Lexington List FAQ
- 1 General Questions
- 1.1 The Lexington list
- 1.1.1 What types of messages are posted on the Lexington list?
- 1.1.2 Are political messages posted on the Lexington list?
- 1.1.3 Is the Lexington list public?
- 1.1.4 How is the Lexington list moderated?
- 1.1.5 When was the list started?
- 1.1.6 What is the best way to look up references for a businesses or a service on the Lexington list?
- 1.1.7 How do I change my email address for the Lexington list?
- 1.1.8 How can I unsubscribe from the Lexington list?
- 1.1.9 How can I update the Lexington list FAQ?
- 1.1 The Lexington list
- 2 Education
- 2.1 After-School Classes
- 2.2 Career planning
- 2.3 College preparation
- 2.4 Community Education
- 2.5 Daycares and Preschools
- 2.6 Languages
- 2.7 Mathematics
- 2.8 Music
- 2.9 Online courses
- 2.10 Science
- 2.11 Summer camps
- 3 Entertainment and Culture
- 4 Food and Eating Out
- 4.1 Cooking
- 4.2 Drinks
- 4.3 Food stores and groceries
- 4.4 Restaurants and Eating Out
- 4.4.1 Authentic Chinese Restaurants
- 4.4.2 Breakfast Places Near Lexington
- 4.4.3 Cambridge Restaurant Recommendations
- 4.4.4 Davis Square restaurants
- 4.4.5 Dim Sum in Chinatown
- 4.4.6 French restaurants
- 4.4.7 Gluten-free restaurant and take-out food
- 4.4.8 Restaurants in Harvard Sq
- 4.4.9 Indian food stores near Lexington
- 4.4.10 Lobster
- 4.4.11 Malaysian and Singapore restaurants
- 4.4.12 Pizza
- 4.4.13 Places to eat with a dog
- 4.4.14 Restaurant deliveries
- 4.4.15 Restaurant for special occasions
- 4.4.16 Sushi
- 4.4.17 Thai Restaurant
- 4.4.18 Vegan Friendly Restaurant
- 4.4.19 Strictly Vegan Restaurant
- 5 Government
- 6 House and Construction
- 6.1 Basement related
- 6.2 Construction
- 6.2.1 Architects
- 6.2.2 Asbestos Remediation
- 6.2.3 Bathroom vanities
- 6.2.4 Brick work
- 6.2.5 Carpenter recommendations
- 6.2.6 Certified plot plan
- 6.2.7 Civil engineer recommendation
- 6.2.8 Construction contractor needed
- 6.2.9 Construction - General Construction
- 6.2.10 Contractor - Seeking advice for dealing with difficult contractor
- 6.2.11 Advice on dealing with damage during construction
- 6.2.12 Debris, disposal & cleaning up
- 6.2.13 Decks
- 6.2.14 Decking materials
- 6.2.15 Door installation
- 6.2.16 Driveway contractor needed
- 6.2.17 Driveway gravel
- 6.2.18 Drywell engineer
- 6.2.19 Dumpster
- 6.2.20 Electrical - Burying utility lines to the house
- 6.2.21 Electrician recommendations
- 6.2.22 Fence construction
- 6.2.23 Fence regulations
- 6.2.24 Floor - Installer Recommendations
- 6.2.25 Floor - Concrete Floor Installer
- 6.2.26 Floor - Types Recommended
- 6.2.27 Garage door
- 6.2.28 Glass - Replacing Glass Windows
- 6.2.29 Glass shower door installer
- 6.2.30 Glass shop
- 6.2.31 Gutter replacement recommendations
- 6.2.32 Junk removal
- 6.2.33 Home inspector recommendation
- 6.2.34 Home insulation
- 6.2.35 Identifying the property line
- 6.2.36 Kitchen Cabinet Painter
- 6.2.37 Kitchen Remodeling
- 6.2.38 Land surveyor
- 6.2.39 Lock repair
- 6.2.40 Masonry company recommendations
- 6.2.41 Mold and mildew
- 6.2.42 Outdoor lighting
- 6.2.43 Painter
- 6.2.44 Plasterer
- 6.2.45 Plumber
- 6.2.46 Radon
- 6.2.47 Roof cleaner
- 6.2.48 Roofer recommendations
- 6.2.49 Rubber roof
- 6.2.50 Structural engineer recommendations
- 6.2.51 Tiles installation
- 6.2.52 Tiles purchase
- 6.2.53 TV - hanging TV on the wall
- 6.2.54 Walkway material
- 6.2.55 Water Filtration System
- 6.2.56 Windows replacement
- 6.2.57 Window screens
- 6.3 Heating and cooling
- 6.3.1 Air Conditioning Repair
- 6.3.2 Air Duct Cleaning
- 6.3.3 Air Duct Repair
- 6.3.4 Boilers and furnaces
- 6.3.5 Central air conditioning
- 6.3.6 Ductless Air Conditioning
- 6.3.7 Gas - extending gas line to street
- 6.3.8 Gas - furnace turns itself off
- 6.3.9 Gas - which streets have gas line
- 6.3.10 Home insulation tips
- 6.3.11 Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning repair
- 6.3.12 Home Heating Oil Delivery
- 6.3.13 Oil tank removal
- 6.3.14 Oil to gas heating system conversion
- 6.3.15 Oil vs. gas vs. heat pump heating
- 6.3.16 Oil vs. propane heating
- 6.3.17 Radiant heat recommendations
- 6.3.18 Tankless on-demand hot water heater
- 6.4 House appliances
- 6.4.1 Appliance parts
- 6.4.2 Appliance Repairman
- 6.4.3 Clock repair
- 6.4.4 Dishwasher recommendations
- 6.4.5 Electric cooktop
- 6.4.6 High efficiency washer recommendation
- 6.4.7 Induction stove
- 6.4.8 Oven Repair
- 6.4.9 Propane Stove Conversion
- 6.4.10 Sewing machine tune up
- 6.4.11 Sub zero repair
- 6.4.12 Where to purchase appliances
- 6.5 House cleaning
- 6.6 House furniture and decorations
- 6.6.1 Cabinet and drawer hardware
- 6.6.2 Carpeting company recommendation
- 6.6.3 Cellular shade store recommendations
- 6.6.4 Digital picture frame
- 6.6.5 Framing recommendation
- 6.6.6 Furniture repair
- 6.6.7 Interior decorator
- 6.6.8 Lamp repair
- 6.6.9 Poster frame
- 6.6.10 Upholsterer
- 6.6.11 Using plants to combat new house syndrome
- 6.7 House pests
- 6.7.1 Recommendations for pest control companies
- 6.7.2 Ants
- 6.7.3 Bats
- 6.7.4 Bees
- 6.7.5 Carpenter bees help
- 6.7.6 Dealing with bees; what to do to prevent sting?
- 6.7.7 Fruit fly infestation - what to do?
- 6.7.8 Hornets
- 6.7.9 Identifying cycada killers
- 6.7.10 Mice in basement
- 6.7.11 Racoons in the chimney
- 6.7.12 Termites
- 6.8 Power and electricity
- 6.8.1 Backup power/generators
- 6.8.2 Electrician
- 6.8.3 Power supply company - what to check when selecting service
- 6.8.4 Power supply company - NStar, Dominion or Viridian?
- 6.8.5 Power supply company - Starion Energy
- 6.8.6 Solar panels installation
- 6.9 Renting or Buying a Home
- 6.10 Security
- 6.11 Water and Sewer
- 7 Outdoor and Traveling
- 7.1 Driveway
- 7.2 Going outdoor
- 7.3 Lawn and garden
- 7.3.1 Clearing up debris
- 7.3.2 Composting
- 7.3.3 Disposing of fireplace ash
- 7.3.4 Dormant oil spraying
- 7.3.5 Electric Lawn Mower Repair
- 7.3.6 Establishing a new lawn or repairing an old one
- 7.3.7 Landscaper / leaf removal
- 7.3.8 Lawn care provider
- 7.3.9 Lawn mower repair
- 7.3.10 Lawn signs
- 7.3.11 Mulch
- 7.3.12 Patio weeds
- 7.3.13 Pear Picking
- 7.3.14 Poison Ivy Removal
- 7.3.15 Privacy fences height regulations
- 7.3.16 Rhododendrons: trimming when overgrown
- 7.3.17 Tree roots
- 7.3.18 Sand box sand delivery
- 7.3.19 Sprinkler systems
- 7.3.20 Sprinkler systems and water bills
- 7.3.21 Stump grinding
- 7.3.22 Tree Falling On House
- 7.3.23 Tree Liability
- 7.3.24 Tree work
- 7.3.25 Yard drainage recommendation
- 7.4 Parking in Lexington
- 7.5 Parks in Lexington
- 7.6 Sightseeing
- 7.7 Snow related
- 7.8 Sports
- 7.9 Traveling
- 7.9.1 Acadia
- 7.9.2 Block Island
- 7.9.3 Canada - Places to Visit
- 7.9.4 Car Rentals - Seeking Low Rates
- 7.9.5 Carribeans
- 7.9.6 Driving Cross Country
- 7.9.7 Italy hotel recommendations sought
- 7.9.8 Family fun vacations for the summer?
- 7.9.9 Foreign currency
- 7.9.10 Great Britain wall plugs
- 7.9.11 Lexington area hotels
- 7.9.12 Lexington area travel suggestions
- 7.9.13 Liberty Ride
- 7.9.14 London suggestions
- 7.9.15 Maine
- 7.9.16 Maine Coast
- 7.9.17 Maine: Rockport & Belfast
- 7.9.18 Montreal
- 7.9.19 New England - Three Day Week-Emd Trip Suggestions
- 7.9.20 New Orleans
- 7.9.21 New York City Bus
- 7.9.22 New York City Hotel
- 7.9.23 Outer Banks
- 7.9.24 Prince Edward Island Recommendations
- 7.9.25 Rental - Vacation Rental Web Sites
- 7.9.26 Rome, Venice, Paris Suggestions?
- 7.9.27 San Francisco lodging recommendations
- 7.9.28 San Francisco - what else to visit nearby
- 7.9.29 Short Trip Suggestions
- 7.9.30 Washington DC
- 7.9.31 Tanglewood - Lodging
- 7.9.32 Travel agent
- 7.9.33 Turkey
- 7.10 Wild animals
- 7.10.1 The acorn drop
- 7.10.2 Birds flying into windows
- 7.10.3 Birds Nest
- 7.10.4 Bird - Nocturnal Signing
- 7.10.5 Bird Songs
- 7.10.6 Coyotes
- 7.10.7 Deer sightings
- 7.10.8 Deterring bird from destroying cedar shingles
- 7.10.9 Foxes in Lexington
- 7.10.10 Racoons
- 7.10.11 Skunk
- 7.10.12 Snakes
- 7.10.13 Squirrels in the attic
- 7.10.14 Will an animal try to make a home under my shed?
- 7.10.15 Woodpeckers! How to keep them away from the house?
- 7.11 Yard animals
- 7.12 Yard pests
- 8 Services
- 8.1 Accounting and taxes
- 8.2 Antiques
- 8.3 Appraisers
- 8.4 Automobile related
- 8.4.1 Auto body shops
- 8.4.2 Auto buying/selling
- 8.4.3 Auto dealer
- 8.4.4 Auto detailing recommendation
- 8.4.5 Auto electrical work
- 8.4.6 Auto glass
- 8.4.7 Auto insurance claim
- 8.4.8 Auto mechanic
- 8.4.9 Auto mechanic - Audi
- 8.4.10 Auto mechanic - Subaru
- 8.4.11 Auto mechanic - Volvo
- 8.4.12 Auto painting - touch up paint
- 8.4.13 Car keys
- 8.4.14 Car rental recommendations
- 8.4.15 Car shipping
- 8.4.16 Car tires - installing new tires
- 8.4.17 Car tires - fixing a flat tire
- 8.4.18 Car tires - snow tires
- 8.4.19 Car wash
- 8.4.20 Driving school
- 8.4.21 Engine repairs
- 8.4.22 License road test - finding a car for use for a license road test
- 8.4.23 Training for crash prevention
- 8.4.24 Toyota Prius advice
- 8.5 Banking
- 8.6 Beauty salons
- 8.7 Bycicles
- 8.8 Chemicals
- 8.9 Computers and Phones
- 8.9.1 Buzzing Phone Lines
- 8.9.2 Caller ID
- 8.9.3 Cell phone carriers
- 8.9.4 Chromebook
- 8.9.5 Computer disposal
- 8.9.6 Computer gaming advice
- 8.9.7 Computer repair
- 8.9.8 Computer repair - water damage
- 8.9.9 Data recovery
- 8.9.10 Finance - personal finance software
- 8.9.11 Finance - helping with elderly parent finances
- 8.9.12 Financial adviser
- 8.9.13 Genealogy software
- 8.9.14 International phone rates
- 8.9.15 Internet service providers in Lexington
- 8.9.16 iPad favorite apps
- 8.9.17 iPad Glass Repair
- 8.9.18 iPhone 4S favorite GPS app
- 8.9.19 iPod - Recover a locked iPod Touch
- 8.9.20 Kids safe web surfing
- 8.9.21 Password manager
- 8.9.22 Photo Scanning
- 8.9.23 Podcasts - favorite list
- 8.9.24 Podcasts - speeding up playback without raising pitch
- 8.9.25 3-D Printer
- 8.9.26 Scanner recommendation
- 8.9.27 Software for writing music
- 8.9.28 Unlocked cell phone for outside the U.S.
- 8.9.29 Warranty Repair
- 8.9.30 Web Hosting
- 8.9.31 Website Designer/Programmer Recommendation
- 8.9.32 Wireless in-home network help
- 8.10 Donations & Selling Unwanted Things
- 8.11 Elder care
- 8.12 Events, reunions and weddings
- 8.13 Finances
- 8.14 Gifts
- 8.15 Home Alarm
- 8.16 Identity Theft
- 8.17 Insurance
- 8.18 Jewelers
- 8.19 Events and catering
- 8.20 Lawyers and Legal
- 8.20.1 Elder law and Medicare
- 8.20.2 End of life planning
- 8.20.3 Employment law
- 8.20.4 Estates and Wills
- 8.20.5 Estates and Wills - Cost of Services
- 8.20.6 House purchase attorney
- 8.20.7 Immigration attorney
- 8.20.8 Notary Public
- 8.20.9 Patent attorney
- 8.20.10 Power of attorney
- 8.20.11 Personal injury lawyer
- 8.20.12 Personnel law
- 8.21 Mail and Shipping
- 8.22 Medical
- 8.22.1 Acupuncturist
- 8.22.2 Audiologist
- 8.22.3 Cervical surgeon/doctor needed
- 8.22.4 Chiropractor
- 8.22.5 Dentist
- 8.22.6 Dermatologist
- 8.22.7 Disposing old prescription drugs
- 8.22.8 Endocrinologist
- 8.22.9 Executive function coach
- 8.22.10 Eye doctor
- 8.22.11 Eye glasses - making new ones
- 8.22.12 Eye glasses - where to donate used eye glasses
- 8.22.13 Gynecologist
- 8.22.14 Hearing Aids
- 8.22.15 Holistic MD
- 8.22.16 Home health aid
- 8.22.17 Massage therapist
- 8.22.18 Medicine side effects
- 8.22.19 Migraines
- 8.22.20 Oral Surgeon
- 8.22.21 Orthopedic doctor
- 8.22.22 Orthopedic hand specialist
- 8.22.23 Plantar Fasciitis
- 8.22.24 Periodontist
- 8.22.25 Primary Care Physician
- 8.22.26 Physical Therapist
- 8.22.27 Podiatrist
- 8.22.28 Prescriptions - discarding unused prescriptions
- 8.22.29 Rehabilitation clinic
- 8.22.30 Rides to medical appointments
- 8.22.31 Tick Bite
- 8.23 Movers
- 8.24 Pets
- 8.25 Photography and Video
- 8.26 Privacy
- 8.27 Public venues
- 8.28 Real estate
- 8.29 Recycling
- 8.30 Scams
- 8.31 Shredding documents
- 8.32 Shopping
- 8.33 Storage
- 8.34 Tailors
- 8.35 Volunteer jobs
- 9 Social life
- 10 Transportation and Commuting
- 10.1 Airlines
- 10.2 Bus transportation
- 10.3 Commuting
- 10.3.1 Alewife parking lot
- 10.3.2 Bus to Alewife
- 10.3.3 Commuting from East Lexington to Kendall Square
- 10.3.4 Commuting by Bike from East Lexington/Maple St. to Harvard Business School
- 10.3.5 Commuting to Boston
- 10.3.6 Commuting to Cambridge
- 10.3.7 Commuting to Longwood Hospitals in Boston
- 10.3.8 Cost of public transportation commute from Lex to Boston
- 10.3.9 Driving to JFK Library from East Lexington
- 10.3.10 MBTA Bus App
- 10.4 Taxicab transportation
The Lexington list
List mail and archives: firstname.lastname@example.org
What types of messages are posted on the Lexington list?
The Lexington list is used for a variety of issues related to our town: requesting and providing references for a business or a type of service (auto repair, construction, lawn and yard, medical...), or for announcing town events (anything from theater shows to yard sales), or for asking and providing advices on matters related to household work, or yard work, or really anything related to life in and around town.
Are political messages posted on the Lexington list?
Generally not. The email@example.com yahoo list is used instead for political posts.
Is the Lexington list public?
Anybody can view messages posted on the Lexington list. Only subscribers can post messages. Subscribers must be Lexington residents, or must have some connection to Lexington. To subscribe to the list, go to the list front page at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lexington.
How is the Lexington list moderated?
The list is moderated by its founder, Harry Forsdick, according to the list acceptable use policy
When was the list started?
The Lexington list was started in 2002. All messages since 2002 are available in the list archive at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lexington.
What is the best way to look up references for a businesses or a service on the Lexington list?
You can first try to find the service up in the Lexington List of Services, Tradespeople, etc or in the Lexington list FAQ. You can also search the list using the Yahoo search facility.
How do I change my email address for the Lexington list?
If you receive posts to a Yahoo email address (the default when you sign up on the Website for the Lexington list), and would like to switch to a new email address, the steps are described in the thread below:
How can I unsubscribe from the Lexington list?
You can try the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email message. You can also follow the "visit your group" link, sign in, and change subscription options. The following options are available:
- Switch to daily message digests (guaranteed at most one message/day),
- Stay on the list and get no emails, which means you could still use the web features
- Complete unsubscribe
How can I update the Lexington list FAQ?
To edit the FAQ, you need an account on lex-wiki.org, which you can create using the top right link. You can then click on the 'Edit Page' button at the top - or, to edit just a section of the FAQ, pick an underlined section header and click the edit button on right.
Question: Hi Everyone, I have a preteen daughter who is looking to switch from ballet and start taking hip hop and jazz dance classes. I am aware of the Dance Inn here in town but would like to hear positive recommendations of other dance schools in the area. Thank you.
Question: Several months ago, someone brought to the attention of this list a new(ish?) website that I have been trying to find but I can't because I don't remember what it's called and I can barely describe what I think it was about. Naturally, that's driving me crazy. :)
To the best of my memory, the website was intended for high school and college kids as a tool to help them figure out their interests and strengths that might be translated into future careers.
Does this ring a bell? Thank you for any help you can provide.
Answer: The web site is www.youscience.com. CBS Evening News in Boston did a story on it (WBZ) that featured a Lexington family. Here is the link. Please bear thru the 30 second commercial. I can't figure out a way to eliminate it: http://cbsloc.al/1kUQqLM
Question: What resources are available for AP class tutoring?
Question: How do AP (Advanced Placement) classes matter once you're in college?
Answer: The ivy schools tend not to give credit for AP's, but use them as placement tests, while some other colleges do allow class credit for good AP test scores.
Question: Can anyone recommend a service to help a HS student with a college application? Thanks.
Question: For scheduling reasons my wife and I missed the financial aid discussions sponsored by LHS. I'd like to see if there is any independent advisor out there we could hire to work with us for a couple hours to go over our options.
Question: Can someone enlighten me what "gap year consulting" is? I've always understood "gap year" to be time taken off....to relax, to explore the world, to have a life in between nonstop education...quite the opposite, in my mind, of what a consultant would help with....????
Question: Hi. We're looking for recommendations for organizations that help students prepare for SATs and ACTs. If you have had a great experience in this area, or have had a bad one, I'd be interested to hear about it. Thanks so much.
Remark: I was looking through the Lexington Community Ed catalog. What an amazing list of classes!
One in particular caught my eye. It is taught by Helen Chen called "Simple Weeknight Meals from the Chinese Kitchen." My son's Clarke School Mandarin class took a workshop with Ms. Chen last year and I was fortunate to be a chaperone. I learned so much and still recall what she taught me. If you can enroll in this course, you will learn a lot!
The terrific part is that LexMedia will broadcast this particular class as I am sure it will be popular. (Thank you, LexMedia! You do so much for our community!)
Even if this class doesn't suit your fancy, do look at the classes. There is so much to offer and the teachers are superb.
Daycares and Preschools
Question: Hello. We have a nanny for our 1 year old for now, but since he's an active, social little fellow, we're thinking that soon, we might have to transition him to a daycare, as he might start getting bored at home. I'm looking for daycares in the Lexington and Belmont areas, as they are on my way to work. I'd rather not travel too far towards Bedford, as that would involve a reverse commute for me. I'd appreciate any suggestions and recommendations from other parents here. As usual, thank you in advance.
