Must-Try Winter Activities in Connecticut”

Jumpfest

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

Snowmobile fun and safety

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

Those who have never tried it may wonder what is so appealing about riding a 500 pound machine that initially may be hard to control and often leaves even experienced riders stuck in snow. However, new riders are often hooked after just one run on the sled. The scenery, the variety, and the friendly people are all frequently mentioned as reasons to ride. If you are feeling skeptical, you can rent one to try it out. 

If you don’t own land enough to ride on or know anyone who does, you can check out the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website linked below with a list of ten state forests with snowmobile trails. After exploring the beauty these areas of Connecticut have to offer, you may be inclined to look toward other areas of New England or head west to even more wide open spaces including Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Montana. 

If you purchase your own sled, you are required to register it with the state of Connecticut unless you are only operating on property owned or leased by you (State of Connecticut DMV). Drivers are not required to have a special license to operate a sled in Connecticut, though intoxicated drivers can be prosecuted (State of Connecticut DMV).

With all the exploration, fun, and excitement to be had riding a snowmobile, it is also important to keep in mind that there are risks. Every year over 14,000 people are treated in hospitals with injuries sustained while snowmobiling, and over 200 fatalities are attributed to snowmobiling accidents in North America (Researchgate). While drugs and alcohol are frequently cited as contributing to these statistics, other sources point to lack of experience and excessive speeds (New Hampshire Snowmobile Association and NewYorkUpstate.com). 

Whatever you do for fun this winter, Waitte’s Insurance Agency is ready with options for your business, home, and recreational vehicles. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

 

Connecticut DUI Law

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

NewYorkUpstate.com

New Hampshire Snowmobile Association

Researchgate

State of Connecticut DMV

December 19 is National Wreaths Across America Day

National Wreaths Across America Day - wreaths placed on veterans graves

December 19 is National Wreaths Across America Day

When Morrill Worcester was 12, he won a trip to Washington D.C. that included a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. This trip left a lasting impression on Worcester, who later founded the Worcester Wreath Company (Wreaths Across America).

At the end of the 1992 holiday season, Worcester’s company was left with a surplus of wreaths. With the memory of the trip still on his mind, Worcester decided to use this opportunity to honor the veterans buried at Arlington. Worcester, assisted by Maine Senator Olympia Snowe and others, arranged for wreaths to be placed in a section of Arlington Cemetery that was older and receiving less attention as the years passed (Wreaths Across America).

When word spread about what Worcester was doing, additional individuals and groups volunteered to help including James Prout, owner of the Blue Bird Ranch trucking company who provided transportation; volunteers from the American Legion and VFW Posts; and members of the community (Wreaths Across America).

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with various other groups and individuals, founded the non-profit Wreaths Across America organization. According to the Wreaths Across America site, “The mission of the group is simple: Remember. Honor. Teach.”

The event is currently held on the second or third Saturday in December in over 1,400 locations including all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and some overseas locations, placing hundreds of thousands of wreaths (Militarybenefits.info).

Want to know how you can get involved? Consider doing one of the following:

  • Start a fundraising group
  • Volunteer to place wreaths on veterans’ graves
  • Sponsor a wreath
  • Suggest a new location

More information about the event and opportunities to participate can be found by clicking on our links below. Waitte’s Insurance Agency is proud to be part of a community that honors the contributions of our nation’s veterans. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Militarybenefits.info

Wreaths Across America

Pearl Harbor Day–A Day for All of Us to Remember

Veteran Saluting
Veteran Saluting

Almost everyone recognizes the words “A day that will live in infamy,” spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8, 1941, in response to the previous day’s attack. But how much do we know about what really happened?

In the 1930s, Japan was looking to improve its economic problems by expanding into neighboring territories and taking over their import markets (History.com). The United States, at the time an ally to China, responded with economic sanctions and trade embargoes (History.com). Months of negotiations between the United States and Japan followed but to no avail.

American intelligence officials expected that if the Japanese were to attack, they would most likely do so in one of the European colonies in the South Pacific, so the Pearl Harbor naval facilities were relatively undefended and unprepared (History.com). 

The attack began just before 8:00 AM on December 7. In less than two hours, 2,403 lives were lost, including over 1,100 service members aboard the U.S.S. Arizona which “was struck by several Japanese bombs and exploded in flames as it sank” (History.com “Photos and Facts). Nearly 20 American ships and over 300 airplanes were significantly damaged or destroyed (History.com). 