Answer: Check the threads below.
Question: Which of these preschools did you prefer? I'm sure this is a case of "everyone likes the preschool they choose", but I'd just like to see if anyone has any experience with any of these schools, both good or bad.
One difference I did see was that some teachers seemed to do a better job of getting down on the floor with the kids and playing with them instead of just supervising, so any thoughts on what your kids thought of their teachers would be fantastic.
Question: Hi all. Does anyone know where I could buy or borrow books in Korean? My high school daughter is going to an immersion camp and can't bring reading material that isn't in Korean. Â The libraries have some, but the titles I saw are either way too difficult or way too easy. Â Also, I am not sure if they will appreciate having their materials taken for more than a month! Thanks so much for any thoughts or help.
Answer: You can use Schoenhof's near Harvard Square, which has a selection of books for a number of foreign languages: http://www.schoenhofs.com/
Question: Which Graphing Calculators are used by students starting in Lexington middle school 8th grade and high school?
Answer The models used are Texas Instruments TI-83 or TI-84 family. For a debate whether other models should be allowed, or whether iPads or smart tablets would do a better job, see the thread below.
Question: My first grade son loves math but feels like he could use some extra challenge and could likely use some extra practice in reading. Does anyone have experience with either of these programs or have other suggestions? Thanks.
Answer: Both Kumon and the Russian School are good, but they work slightly differently. We had done Kumon a few years ago for my older daughter, and are currently doing Russian School for both my older and my younger daughter.
Kumon students meet once a week and solve independently problems on a worksheet. Students are assessed about their initial level, and they are handed materials appropriate to their preparation level. This is very good, because some students may be more advanced or may have fallen behind; Kumon accommodates these students very well and from the get-go of the program. Students can also join the program at any time in the year, which is great, and at any level due to the flexibility of the start point.
Kumon does not have a classroom teacher; students always work independently based on work sheets. There are tutors available during this weekly session, but in our case the tutors were high school age students.
One disadvantage: while the pace of the work sheets is slow, it is constant - and after a few months some students will complain about this constant pace, and about the fact that they do not get to spend more time with problems they like.
Aside from math, Kumon also has a very good English language program, which is a lot of fun.
Russian School on the other hand is a bit more expensive than Kumon, and is set up entirely differently. Young students spend 2 hours a week in a regular classroom, with an assigned teacher. The teacher will present problems during class, the students will solve them some time independently, and other times in front of the other students at the whiteboard. There are about two sheets of homework each week, which will take 30 minutes for the small grades - but the parents have to help at first with the homework. The problems are very fun and age appropriate.
The Russian School teachers are always very well prepared and knowledgeable about their material; this has a great influence on what the class will do. The curriculum is very well designed with a mix of problems requiring a lot of logical-style thinking. There are two levels of difficulty (two 'tracks'). The class size is relatively small - about 15-16. Some time the class facilities are a bit ad-hoc, but this is math and what matters is how and what it is taught, not where. Tutoring is available at extra cost after hours.
Russian Math teachers will start with a particular classroom group and keep it year after year - this way they get to know their students very well, and at the beginning of a new year they can adapt the level of instruction to the level of the class. This is something public schools could learn from, because we switch teachers every grade instead of keeping a teacher assigned to a grade throughout K-5.
The draw back with the Russian School is that you have to start class in September, just like with a regular school. Another drawback is that in higher grades (6th grades or up) the number of instructional hours will increase, because there is more material to be taugh. In 6th grade, an Algebra and a geometry class take 3.5 hours. They study exciting stuff - the concept of definition, theorem and postulate, but students cannot spread these hours over multiple times a week, the way they do it in the math program at the regular school.
In summary, both Kumon and the Russian Schools are good, with some pitfalls. What else is available? There is Mr Quigley's Lexington class for slightly older students (I believe starting with 2nd or 3rd grade). There are a number of math tutors who will take older students. And there is also a set of textbooks called Singapore Math (http://www.singaporemath.com/), which parents can use at home for tutoring their child, starting with the 1st grade.
Question: What is the location of the LHS web page with links to lots of old final exams from most of the math courses, so students could get a sense of what to expect on their final?
Answer: The web page with old LHS final exams is located at .
Question: I just received a mailing about the Math Club run by Joe Quigley in Lexington (http://www.themathclub.com/) and would be interested in hearing from anyone who has any experience with it. We have a soon-to-be 4th grader who loves math and is very good at it, but we want to make sure the program is enjoyable and not too intense. Recommendations for other math programs are also welcome!
Question: A new Harrington School family has asked me about opportunities for 5th graders to participate in the Math Olympiad. Our enrichment program at Harrington doesn't participate in it. Does anyone know whether one of the many other local math enrichment groups might offer opportunities for a 5th grader to compete in it?
Question: If anyone has a math tutor to recommend for a middle school girl please let me know – thanks very much.
Question: Hi. Looking for suggestions for summer math camps in and around Massachusetts for my 9th grader. Thanks.
Question: Any recommendations for a flute teacher for a 10 yr old? Thanks!
Question: Good morning. I am looking for a guitar teacher. I'm just trying to be able to accompany children along, when they sing the classic children's tunes (Twinkle twinkle, little star, itsy bitsy spider, etc....). I would like to start asap. I have some knowledge of music (I play around on the piano). Can anyone recommend a local teacher?
Question: Does anyone have a good piano moving company to recommend? Thanks.
Question: Hello Lexington List. I am in need of a piano teacher in the Lexington area. I took lessons from age 4 to 20. However, when I couldn't find the right teacher in college, I stopped cold turkey. I miss playing quite a bit, and I would love to find a teacher in or around Lexington (or someone who would come to my house) that will teach piano for the love of music. Of course, technique and accuracy are a must, but I play the piano to enjoy myself and as a way to escape the world, not to stress myself out trying to please someone else.
If there is anyone out there who teaches with this philosophy or if you might know of someone who fits this profile, I would be grateful if you would either email me with their name or email them with my email address! Thank you.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a piano tuner? Thanks!
Question: Hi -- I am looking for private violin teacher for my 6th grade son. I played for a long time, and I've been able to be constructive to date -- but feel it is time to add another violin player's voice to the process.
Any suggestions? I'm interested in the teacher's personality as well as his/her skills. I think the best match for my son will be someone who is passionate about music, energetic -- but also gentle. Also, someone who might be open to different genres. Okay -- that is probably ridiculous combination -- but, please let me know what you know!
Yes, I did request the list of local teachers from the schools - but it is just a run of names & numbers, so it's hard to jump in from that point.
Also see: Tutoring and Private Instructors.
Question: Hi all. Could you please tell me where I can purchase a 'D' string for my daughter's violin?
Question: I am looking for someone relatively local that gives voice lessons for singing. Anyone have any recommendations? Thanks.
Question: What options are available for online courses?
Answer: Two of the available options are the Khan Academy at  and Coursera . Both allow you to study in the comfort of your own home for free courses in many different areas - this can help you keep current on your own field, or help a student investigate some college courses before taking the course, or purely learn a new subject for the fun of it!
Question: Can someone highly recommend a bio tutor?
Question: We are interested in hearing about anyone's experience at the Belmont Hill Sports camps. The program looks good but we would appreciate feedback from a camper's perspective. Thanks.
Question: My son's got the acting bug and we're thinking about sending him to a drama/theater camp for a month next summer. We'd love recommendations from this great list if any of you have experience with a camp like this.
Question: Hi. Now that the summer is well underway, I'm wondering where parents of first-time day campers are sending their children for summer camp? My daughter will be six, next summer, and likes physical activities, animals, and outdoor play most of all. We know about Hayden, and I'd like to learn about other options as well. Thanks!
Question: Hi. It's time to start making plans... Our five year-old boy enjoys the usual indoor and outdoor activities that kids of his age enjoy. This year, we have decided to skip our pre-school's packaged offer, so we are interested in what programs you have found nearby to be of high quality and good value. Many thanks in advance!
Question: Hello all. We are moving to Lex in the spring and would like our 9-year-old daughter to meet some kids during the summer. Recommendations for fun, artsy day camps would be greatly appreciated. Cannot believe that registration is right around the corner for Habitat in Belmont, which she adores. Thanks for the assistance!
Question: Are there any single day camps for the summer? My soon to be fifth grader does not want to go for week long camps, but wants to go for occasional day long camp. Do we even have an option like that in and around Lexington?
Question: I am looking for a soccer skills camp for my incoming 9th grade son (day or overnight) and am wondering if anyone has experience with/recommendations for any?
Entertainment and Culture
Observation: This site appears to be connected to Amazon. If you type in a book or author it gives you a list of “similar” books. It gives many more than the half-dozen on a normal Amazon search. I tried it and the results are pretty good. It appears to be based on what Amazon buyers purchase. And since it is free ...
Observation: I am part of a not-for-profit group that needs to convert a small-ish print book to an electronic file for e-publishing (we have the copyright). It has been suggested to read the book into a device with voice-recognition software, to scan it into a program with character recognition software, or to type it again into a word processor file. Does anyone know a good, fast way to do this? Thanks!
Question: Hi. Could anyone recommend a few good symphony or classical orchestras? We like the BSO, but our budget does not. Can anyone recommend good places/organizations for classical music? Thanks.
Read Charles Lamb's review of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Benefit Concert on June 3, 2013:
What is the concert schedule this summer?
Question: We are thinking of going to First Night celebration in Boston on New Year's Eve. Can anyone tell me how crowded the indoor events usually are, and where to park? Thanks.
Question: Looking at getting rid of cable, I'm discovering what all I'd need for TV, phone, and internet connection. I've got the TV stuff figured out (antenna for network TV, Hulu and Netflix for the other channels) but would appreciate some advice on an internet provider. The only thing I've been able to find is clear.com but its success seems to depend on location. Has anyone tried this? Would it work in south Lexington? Are there any local alternatives to CLEAR?
If CLEAR or something similar works, can Vonage be connected with that? Vonage requires a high speed internet connection. Or are there alternatives to Vonage?
Hope this query helps other folks, too.
Food and Eating Out
Question: What is the best mandoline slicer? What do experienced cooks like?
Question: I know this is early for Thanksgiving, but for those who have not done turkeys here is a great set of instructions that I have been using for decades. It is really easy and fool-proof.
Question: I'm looking for recommendations on the best slow cooker cook book. I've heard raves about "Slow Cooker Revolution" (Cooks Illustrated) and "Fix It And Forget It." I'd be interested in comments from people who own one of these books. Or comments from people who have another book and love it.
My goal is recipes that can be prepared quickly and then left alone for the entire cooking time. (I've heard that "Slow Cooker Revolution" might be too fussy, requiring ingredients to be added during the cooking time.) Thank you.
Question: We need to buy about 6 cases of wine for a family event. The wine is mid-range (10-15 dollars a bottle). One option is Trader Joe's Cambridge -- but where do other folks recommend in the area? Thanks.
Food stores and groceries
Question: I'm wondering if anyone has participated in a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) that they would recommend? I know Wilson's is an option, but I've been trying to research what else is out there as well. And if anyone has done the Wilson's CSA in the past, is there anything you would like to share about the experience? Thanks so much for you help.
Question: What is a good place to buy fresh fish and clams? Thanks.
Question: Hello all-knowing Lexingtonians,
I am beginning to stock my freezer with the kinds of organically grown vegetables and meats that I can eat and that stop being available once the local growing season is over. These include, but are not limited too, ORGANIC dandelion greens, acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes (these are currently unavailable - anyone knows who might have them locally?), raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb, duck eggs, lamb, rabbit, venison, etc. I’d like to get many of the veggies by the bushel at a reasonable price. I would also buy the meat by half-a-dozen (or a large animal) rather than by a piece.
Can anyone recommend places to call and see if they have what I am looking for. Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
Question: Hi all. We're new to Lexington and looking for a place to fill propane tanks for our BBQ. On a past list topic, these were recommended. Are these recommendations still current? Any others to suggest? Thanks!
Question: Does anyone on the list have a rec for a local farm that sell organic raw milk? Thanks much!
Question: Which shrimp is good, and which shrimp is best avoided?
Answer: The key for shrimp is whether it is soaked with chemicals to add weight.
This is a terrible practice which has gotten out of control and the result has been terrible tasting mushy shrimp. You have to watch out for shrimp called 'easy peel' in this way, because splitting the shell allows the shrimp to expand when soaked.
You are perfectly safe buying shrimp from Thailand or elsewhere so long as it is labeled "chem free" or no tripolyphosphate added.
The label on this Northern Chef shrimp says 'All Natural Chemical Free'. That is what you want.
Also look at the ingredient listing. In this case its says just shrimp. You want to avoid any ingredient listing where its says shrimp, sodium tripolyphosphate added.
Question: There used to be a store in Arlington where I bought some stuff from India, kind of candy nibble things with seeds and some sugary stuff. Went to Arlington over the weekend and looked for it, without success. Anybody know where I could buy that sort of thing today?
Restaurants and Eating Out
Question: Where is your favorite local place for breakfast?
Question: Any ideas for a cool place for supper in Davis Square? Maybe something middle-Eastern, Spanish, low-key, with an outdoor patio.......nothing fancy! Thanks for any ideas!
Question: We are planning to go to Chinatown for Dim Sum on Sunday. Any recommendations? Thanks.
Question: Hi all. I'd like to take my parents out to a nice French restaurant for their 50th anniversary. Can anyone recommend a place? Thank you so much!
Answer: Here is a list of French restaurants in the area:
- L'Espalier in Boston on Boylston St
- Brasserie Jo in Boston on Huntington Ave
- La Voile in Boston on Newbury Street
- Menton in Boston, at 354 Congress Street
- Petit Robert Bistro in Boston, at 468 Commonwealth Ave
- Aquataine in the Boston South End
- Le Lyonnais in Acton, on Rt. 2A
- Sandrine's Bistro in Cambridge, near Harvard Sq
- Lumiere in Newton
Question: Hi folks. I don't have much personal experience with gluten-free food, but this week I am looking for some good gluten-free meal options in the area that would be suitable for take-out. I would appreciate any recommendations/suggestions that you could offer! Restaurant takeout, or good frozen meal suggestions, are all welcome.
Question: Does anyone know of Indian food stores near Lexington? I'm looking for the spicy snacks ("Hot Mix" is the one I've been using -- very nice).
Question: Hello. My parents, who lived in this area for about 40 years before moving to the SF Bay area about 10 years ago, will be back here for a visit next week, and they are interested in a good lobster dinner. We have lobster only when we are in Maine, so I don't have any advice for them. Thanks in advance for any advice for my parents.
Question: A lifetime ago I traveled for work to Singapore, where I got to eat enjoy the local cuisine - especially the whole foods stalls selling Malaysian cuisine. Has anyone seen anything featuring food from Singapore or Malaysia around here?
Question: Hi. We are new to the area and are wondering where the best pizza places in or around Lexington might be other than Bertucci's. Thanks.
Question: I'm looking for recommendations for favorite restaurants in the Arlington/Lexington area that deliver.
Question: Hi. I'd love to know what your favorite local sushi restaurant is. Thanks so much.
Question: Does anyone know of a good Thai restaurant in the area? Thank you in advance for any hot leads.
Question: Looking for suggestions for a restaurant that will please vegans and non-vegans alike.
Question: Looking for a strictly vegan restaurant near Lexington. Any suggestions? Thank you!
Question: Are you allowed to bring school-aged children with you into the voting booth? I've never done this before, but since schools are closed tomorrow, I thought this might be an interesting experience for my 6th grader to be a part of. Is there a rule about this, does anyone know?
Answer: Yes. Bringing your children of any age into the voting both with you is expressly protected / permitted by law. See right #15 on the Secretary of the Commonwealth's voter info web page: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ele12/ballot_questions_12/ma_voter_rights.htm.
Question:Can anyone guide me to how I can obtain a diagram of my property from the town, either online or from a town official? I do not need a certified plot plan. I recall seeing such a diagram during the purchase process but don't have a copy among my papers.
House and Construction
Question: Hello - We have water in our basement and it looks like we are in need of a french drain. I have gone through previous emails on the subject and tracked down two referrals -
I wanted to check in and see if anyone had any other suggestions of people to call/avoid. Much appreciated!
Question: Hi folks! Well, the months have passed since the Great Storm of the spring, and we're debating what do do about the one wall that got wet.
It's sort of a walk-out basement (hill on one side, open on the other). It never got wet... except during that storm. Then, water seeped up through the floor on the underground/foundation side and the lowest 2" or so of the wall got wet and yucky. I've torn out the wallboard and the mouse-infested fiberglass insulation that was behind it. The question is, now what?
Observation:We had a contractor install French drains in our finished basement in 2006 after a mini-flood in June. I would recommend him highly. Thanks to the French drain, we have two pumps running today to keep the basement dry (they are still running - where is the water coming from now that the rain has stopped?) The pumps come on automatically if there is water in the pit.
Question: We recently tested our basement for radon, and detected a small amount. We had tested previously several times over the years and never had even a trace of radon. What we learned from the two remediation companies that we had look at our basement is that because the basement is now exposed to the earth below through the gap, the radon is seeping in. They expect the radon level to get a little bit worse in the winter.
I'm hoping some of you might have ideas! I have to imagine that with all that water last year, and all the Lexingtonians who added French drains, someone else must have already dealt with this problem. Any advice would be most appreciated.
Observation: My Ronchetti installed sump pumps have been running 24/7 since last Saturday! The water continues to pour into the French drains and out by the pumps. I am amazed that the water is still coming to the basement and with heavy rain due Monday into Tuesday this is never going to end!
Question: We are contemplating some renovations (perhaps substantial, but mostly interior) to our antique 18th c house. If anyone has worked with an architect on such a project that he/she loves, I would be glad to get referrals. I am particularly interested in getting web links where I can see some completed projects before contacting the referral.
Question: Hi. We're looking for people that do asbestos remediation - we have floor tiles containing asbestos in our basement that we'd like to have removed.
Question: Where would you go to see off the shelf (pre made) vanities besides Lowe's/Home Despot, Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn? . Bonus points for weekend hours.
Question: I need some help with brick driveway - any suggestions?
Question: Hi, I am looking for a carpenter to fix and replace rotten boards on our deck. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Although this is a smallish job, I would like to have access to someone who will come do various small jobs and eventually bigger ones.
Question: Hello list. We are looking to have some work done and need to get a certified plot plan. Can someone recommend someone who does this? Thanks.
Question: Can anyone here recommend a good and reasonable civil engineer that handles grading and drainage plans for residential expansion projects? Thanks.
Also see: Structural engineers
Question: Hi. I am looking for names of contractors/builders for a home renovation that I am looking to do. I want someone that could successfully do an addition/new kitchen. I looked on the list and could not find anyone in that category and would love your suggestions. Thanks so much.
Question: Dear friends: we are having some (re) construction done on our basement and would love recommendations in the following areas:
Tile work (small job)
Carpet store (wall to wall carpeting for our basement)
Question: We had some work done on our house, and as a result of the mistake done by the electrical subcontractor there was some damage. The GC’s insurance company is saying they are not liable because the damage was done by the subcontractor who is separately insured and thus it is that insurance company’s responsibility. The electrician’s insurance company is saying the GC is responsible for overseeing everything and thus the GC’s insurance company is responsible.
So each one is saying it’s the other’s responsibility. I expected this to be like a car accident – the GC insurance to pay and then they can deal with getting money from the other guys. At this point they are both rejecting responsibility for it.
What options do I have? Thanks.
Question: The previous owner left a stack of asphalt shingles in the basement. I tried putting them on the curb, but no dice. 1-800-GOT-JUNK and similar have a significant minimum charge, seems like overkill. I could get it in the hatchback, but I don't know where to take them. Driving around until I see a building crew with an unguarded dumpster seems a tad antisocial. Ideas?
Question: Hello. Have you recently had a deck built? We are looking for some referrals of someone that you worked with, really liked and could also help with design. Thank you so much.
Question: I am looking for feedback regarding selection of decking material.
Question: Hi. I am looking for recommendations for an experienced contractor/handyman on a fairly fast turnaround basis to install a new back door (and possibly frame). Our old wooden door has come apart so much that it's nearly impossible to close/lock. The door is 30" wide, and may be an irregular length (seems to be 78", not 80"). I also hope to locate a product insulates well, but still has a window. Any suggestions for particular manufacturers/models welcome.
Question: Hi Lexington List: any recommendations for good driveway contractors -- that is, someone who can dig up the old driveway and replace it without it costing a fortune? Thanks.
Question: I need to order some gravel for a steep driveway. Does anyone recommend a particular supplier?
Question: We need help in finding the name of an engineer who can design a dry well to collect drainage from the sump pump we have installed in our newly constructed basement.
Question: I have about 15 bags of construction waste from my basement reconstruction. I've called Ace Removal Inc and they say they will pick the bags up for $275. I did call Devens Recycling about 40 miles from here and they will charge $85 if I drive the bags in one trip but I don't want the hassle of renting a truck, pay for gas etc. Can someone recommend another company that has small dumpsters?
Question: Hi, I'm looking to bury the utility (electical, cable, etc.) lines that run from the street pole to my house. Any have recommendations of who can do this or lessons learned? Thanks.
Question: Hi everyone. Does anyone have an electrician they would recommend? It's a small job. A couple recessed lights in an old bathroom need replacement.
Question: Hi everyone. Could anyone recommend a fencing company? Thanks for any recommendations.
Question: Gentlepeople, Is there anything special I should know if I want to erect a wooden privacy fence across the front of my property, between my house and the street? It would range from 5' to 8' tall. Are there town zoning considerations or anything else I should be aware of?
Question: Hi. We had to remove a portion of our laminate flooring in the basement because of water damage. Does anyone have a flooring company that they can recommend? Thank you.
Question: We are thinking about covering the basement floor with concrete, since the moisture problem will make other methods non-optimal. Do you have any recommendation for good contractor? I checked our database but couldn't find any.
Floor - Types Recommended
Question: We're hoping to replace a dining room with hardwood flooring and a kitchen floor as well. Recommendations welcome!
Question: It's time for us to replace our old garage door openers. Does anyone have positive experience with someone or a company to recommend? Thanks in advance.
Question: 1. Sometime whole windows or doors need to be replaced, in other cases the vacuum has failed between the two panes and the inside is foggy. If it is the latter it cannot be fixed (to the best of my knowledge) but you can replace the glass portion while retaining the aluminum frame. 2. Sliding doors must be tempered for safely. That makes them more expensive. Replacing the glass in a typical 34x76 door is about $350. Replacing the whole door is much more expensive. 3. In general, the cost is dependent on square footage. To get an estimate measure the VISIBLE glass. The actual window is bigger because it fits into a frame but any reputable company understands this. 4. I used to go to Lexington’s Heritage Glass until they closed about three years ago. I don’t know who to go to now so I’ll be interested in recommendations from The List.
Question: Hi, I'm looking for a recommendation for 1) somewhere to purchase/have made glass shower doors and 2) someone to install them. Thanks.
Question: Greetings. Does anyone know where I can buy a small pane of glass. One of the "lights" in an exterior door is broken, and I'd like to replace it. I'd really appreciate any help or advice on this!
Question: Hi. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for someone to put up a new gutter on my house, and remove the old one. I'm not even sure whether a roofer does this, or someone who specializes in gutters. Anyone know, or do you know someone good who we might use? Thanks for any advice.
Question: Is there anyone who had good experience with removal service provider who can provide removal service of unwanted items like a bed, mattes, and bookshelves, boxes?
Question: Hi all, does anyone have a home inspector that they would recommend? I searched for past references and got only a couple who are not available. Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a home insulation company/provider? Thanks.
Question: Hi. Anyone know whom I should contact to determine my exact property boundaries? Thank you!
Question: Hello Everyone. I am thinking of having my kitchen cabinets painted. Has anyone had this done and can you tell me the pros and cons? Also, can you recommend a good painter for this work? Thank you.
Question: Hello. We are putting up a fence and need to get a land survey. would anybody be able to recommend a land surveyor to us? Thank you.
Question: Hi. Our backdoor lock/ door handle Fell apart last night. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a handyman or locksmith? Thanks.
Question: We want to install a patio this spring (pavers, bluestone, flagstone?) and are looking for recommendations for a masonry or landscaping company. Can anyone share their experiences? Thanks!
Question: Hi, I need someone to repair my brick steps. Does anyone have a recommendation of a mason that they have hired and liked? Thanks.
Question: Hi All! I am interested in having an outdoor fireplace built in my backyard, does anyone have a recommendation for a local mason they could share? Looking for someone who can help design the structure to take advantage of natural settings & meet state / local codes, as well as build it. I just checked the recommendations list, and didn't see anything related to masonry. Thanks for any help!
Question: I would love some help or feedback. Our closet by the front door has always been very cold and recently I thought it smelled musty. Tonight I was hanging up some jackets and a pair of black shoes caught my attention as they looked a little white. It ends up that they have mildew on them. This caused me to dig further and found that the outside wall which had a long dress in a plastic bag against it was damp. The bag was also damp on the inside and out. The wall has a small amount of what looks like black mold on it. I also threw out some clothes with mildew on them.
I have sprayed the wall with a cleaner that has bleach in it. Do you think I need to have the drywall on that wall removed? Do you think that the condensation is caused by the cold outside wall and the warm temp in the house? My take is that the wall is cold and the plastic bag did not let air circulate in the closet. I would appreciate any feedback anyone has.
Question: Hello Group. Would anyone have a recommendation for a place to buy outdoor lighting other than Depot and Lowe's? We could not find anything in either spot that would work for us. Thanks so much.
Question: Does anyone have any recommendations for a painter to paint the inside/outside of my home? Thanks.
Question: Can anyone give me a recommendation of a good plumber in Lexington? Interested in your opinion and why.
Question: We had a radon test when we moved into our house in 1988. It was borderline high, and someone told us to leave the basement windows a little leaky and that would be good enough. We're doing a lot of other work on the house now, and I've decided it's time to really figure out about the radon. Any recommendations?
Question: We were worried about our basement flooding with today's rain. So far so good... However, our roof is leaking! The bathroom fan is dripping a bit, so this is probably not a huge job (I hope). Any roofer recommendations out there for something like this? Thanks so much.
Question: Time to finally get a rubber roof and foam insulation for the barn/studio. Gotta paint but it is cold…. Ideas? What's the name of the list where people are pointed that has all names of reputable service people? Thanks.
Question: Hi folks. Does anyone have a recommendation for a structural engineer to evaluate existing support for a potential load on our first floor? The area has an open basement below. Thanks very much in advance.
Also see: Civil engineers
Question: Does anyone have any recommendations for someone who could install ceramic tiles on a kitchen floor? Thanks for suggestions!
Question: Tiles - any suggestions for local places (besides Home Depot/Lowes/etc)?
Question: I was wondering if there is anything I should know before hanging TV on the wall? It is a 55" TV weighing about 50 lbs.. Do i need an electrician? Is there any danger to hanging such a heavy object on the wall?
I was thinking of using GeekSquad's services for this, if I decide to hang it. Does anyone have experience with them? Any other recommendations?
Thanks much in advance and have a great weekend.
Question: I am having a hard time deciding whether to use pavers, concrete, or exposed aggregate for my new front walkway. Each vendor is enthusiastic about their product. Will grass/weeds grow between the pavers over the long term? Will concrete crack in our weather? Which is easier to maintain?
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a water filtration system that I would install at my kitchen sink (or one to avoid)? Many thanks!
Question: Hi. I need to replace some windows (2 bay and 4 bay). Do you have anyone recommend? Thanks.
Question: Hi Listers, I have several window screens with growing holes thanks to kids who punctured them with anything pokey (scissors, pencils, fingers etc). I would like to have the screens replaced (rescreened?) in the frames which are detachable. Have any of you had screens replaced in the frames? If so, where? Thanks.
Heating and cooling
Question: I need a recommendation for a competent, reliable, responsive repair person for a central air conditioning unit. Thanks.
Question: Hello all. Any recommendations for AC tuning and duct cleaning? I got quotes from $300.00-$1000.00. Thanks.
Question: Our forced hot air heating ductwork needs some repair/re-routing as we have a lot of leak in the basement making the basement hot but upstair cold. There are vents we want to close or add control to be able to shut it off. I would like to get some recommendation for a good local trustworthy HVAC guy if any of you have one. Thanks.
Question: We need to replace our oil boiler used for forced hot-water heating in the house. It's 25 years old. The boiler is also used to heat up a 40 gallon hot water tank (installed 2 years ago) for running hot water (baths, sinks, etc). It was rated 156 kBTU/hr.
Any recommendations? We're not switching heat source, but have no idea where to start looking for recommendations for oil burners. We definitely want one that is quieter than our current one: the ignition wakes us up each time. It's been serviced each year. Also, any recommendations on contractors for this work (or those to avoid!) would be wonderful. Thanks.
Question: Hello Everyone... We need to replace our upstairs central AC system. Any recommendations/feedback on HVAC companies AS WELL AS systems (carrier, rheem, trane, york...) you chose and why, would be appreciated!!! As always....THANKS!!!!
Question: Does anybody out there have experience with ductless air conditioning? We're considering getting it for the bedrooms in our house and I'm not sure even where to start. Are there brands that are considered really good, or others that are not? Ideally I would like to find a knowledgeable professional who can help us select a product and then install it. Any ideas?
Question: Hello! Is there anyone on the list that has worked with National Grid to extend a gas line to their street? What is the process like in terms of time and permits? We are building a new house and would ideally like gas. However if this is a time consuming process then we will probably have to go propane and convert to gas if/when it comes to the street. Regarding the cost, my neighbor across the street was quoted considerably less when he called about a year ago. Do they just wing it with the estimate and the actual's can end up different?
We woke up to no heat this morning. I wanted to share the quick/easy fix with the listserve should you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance. We have a gas furnace with forced hot air which has 2 PVC pipes that go out the side of the house. When we turned the furnace on and off to try and ‘reset’ it, sometimes it went on blowing in unheated air and then turned itself off. Sometimes it blew in warm air for 20 minutes then stopped. It was continually inconsistent for a couple hours – mostly completely off or blowing in unheated air. Joe Dicarlo, an HVAC guy on the listserve recommendation list, suggested that we go outside and see if the PVC pipes were blocked by snow/ice. Air blows out one pipe and is sucked in the other pipe. The balance between the two is critical for the furnace to function properly. Turns out the end of the pipe that draws air in was completely blocked by snow. Once unblocked (which took all of 60 seconds) the problem was solved.
Question: I called National Grid today to find out if there was a gas line on our street. I was informed that it would take 24-48 hours for National Grid's engineers to figure out the answer to that question. (Silly me, I thought someone would have a map." I quickly checked the Assessor's database--which lists homes' heat source--and figured out that if there is a gas line on my street, no one is using it.
My question: my neighborhood was built up ca. 1950-55. Do *any* of the older neighborhoods in Lexington have gas? When did gas lines arrive? And where?
Question: Being relatively new to New England, we are seeking some low cost tips to help save on energy in our gas guzzling, energy inefficient rental. Because it is not our home, we don't want to make a huge investment and cannot replace windows/boiler etc. Other than insulating the boiler pipes in basement and setting thermostat timers which we have done, other ideas are welcome.
Question: Hi. Looking for a reliable company - someone who returns calls within 24 hours and shows up for service calls when scheduled - to provide maintenance and repairs on a heating and central air systems. Thanks for your recommendations.
Question: I know we're days away from summer, but....for the last many months, we've used Clickfil for our home heating oil. Today, we received an email that the company is folding, which means we'll need to find another home heating oil company. The one we used before Clickfil was disappointing, so I'm crowdsourcing (can't believe I get to use that word so early in the week!). Realizing that the price is the price, we're looking for suggestions about local companies (good service, responsive, etc.) Thanks for your help.
Question: Has anyone done a price comparison recently, to determine the less expensive heating oil delivery companies in the area? I am looking for a new company.
Answer: (Nov 14, 2014) You can compare prices at http://www.newenglandoil.com/massachusetts/zone5.asp?x=0. I've been tracking the lowest price from this page for every time I've gotten an oil delivery for the last 4 years. Here's how often a particular company has been the cheapest:
Oil Companies Reading Fuel 1 Cod Oil 2 Arlington Energy 3 Firemans Fuel 3 Guarantee Fuel 4 Bayview Fuel 6 Law Fuel 10
I think Law Fuel doesn't deliver to Lexington. I'm currently using Arlington Energy.
Question: Any recommendations for a company to remove an easily accessible aboveground tank from the garage? It's not in use, so we don't have an oil company on call to do it. Any idea what this should cost?
Question: I have a very old oil-fired steam heating system with a built-in tankless water heater and I've decided it's time to upgrade. I was all set to convert to natural gas when I spoke with a recommended HVAC person (John Tuccinardi with Federal Heating and Engineering) who sounded extremely knowledgeable and was very friendly. He told me I would be better served staying with oil... I was hoping to get some others opinions on the subject. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Question: Hi Lexington List. We need to improve the heat in our bathroom and are considering under-floor-tile radiant heat. Would welcome advice and recommendations of people who do good work.
Question: Does anyone have actual experience using one of these units? If so, I'd be very interested to hear the story, your actual pros/cons, and what model you are using. Thanks.
Question: One of the elements in my electric oven burned, then shorted out spectacularly this week. Any suggestions on where I can get a new one? It's a GE double electric wall oven, probably 10-15 years old. I'm just looking for the part; we'll install it ourselves. Thank you.
Question: I have a six year old Amana stainless steel refrigerator that requires a new compressor. I have a new compressor but do not know of any service person who can install it. I have received outrageous estimates from a couple of appliance stores. I will be using it as a secondary refrigerator in the basement and would appreciate any recommendations for repair persons who won't break the bank. Thanks.
Question: Have any of you had a KitchenAid stand mixer tuned up recently with good results? My mixer is long past its warranty life and is now causing scratches in my ceasarstone countertop. We figured out that the 3 screws on the underside of the mixer (below where the bowl sits) are low enough that they've caused permanent damage to the counter (which will need repolishing). Before buying a new mixer, I'd like to see about getting mine repaired. If you've been satisfied with your repair, would you please forward the contact info? Thank you.
Question: Hello List! Does anybody have any recommendations for someone to come take a look at and fix my Fridgidaire Affinity HE washing machine? Seems there is a problem with the door lock which is preventing me from doing any laundry. This is a big issue with two active boys in the house! Thanks for any ideas…
Question: We have a few clocks that got the hands out of whack and they need adjusting. Is there anywhere to get clocks repaired locally? Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have any dishwasher recommendations? Has anyone bought one at Doyon's in Bedford? Thanks.
Question: Our new house won't have gas on the street, so I will be dealing with an electric cooktop for the first time. We are replacing the appliances prior to moving in, when the contractor is there to do work, so I am in the challenging position of having to pick a new electric cooktop before I even get to try one and see which features I like or don't like. I am therefore hoping people out here may be able to advise me on what to look for or avoid in an electric cooktop. Any features that are must-have? These seem to range in price quite a bit so I am wondering what features make some "worth it" and others not so much.
This will be a heavily used item - I cook 5-6 nights/week and most mornings as well.
Thank you for any advice -
Question: Hello everyone. We are thinking of buying a high efficiency washer for clothes. I've read a lot of the customer comments on Sears, best buy etc. I grew up using a front load washing machine in the UK, 30 years ago. Such machines are over priced in the USA. The UK prices are about $300-450 while here they seem to charge a premium as if it's a new technology.
After reading up on reviews of front loading machines, I see plenty of bad reviews (and good reviews). Some are related to mold smell (it is common practice in the UK to wipe the rubber seal) and some are related to soap residue which comes from adding too much. That is a learning process I can deal with. Putting aside the price, I am prepared to buy either a top loading or front loading high efficiency washer. Are there any recommendations? Thanks.
Question: HWe are considering buying an induction stove, due to the claims of efficiency. On the other hand, I am not a gourmet cook, so I don't really need extremely fine temperature control, and I hate the thought of getting all new pots, because I am happy with the copper-bottom steel Revere ware I've been using for ages. I'd like to hear from people who have them - do you love yours? Was it worth the cost? Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have a good recommendation for oven repair? Thanks in advance.
Question: We like to cook, and we like to cook over a flame. Unfortunately we have an electric stove. I'm asking the list to see if any of you have any information about costs, know any (decent) contractors, or have general advice, about replacing my electric stove with a propane stove. I'm planning on visiting Home Depot and/or Lowes, but I'd appreciate personal advice also. Thanks.
Question: Hi. Can someone recommend a local place that can take a look at my 1970's Singer sewing machine? It works, but not well. I've been told that these old-school machines are irreplaceable and that I should have mine tuned up instead of buying a new machine. Is there somewhere near Lexington where folks know how to get old sewing machines running smoothly? Thanks.
Question: May I ask if anyone knows of someone who would service our sub zero refrigerator? Thanks.
Question: Thank you to everyone who aided me last weekend in choosing a cooktop. We have finally identified what we're getting and now just need to decide where to get our appliances! For previous home renovations, we ordered our appliances from AJ Madison in Brooklyn NY, but we were wondering if there is a place up here that people recommend, that has competitive pricing and good service? Thanks for any recs.
Question: Hi. We have a bunch of carpets to clean in the house. Does anyone have someone they would recommend? Thanks.
Question: Hi Everyone. I am looking for someone to stretch our wrinkled carpets. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you.
Question: We are looking for a detail-oriented, very meticulous housecleaner to clean our house every other week. We prefer a person or team rather than a service. Must be OK with using green products (we supply) and be comfortable working around a very laidback dog. I appreciate your recommendations.
Question: Hi. We're looking for recommendations for a good chimney sweep. Reasonable rates, quality work, etc... Thanks.
Question: Hi all. Just wanted to know how often our chimney needs to be cleaned. We have gas heat and we don't use our two fireplaces. Chimney Sweep keeps calling me to make an appointment to clean the chimney connected to the gas burner. We have had this done, but they call me every year. Does it need to be done every year?
Answer: Gas burns much, much more cleanly than wood and, though you should get an expert opinion that you trust (it sounds like that isn't from your current sweep), you should rarely ever have to clean the chimney. The house I grew up in vented the gas exhaust via the chimney and I don't remember the chimney ever being cleaned.
Another point is that in some cases, the gas exhaust is not even vented out the chimney (we don't even HAVE a chimney :) ). Many installers will pipe it right out the basement wall. You may know for sure, but if not, see exactly how your system is set up. (JJ Krawczyk)
Question: If you use the chimney to burn wood, how often should it be cleaned?
Answer: When I had a wood fireplace, I had the chimney inspected every year and it would be cleaned if the sweep thought it necessary. Err on the side of caution - chimney fires kind of suck. (JJ Krawczyk)
Question: I am looking for a recommendation for a reliable reasonably-priced window washer. Thanks.
Question: Any recommendations for dryer vent cleaners? I know there was discussion a few years ago on the List. Has anyone had it done recently? Thanks.
Question: Can anyone recommend someone to clean gutters? Thanks.
House furniture and decorations
Question: Where besides HD sells cabinet and drawer hardware? Before I give Home Depot my money, is there a local store where folks suggest I might look for drawer and cabinet hardware? The ones I like have to be special-ordered from HD anyway, so I'd like to look around a bit before I do this online anyway. Any suggestions of places to look nearby? Thanks so much.
Question: I am looking for a recommendation for someone to carpet my bedrooms.Any referrals would be appreciated. Thanks .
Question: Hi all. I would be so appreciative for recommendations for cellular shade stores. Also, if you have particular brands/styles that you find to be energy efficient, I am all ears! Thank you so much.
Question: Can anyone recommend a local place for having something framed? I have a piece of silk embroidery from India I'd like to have framed. Thanks.
Question: Hi. I am looking to have a large table refinished. Can anyone recommend a place to take it?
Question: Hello. Has any one out there used an interior decorator that they would care to recommend? Thanks.
Question: Can anyone help me find a place in Lexington for lamp repair?
Question: I have a poster that I want to frame but prefer not to use the Large craft stores. The few I knew have closed. Does anyone have a suggestion of a place they trust?
Question: Can anyone recommend an upholsterer with whom they've had good luck? We're thinking of having a sofa reupholstered.
Question: I am sensitive to lots of things, so the only variable that has changed lately has been moving into a new construction house. We don't have any drapes, not much upholstery (none of it new) and the rest of the chemicals in the house have been scrutinized and are the ones that I have used for awhile. I pay a lot of attention to all detergents, soaps, cleaners, and paper products because I react to lots of them. Chemicals seem to be my issues, not dust, mites, dander, or all of those "allergy" things.
I am renting right now, so ripping out the carpets and PVC-coated shelving isn't in the cards. They would both be out otherwise. So my questions to all of you.....have you found any plants to be particularly helpful? Any easy or hard to maintain?
Question: Hi everybody. We seem to have a growing clan of carpenter ants who are making themselves increasingly comfortable inside the house. This is our first Spring in this house and I'd like to get some recommendations of who to call in the area who is reasonable and knowledgeable about this sort of thing. Thanks.
Question: A bat in my kitchen sink - Just found it. Put a big pot over it. Now what? Lex Dispatcher said to call a wildlife removal place and gave me a few numbers. It's before business hours. Is it dangerous? Thanks.
Question: We are in need of a bee removal service for a hive in our attic. These appear to be yellow jackets who have made a beautiful paper nest. We are reluctant to remove the nest without professional help. Of course I am hoping to do this without killing the bees, (reality check please). I don't want to kill an entire colony of bees.Though most people I have consulted with think it is ludicrous to try to save them. Initially, I devised several ideas on removing it myself, but it is growing exponentially each week. Any hot leads would "bee" appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Question: Hi, this is our first spring in our house and I see 3-5 large bees circling and hovering in a spot just under the eaves of our roof. I think they are carpenter bees. We have a gathering on Saturday night and need to get this taken care of ASAP. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Question: Hi every one. We have bees nesting in the steps in front of the back door. Several times they circled around me to give a message. But normally they have not yet stung any one yet. It was just last week that a worker was stung by a bee in Lexington and died. I bought a product from Wanamaker Hardware in Arlington Heights. It is a dust from a company called Bonide (in business since 1926)... I haven't used the product because I am not sure if killing bees is the right thing to do. I am sure that attitude will change if one of us is stung. Is there a way to avoid getting stung by bees?"