We owe our gratitude to those who proved their valor, many of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice that day.

Cook Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller on the U.SS. West Virginia took over a 50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun, and though he lacked experience “with the weapon, managed to shoot down between four and six Japanese planes before being ordered to abandon ship” (History.com “Photos and Facts”)

Lt. John William Finn on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, secured and manned a .50-caliber machine-gun in an exposed section of a parking ramp. Lt. Finn continued to man the gun in spite of receiving multiple painful wounds and was only persuaded to leave his post when specifically ordered to do so to seek medical attention (Worldwar2history “Congressional Medals of Honor”).

Ensign Francis C. Flaherty was aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma when the order was given to abandon ship as it began to capsize. “Ens. Flaherty remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life” (Worldwar2history “Congressional Medals of Honor”).

Chief Watertender Peter Tomich, onboard the U.S.S. Utah realized that the bombs and torpedoes were causing the ship to capsize. Tomich, “sacrificed his life to prevent the boilers from exploding, enabling boiler room crews to escape” (Naval History and Heritage Command).

Waitte’s Insurance Agency is proud to recognize the sacrifice of all who have served as well as those who continue to serve our country.

History.com

History.com "Photos and Facts"

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Naval History and Heritage Command

Worldwar2history

History of the Thanksgiving Meal

People Talking Celebrating Thanksgiving Holiday

The genesis of our modern Thanksgiving, which took place in 1621, bore a limited resemblance to our celebration today. The original feast included a gathering of approximately 50 Englishmen and 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe who traveled for about two days for the event (Time.com). The colonists, having arrived on the continent in 1620, celebrated their first harvest in the fall of 1621, but the actual meal was light on vegetables. The Wampanoag brought five deer, while colonists contributed various waterfowl including geese, ducks, swans, and likely passenger pigeons (which at the time were abundant but are now extinct in the wild) (Smithsonian Magazine). The wild turkey is mentioned by some sources, though others argue there is no clear evidence of turkey having been served at all (New York Times).

Though birds may have been stuffed, it was not the bread-based stuffing we are familiar with, but rather chunks of onion and herbs (Smithsonian Magazine). None of our commonly anticipated side dishes (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie) were present at the original meal. The fowl and venison were accompanied by fish, shellfish, nuts, corn, and possibly squash, as these were readily available and part of the regular diet (New England Today).

Having traveled so far to get there, the natives stayed and feasted with the colonists for three days and enjoyed various forms of entertainment including running races and shooting competitions (Time.com). Games enjoyed by the children included Cobb’s Castle and Hubnub, both played with stones, though the latter requires a bowl and maybe played with pennies instead of stones, and a game called “All Hid,” which is similar to hide and seek (Scholastic “Games Played at the First Thanksgiving”).  These simple games  might be fun to try at home. If it is too cold to play outside or stones are not readily available, you might try other household objects such as small pillows, plastic cups, toys, or even produce that no one plans to eat.

The feast in 1621 was surely not called “Thanksgiving,” and the event was not repeated for at least a decade, as various plagues and conflicts between colonists and natives followed. Then around the mid-nineteenth century, nostalgia for colonial times emerged, and the states and colonies began to celebrate the harvest feast in an unofficial fashion (Smithsonian Magazine). In 1827, Sara Josepha Hale, editor of the popular trendsetting Goodey’s Lady’s Book magazine, began petitioning various US presidents to establish Thanksgiving as an annual event (Smithsonian Magazine). Abraham Lincoln, the thirteenth president petitioned by Hale, finally granted her wish in 1863 as a way to “unite the country in the midst of the Civil War” (Smithsonian Magazine).

However you celebrate and whatever you choose to eat, we at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

New England Today "Food"
New York Times
Scholastic "Games Played at the First Thanksgiving"
Smithsonian Magazine
Time.com

Remembering Our Nation’s Heroes

Veterans Day

At a time when there is so much divisiveness in our country, we would do well to recognize that there is also much to unite us. The people of our nation have varying opinions about what direction our country should head and what mistakes it may have made in the past, yet no one disputes that we all owe our military veterans the highest of honors. 

Most of us have heard of Armistice Day, but not all may be clear on what it is and why it is significant. World War I, known at the time as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars,” officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting had actually ceased on November 11, 1918. This armistice (temporary suspension of hostilities) “between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” (US Department of Veterans Affairs). In 1938 legislation was passed to dedicate November 11 “to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’” (Military.com). 