Question: Recently we have started seeing flies around the house, seem quite large. Yesterday, I went up to my third floor office and found about 20 flies buzzing around. There is no trace of food that I know of , no dead animals, but for some reason these flies have settled upstairs. I killed about 15 only to have new ones buzzing around. Should I call an exterminator? What would cause this to happen this tme of year. Any advice/ recommendations would be appreciated.
Question: Hi all. Would anyone have a recommendation for a hornets nest (30 feet up in tree) exterminator. My usually diy reckless husband has come to his senses and asked for help.
Question: There is a very threatening-looking wasp-like insect hanging around our driveway and front door. The body shape is like a very large yellow jacket. The head is a reddish-brown, the middle is yellow and black, and the rear end is black, with a wicked-looking stinger. There are three nest entrances in the ground, two about two feet apart and a third about seven feet away from the other two. The holes are about 3/4" across with a good-sized pile of excavated dirt next to each.
Can someone tell me what these are? And recommend an exterminator?
Question: Does anyone have any reliable companies for getting rid of mice in our basement? I am also looking for a company who is organically oriented to put something on our lawn to abolish the ticks. I have heard that organics are not successful here, but would appreciate others experiences, and names of whom to contact.
Question: It seems we have some sort of animal (or animals) living inside our chimney. We suspect it might be racoons. We've looked into their removal (and putting on a chimney cap), and narrowed the field down to the following two companies:
Baystate Wildlife NW Pest Control
Has anyone had any dealings with either of them? Positive or negative? We'd be interested also in hearing about your experiences if you've gone through something similar. If you have other companies you recommend, we'd be interested to hear that too.
Question: Can someone recommend a Pest Control Company, specifically one they've used for termites?
Power and electricity
Observation: In this day and age, with the availability of emergency back up generators, I can think of nothing more important in a home now than to make sure that auxiliary power is available. Over the past 40+ years in town I have seen people loose the entire contents of their basements and more because they did not properly plan for the unexpected and/or even expected losses of power...
...When the storm is gone, everything is back to normal, and working properly, I hope that people will give some thought to pre-planning for the next and inevitable power loss at their home. Set yourself a reminder on your I-phone, I-pad, electronic calendar, how ever you remind yourself of future appointments. Set it for 2-3 weeks from today, when hopefully everything will be back to normal. This is the time when you DON'T think about your sump pump, frozen pipes, spoiled food in the freezer, and contact your electrician or contractor and at least discuss the matter with them. It's a phone call that may save you many hours and days of aggravation, loss & problems for years to come.
Question: What is the collective wisdom of the list on who a good electrician is? Thanks.
Question: What should I check for when looking over an offer to switch to a new power supply company?
Answer: Some items to look at:
- Are prices are variable, set at the company's discretion?
- Is the disclosure statement on the company web site dated recently? What does it contain?
- Is there an exit fee for interrupting the service?
- Does their "green" power come from reputable sources? Or from such dubious sources as trash-burning plants, old hydro facilities that are not treated as Class I renewables in Massachusetts or most other states, and perhaps claimed emission reductions from turning food-processing waste into animal feed and using trains instead of trucks?
Answer: Far be it from me to stand up in defense of NStar, but….
If Joel is on NStar Fixed-rate Basic Service (as opposed to the variable monthly rates or a competitive supplier), he would pay $4.72 more for 348 kWh this December (at 9.379¢/kWh) than for 372 kWh last December (at 7.506¢/kWh). Those prices are set by NStar’s competitive procurement of full-requirements power (electric energy shaped like actual load, capacity, reserves, ancillary services, renewable energy credits, line losses) from power marketers. Any difference between payments to suppliers and collections from customers are rolled into future rates; NStar does not keep any of it. The procurements take place twice a year; the prices for July–December 2014 were determined by averaging the prices from acquisitions in roughly fall 2013 and spring 2014. The suppliers bid monthly on- and off-peak prices, and are paid those prices for their share of the energy that NStar customers use. The 9.379¢/kWh value is the average of monthly prices, as follows: Jul-14 8.907¢ Aug-14 8.384¢ Sep-14 7.790¢ Oct-14 7.902¢ Nov-14 9.809¢ Dec-14 13.590¢
The fall in gas prices that we saw in December 2014 was not foreseen when the power was acquired. As recently as mid-November, Massachusetts contracts for December energy were going for about 12.5¢/kWh on-peak, 10¢/kWh off-peak, not counting all the other costs. Actual prices in December were more like 4.3¢/kWh.
Gas prices drive the market price of energy in New England, but those are gas prices in New England, not the record low prices in Louisiana or western Pennsylvania. Due to tight pipeline supplies into New England (and to a lesser extent NY), the spot gas prices that the merchant power plants pay in New England in the winter (when heating load uses up the pipeline capacity and gas demand for generation is high) can be 3 to 5 times those in the producing states.
The suppliers who won the contracts for July-December 2014 made a lot of money in December. If January is cold, the suppliers who won the 2015 contracts may lose money (depending on how much of their supply they locked in months ago).
I’m not involved in NStar’s procurements, but I help the Connecticut Consumers Counsel oversee the similar procurements in Connecticut, and we got similar bid prices there. Maybe NStar could do something incrementally better, but market conditions drive the prices we pay. The utilities need to lock down a price in advance, so you know how to evaluate other supply offers. Sometimes market prices fall after the utilities lock in a price, and competitive suppliers can beat them. If you find some marketer offering you a better price for January and February (you can change supplier at your next billing date), go for it. But stay on top of the marketer’s rates, or when the market price goes down and NStar prices follow, the marketer will keep billing you at a higher rate, unless you ask for a better rate. That happened to me so often with Dominion that I switched back to NStar.
The NStar generation rate for the first half of 2015 is 14.972¢, or if you choose the monthly rate:
Jan-15 20.792 Feb-15 20.625 Mar-15 14.060 Apr-15 10.966 May-15 9.876 Jun-15 10.980
If you start 2015 on the fixed 14.972¢ rate, and then switch to another supplier before July, NStar will recompute your bill as if you had been on the monthly rate. So you can’t cheat the rest of the Basic Service customers by paying the average NStar price in the expensive months and the cheap monthly prices during the cheap months.
Be careful in picking an alternative supplier. VerdeEnergy claims that it will charge 12.99¢ for 4 months, but its terms and conditions specify only 3 months, followed by a switch to a variable rate at unspecified prices (www.electricrate.com/ratefinder/pub/index.php?action=ViewForm:Customer&rid=6AA93555-1A95-0E9E-4F21-27E16F1F3003&zip=&a_aid=ewcontent) The price looks good for either 3 or 4 months starting in January or February, but the variable price could get you very fast, if you don’t cancel at the right time. And the promises of “Green” power may not mean much.
If you want to reduce your electric bill, call MassSave and get an energy inspection, replace your fridge if it’s old, replace incandescent lamps with LEDs, put power strips on your computers and entertainment system, so you can really shut off all the equipment, and install solar on your roof if you have good sun exposure. Reducing your use reduces your bill, and by reducing prices, also helps reduce everyone’s bill. You will also help reduce carbon emissions.
Question: We got an offer in the mail to switch to Dominion, for electricity generation, for $0.0848 per kWh through Nov 2014.
What is people's experience with non-NStar electric utilities? Is the switch worth it? Thanks.
Answer 1 (Andy McClaine, Jan 2013)
My household purchases its electricity from Viridian Energy for about the same price and it is completely green. I buy the Pure Green 100% renewable product. I am currently signed up for the 12 month fixed rate. The web site to learn more about this product is: http://www.viridian.com
We all have the opportunity to select the vendor of our electricity. NStar continues to deliver this electricity. Dominion Energy uses a lot of coal fired power plants to provide its electricity product. That is why I like Viridian Energy. We can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
If you decide to purchase Viridian Energy, you will be asked for a Viridian Agent. Hancock Church has signed up to act as an agent for Viridian Energy. Agents get a bonus for helping to get people signed up for Viridian Energy. The web address to sign up through the Hancock Church Agent is:
The bonuses received by Hancock Church from acting as an agent are used to support the social programs supported by Hancock Church.
Answer 2 (Patrick Mehr, Apr 2012)
My latest NStar bill (for 304 kWh in March -- I have the European habit of systematically turning all unnecessary lights off...) was $54.89, consisting of two parts, $24.10 in "supplier services" plus $30.79 in "delivery services".
"Supplier services" is the cost of generating the electricity you use at various coal, hydro, gas, nuclear, wind, etc power plants. Since "deregulation" in 1997 in Massachusetts, NStar no longer owns any power plant; instead, NStar contracts with power plants, and charges us via this "supplier services" charge the costs to generate the electricity we use. NStar does not have a "monopoly" on this part of our bills: you can choose one of these nstaronline.com/ss3/residential/competitive_supply/suppliers.asp alternate suppliers, instead of having NStar choose for you.
"Delivery services" is the cost of transporting the electricity you use from the power plants where it's generated, delivering and metering it all the way to your electric meter. That includes the cost of maintaining NStar's electric network in and around Lexington, and of restoring power after outages. NStar has a monopoly on "delivery services" (NStar owns and operates the electric network in Lexington, unlike Concord which has its own municipal utility, with lower rates, more wires underground and much faster restoration after outages than NStar). Many legislators, led by Jay Kaufman, have have been trying for a decade now, unsuccessfully so far, to end NStar's and other large utilities' monopoly in Massachusetts: see massmunichoice.org
The letter you received from Dominion Energy offers you to switch your "supplier services" from NStar (which we all have by default, unless we explicitly choose another supplier) to Dominion. I was doing this for a while, saving myself a few pennies (or dollars) per month, until Dominion raised its rates -- which they promise to keep fixed only for a finite amount of time -- above NStar's. Also, last time I looked Dominion used "dirtier" plants overall than other generating companies.
So I am now back with NStar -- but cannot wait for Jay Kaufman to finally succeed, so the Town can start looking into forming our own municipal utility in Lexington.
Patrick Mehr Lexington Electric Utility Committee
Answer 3 (Paul Chernick, Jan 2013)
An answer to your question, and more details on the Dominion scam.
The basics of Basic Service
Whether you pay NStar a surcharge or get a credit has nothing to do with what supplier you switch to. It has to do with the difference between the monthly and fixed Basic Service rates and when you switch.
For the first 6 months of 2014, the NStar Basic Service rate (the generation rate for customers who don’t select another provider) is set at 9.333¢/kWh. That price is computed from the costs of the contracts that NStar has signed for power supply and renewable credits, and does not include any profit for NStar. The rate is reviewed and set by the Massachusetts Dept of Public Utilities.
If you are on Basic Service from January through June, you can pay 9.333¢/kWh throughout. But NStar actually purchases power at monthly rates, which vary a lot. The monthly rates for the first half of 2013 are
January 12.529 February 12.279 March 8.340 April 7.358 May 6.909 June 7.336
The 9.333¢/kWh is a sales-weighted average of these prices, and the NStar offers the fixed rate as a convenience for ratepayers (probably because the DPU requires it, but maybe to avoid all the questions it would get if rates changed every month).
So if you use 600 kWh in January and February, and 500 kWh in March-June, you would pay about the same amount regardless of whether you pay the fixed rate or the monthly rates.
But if you take the fixed Basic Service rate in January and February, and then switch suppliers, you would have paid 9.333¢/kWh for power than cost NStar about 12.4¢/kWh. If you did that, some other customers would be stuck with costs of your gaming the system. So the DPU came up with the following fix:
When you leave fixed Basic Service in the middle of a pricing period, NStar computes the difference between what you paid (in our example, 9.333¢ × 1,200 = $112) and what the power cost (12.529¢ × 600 + 12.279¢ × 600 = $148.85), and adds $38.85 to your bill. (That probably happens in May or June, since NStar takes a while to do the calculation.)
(The adjustment would tend to go the other way in the second half of the year, since the December rate will usually pull the second-half fixed rate above the monthly rates for July-November.)
You can estimate your own payment for switching in Feb or March from your 2013 Jan and/or Feb usage (it’s on your bills, going back 13 months), times the difference between the monthly and fixed Basic Service rates.
The Dominion Offer
Dominion has offered NStar customers a rate of 8.49¢/kWh, which they compare to a 9.334¢/kWh Basic Service rate for the first half, and an unknown rate for the second half of 2014. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Dominion’s offer includes the fine print "Service to begin March 2014” and "Term: Through your November 2014 meter read date.” (Interestingly, the March start is not mentioned on the first page of the on-line offer and the letter offer mentions the November end date only in the sign-up form, not in the letter itself.)
So in the first half of 2014, you can pay NStar’s 12.529¢ in January, 12.279¢ in February, and 6.909¢ to 8.340¢ in March through June, or NStar’s 12.529¢ in January, 12.279¢ in February, and Dominion’s 8.49¢ in March through June.
Dominion’s offer is a guaranteed loser through June, despite Dominion’s attempt to portray is as a providing savings. (Anyone have a friend working for the FTC?)
In our example, you would pay $20 more to Dominion than NStar. (NStar has a calculator at http://www.nstaronline.com/residential/competitive_supply/suppliercalc.asp, which assumes constant monthly use.)
What about the second half of the year?
NStar has already locked in contracts for half of its Basic Service power supply for the second half of 2014, before the recent jump in New England market gas prices, which have pushed up market electric prices. While nothing is certain, the prospect is that even the power supply that NStar that will be acquiring this spring will cost less than Dominion’s 8.49¢ for July to November. December will be expensive again, but Dominion isn’t offering its price for December.
Dominion is a big power supplier (affiliates own the Millstone nuclear units in Connecticut and some gas-fired generation in Providence, the utility that serves most of Virginia, gas utilities, and lots of gas pipelines), and the only thing shady about this deal is the price and the marketing.
Those who know my history with NStar (professionally and on behalf of Lexington) will be surprised to find me saying something good about NStar, but its Basic Service deal is hard to beat.
Another consideration about third-party suppliers. I was a Dominion customer for a couple years, and found that they raised our rate when market prices rose, but did not reduce the rate when the market fell, even as NStar’s price did. We usually overpaid for a month or two following a price drop; once we called Dominion, they always beat the NStar price, at least by 0.001¢/kWh. Between the hassle and the overpayments, we got sick of dealing with them. I expect most suppliers would be similarly loath to reduce your rate unless you bug them; NStar’s rate follows the market, since it’s regulated.
A couple of people have endorse Viridian’s services on the elist, such as Andy McClaine, who said
"My household purchases its electricity from Viridian Energy for about the same price and it is completely green. I buy the Pure Green 100% renewable product"
The 100% wind option is listed on the Viridian web site at 16.49¢/kWh for the monthly product and 10.49¢/kWh for 2014. Since you won’t be able to switch until your February billing date, that 10.49¢/kWh does not avoid the 12.529¢ NStar will charge you for your use in January. The Viridian products are much more expensive than the NStar products.
As for greenness, the Viridian web site says "Viridian’s fixed Pure Green is 100% renewable energy, sourced entirely from American wind,” but the disclosure attached to the contract says
Viridian Energy procures its electricity supply, on behalf of its customers, from system power contracts, not from specific generating units. The electricity you consume comes from the New EngLand power grid, which receives power from a variety of power pLants and transmits the power throughout the region as needed to meet the requirements of all customers in New England. System Power represents power purchased in the regional electricity market.
Biomass .01% CoaL 7.32% DieseL 2.49% Hydroelectric 0.35% Jet 3.58% landfill Gas 0.00% Municipal solid waste 0.03% NaturaL Gas 44.44% Nuclear 29.40% Oil 1.98% Solar Photovoltaic 0.00% System Mix 10.22% Trash-to-energy 0.07% Wind 0.00% Wood 0.10%
So Viridian doesn’t contract for energy from renewables. It buys renewable energy credits (RECs).
For its Everyday Green (50% green) product in other states, at least in 2012, Viridian seems to have purchased only enough real RECs (the ones that are required for all power suppliers) to meet its legal obligations. Regardless of whom you purchase power from, the same RECs are required and will have the same effect on REC prices and encouragement of construction of more renewables. Those real RECs cost real money, about 6¢/kWh for the Class 1 RECs in Massachusetts.
The voluntary extra 20% RECs that Viridian bought for its Connecticut customers in 2013, on the other hand, are primarily from wind plants in states without REC markets (55% from IN, WV), plants in states with a glut of REC supply (22% from IL wind and landfill gas, 19% from PA landfill gas), and a trash-burning plant in VA (3%). Most of these purchases are at very low prices and will do little or nothing to get more renewables built. The latest Viridian Sustainability Report does not provide any data on Massachusetts RECs purchases, but Viridian’s strategy is clearly to buy the cheapest stuff it can pass off as renewable. http://www.viridian.com/assets/2013/downloads/Viridian_2012SR.pdf.
For the 100% Pure Green, Viridian does not specify sources. The RECs are not real state-regulated RECs, but credits generated by Green-e Energy, presumably in states without REC requirements. In all likelihood, Viridian’s “REC” purchases for Pure Green would have negligible effect on the development of renewables.
Andy noted that you can get a kickback for your church or GWAC by signing with Viridian. If you have details on that, you can figure out whether there is any real benefit from purchasing through Viridian.
Buying through Viridian may help you feel better, but it is expensive and will do little to save the planet. If anyone knows of a way to directly support renewable development, perhaps they could share it with the list. Your money might be better spent supporting 350.org, Sierra Club (disclosure: one of my clients), NRDC (another client), GWAC, or other environment and climate groups.
Sorry to bear the bad news.
Answer 4 (Paul Chernick, Mar 2015)
At the risk of coming across as a wet blanket, I don’t see how Viridian would be saving money for anyone who switched now. They may have been lucky in their purchasing for this last winter (prices were highly volatile, and each of NStar’s 6-month price blocks is the result of two procurements, about six months apart).
The lowest-cost offer I see from Viridian is the "RPS + 50% Renewable Energy”, fixed for 12 months at 11.99¢/kWh. The NStar rates (I know it’s EverSource now, but that’s a dumber name than NStar, even) that have been set for 2015 are:
The average rate—charged to customers who stay on default service for Jan-June—is 15.046¢; if you have been paying that rate and switch to Viridian or any other supplier before July, NStar will recompute your bill to date, using the monthly rates in the period you took default service. You will wind up paying the high winter prices retrospectively, and saving only the low spring prices. Viridian probably won’t tell you that, and will pretend that your choice is between NStar’s 15¢ and Viridian’s 12¢.
Last July-Dec, NStar prices averaged 9.4¢. This July-Dec will probably be lower, since wholesale contract prices for energy are down about 0.8¢ from the same time last year. So assume the price will be 8.6¢.
Next Jan-June, NStar’s prices will probably be lower than the 15¢ for this Jan-June; prices are down about 2¢. So the price next Jan-June is likely to be something like 13¢. And the price drop for Jan-Mar (the period covered by the 1-year contract) would be about 3.5¢, bringing the price down to about 15¢.
A simple average NStar price over the period April 2015-Mar 2016 would be about 10.7¢. If your usage is higher in the summer, your average price would be lower.
So the lowest-price Viridian offer will cost you about 2.3¢/kWh extra for the rest of this year, and save you about 3¢ in Jan-Mar of 2016, with an average net loss of about 1.3¢ over the year.
As a check, Viridian’s rate for April (probably the first time you can switch) is 12.46¢, compared to NStar’s 10.97¢.
And it gets worse. Our experience with Dominion seems typical of the behavior of these marketers. If you don’t call up and negotiate a better deal every time the rate renews, the marketer will keep your price the same (if costs have fallen) or raise your price (if costs have increased). NStar will reduce your price if costs are down or raise it if costs are higher. NStar does not charge a profit, and its rates are regulated.
You may protest that Viridian’s power is cleaner than NStar’s. That is not at all clear. Viridian says that its energy is 100% renewable, but does not define what that means. Viridian describes its REC purchases in its sustainability report. The only such report covering Massachusetts is the 2013 report, since Viridian has not released the 2014 version yet. It appears that Viridian is relying on credits from the SEMASS trash-burning plant, existing hydro in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, and wind in Minnesota, where wind energy is selling for less than the cost of building new coal or gas plants and the utilities are adding more than they are required. The RECs from states with excess wind are selling for about 0.07¢/kWh, about 1.5% of the 5¢ cost of real Massachusetts RECs.
These trash, hydro and wind plants were built without RECs and would have run with or without Viridian’s purchase of the RECs, so Viridian is just relabeling energy that would have been generated anyway, and not causing construction of any new renewables or reducing emissions. Viridian lists some biomass plants among its REC sources for Massachusetts; since Viridian considers trash-burning and tire-burning to be biomass, it is difficult to determine what that means.
Viridian is probably no worse than other power marketers. Liberty does not even post its rates on its web site, a serious danger sign. I already mentioned my problem with Dominion, which later sent out a misleading comparison of its rate for March-November 2014 to NStar’s rate for January-June.
So what’s a green consumer to do? You can sign up for 25% new New England renewables for 2.4¢/kWh (the other 75% is from old hydro, which does not usually provide an environmental advantage) or 100% New England wind for 3.8¢/kWh at www.massenergy.org/renewable-energy/nstar. MassEnergy appears to be legitimate, even though the description of the 25% renewable option is a little disingenuous; their marketing is not as slick as Viridian’s, which is a recommendation in itself.
You may be shocked at the idea of paying extra for green power, when Viridian has been promising green power at below-market costs. As I’ve explained, Viridian prices are no bargain, and its greenness is largely illusory, just the relabeling of existing power supplies. Renewables still cost more than brown power in New England (although not everywhere). If you want to really get more renewables built here, you have to pay for it.
In any case, put your efforts into reducing your energy use, including getting blower-door-guided air sealing, infrared building-envelope inspection and incentives for replacement of inefficient equipment with efficient models from the utilities (NStar and National Grid). And switch out your incandescent light bulbs for LEDs. And install rooftop solar if your roof is suitable. You will save more money and reduce greenhouse gases more that way than by switching power supplier.
Question: Just got a hard-sell call from a company called Starion (sp?) pushing lower electric charges than NStar. They are not listed among the competitive suppliers on the NStar site. They would not provide written information, or a phone number, so I declined to sign up on the spot (though they reassured me that verbal consent was not binding). They claimed .0949 per kwh in generation charges.
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this company, and if anyone on the list can recommend good alternative suppliers, given the recent upswing in electric charges. Thanks.
Answer: Better Business Bureau gives Starion Energy, Inc. of Middlebury, CT a grade of B-, and cites a long history of complaints about sales/marketing and billing/collection issues.
Question: Which companies have people used for solar panel installation, and how has it worked out?
Renting or Buying a Home
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a Lexington realtor? We are looking for someone who will really go the extra mile to get our house sold, possibly after we are no longer in the area. We'd also appreciate any tips you have about realtors who gave disappointing service (please reply privately). Thank you!
Question: My wife and I are selling our Lexington home and are moving to a condominium in Concord shortly thereafter. Since we're closing on the sale of our Lexington home on the same day as our Concord Greene purchase, we are looking for an economical place to live for a 2 or 3 weeks while we make some improvements (paint and hardwood floors) before we can occupy our new home.
Question: I was interested in learning about experiences with various home security systems. For example, ADT vs. Comcast vs. any other vendors. Thanks much.
Answer: There are two main aspects to any security system: the installation/maintenance and the monitoring. The latter is a service that "listens" to your system and responds when an alert is raised. There are a relatively small number of monitoring services, and they vary from mediocre to pretty good, depending on how adaptable they are to your particular needs. And you can change monitoring services pretty much any time if you don't like what you're getting.
Long term, the most important factor is the installation and maintenance, which requires experience with the technology and knowledge about the various ways it can be deployed in your home. If you want a system that you understand and can rely on, it is recommended to find an *independent* installer with a good bit of experience who knows what they're doing, as opposed to simply taking whomever Comcast (not a security company) might contract out the job to.
Finally, a security system that you don't activate is less useful than a doorstop, so your family will have to learn some new habits (but do try to avoid enabling the system when people are still in the house).
Water and Sewer
Question: Has anyone had experience with a huge water bill (not tied to sprinklers) out of the blue. Anyone have any ideas? DPW says it's not the meter. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Outdoor and Traveling
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation to get someone to re-pave our driveway? Thanks.
Question: What are your favorite area beaches? We are relatively new here. Thanks!
Answers: Here are the nearby ocean beaches:
- Crane Beach, Ipswich
- Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. Small, very pretty. Paid parking available, though I imagine it fills up during the middle part of the day.
- Nahant Beach
- Singing Beach, Manchester
All the above require driving about 40-45 min.
- Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, one hour away
- No one has mentioned a wonderful rocky shore, Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, at the tip of Cape Ann. It is a granite shore (formerly a quarry) with beautiful views, great wave action, tide pools. Not that great for swimming, but paths to explore, blueberries, and history.
- Plum Island (Newburyport) is a unique barrier island and one of the premier birdwatching areas in New England.
- Thrill-seeking older kids prefer the waves at Horseneck State Park or at the Newport, RI beaches, but it'll take you at least 90 minutes to two hours to get to them -- more if you're going on the weekends.
- If you're traveling on a weekday after rush hour, you can get to the Cape in an hour and a half.
- Horseneck Beach in Southern Mass and Second Beach in Newport RI. You can not beat the fact that the water at these beaches is warm!
- Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor is nice. You feel like you've left the city even though you can still see it.
- Ogunquit Beach in Ogunquit Maine. Its about a 1.5 hour drive.
Pond beaches are:
- Lexington Reservoir
- Walden Pond - 10 minutes away, parking lot becomes full quickly. Free swimming is allowed!
- Spring Brook Park is in Bedford. My daughter brings the grandkids there whenever she is in town. It is very close to where Rtes 4 and 225 split, at 181 Springs Rd (note the spelling)
Question: Hello Listers,
I am looking for recommendations for campsites within a 2 hour (ideally) drive from here for this summer- late August. We will be camping in tents. We will likely have 4 different families on our little weekend trip (3-4 campsites) and kids range in age from 3 to 13. We'd like to bring bikes and are looking to do things like cooking over the campfire, swimming, hiking, maybe some geocaching, perhaps kayaking, etc. In my small bit of research it seems that some require 5 or 7 night minimum (we want 2-3 nights) and some of the more popular ones are already booked!
I would love to hear any first hand info.
Thanks in advance.
Question: Hi. We plan to take both sets of grandparents, in their 60s and 70s, to New Hampshire this Saturday. Any recommendation on a easy yet beautiful trail, or a scenery drive? Within 2 hours from Lexington will be great. Thanks for your time.
Question: Next Thursday, my wonderful grandmother-in-law, June, will be visiting us from California for a couple of days and I'm having a hard time thinking of fun things to do with her that also are appropriate for my toddler. Grandma June will be turning 90 (in her namesake month of June), and given that she'll be here for Mother's Day too, I wanted to do something special and celebratory during the weekend. While Grandma's first love is meeting people and people watching, she also loves gardens, and shopping at vintage-y places -- not in fine antique places, but more finding a bargain at a flea market. Here's the catch: while she can walk from the car to the house, she's not all that mobile and needs a wheelchair for anything longer, and she's partially deaf.
While I know that she'll derive a lot of joy by staying around the house and enjoying everyone's company/watching her great-granddaughter play, I wanted to have one special outing for Mother's Day, and one special thing to do for a birthday pre-party (at home). Reviewing her past visits I recall that going to Garden In the Woods worked wonderfully because the docent got her into a golf cart and gave her a tour, which allowed Grandma June to chat with someone and tour a gorgeous place. However, doing a duck tour wasn't so great because it was more impersonal and the tour guide talked too quickly for Grandma to catch everything. Going to flea markets/antiquing was also difficult because there were steps involved that were difficult for her, and while my daughter tolerated that as a baby, I don't think she'll do well with such an outing now that she's a toddler. Given all the above, I feel like the Big Apple Circus, while great for my daughter, might be a bad idea for Grandma, and I'm looking to find something more akin to the golfcart tour at Garden In the Woods...
So, I'm hoping to get some ideas for (1) an outdoor adventure, and (2) to make dinner special at home, that are appropriate for both an almost 90 yo and a 2 yo. (I have contacted the barbershop quartet, Sounds of Concord, to see if they would consider coming over for a singing telegram, but sadly they're all booked up for a Mother's Day event. If you know of any other quartet type groups who would come over and serenade Grandma June with one song, and then sing Itsy-Bitsy Spider, or the like, for my daughter, I'd really appreciate it.)
I'm open to anything and everything that would make this a fun and festive weekend:-) Thanks List!
Lawn and garden
Question: I had someone hack my back walk up last year and I have a large pile of heavy concrete remaining that has rebar all through it. I need to hire a person to take it away (God knows where). Does anyone out there have a suggestion? Thank you!
Answer: Try taskrabbit.com or LivingSocial.com.
Question: Hi, does anyone know whether it is allowed in Lexington to compost food scraps in the backyard? Thanks!
Answer: Yes, composting in the back yard is allowed and even encouraged.
Question: I recently cleaned out our fire pit and put the ashes in lawn and leaf gas- probably 4 in total- heavy dense stuff. I out them out with the regular trash but unfortunately they were not collected. I am wondering what to do with them... Any suggestions would be appreciated... Thanks.
Answer: You can collect fireplace ash in a metal trash can and spread it on the lawn in the spring, as free fertilizer.
Question: Hi all. Does anyone recommend a tree service to spray dormant oil for winter moths? I'd love to go with a service that people have been happy with. Thanks.
Question: Our Black and Decker electric lawn mower has a short and has stopped working. Does anyone know of a local place for a repair?
Question: My lawn is a mess! Has anyone worked with someone good to get rid of the invasive weeds and reestablish a lawn? Thanks.
Question: We are fed up with our landscaper and looking to contract with a new one for regular mowing, fertilizing, and fall/spring cleanup. Any recommendations? Thanks.
Question: Hi! Any recommendations for someone to take care of the seeding and feeding of our lawn. There's about an acre total lawn. Thanks.
Question: I hit a rock while mowing our lawn and seem to have caused an oil leak. Does anyone know a good repair person?
Question: What are the rules for setting up lawn signs?
Answer: Lawn signs must be:
- Placed 10 feet away from the edge of the road
- 4 square feet or smaller in size, and 4 ft or less in height
- No more than two signs are allowed per residence
- Election lawn signs must be removed within 7 days after the election.
Question: Does anyone know where I can go to get good quality mulch delivered to my driveway? We had a delivery last year but I was not happy with the quality and seemed to get hundreds of large carpenter ants within days of it being laid, which in turn left me with a season of bad mulch and a large bill for pest control. I am looking for about 8 yards.
Observation: This works so great and is so cheap and so non-damaging that I just had to share. You can kill the weeds that grow up between walkway bricks, bluestones, concrete joints etc. by just pouring some inexpensive white vinegar on them. No need for Roundup. I believe that this works on the same principal as those round dead spots on your lawn from dog pee.
Question: Anyone have recommendations for pear picking locally? Not too far away is always nice because there are small children in our party. After a brief internet search, it's been a challenge finding *any* pear picking amongst all the apple picking. The closest I've found was Asian pears at Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick but we are looking for "regular" pears. Thanks in advance.
Question: Does have anyone have any recommendations for poison ivy removal services? Thanks.
Question: Hi. Does anyone know if the town has any rules about the height of fences between adjoining properties? Thanks.
Answer: Lexington has a zoning FAQ as a PDF at . Fences of 6 ft or lower may be placed anywhere on the property. Fences higher than 6 ft require a building permit and may be installed provided the height of the fence is not greater than its horizontal distance to the property line. For example, an 8 ft fence may be placed no closer than 8 ft of the boundary of the property.
Question: Any recommendations for someone who can rejuvenate (I believe that's the correct euphemism for 'hack back to a third of the size') two huge rhodies without killing them? Thanks!
Question: I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with tree roots blocking the water pipes. Temporary or permanent solutions?
Answer: (Olga Guttag) Alas, this is a battle every property owner down south faces almost annually. First of all, you want to get Roto-Rooter/equivalent to clear the pipes. I recommend that you pay the camera charge and have them get you a video of what you are dealing with. In some instances, you may need to replace the pipe(s) because it has been crushed by the roots.
Regardless of what you need to do to the pipes, you want to make sure that the roots do not keep coming back repeating the damage. Here is what can be done: 1) An effective solution is to root-prune the offending tree (the crown needs to be thinned proportionally to the root pruning), and install a non-penetrable barrier in the direction of the pipes. 2) Roto-Rooter has a chemical compound that will kill any intruding roots when poured into the pipes regularly. We have not had much luck using this method. 3) Call in Roto-Rooter every year (or as needed) to clear the newly-grown roots and unblock the pipes. For us this has been the most cost-effective solution.
Hope that you don't need to replace the pipes, and that the roots can be kept in check. Good luck!
Question: Anyone have a recommendation for how to get a bunch of sandbox quality sand delivered in lexington? I just don't picture myself lifting 10 50 lb bags....
Question: Does anyone have good experience with a contractor for installation of a lawn sprinkler system? Thanks.
Observation: I received a very high water bill this time, so high that the Water Dept suggested that I might have a leak and offered to come out and check. I was very pleasantly surprised by this offer. In fact I had put in a new lawn and so the excessive water was totally my fault. None-the-less I contacted them hoping I could do something about the sewer costs.
Robin Fullford at the Lexington DPW Water Dept was wonderful. She directed me to a Application for Abatement PDF on the town web page. http://lexingtonma.gov/dpw/ABATEMENT%20APPLICATION%202-10-12.pdf which allows me to request a one time only abatement.
So I filled out the form and, at her request, sent in a "good faith payment" equal to last year's bill. This form now goes to some Lexington Board and there appears to be good reason to believe that when they contact me in 6-8 weeks my cost for this period will go down substantially. I decided not to wait to bring it to your attention because if you need to take advantage of this for the current bill ing period you cannot wait.
Question: Does anyone know who I can contact that will grind the stumps of trees we took down this past fall? If you have contact names, I would greatly appreciate you passing them along. Also, I've heard that one has to clearly state that the shavings be removed or one will end up with a lawn full of wood shavings. Is this true? Does anyone have experience in this that they would be happy to share? Many thanks!
Question: Hi everyone. A tree landed on our roof, puncturing our bedroom ceiling before catching the gutters on the way down. Not sure where to begin with this process, especially with rain on the way. When we've had a flood I've called Restore-Pro, but that won't work here. Anyone know of a one-stop place for this type of damage? Thanks.
Question: If a tree or large branch falls onto a neighbor's yard, who is legally responsible for the cost of removal? What about damage to the neighbor's property?
Answer: Generally speaking, unless the tree is diseased, decayed, or dead, the tree owner is not legally liable for any damage caused by falling branches, etc. onto a neighbor's property. But if a neighbor's tree overhangs your yard, you can cut the branches back to the property line. If damage occurred to your home because of a neighbor's tree, your homeowner's insurance should cover the loss. If someone makes a claim against you for damage caused by your tree, you can turn it over to your insurance company and let them handle it.
Question: Does anyone has a good person or company to recommend?
Question: We have some drainage issues in one corner of our yard and are thinking of getting a French drain or similar installed. Does anyone have any recommendations for a landscaper or contractor that can address this? Thanks in advance.
Parking in Lexington
Question: Is parking allowed in Lexington when the parking meter is frozen or broken?
Answer: Yes, for not longer than the duration inscribed on the meter, but please inform the Police Department by phone or email so the meter can be fixed as soon as possible.
Parks in Lexington
Question: I'm thinking of having a little informal birthday party in a Lexington park. Is there an approval I need to get from town officials?
Answer: Not for small informal birthday parties. If it really is just a few people getting together, that's what parks are for.
If you plan a larger event bringing tables and all of that, it would be best to check with the town officials. If you want the Battle Green then you will want to check with the Selectmen's office. The Battle Green is a little different from any other piece of ground in Lexington and the threshold is a bit tighter there. If you want something like Depot Square or Hastings Park, then you will want to check with the Town Manager's office. If it is a recreation field or area like Willard's Woods, then your first stop should probably be at Conservation. All of those offices can be called and all are in the same building within a few yards of each other if you want to visit. The phone number is 781-862-0500 and then listen to the menu.
Question: We will be having family members visit us in Lexington May 11-25, and as we're relatively new to town, we don't know all the must-see sites (particularly historical) and things to do in lexington/boston and vicinity. The visitors are mostly adults, with one 11-year-old girl who will be here for 5 days. Any suggestions greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Answer: Here is an incomplete list:
- Buckman Tavern, Hancock/Clark House, Munroe Tavern Lexington
Historic houses and excellent tours run by in Costume (and sometime in Character) guides: http://lexingtonhistory.org
- Our Museum of National Heritage, Lexington, MA
- Battle Green where the "shot heard round the world" was fired
- The Liberty Ride: a tram that travels around Lexington and Concord to
the various Historic venues: http://www.libertyride.us/
- The Minuteman Nat'l Park - the visitor center has that great multimedia
film on the start of the revolutionary war, and you can walk on the battle road where the events actually occurred, read lots of plaques, etc. (Hartwell Tavern circa 1775, Paul Revere Capture Site) http://www.nps.gov/mima/index.htm
- Orchard House (Louisa May Alcott's house, Little Women), Concord, MA
- Walden Pond
- Old North Bridge
- Duck boat tours (it's an open-air bus/boat that tours Boston and always
looks SO fun!)(if we do that, we need to bring the kids!) http://www.bostonducktours.com/
- Tour the "New" State House (built in 1798)- tours are free
- The Old State House
- The Freedom Trail: a great sampling of Historic Boston.
- MIT museum (includes largest hologram collection in the world)
- Boston Commons, Swan Boats
- Frog Pond (outdoor ice skating in winter)
- Top of John Hancock building for great viewing
- Walk down the AMAZINGLY old, European-seeming, GORGEOUS streets of
Boston (e.g. Charles Street is really cool)
- Museum of Science (Boston)
- Isabella Gardner Museum
- Harvard Museum of Natural History (Cambridge)
[especially the Glass Flowers exhibit -- highly recommended] http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/
- USS Constitution (Boston)
- Prudential Center (big Mall, trolley tours & duck tours can start here)
- Faneuil Market Place Boston
- Bunker Hill (Boston)
- Paul Revere's House (Boston)
One hour drive or less:
- Salem, Mass (historical for witch trials)
BEACHES! (You can actually SWIM in the water!) Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA and Rockport, MA
Plymouth Plantation (where the Pilgrims landed, set up just like the village the Pilgrims built, as well as a Native American village, all with people in period costumes ready to answer questions)
Battleship USS Massachusetts, Fall River
If open Mt Washington! (New Hampshire)
Question: Can anyone share what they know about the Lexington Paint Rock Mine? Was it early settlers that made paint with the rocks? How? Thanks!
Answer: The Paint Mine area, the conservation tract behind Estabrook School, is named for actually two very brief 19th century attempts at mining minerals found in this area for the manufacture of paint. No, it wasn’t early settlers. Thomas Sileo goes into quite an explanation and history of the area in his book “Historical Guide to Open Space in Lexington” where he explains that a company called the Boston and Lexington Paint Company was formed in 1867, buying up land that used to be part of both the Robinson and Simonds farms, with the goal of excavating the natural ochre found there for use in the manufacture of “superior and profitable paint.” However, Sileo goes on to explain, a recession of 1873 did the company in, and by 1877 it was out of business. A second try, begun in 1879 by the Lexington Mineral Paint Company formed by Jerome W. Tyler, seemed to have no more success. This may be more info than you really were after, but I found it quite interesting to read about this area in Sileo’s book. (Answer by Jane Morse)
The town's Conservation website has some info. (Answer by Peggy Enders)
Question: Pardon my ignorance here... My family and I moved up here from the Washington DC area in the spring. This will be our first winter with New England snow levels. (We had snow in Maryland, but 2 inches would close the schools, and a foot was considered very heavy.)
Our driveway is 2 cars wide and maybe 1 3/4 cars long. (Sorry, but I'm lousy at estimating lengths.) One car will be garaged; the other -- mine -- will be in the driveway. The driveway slopes gently down from the street to the garage, with a short steep bit right before the garage.
My husband and I are used to hand shoveling the modest snows of Maryland, on a driveway about twice as long. We're in reasonably good shape, and know not to over exert. So, should we look at a machine? Or a more efficient people-powered device, if there is one?
Question: ...It might be a good idea to try one out before you buy a snowblower, to see how comfortable it is to use. Our experience with a medium-sized gas-powered one (a Toro) was that it took a lot of effort to turn it, and to try to push it through the pile where the driveway meets the street. That combined with the noise, the gas fumes, and the storage issues (i.e., the need to empty it of gas before storing it after the last snowfall, and who knows which is the last one!) caused us after a few years to go back to shoveling, in peace and quiet, breathing in clean air, and thinking of it as good exercise. But I think ours wasn't self-propelled. I've also thought about looking into an electric one, but I have the impression that they can't handle snow deeper than a few inches. Does anyone have experience with those?
Question: Ok experienced snow blower users, let's see what ideas you have for what could be wrong with my snowblower. It's 7 years old (Yard Machine Tecumseh 5.5hp) and has worked every year with no issues and was serviced last winter by someone in lexington whose contact details I've forgotten.
It worked well during the last snowfall. Prior to that I had changed the oil & fresh gas. I did not change the spark plug this winter out of laziness so it this is the second winter season it's being used. This morning the snow blower would not start. I did the following but still could not get it to start.
1) Press primer 3 times, choke full 2) then emptied the carburetor of gas by pressing the small button at the bottom 3) repeated item 1. 4) checked oil - level is fine, fresh oil colour 5) pulled the cable off the spark plug then put it back on (note I did not take the spark plug out) 6) repeated item 1.
If someone remembers the person in Lexington who services snow blowers that would be helpful. I'm sure it's a simple problem to get it going. Thanks.
Question: I'm having an issue with the town's snow plowing.
Every time they plow our street, they leave 4 to 6 feet of unplowed snow on the street in front of my driveway and mailbox. Across the street they go within about a foot. It bothers me to think that I'm paying taxes to pay for the plowing of the streets and yet I am shoveling the street in front of my house where they should have plowed, shoveling part of the street in addition to around the fire hydrant, and shoveling out the storm drain that the would have gotten had they shoveled the street like they should.