Following World War II and the Korean War, veterans service organizations prompted Congress to dispose of the word “Armistice” and replace it with the word “Veterans” in 1954. Thus November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars (Military.com). 

As a result of the 1968 Uniform Holiday Bill, the celebration of Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October. This caused confusion and some degree of dissent, and some states continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date (Military.com). On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-97, returning the annual observance of Veterans Day to November 11 effective 1978 (US Department of Veterans Affairs). 

So what is the best way to celebrate Veterans Day? Unfortunately, the usual parades and other gatherings may not be an option this year. We definitely look forward to the resumption of such activities next year, yet there are still things we can do now to show our appreciation.

  • Contact a veteran’s hospital or local veterans association and ask what you can do for them. Ask if there are patients or residents whom you could visit on a Zoom call or other source of live chat.
  • Donate to a reputable veterans association. Do a little research before opening your checkbook to be sure actual veterans will receive the benefits.
  • Join an organization that writes letters to veterans or soldiers currently serving.
  • Contact your American Legion Office to find out where you can get a red poppy pin to wear on Veterans Day. The red poppy is a symbol of sacrifice honoring those who have served and died for our country, and donations for the pins are used to “support veterans, the military community, and their families” (The American Legion).

These are just a few minor ways we can honor those who have done so much for our country. Recognizing and appreciating our community helps us come together in positive ways that strengthen our neighborhoods and our country as a whole. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about our community because we are part of the community. Call us when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Military.com "The History of Veterans Day"

Military.com "8 Ways to Express Appreciation on Veterans Day"

History.com

The American Legion

Halloween Doesn’t Have to Be Scary!

Halloween 2020 two friends getting ready to trick-or-treat

While some families may opt-out of trick-or-treating this year, there will likely be those who still participate in the annual ritual. Though not all of the costumes will be scary, a few Halloween statistics surely are. According to the National Safety Council, “Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” 

While most little goblins and ghosts will be accompanied by an adult, twelve percent of children ages five and under are permitted to trick-or-treat with an older teen or preteen who is likely to be less attentive (Safe Kids Worldwide). 

Be sure your young ones wear costumes that are easily seen in the dark. If their garments are not already reflective, add reflective tape to the costume and/or treat bag. Remind kids to walk, not run, keep their heads up, and avoid looking at screens while on the move. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult, while older ones should let parents know what their route plan is and when they expect to be home. 

A few safety tips for drivers include driving at slower speeds and paying extra attention around driveways, alleyways, medians, and curbs. Inexperienced drivers should avoid the road if possible after dark. 

Our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency want you to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. We care about the safety of our community because we are part of the community. Call us when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

NSC
Safe Kids Worldwide

Safe Driving Practices For Winter Weather Conditions

The winter season is certainly a time of great merriment and celebration. The holidays offer Americans the opportunity to travel around the corner or across the country to be with friends and relatives. However, it is also a time to be even more cautious, primarily when you’re traveling in the icy winter weather conditions.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, between the years of 2002 and 2012, there were 211,188 vehicle crashes attributable to snow and sleet. Furthermore, during that same period, 154,580 crashes occurred due to ice on the pavement. Safe driving practices are your insurance for traveling during this joyful yet dangerous time of the year. Read below to find some quick best practices for driving in winter.

-Always watch the weather forecast to learn of the conditions or road closures in your area and where you are traveling. Make preparations to travel before the weather turns ugly and always inform others of your route, destination, and expected time of arrival.
-Keep your fuel tank half full in order to avoid a gas line freeze.
-Never drive while sleepy. Stay alert to both the weather conditions and the actions of the drivers on the road with you.
-Always steer into a skid.
-Keep your windshield clean to increase visibilty.
-Always wear a seat belt.
-Be sure your automobile is appropriate for the weather conditions in which you will be driving. Properly maintenance your vehicle for optimum performance.
-Get a winter survival kit for your vehicle which may include a flashlight and spare batteries, canned food, snack bars, medications, water, a cellphone charger, and a red bandana or cloth.

If you can avoid driving, stay home until the worst of a winter storm has passed. Be sure you are prepared for incidents that may occur to your vehicle without driving. Don’t let winter weather conditions get the best of you. Practice these safe driving tips in the snow and ice.

An icy branch fall on your car? Does your autombile insurance cover this? Contact your insurer to confirm that you are prepared for the tough winter season.