I don't have a snow blower and I don't hire a snow plow because I think the exercise is good; but when the snow is heavy and the plow pushes and packs down the snow, it's a bit much. Anyone have any suggestions on what to do about this? Thanks.
Observation: The ethanol that is being put into gasoline is killing the engines on snow blowers. Most susceptible to the problems are the newer engines. Here’s what I was just told by an expert on how to avoid the problem:
1. Use 89 (not 87) octane level. 2. Use high quality gasoline like Mobil or Shell or Sunoco. 3. Immediately put the proper amount (not too much; not too little) of StaBil into the gas can. 4. Only put as much gas into the snow blower as you will use that day. Leave the rest of the gas in the gas can. 5. If the gas gets to be two months old, do not use it in the snow blower at all; instead put it into your car and start over with fresh gasoline. 6. In the spring, run the snow blower dry until the gas runs out 100% and the machine stops on its own.
Snow Melt Ideas
Question: I need to tap the creative thinking of this group. We are ready to have our storage unit and dumpster removed prior to putting our house on the market, but both are embedded in snow that is now frozen solid, and still 5 feet deep in places. I need to find a way to melt or remove this in the next couple of days. I'm thinking of renting a patio heater and putting it outside. I've also thought about creating a big tent with tarps and putting a space heater underneath. Other ideas? Thanks.
Question: Any recommendations for cycling routes for a 10 year old and her dad in Maine? Ideally, staying in one place and cycling different routes over a period of 3 days or something like that. This is a coming of age celebration, so recommendations for a place to stay would be great too. He's not a camper. If they can get to it by train from Boston, that's even better! Thanks.
Question: I have a 13-year-old daughter eager to try fencing. Are there any local teachers/facilities folks could recommend? Thanks.
Question: Is there anyplace left in Lexington where you can ride a horse (trails) or are those days long gone? Thanks.
Question: Looking for a personal trainer and wanted to see if anyone had recommendations. Needing someone who will push (but not necessarily a drill sergeant). Looking for high intensity workout but not light weight/high reps. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Question: Any recs for rafting? Thanks much.
Question: We are currently researching riding lessons for our 5th grade daughter. We have checked out the Four Fillies Farm and would like to see others for comparison. My sister-in-law suggest getting involved with the Pony Club but the options would require driving a good distance from Lexington. I would love to hear any suggestions from the list. Many thanks.
Question: When is skating at the Old Reservoir safe, in terms of outside temperature and thickness of the ice?
Answer: Here's a how to on checking ice safety: http://www.wikihow.com/Know-When-Ice-is-Safe
Question: Hi there. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with getting their skis tuned at REI? Good/bad? Or, if anyone has any other local shops they would recommend, that would be helpful, too.
Question: Does anyone know of a swimming pool complex nearby where I can swim laps? Preferably indoor so that I can continue in the colder months of the year.
Question: Hello. Does anyone have a recommendation for a Tennis Instructor to teach private lessons at outdoor courts? Thanks,
Question: Anyone know what a kid's pass would cost me for the summer? Weekly pass? I googled rec. department and call, but site does not have the info as far as I can see, and the rec. dept. office is closed. Would like to send my kid swimming for the day. Thanks.
Question: Hi! I am looking for good places to eat near Acadia. We will be staying near the south entrance. Thanks.
Question: We are interested in hearing about places to visit in Eastern Canada in the Fall. This includes cities with all of their attractions, as well as get away places where you primarily go for scenery, hikes, and rest and relaxation.
Do you have some favorite places (museums, historic places (houses, forts, reconstructed villages)), restaurants, parks, trails, performance venues, tours, ferry boats etc. in Eastern Canada that you can recommend?
We'd love to hear your recommendations!
Question: Does anyone have advice for getting best rental car rates? AARP, AAA, internet sites?
Question: hello fellow lexingtonians,
i’m in the process of planning a short trip in the fall (october) - probably 5 days total - and will be taking my future wife and two teen/20+ sons along. as of this week, we’ve narrowed it down to either: turks & caicos, the grand caymans or the bahamas.
definitely on the agenda: surfing lessons (they’re both huge into boards, snow, skate etc), some diving of some kind and ideally some kind of fishing if it exists (deep sea maybe).
i figured that several of the folks on this list must have been to one or more of these islands over the past 10 to 50 years, and so i’m really curious to know how you’d rank them. my personal take so far is that turks & caicos may have the nicest sands/beaches and some good waves for first time surfers, but we’re pretty open to any of them. the airfares all seem to be comparable (knock on wood) - but i know zero about nightlife, actual things to do and see, markets, whatever.
any (wildly opinionated) thoughts? ;)
Question: Who has advice for me about driving from Boston to LA? Anything I should avoid? Anything I should not miss? Northern route, southern route?
Question: Planning a trip to Italy... Does anyone have recommendations and/or places to avoid for hotels and apartment rentals? Thank you!
Question: We're looking into a week-long vacation in New England or the New York area with my parents this summer. None of us are resort types, so we're seeking a scenic place with activities and other families nearby--something a four-year old will enjoy. I remember someone telling me about a cabin community on Lake Winnepesaukee. My father is in his early 80s and will want a nice clean bathroom, so we can't go too rustic. It would be great if there's some stuff to do within walking distance, so we don't have to drive everywhere. Many thanks for your ideas!
Question: I'm planning a trip abroad. What is the best way to acquire foreign currency before and during the trip?
Answer: You may want to exchange a few hundred dollars at a local bank or currency exchange office before you leave, so you have local cash at the airport when you arrive. For a listing of local exchange offices, check the thread below.
Abroad, you can use credit or debit cards to make purchases or to withdraw money at an ATM. Some tips on use of debit and credit cards abroad can be found at flyerguide.com. Check with your bank and your credit card provider for ATM fees and point of sale fees. Typically, credit cards charge 3% in point of sale foreign transaction fees; that is still better than airport foreign currency exchange fees which could be as high as 15%. Debit cards charge between 1-3% for ATM foreign transaction fees. Some ATMs abroad do not have menus in English. Other ATMs abroad accept only 4 digit pins; if you have a longer than 4 digit pin try to enter the first 4 digits of the pin.
Question: Hi List members. We are traveling to England and Scotland shortly and we will need plug converters for our devices namely phones and computers. I'm not sure where to find them or what I need.
Answer: Here a pretty good page with advice about this subject:
Question: I have some family from out of state who'd love to visit us in the next few weeks. Our house isn't big enough for everyone, however. Can anyone recommend local places to stay? I'd really appreciate any advice!
Question: Hi all, I'm looking for ideas. My Mom is coming to visit at the beginning of August and I want to go someplace within 2-3 hours of Lexington with her. She cannot walk much but likes museums, good food, and a friendly atmosphere. Any suggestions would be appreciated...like places to go, places to stay, restaurants.
Comment: Two years ago I bought tickets for the Lexington-to-Concord Liberty Ride Trolley Tour at a fundraising auction. My husband and I finally used them this past weekend. It was great. There were lots of out-of-town tourists on the Trolley and it is air-conditioned. Though I’ve lived in Lexington for 35 years and have often read about the historical events and toured many of the historical buildings in both towns, the tour guide brought it all to life with her energetic and lively rendition. The compete tour takes 90 minutes. I strongly recommend the Liberty Ride both for your out-of-town guests and all of you Lexington residents.
Question: We're heading to London next week, and my daughter and I will be sight-seeing during the day while my husband is at work. Does anyone have some good suggestions on things to do in London with a 12-year old? Or evening ideas for all three of us? We're planning to see "Love Never Dies" the musical sequel to "Phantom of the Opera", but I'm interested in hearing other theatre suggestions as well.
Question: We have to drop our daughter off in Portland, Maine, in a week for camp and are thinking of going up a day or two ahead of time and staying for a day or two after with our other daughter. Any recommendations of places to stay near Portland with a 16- and a 12-year old for a few days without breaking the bank?
Question: Appreciate any suggestions for places to stay, eat, do on Maine coast on Wells/York/Oguinquit area.
Question: Hi All. We will be visiting these areas. Any must-dos or must-stays? Thank you!
Question: If you are familiar w/ Montreal I am looking for suggestions of things to do (including 10 & 12 yr. boys) & places to eat in the current season. We have the Biodome and walking around the old town on the list already.
Question: Hi All! My children are going to visit their dad in Arizona for the next 4 weeks, and I am looking for creative ideas for 3 day weekends for my husband and I while they are away.
We are already planning a weekend in NYC, but that gives us 2 or 3 other weekends to explore. I've only lived in Boston since last July, and have enjoyed the Boston area, but looking forward to exploring other parts of New England that we can get to within 2 to 5 hours of driving.
About us: - BIG foodies - so good restaurants nearby are a necessity - Love cooking classes, wine tastings - We are very curious people and love learning - so destinations with historical significance are interesting - While we enjoy a nice walk or bike ride, we are not huge into hiking or kayaking, etc. - We are not "beach" people - We definitely don't want to "camp" or "rough it"
Also - my passport JUST expired and I have to wait 4 weeks for a replacement, so while I am LOVING all the Canada information and saving it, those aren't an option for us this month.
Question: Hi-I'm planning 4-5 days in New Orleans and welcome suggestions for were to stay and what to do. Thx.
Question: Does anyone know of any of the express buses, like Bolt Bus, have a pick up spot where you can leave your car overnight? We have a event in Manhattan next month and thought the bus might be the easiest and most cost effective way to go.
Question: We're looking for hotel recommendations for NYC. Anyone have any suggestions? Any affordable options you know of? Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have.
Question: We're thinking about spending our summer vacation in the Outer Banks, and I'm looking for recommendations on where to stay, fun things to do with children, etc. I'm leaning towards towns on Hatteras and Roanoke Islands because they seem a bit less commercial & more remote than the northern beaches (Duck, Nags Head), but I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. Ideas for specific towns (or even homes/condos) would be great! Thanks.
Question: Hi. We are considering traveling to Prince Edward Island with our three children this summer, and I'm now researching places to stay, activities, etc. I would greatly welcome any recommendations for lodging, towns or beaches we shouldn't miss, fun activities for children, etc. Thanks very much in advance!
Question: Hi. I vaguely remember a thread about websites where we can find reliable vacation rentals. If anyone here knows of any other than vrbo.com please could you let us know and thanks very much.
Question: We'll be visiting Rome, Venice and Paris for 2 weeks this June. Any ideas for things to do or places to visit would be very welcome. We have 2 boys aged 10 and 15. Except for Canada, they've never been outside the US. They are interested in history, but also love a touch of fun and adventure. Any ideas out there?
Question: We are flying into San Francisco to spend several days there and in surrounding areas (Sonoma, Half Moon Bay, ???). We will rent a car and think staying somewhere just outside the city might be best cost-wise and parking-wise. Does anyone have suggestions as to what area would be best? Suggestions for lodging would be appreciated also. Thanks!
Question: We've already combined many lovely California destinations with our visits to a special relative in San Francisco.... and we're looking for a new destination to add to our next trip.... maybe drive in from another state? Any suggestions?
Question: Hi! Since this list always proves a wealth of information, I again seek vacation suggestions.
I would like to take my daughters for 2 or 3 nights in late August to an area within 1.5 hour drive that has access to a beach (10 minute walk or bike ride is good). I've looked at inns and B&Bs in the Kennebunk area, but know nothing about this area or accessability to beaches.
I am not interested in the Cape - don't like traffic or crowds.
What suggestions might you have, whether about Kennebunk or other areas close by? Thanks!
Question: I have a friend looking to plan a trip. Does anyone have a good travel agent to recommend?
Observation: On a chance encounter, when he found out we're traveling to Istanbul, Faruk Bursal forwarded me this small pamphlet he had prepared with advice about visiting Turkey - which I found so well written that I wanted to share with the Lexington list (with Faruk's permission).
Advice on Going to Turkey, by Faruk Bursal (Oct 2014)
Question: Hundreds of birds are flying around the oak trees and dropping acorns all over the street and driveways. Is this a yearly phenomenon that I’ve never witnessed before?
Question: Why do birds sometimes fly into windows, and how can one prevent it?
Answer: According to Mass Audubon, this is explained by territorial behavior of birds around their nesting sites. The birds see their image reflection and believe it is a rival. Closing curtains or applying bird "shadow" stickers on the window does not always prevent small birds from flying into the image reflection. Mass Audubon recommends doing nothing, on the theory that flying into windows is rarely fatally harmful to birds. Should you choose to cover the window, you should cover the outside to eliminate the image reflection of the bird - and you could do it with a transparent plastic sheet, taped at the top of the window. That way light still comes into the room through the plastic sheet, the image reflection is eliminated, and the wind rustling the plastic sheet will even scare the bird off.
Question: A bird has made a nest in 1 of our 2 outside garage lights. I was going dispose of it this morning. Before I did I took a quick photo of it and now see that it has 5 ( Jordan Almond ) size eggs in it. Well, clearly I cannot demo the nest with eggs in it. Would anyone have a thought on how I may expedite the process of relocating my uninvited squatters?
Question: My wife and I always look forward to spring and the return of all the birds who greet us in the morning with their song (albeit sometimes earlier than we'd like).
However, this year a bird has "set up shop" in a spruce tree quite near our bedroom window... and this bird is nocturnal. It begins chirping loudly around 11 PM and continues, virtually non-stop, until at least 2 or 3 in the morning—affecting our ability to fall asleep.
What bird is nocturnal in this manner? Or is this an ordinary "day bird" that has "issues" confused by the bright street light that's right across from our yard?
The bird has at least half a dozen different calls and rotates through them in rapid-fire sequence, much like a car alarm. So it's not like a single, repetitive song that you can fall asleep to.
As much as we love birds, we feel this one's no longer welcome in our spruce tree!
Any and all suggestions on how to deal with this would be welcome (sleeping pills, changing bedrooms, or cutting down the spruce tree are not options!)
Question: I've looked around on the web for a site that has audio for birds in Massachusetts and can't seem to find what I'm looking for (a collection that would allow me to identify what I'm hearing outside). If anyone knows of a good site, please let me know.
Answer: Check out the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Songs and also . If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also try iBird Explorer Lite. If you want to know more about local birds than you could possibly absorb, you could always join the Menotomy Birders List (named for the pre-Civil-War moniker for Arlington.) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: What does one do when ones walks up the street and comes up next to a coyote?
Answer: Coyotes generally avoid human contact, so normally there's no need to do anything at all. Unless one is walking a dog that is inclined to mix it up with a coyote, there's not much reason for concern. Don't be afraid of coyotes. There have only been 4 coyote attacks on humans in Massachusetts since they were first confirmed in the state in the 1950s. Check out the Mass. Div. of Fisheries & Wildlife page on living with coyotes and the Mass Audubon pamphlet on coyotes.
Question: During the last week I have a bird who has been pecking holes in my cedar shingles. I have not been able to get a good view of the bird because as soon as I open the window it takes off but I now have around eight good size holes in three shingles all in the same area. Is there anything I can do to redirect the bird to the many trees surrounding the house instead of my house? The area is around a second floor window high above the ground. Any suggestion will be appreciated.
Observation: Here's a link to Mass Wildlife about living with foxes: . As stated in the "Habits" section, foxes are both shy and curious and can be active both day and night.
Question: Raccoon ambling thru neighborhood. Should I be concerned? He sauntered toward me then passed me by to cross the street toward the neighbor's construction dumper. Normal gait. This was 20 min ago--still plenty light outside.
Question: We have had a skunk meandering around over driveway for the past two days. Any thoughts of how to convince the critter to get back into the woods and away from our home? Thanks.
Question: We seem to have a snake living under the deck by our back door ... the door I use most frequently to enter the house. I know nothing about snakes, but from the bit of research that I've done, it may be a garter snake and it's about 2 feet long. So not the biggest or the most poisonous snake in the world :-) but I'm from a country where there are NO reptiles at all in the wild and I admit I'm a bit freaked out by this and would like to get it away from my house. Any recommendations?
Answer: Snakes in Lexington are non-poisonous and eat mice and small rodents. Unlike the other rodent-reducing predators (coyotes, foxes) there's no danger that a snake will also eat your cat. Snakes are afraid of humans - the best thing to do is to stomp as you approach. Snakes sense vibrations and will retreat back into their hiding place.
Question: Squirrels have moved into the attic and my initial attempts to get rid of them have been fruitless... Any recommendations for exterminators local to Lexington would be appreciated! The house is 60 years old.
Question: We're building a garden shed on a sloping piece of land. The footings are about six inches high on one side, and closer to a foot off the ground on the other, given the slope of the land. We were going to try to put crushed stones under the shed, but it's so high that it would take way too many to fill the space. We're hoping that neither rabbits nor other creatures will turn the dark ground under there into their home. Do those with experience think we're in the clear?
Question: We have at least one woodpecker who has decided to peck through the siding. How do we deter him/her? We've discovered a couple of holes which we'll fill, but how to stop it happening again?! Thanks.
Question: Hello. I am looking for young hens (less than a year old). Where does one get them around here? Thanks.
Answer: Talk to people at Codman Farm or Drumlin Farm, both in Lincoln. They both sponsor workshops on raising backyard chickens on a regular basis. You can also buy chickens mail-order.
Question: Does anyone have experience with a professional service for treating these on your hemlocks? Any and all advise is greatly appreciated.
Question: I'm looking for a reliable (year after year use) mosquito killer for 0.33 acre of land. What do people recommend?
Answer: Some people use Mosquito Magnet, others use Flowtron, yet others use UV tube bug zappers, with mixed effects. Mosquito Magnets work well for the first couple of years, then inexplicably their performance goes down. Mosquito Magnets also output a lot of CO'_2_' in the atmosphere. Bug zappers also kill a great amount of other good insects along with the mosquitoes. For a discussion of the merits and the efficiency of each solution read the threads below.
Question: During the last month or so, tiny brown insects have appeared on our front outdoor porch, mailbox, and other surfaces. They collect in large numbers in the morning and generally disappear later in the day. They seem to like temperatures around 40-45 degrees. We didn't see them last week on mornings during which we had frost but they are back again today. They crawl around and will hop or jump away when approached by an object like a finger or branch. We haven't seen them flying. So... has anyone else seen such insects and does anyone know what they are?
Answer: You are probably seeing springtails - http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/aimg1.html - The ones known as "snow fleas" are more common around here in the winter, but I've also recently been seeing the ones you describe. Mother Nature always has something new for us, doesn't she?
Question: Where can we find information about ticks?
Answer: Much more than anyone needs to know about ticks and hosts for Lyme disease from the American Lyme Disease Foundation: http://www.aldf.com/deerTickEcology.shtml
Tick bites often, but not always develop a red halo around the bite site. The current medical protocol for Lyme tick bites is that if it's addressed within 72 hours of the initial bite, a one time bolus of doxycycline (two capsules) is effective in combating it. If it's been longer than 72 hours, you have to go onto antibiotics for something like 3 weeks. You should call your personal physician immediately when you observe a tick bite on your body.
Question: Starting a few days ago (maybe because the weather got more mild) I all of a sudden have hundreds of small moths around my front door and garage. I suppose that because I have night lights in both places they are attracted. They stary in one place during the day as if attached.
Answer: What you're seeing is the Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata, an insect which is doing an excellent job of defoliating trees. It originates from Europe, and invaded eastern Massachusetts more than a decade ago and has caused widespread defoliation of many deciduous tree species ever since. The infestation has spread to Rhode Island and is expanding westward in Massachusetts. Invasions of winter moth have occurred at other sites in North America, namely Nova Scotia in the 1950s and in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s.
You can talk to your arborist about doing a horticultural oil spray in the spring to smother the Winter Moth eggs.
According to an Elkinton lab article, winter moths invasions can be controlled by introducing a natural enemy of the moth, also originary from Europe, named Cyzenis albicans. This fly will not invade other species than the winter moth, and its numbers will decline once it controls winter moth. The C. albicans has been used successfully to control winter moths in Nova Scotia since the 1950s.
Accounting and taxes
Question: Hi Lexington people. I am looking for an accountant to help with the tax return of a grantor-type trust. I'd like someone local, who is knowledgeable about tax returns for grantor-type trusts, and who is reasonably priced. Happy to work with someone who is new in the business as long as they know their stuff. I am quite price-sensitive as well. Welcoming your ideas....thank you!
Question: I have an antique clock (vintage 1915) that is in need of repair. Can anyone recommend a reputable clock repair person who is reasonable and located in the greater Boston area?
Question: I have some antique furniture (chairs, table) that I'd like to get appraised. Any recommendations?
Question: I have some silver plate objects (bowls and the like) and some china serving pieces that my grandmother had collected. Does anyone know where I can take them to see whether they're worth anything?
Question: We are seeking an art appraiser for a contemporary piece that is up for its insurance renewal. Would rather have a trusted referral to an appraiser than random person from google. Not looking to auction, just appraise. Thanks.
Question: Hi , I need to get recommendations for a local auto body shop to fix some dings and dents in one of my cars (Toyota Prius)- Any recommendations not too far from Lexington?
Question: Has anyone had a good experience (I.e. Negotiation, rates) with leasing either a Toyota or Acura or Audi vehicle? Which dealers have been responsive or which should I avoid?
Question: Hi. I need to get my SUV detailed cleaned. Any recommendations not too far from Lexington? Thanks.
Question: Does anyone know of a reliable company that installs replacement auto glass? My 10 year old Ford Focus wagon needs to have the rear window replaced since the defrosting elements no longer work. The dealer told us to "go to a glass replacement" specialist.
Question: Hi all. I am a neophyte (gratefully) and have never before had to use an auto body shop, but unfortunately (as a result of an incident on Cape Cod), I'm now needing to make us of their services (sigh). I did get some great referrals by perusing the archives on this list (thanks), so nothing needed in that regard (unless you have an overwhelmingly positive or negative experience that might be valuable input).
So here's my question: What is supposed to happen? [...]
Question: Does anyone have any recommendations for a good auto mechanic in the area? We just moved here, and given the trouble I had starting my car this morning, we might need one soon. We have a Subaru and a Toyota.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a mechanic (non-dealer) who is good with Audis? Ones to avoid would also be good to know. Thanks!
Question: I'm thinking about not bringing my 2005 Subaru to the dealer for its 120K maintenance. Anyone have an independent mechanic they can recommend?
Question: I was hoping to get recommendations for a local mechanic with experience working on Volvos (other than Cinderella Carriage). Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Question: Anyone had a terrific experience with getting scrapes and chips taken care of? No dings, but pretty sure it needs some paint and not just buffing. Small stuff, hoping to keep it very economical. Thanks.
Question: I just bought a used Prius and it has only one key. Any ideas for the best/least expensive way to get a duplicate made?
Question: Hello. I’m renting a car for the first time in a couple of years. Have any of you rented from any of the less expensive companies – e.g., Budget, Dollar, Advantage, Midway, etc.? If so, can you tell me about your experience?
Question: Hi, Does anyone have any experience with car shipping? I am debating weather I should drive or ship a car out to Ohio for my college daughter. Thank you.
Question: Hi. My Sienna needs one new tire. Does anyone have a good recommendation of where to go? Thanks.
Question: Hello. We woke up this morning to a very flat back tire, and would like to find someone near by who can quickly patch up the leak. We would appreciate any suggestions about where we can get the tire repaired reasonably. Thank You!
Question: Can anyone recommend a good car wash nearby -- not detailing, just a good old soap and rinse to get the dust off?
Question: I know this has come up before but am having trouble finding reference in the search capability. I am looking for a recent recommendation for a driving school that does home pick up/drop off in Lexington. I am looking for on the road classes/observation (vs classroom) at this point. I have had difficulty getting in touch with a person at Lexington Driving school - voice mail exchanges then no response. If that is the only show in town, or the best, I will be persistent, however other ideas are welcome. Thx!
Question: The engine light is on in my car and the sensor continues to come back on after being reset. So I am looking for a reliable place for engine repairs for a Toyota Camry (older model). Thank you!
Question: Where can I find information about an automobile crash prevention/driver education class?
Question: Hi. We are in the market for a new car and I would love to buy a car with good gas mileage, so of course the Prius comes immediately to mind. I was talking with someone who owns a Prius (and loves it), but says it has a hard time on snow and slippery roads. I was wondering if other Prius owners have similar problems with their cars in bad weather. It could be a show stopper for me.
Question: It's time to go from piggy bank to savings account for my kids. Anyone know of a bank that has accounts where you can start with a small deposit?
Answer: Most banks offer free accounts to persons 18 and younger. Banks chartered in MA are required by law to offer free of charge accounts for persons 18 and younger or 65 and older. For particular bank recommendations, read the thread below.
Question: What things should one look for when shopping around for a college student banking account? What banks in the area offer good deals for college student accounts?
Answer: For bank recommendations, read the thread below. Some banks offer totally free student checking, with no minimum deposit, and free ATM use anywhere in the country (via reimbursing ATM fees). It is also good to check whether the bank has branches located in Lexington as well as in the vicinity of the college, so the student can bank in both places.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation as to where to get eyebrow threading besides the mall? Thanks.
Question: We are new to Lexington and among a million other things, I need to find a new hair stylist and colorist. I have short, fine hair that for some reason seems to be hard to cut. For color, it's just a matter of simple highlights. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
Question: Where does one get a reasonably priced pedicure around Lexington? Don't need to high-end. Thanks!
Question: My front brakes are now rubbing against the tire and we can't seem to adjust it. I haven't had to take my bike to a shop since my husband usually does the minor tuning up, etc. Recommendations, please!
Question: Being in Lexington, where is the closest place to purchase dry ice? Thank you!
Computers and Phones
Question: Hi all. We are having a problem with static (so much so that you can't hear the other person on the line) on our Verizon Fios phone line. The problem appears to be internal to the house, as there is no static if I plug a handset into the box outside the house. We've had this problem in the past, it comes and goes, but this time it seems to be staying.
My question is, what kind of service person do I call to have the problem chased down and fixed? I envision at least some of the phone wiring needing to be pulled and replaced. Would that be an electrician? Or are there people that specialize in phone wiring? (We've already had Verizon out, and though the service person tried very hard to chase down the issue for me, it seems not to be their issue). Any help appreciated.
Question: When making calls from the home line into the Verizon phone network, and only into the Verizon phone network, my caller ID gets spoofed by Verizon. (The caller ID works when calling any non-Verizon line.)
This is a bug in the Verizon network, in the way they have caller ID set up for our phone number, but they refuse to fix it. Our phone line was originally serviced by Verizon; when we switched providers we ported the phone number; the new provider has caller ID set up correctly in their network; but when calling a Verizon line the caller ID is displayed by Verizon from one of their old internal caller ID table lookups which is now incorrect.
When I asked a few years ago Verizon to fix this, they said I'm not a phone customer of theirs (although we have Verizon cable and internet...), so they refused to fix it unless I get a Verizon phone customer to make the request. That sounded a bit strange, but I went with it, since there was no alternative. A friend who is a Verizon phone customer called Verizon to complain about my caller ID not working on his phone, but it was a waste of his time because Verizon fixed nothing.
It's a bit of a regulatory black hole - by law, I am the owner of the phone number, but it would seem not also the owner of its representation as caller ID in all networks. In some circumstances, the network can spoof my caller ID with no recourse available from my part.
Answer: I've had good results getting billing problems with RCN resolved by filing a complaint with the Massachusetts Dept. of Telecommunications and Cable. In case you are interested in taking another stab at this, here is the link to the complaint form:
Question: My son wants to upgrade from his prepaid cell phone and has the following question he thought the list could help with:
I am thinking of buying a new cell phone plan. I currently have a prepaid plan for my flip phone and would like to buy a cheap plan that could work with the iphone my father handed down to me. The carrier on the iphone is Verizon, however I have researched enough to know that Virgin Mobile offers the cheapest plans. I will consequently have to buy a new phone that is compatible with Virgin Mobile. However, because Virgin Mobile is a subsidiary of Sprint Corporation, all Virgin Mobile plans run on the Sprint Nationwide Network. Does anyone know if this network is reliable and if the coverage is wide spread?
Question: Our 14 year-old son will be participating in a 2-week Public Speaking and Argumentation program beginning July 21 and he needs to bring a laptop. We do not own an extra one that we can give him. Does anyone have a laptop he can borrow or ideas for us about renting or acquiring a laptop at a discounted price? He will need to use the Internet for research and a word processing program to write.
Question: Is there any recycling (where? how?) of computer equipment (eg broken laptop) or does it just go in the weekly trash? Thanks.
Answer: See this page on the town web site for information: http://www.lexingtonma.gov/dpw/otherdisposal.cfm
Question: Hi all. Anyone have a good recommendation for teen level game, that is NOT a first person shooter? Thanks.
Question: My laptop has ground to a halt and I am in desperate need of repair. It's running, but unbearably slowly. I searched the archives, but did not find any recommendations for a person/place that can help. Can someone out there recommend a trustworthy, reasonable, (and, of course, fast) place to get my machine back up and running? Thanks in advance for your help!
Question: Hi all! Sadly, my lovely MacBook Air took a small but apparently damaging shower. Gave it a chance to dry for 3 days, but it doesn't look good. I know water voids the warranty. The research I've done so far indicates that the Apple Store may charge nearly as much a a a new machine to repair it. Anyone use ispillrepair.com? Or another solution that worked for you? All advice appreciated!!
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for data recovery from a dead hard drive?
Question: I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for a personal finance software package that is easy to use. I want to move my homespun spreadsheets into something that is easier to manage. Any suggestions on ones to look at or avoid would be appreciated!
Question: Hi All. I would appreciate suggestions for how you have dealt with an elderly parent's finances from afar. Quickbooks? Google spreadsheets? I'd like to be able to share the data not only with my sister, but my father, too, if he's interested.
Also, most efficient way to have all bills get mailed to me? (I have Power of Attorney) Just one at a time? I'd rather not have all his mail get routed to me. Thanks very much!
Question: Hi everyone. We're looking for a financial adviser in the area. Please let us know if you have someone to recommend. Thanks.
Question: What is your experience with international one-rate plans?
Question: What are the internet service providers in Lexington?
Answer: Internet service in Lexington is offered by Verizon (FIOS), Comcast (Cable) and RCN (Cable).
Question: I am thinking of getting an iPad for my husband for Christmas. I wanted to be able to give him some suggestions for fun/interesting apps. Can you let me know your favorite can be for gaming, entertainment, sports, anything. Thanks!
Answer 1: Right now we are doing a massive remodel so I've been living inside houzz .com's app for eons... Flipboard is an excellent news app - unique interface and very deep coverage across all topics.
Answer 2: We like scrabble.
Question: Has anyone had good success with getting the touch-screen glass replaced on an iPhone? I have an iPhone 4 and I just put a small ding into the glass. I really don't want (or need) a newer one. There are a number of places that advertise replacement but I'd rather go somewhere that I can trust, at least a little.
The Apple Store itself will only do a full replacement of the phone. The guy I talked to recommended a kiosk outside their store in the mall.
Question: My daughter's Ipod touch has been put away for about a month. We took it out this morning and it said "Ipod is disabled try again in 22,975,564 minutes" No one has touched it so I don't know why it is locked. I am not having any luck finding any recovery methods on the web short of wiping it out. Anyone ever had this problem and any luck getting the pictures, etc off of it without clearing it out entirely? Thanks.
Question: Can anyone recommend a kids safe web browsing software that either installs into a browser or is a browser that does not make the PC slow to a halt? Thanks.
Question: In the past I have used Roboform, then I switched to LastPass. Something has changed and I can no longer have LastPass autofill forms when I go to a site that I have visited before and for which LastPass has stored my log-in data. Can someone recommend another password manager? Thanks.
Question: My scanner is not cooperating and I need to convert about 30 - 40 photos to digital format for use in a PPT slide show. Does anyone know where I could have this done? Thanks.
Question: How can I make a high quality scan of a large photograph?
Question: Hi – I set up iTunes on a new computer today and added a few podcasts, which left me thinking that there must be many excellent podcasts that I don’t know about. Anyone care to share one or more of them?
Answer: Here is a list compiled from several responses:
Here’s the Thing (Alec Balwin interviews people)
Fresh Air (Terry Gross’ show)
The Bowery Boys (NYC history & culture)
The Diane Rehm Show (maybe the best radio call-in show about politics and current events)
Marketplace (the economy made interesting)
TED talks (very interesting talks given by innovators)
All the slate.com gabfests.
99% invisible (art & architecture)
Radio open source with Chris Lydon
New Yorker political scene
Sound opinions (music, interviews)
WTF with Marc Maron (comedian interviews comedians)
99% Invisible (architecture and design)
New Yorker Out Loud (conversation about a story from the week’s issue)
Memory Palace (similar to 99% invisible, but the vignettes are related to history)
BackStory with the American History Guys (context on current events through its history through the centuries)
The History of the World in 100 Objects (consists of 100 fifteen minute talks on objects spanning many thousands of years)
The Moth (True stories told live onstage without notes, on a variety of themes)
The Story Collider (like The Moth, but all the stories have a connection to science)
Car Talk: Click and Clack
BBN In Our Time
Wait, Wait, don't tell me
New Yorker, Fiction
Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast
The Splendid Table
New York Times Book Review
Question: Do some of the iphone or android podcast/mp3 players provide speed control so that podcasts can be played at a faster speed without raising the pitch, which can be done with the Pacemaker plug-in for Winamp for Windows?
Answer: Doggcatcher for Android allows speeding up of podcasts. Also, Apple's podcast app allows you to play at up to 3x without changing the pitch.
Question: Dear Lists,
Posting request for my son (high school student) who is working on his science fair project. He would like to be able to create 3D shapes for his project - and is thinking that a 3D printer could do what he has in mind. (Lots of paper cutting etc. this afternoon…)
Looking for place and person who might be able to hear what he has in mind & then help him learn how to do this…
Question: Hi all. Does anyone have a scanner that they love, isn't flakey, and does its job? Â (Either Mac or PC) Â If so, I'd love your recommendation. I'm looking for a scanner only, not a printer/scanner/fax machine - unless you have one of those and it doesn't flake out even more than a single purpose machine. Thanks so much!
Question: Hi all. My son's Christmas list includes a computer program for writing music. (I am told that it is called music notation software.) Help! Does anybody know of a good one that wouldn't be too complicated for an 8th grader? Thanks so much for any help.
Question: I'll spare everyone the details, but after six weeks and two unsuccessful repair attempts on my LG TV (beyond manufacturer's warranty but within the extended warranty I bought) the warranty company (Warrantech) has finally succumbed to my pestering and agreed to replace the TV. Given that financially the decision to buy the extended warranty was a good one (I'm still trying to calculate the time spent on hold and the frustration of the whole thing) I think I want to get another warranty for the new set. However, I'm not going to use the same company again given the experience.
Has anyone had a good service experience with an extended warranty company that they are willing to share? I am assuming I can avoid Warrentech, which is offered by the store (Paul's TV, who have been very helpful through all of this), and set this up on my own.
Thanks in advance.
Question: Hi all. I am volunteering my time to redesign a local nonprofit website. I don't really know much about the hosting side, though. Any recommendations about which hosts are good and which to avoid? Looking for good customer service for a website which will update regularly. Your help is much appreciated.
Question: Does anyone have recommendations for a Website Designer/Programmer? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Question: We're trying to sort out our long-standing wireless network problems in our house. Thanks for any suggestions.
Donations & Selling Unwanted Things
Question: Can anyone recommend a good place to donate books? I have been doing some weeding and have a number of books to get rid of. Thanks.
Question: Can anyone recommend a good place to donate household items? I have been doing some weeding and have a number of books to get rid of. Thanks.
Observation: Hi again. Quite a few of you (four? ha ha) were interested in the results of my quest. Here is a summary of your contributions as well as my own cursory internet search/website browsing. Did I mention cursory? I haven't made any calls; just stuff I've quickly gleaned from the web. As (if) I dig deeper into this, I will send an update.
Question: Does anyone know of a good home for 20-30 small to medium sized stuffed animals?
Question: Hi. I'm looking for a recommendation for an assisted living facility, one that is not too far from Lexington and that can handle the continuum of stages of Alzheimer's.
Events, reunions and weddings
Question: Hi everyone. My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next spring and my brother and I are planning a luncheon for 40. Does anyone have any restaurants to recommend for this event? Thanks so much!
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a wedding planner?
Question: Hi all. A friend is going to get married soon. She is wondering if there are any budget wedding places around Lexington, which can hold at least 30 people. She prefers indoors because of the weather. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Question: Can anyone recommend a financial planner?
Question: My daughter is traveling to Helsinki to visit a friend she made this year. I wanted her to take a gift for her friend's parents. Any ideas what would be a nice and appropriate hostess gift? Thanks.
Question: We are considering having a home alarm service installed this summer and I did not see a referral on the list. I would appreciate information on who you may be using and any comments as to the response service.
Question: I recently found out that someone filed a tax return using my name and ssn hoping to get some sort of refund. Luckily, the IRS contacted me (through the mail) to ask if I had actually done this filing.
So, now that I know my identity has been compromised, can any of you recommend an identity theft protection service? I'm not really clear on how they work. I know I should put an alert on all the credit agencies, but beyond that, I'm not sure what to do. Advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Answer1: This has happened to many people in our town, including myself, and in our general area. Mine was due to the breach at Blue Cross Blue Shield, whose parent company is Anthem (this was the cause for most of the others I am aware of also). Blue Cross sent a letter indicating that they would pay for free service for 2 years through an independent company, AllClearID. They seemed quite legit, but I can’t vouch for them. I spoke to the Lexington police, to file a police report, and they are very aware of the surge in ID theft. They can’t really do anything, but you need a police report number to get a free credit fraud alert put on at the credit reporting agencies. I took the extra step and froze my credit so no new cards can be issued without my permission. The police will also give you a thick booklet on what to do in the case of identity theft. Very helpful I think.
Answer2: (Elaine Ashton) I am on the 3rd credit card re-issue in about 6 months due to all the security breaches that you'll never hear about. It's hugely annoying to step through all the various accounts and change the card info, but better than finding fraudulent charges on the compromised card.
I'm deeply opinionated about online 'security' so I'll refrain from ranting, but I would suggest you avoid the 'protection' services as I view them mostly as craven opportunists cashing in on a vulnerable market.
If your SSN has been stolen, you should request a new one ASAP, and not wait for more instances of it being used, ( https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3789/Can-I-change-my-Social-Security-number ) due to identity theft and check your credit rating at all three agencies;Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, every few months.
Fortunately...perhaps that's the wrong word, the credit companies have so much data on our purchasing behavior and patterns that their algorithms are good enough to catch many of the obvious fraudulent behavior. There's not much the consumer can do when our personal data is stolen. Until data security becomes much more of a priority and is applied consistently, it will continue to happen.
Good luck and I hope this will be the only attempt.
Question: Hello. I recently had some dealings with my insurance agent, and I am *not* happy with the service I received. I am considering switching, and would like to know if anyone has an auto insurance agent they are very happy with.
Question: Looking for advice. We'll be adding our son (16-year old son) to our car insurance and looking to compare costs. Our current insurance (2 cars) quoted an additional $2500.
Answer: One way to minimize costs is to make the young person "principal driver" of the least expensive car in the family. The young driver will still be covered for occasionally driving the other cars. Another option is to assign the young person as an "occasional driver" only. An umbrella liability policy covering the young driver is recommended. Keep in mind that MA insurance rates can vary dramatically between different insurance companies, so it might be worth using an independent insurance agent who has access to multiple car insurance providers and who can help you choose a low cost option with good coverage.
Question: My mother-in-law will be visiting for 5 weeks this coming January / February. She usually takes out a health insurance policy (in England) for the duration of her stay which costs about $110. It appears that because she has now turned 80, and her trip is more than 30 days, the health insurance premium has shot up to $450 - which she cannot afford.
I looked on-line for companies that offer health insurance for out of country visitors, and there do seem to be a few (no idea about premiums, etc). Does anyone have any experience with this? Are there options I may not have thought of? Reputable companies someone has tried? Thanks in advance.
Question: The insurance agent that I used to use in Concord for homeowners, auto, and umbrella insurance coverage recently sold the business to another company where customer service is definitely lacking, so I am in the market for a Lexington insurance agency. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Question: My great aunt would like to sell some gold jewelry and asked me both for help selling it and to help her find a reputable place that will buy it. I've been in MA for exactly four months so have no idea. Is anyone able to advise on this? Thank you.
Question: Can anyone recommend a good jeweler? I have a diamond ring that lost a stone and needs to be repaired. Thanks.
Question: I am looking for a reliable jeweler to resize 2 rings. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Question: Hi, Now that Sweet Beads is no longer in Lexington, can anyone recommend a place to make jewelry. I know that they have an online store but I am looking for a place where I can look at the beads. I also don't want Michaels' AC Moore, etc. Thanks!
Events and catering
Question: Hi Everyone. There seems to be a bunch of different rental companies for bouncy houses. Any of them stand out as being better than the rest? I have never rented one before. Do they set it up for you? Thanks.
Lawyers and Legal
Question: Hi. I am looking for any recommendations for a law office that specializes in elder law and the medicaid application process. Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for an elder law attorney who is certified with the state? Thanks for any help!
Question: I am compiling a folder for end of life planning and find it a very complicated process. Researching on the internet takes me so many places (and uses up so much time). Can someone recommend a good resource, book, etc. to cover the many steps, from handling funeral/cremation to taxes (what professional helps with this). Thanks for all advice.
Question: Hi all. Would someone know of an employment lawyer (prefer N shore area) .... but local is ok. My sister in law just got let go and needs help negotiating her severance, etc. Thanks so much.
Question: I want to update my very old will and have my estate planned. I received a mailing from a local lawyer about these services. He is in Lexington. Has anyone used him and would you recommend him? I would also like alternate recommendations. Thank you.
Question: Hello! I need to make a fairly simple will. The quote I received from a lawyer referred to me was $1500-$2000. This seems really steep, but I admittedly don't have much experience with lawyers. Has anyone ever done their own will using one of the online services such as legalzoom, and if so, what was your experience?
Question: One of my friends is about to buy a house and wants to find an attorney and a house inspector to help with the process. Does anyone know good candidates for this? Thanks.
Question: Does anyone know an immigration attorney they would recommend?
Question: Anyone know where I can find a notary today?
Question: Hi. Does anyone know a patent attorney that I could talk to? Thanks for your help.
Question: Hi List. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone (lawyer) local to Lexington helping me with a power of attorney document needed rather urgently? Thanks!
Question: Does anyone have a personal injury lawyer they would recommend? I had an accident in front of a Las Vegas Walgreen store walking from the parking lot to the door. Before I speak to Walgreen, I'd like to speak to a good lawyer-presumably not one from those TV ads. Thanks everyone.
Question: I have a great lawyer, but I can't seem to reach him. Dang. And I need some advice regarding a ex-employee. I've checked the data base and there are several lawyers listed, but not for personnel law. Anyone to recommend?
Mail and Shipping
Question: Hi, is there any process we have to go through to move our mailbox from the street to our front door? Whenever there is a snow storm, there is quite a lot of snow to dig out for the mail person plus I feel it would add security. Thank you.
Answer: Ask at the Post Office. You probably want to speak to the Delivery Supervisor. Most Lexington neighborhoods are not eligible for "City Delivery", meaning that mail cannot be delivered at the door - and the mailbox has to be located at the curb.
Shipping heavy item from another state
Question: Hi all. Would anyone have any ideas on economically moving a refrigerator one way from outside Philly to Lexington? We were thinking of driving but, time might not allow..... Any ideas would be welcome.
Answer: For shipping, you can use http://uship.com. Or you could try to sell the fridge in Philly and buy another in Lexington.
Question: I would appreciate recommendations for local acupuncturists. Lexington location is preferable, but any of the surrounding towns would also be fine. Thanks.
Question: Your favorite audiologist is ..... If you have one or know of one you like I'd love to hear about her/him. Thanks.
Question: Can anyone give me the names of cervical surgeons/doctors that you know of who are highly regarded? Many thanks in advance.
Question: Looking for a good chiropractor in the neighborhood. Thanks.
Question: My dental insurance recently changed. Unfortunately, the dentist my family has used for years is no longer covered. On top of that, I recently chipped a front tooth and need to have some repair work that will be visible anytime I smile... Can you recommend a dentist who does that kind of work very well? Thanks!
Question: Hello. I am looking for recommendations for a good dermatologist preferably with office in Lexington. I looked at our listing but did not find any. Sorry for the repeat request if it was discussed earlier in the group. Thanks.
Question: Someone once remarked on this site that the town would take old prescription drugs and safely dispose of them. Does anyone know where I should take them, exactly?
Question: I am asking for a friend who's been treated for thyroid cancer, and now needs an endocrinologist who is a thyroid specialist in the greater Boston area. Her current endocrinologist is retiring. Might you have any recommendations?
Question: Can anyone recommend an executive function coach for a 14 year old (8th grade)? Thanks.
Question: Hey all. I am in desperate need of a new eye doctor. I want to stick with Lexington Eye (I already go there for contacts) but would love some recommendations for an eye doctor at that practice. Thanks!
Question: Hi, I need to pick up a couple extra pairs of reading glasses and don't want to spend big bucks. I have a prescription - I know this was recently discussed but can't remember the recommendations. Thanks.
Question: Does anyone know where I may deliver used eyeglasses in town? Thank you.
Question: I am helping my mother with research on hearing aids -- we get a lot of promotional material in the mail and wonder if anyone has a good recommendation of one brand over another.
Question: Does anyone have a recommendation for a holistic MD in the area? Thanks in advance.
Question: I am looking for a home health aid for my mom and wondered if anyone had any suggestions. She is confused and falls often so I need someone to be there to keep her from falling. Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have any experience with a massage therapist that can help with a pinched nerve? Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!
Question: I want to share my experience with this drug so no one else has to suffer the side effects. Where should I do it?
Answer: The *best* thing that will inform/benefit the largest amount of current/potential patients it to report your experience and symptoms directly to the drug manufacturer. For example, for Bayer Pharma AG use .
Every drug (+ vaccine, medical device) manufacturer is required to have a safety/pharmacovigilance department tasked with the responsiblity to collect, analyze and report (to FDA in the USA) all adverse effects experienced by patients taking their products. You can also report your experience directly to the FDA through .
Question: I hope I can use this list's collective wisdom to find a solution for my 11-year-old daughter's migraines. She has been suffering from migraines for a year now, and every medication the doctors have prescribed has only caused her unbearable side effects. We've seen several neurologists and been treated at Children's Hospital's Pediatric Headache Clinic, and now even they are stumped as to how to treat her migraines without causing something else since she's extremely sensitive to medicine. They suggested acupuncture, but that only made the headaches worse. She is in near-constant pain and is missing a lot of school, but I'm at a loss as to what to do. Does anyone have experience with alternative therapies for treating migraines? Any place you would recommend that I take her? Any other specialists she should see? Thank you.
Question: My daughter (16) may need her wisdom teeth removed (four, impacted). Looking for a good oral surgeon recommendation.
Question: Need recommendation for a good doctor for an injury due to fall during casual soccer game.
Question: Can anyone highly recommend an orthopedic hand specialist to see for a traumatic injury? My 17 year-old injured his finger during soccer tryouts. He thought it was badly ‘jammed’ or bruised, but now, 48 hours later, by the look of it and the level of discomfort, he thinks he could have done some real damage (possible broken bone or tendon/ligament damage). Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
Question: I am currently suffering from plantar fascitis which is affecting my left heel only. This started back in January and has persisted despite special exercises, special shoe inserts, massage and icing. I have been seen by my primary care physician, my chiropractor and a physical therapist. Improvement has been both variable and minimal (It will seem somewhat better for a day or two, but then the pain returns to the same level as before). So far, nothing seems to have helped much.
In June, I have planned a hiking vacation in the western national parks. I am very concerned that hiking will be impossible unless I can get some relief for this problem. I would like to try acupuncture, and am wondering if anyone on the list has been treated for plantar fascitis using acupuncture? If yes, would you please share your experience with me? If your treatment was successful, I would love to know the name of the practitioner that you saw. Thank you so much.
Question: Dear friends, my Primary Care doctor is unexpectedly retiring. I am hoping for suggestions about physicians still accepting patients into their practices.
Question: Hi. I hurt my lower back at the gym yesterday and am in a fair amount of pain. I have been doing the usual (motrin, stretching, moving...) but am thinking it would be a good idea to have someone lined up in case it doesn't heal quickly. I am pretty active and this is unusual for me. I know there had been some dialogue about this a few months ago but would really appreciate any recommendations that are local. Thanks.
Question: I am looking for a podiatrist, and was hoping to avoid just pulling a name from a phone book. Any thoughts out there? Thanks.
Question: I have many leftover Rx medications that are sealed and never opened. Change in doctors and change in doctors’ minds. The items are not expired. Is there a charity that would take these? I would rather do that then give to the next medical waste collection.
Answer: You cannot donate prescription medication, as this would break regulations about medication use. To discard medication, follow these steps for safe disposal.
Question:Hi. My elderly mother is about to do some short-term rehab after a broken hip. For the first time, I want to bring her to rehab near me here in Lexington. I am seeking your input especially on any experience you've had with family/friends at Golden Living here in Lexington, specifically -- or other nearby rehabs including Neville Manor in Cambridge and Park Ave Rehab in Arlington. Thank you so much.
Question: Are there any services (people) to help residents to get rides to medical appointments (to surrounding towns). Thanks!
Question: This morning I pulled a almost fully engorged deer tick off my Mom who is 78 and is returning to CA Monday. We are sending the tick to UMASS Amherst to be tested for Lyme & other diseases but we will not receive the report until late next week.
Our questions are: Should she be seen tomorrow so she can be treated in case it turns out there is Lyme? What is the best urgent care hospital for this?
We would be grateful for any advice. Thanks!
Question: Hi. If anyone has a recommendation for an estate sale agent, I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks.
Question: Does anyone know a home organizer to help a family move? My friend has to clear out her house, and I was hoping I could help her find someone who could ease the process. Thanks.
Question: Hi. We are looking for reasonably priced, CAREFUL movers for mid-December. Any thoughts? If you have warnings against any companies, please send off-list. Thanks. All input appreciated.
Question: Greetings. We have yet to find a satisfactory boarding kennel convenient to Lexington. Any recommendations? Thanks.
Question: Hi all. Does anyone know of a good no-kill shelter where one can adopt kittens? Thank you so much!
Dog groomer recommendations
Question: Wondering if anyone has a dog groomer that they especially love? (even better if you have a cocker spaniel or some other dog that needs a lot of clipping).
Dog sitting services
Question: Hello all: I am asking for recommendations for dog sitters in Lexington. Thank you.
Question: Can someone recommend an excellent dog trainer in the area? I prefer classes...we have taken my in-laws dog over, and it has a tendency to run off when able and is nasty to men and other, bigger dogs. I do not think it was ever trained, because it doesn't even understand "sit".
Question: Folks: we are interested in exploring the possibility of getting a rescue dog ourselves--I would be curious to know where you got your dog from and how satisfied you are with the care the dog got prior to your adoption. Thanks!
Question: Hi! I'd love to get some recommendations for vets.
Question: Can anyone recommend a veterinary ophthalmologist? For the past 5 or 6 years our dog has had an annual checkup with a veterinary ophthalmologist, and we have used prescription drops to treat a tear deficiency ("dry eye.") I called to make an appointment and was told that the ophthalmologist (a Lexington resident, as it happens) is no longer practicing. Of course I'm nearly out of drops, and the prescription has expired and can't be renewed. They don't have another ophthalmologist at their practice.
I wonder if someone might have a veterinary ophthalmologist recommendation? There's a veterinary hospital in Woburn that claims to offer ophthalmology services; has anyone had experience there (good or bad)? Thanks.
Photography and Video
Question: Could anyone give me a recommendation for a place that would convert slides to digital pictures? Thanks.
Question: Anyone know of any local place to get passport photos taken?
Answer: You can do it in the following places:
- At the most Walgreens/CVS Pharmacies
- At the Post Office
- At Wales copy in the Lexington Center
- At Photo Quick on Lexington Street in Waltham
- At Flash Photo (located at the corner of Lowell Street and Woburn Street, between Ace Hardware and Alexandria's Convenience store, across the street from Countryside plaza)
- At the AAA office in the second shopping mall on the way to Waltham.
Question: This afternoon I was going through boxes in my mother's basement and came across a folded photograph from 1946. It is one of those group photo's that is about 20 inches long by 10 inches top to bottom. Can someone suggest the best way to preserve it? Thanks.
Question: My old Canon Powershot is no longer usable. Looking for a replacement that would be fairly lightweight and not too complicated or expensive ($300-$400 range). All the reviews just confuse me with specs. Just want to take some family and vacation pics to download and send by email. Any recommendations? Thank you.
Question: This afternoon I was going through boxes in my mother's basement and came across a folded photograph from 1946. It is one of those group photo's that is about 20 inches long by 10 inches top to bottom. Can someone suggest the best way to preserve it? Thanks.
Question: Who can recommend a photographer that does social events. We have a Bar Mitzvah later this year and are looking for a good but reasonably priced photographer.
Video Uploading/Sharing Websites Suggestions
Question: Hi, I've been trying the whole night to upload a video (about 90MB, 1 minute and 10 seconds long,) through "Shutterfly.com", and it could not succeed. Do you have any suggestions of a free video uploading/sharing website? I am planning to share the videos( of my kids) with our relatives, so anything more private than Facebook and Yotube will be great. Thanks very much.
Massachusetts residents can sign up using a web site, http://www.mass.gov/donotcall, by telephone, (866) 231-2255, or through the mail, at P.O. Box 1348, Boston, MA, 02117.
Calls from nonprofit and political organizations are exempted, as are calls from businesses that have a prior relationship with residents.
Use the government Do Not Call list and the Direct Marketing Association's Opt Out database - both are really easy to use and seem to be somewhat effective (there are all sorts of loopholes, particularly for political material).
1. Limiting phone calls
2. Limiting Junk Mail
Use DMAchoice.com (part of the Direct Marketing Association)
Vendors are not obliged to utilize this database but it does save them money
Question 1: I'm looking for meeting space in Lexington that is preferably NOT church affiliated. At the moment, it's just for a single meeting, at which a movie will be shown, and there may or may not be a couple of songs sung, though not raucous songs (the latter is why I think the library meeting rooms might not work). The hitch is that I'm looking for something that is either free or low cost. Any ideas, oh knowers-of-all-things-Lexington?
Question 2: I'm looking to book a low or no-cost space for a meeting for 25-30 people in November. The library is booked for the date we need. The Community Center and Cary Hall will still be under construction. Any creative thoughts out there for places to check out? It is for a non-profit organization based in Lexington.
Question: Hello all. A friend from work wants to buy a place in our town - not necessarily brand new, but with the prospect of renovating. She loves the town outlook and is impressed with the quality of the schools. What real estate agents does the list recommend? Also, what are the prudent things to check for when evaluating a house buy in Lexington? Thanks.
Question: Does anyone have a mortgage broker recommendation for refinancing? Thanks!
Question: Does anyone recommend a bank/mortgage lender to look into for refinancing? Thanks very much!
Question: Looking for small office to rent with shared conference room for Lexington nonprofit. Thanks.
Question: My daughter and son-in-law own a house in Billerica which they wish to sell. They have moved to Indiana. They are looking for a lawyer with experience in real-estate. Plan is to sell it by themselves and there are currently renters. Anyone have good experience in this domain?
Question: Can anyone recommend a good redemption site for aluminum cans? I understand many locations restrict the amount of cans you can turn in at a single time - I'd really prefer one that doesn't. Thanks very much!
Question: Hi! In some local store I saw a recycling bin for fluorescent bulbs, but not necessarily the tube shaped ones. I have four burned-out 24” T5 bulbs (the skinny ones) that I’d hate to just throw in the trash. Any ideas of how to get these recycled? Also, I am not sure which local store recycles the regular fluorescent bulbs - please remind me, so I don’t have to re-trace my steps. Thanks.
How the scam works: I have just received an email outside the normal phishing expedition. This one was titled "NOTICE TO APPEAR IN COURT" with a zip file attachment.
I am assuming that once I up zip and open the zip file that will be it for me! The fake notice was for Court in New York. Be careful.
How the scam works: I've been dealing since Friday with another type of scam.
As I was driving home from the office, my wife calls me frantically on the cell phone: "What did you do now? Our computer is locked down and there is an FBI notice that you have been watching child porn".
Okay, I say - let me see what this is when I get home. Then I asked her - what did my older daughter watch on YouTube this time?? Innocently, she had been watching a One Direction video. (And she was the one to be first alerted about the FBI notice).
Suffice it to say, we figured out that the "FBI" wanted $300 wired to a bank account in order to not press charges.
The FBI notice eventually I was able to get rid of, but now all my three web browsers display doubly underlined links at random places with pointers to advertising sites. And after reinstalling everything I could think of software wise, and running at least three anti-virus programs from different vendors (including the one from Microsoft), the virus stubbornly remains.
Which means I stumbled on a new strain - usually the anti-virus companies update their virus definitions pretty quick.
Just for curiosity, I called the Lexington Police dept and the State Police computer forensics lab - and there is no place to even report these issues, let alone get help. Only the FBI, the Statie told me, has a program dealing with this sort of problems - and only if the problem goes viral. Not even the FBI has the resources to deal with this case by case.
Which raises a bit of a conundrum here - who would think of calling the FBI after seeing a message apparently originating from the FBI? And who has their conscience entirely clean when it comes about what stuff may laying around on their hard drive?
At any rate, I filed a report with TrendMicro with some of the technical details - and I'll probably end up wiping up the hard drive anyway after TrendMicro updates its virus definitions.
How the scam works: Over the past week, I've recieved, via U.S. Mail, two letters allegedly from American Express, claiming that my credit card number had been compromised thru an unnamed retailer, and that therefore, AMEX was offering me 'free' credit protection.
I found this to be odd, because if my card was compromised, a company like AMEX would likely generate new cards.
Logged into my account (NOT through the links they suggested) and got a customer service person in a chat. No such letter was ever generated by them - it's a scam. Did a google search and found a lot of other people getting the same letter.
How the scam works: Roving scamsters pose as work crews and offer to pave driveways at discounted prices – often attributing the price reduction to surplus paving materials. The rouse then branches off in one of a few directions, all of them downhill. You can read the entire Lexington Patch article here: http://lexington.patch.com/articles/summertime-and-the-scammins-easy?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001.
Scam 1: I just had a call from the U.S. Federal Government Grants Department and they wanted to reward me for paying my taxes on time with a grant. Funny thing, they hung up when I asked them to write me a check and send it in to me the mail.
Before that, because I was having fun with them on the phone, I asked them under which branch of the Federal Government they were organized. This is when they told me the U.S. Federal Government Grant Department.
Wow! Hope the schools are teaching about this very important part of our government. I was ignorant that there was such a department. Now I know! :)
Scam 2: I saw this on the news but it is also being reported by the BBB (http://concord.bbb.org/article/one-ring-phone-scam-on-the-rise-45629).
"Perpetrators of this scam program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect.
"This scam relies on consumers calling back missed calls, which then connect them to a paid international adult entertainment service, 'chat' line, or other premium service located outside the country.
"Victims who return the call are billed a $19.95 international call fee, along with per minute charges for the unwanted "premium service," which can be $9 per minute or more. In some cases, the scammers may only put through a small charge of several dollars, so it won't arouse suspicion.
"Calls typically originate from outside the United States. One woman told BBB her caller ID indicated the call originated in Antigua or Barbuda (area code 268). Other consumers across the country report calls from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473)."
I got a one-ring call from Grenada yesterday and my wife got one from Antigua.
Don't answer. Don't call back.
Scam 3: I received a scam call leaving me a message apparently from the IRS. They also leave a phone number and expect me to call back. We file our taxes regularly through our accountant and wonder how these scamsters pick their target.
Anyways the number was 415 506 2511,woman with a heavy Indian accent, not very clear, to call the number back. IRS would never call, we all know that.
Scam 4 IRS Scam making the round of local phone numbers - we got this scam, three times today on our home number, with the return phone same number and three different names as the "agent". Needless to say, we did not return the call -- but they have tricked others so be on the lookout. http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/11/warning-new-irs-phone-scam.
Question: I have a few boxes do confidential files to be shredded- could probably take them somewhere local to save money- any recommendations? Thanks so much.
Question: Hi. Can anyone recommend a good storage place that is near Lexington? We are looking for a safe/clean facility that has larger size (room size) storage. Thanks!
Question: Hi. Does anyone have a local tailor that does a good job with dress alterations. We have a bridesmaid dress that needs the bodice altered. Thanks.
Question: Hello all. In discussion with my 8.5 and almost 7 year old - and they have expressed an interest in volunteering as a family to a local organization each month starting in September. I'm beginning investigation in where we can donate our time, services, etc. nearby in Lexington. Often, there is an age requirement for volunteers to be at least 16 years of age.
Does anyone know of / recommend any places that need volunteers, where younger children could be accompanied by their parents? As my kids are interested in the spirit of giving, I don't want to squash their eager hopes by saying they have to be older. Any suggestion welcome. Thanks!
Charities and Non-Profits
Question: Hi all. Anyone else get canvassed today by someone claiming to be raising money for the nonprofit, Graceful Hands? This is the second time in the last two months that we've been approached by a group alleging to be raising money for an anti-gang, anti-poverty effort. I'm all for giving to reputable charities, but I'm not all that confident that Graceful Hands isn't a scam. Curious to get insights from others.
Answer: It is always useful to use http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to check out charities. One caution is that small places, faith based organizations, etc. may not appear if they do not fill out certain IRS documents. Anyway, Graceful Hands is not listed so I would not deal with them.
Question: I've been getting calls every night for the past week or two from "Private caller." Today I finally answered and it was a man saying he was calling on behalf of the Lexington police. I said we couldn't help and asked to be taken off their list, but I was left wondering, is this actually legit? Are they really fundraising on behalf of the police, and if so, is it one of those schemes where the fundraising company gets 75% of the money? And why are they hiding their caller ID? Has anyone else gotten this call?
Answer1: This is a fundraiser from the Lexington Police Association, a private non-profit organization, not the actual police department. See http://patch.com/massachusetts/lexington/lexington-police-association-fundraiser-starting-up#.VDc14tRg9BY
Answer2: The best way to determine the validity of the caller is to ask: “Are you a paid solicitor?” If they are, they will instantly hang up, not wanting to waste their time (and therefore not wasting yours!). Most of these calls come from folks who are paid 50% of what they get in donations!
Transportation and Commuting
Question: Has anyone used Porter Airlines to fly to Montreal? The prices seem to be quite a bit lower than other airlines. Thanks.
Question: My daughter is going out of state later this summer by plane, I hope. What are the rules for an unaccompanied minor? I think there is an additional fee for monitoring. Can this type of ticket be purchased online or will I need to phone to make the arrangements (and probably giving up an hour or so while on hold waiting for the customer service rep). Thanks for any insight.
Question: Hello List. I need a reliable bus company to take 40 kids from a temple service in Concord to a party at the Doubletree Bedford Glen. I'm looking for a school bus, as opposed to a "party bus". Any ideas, recommendations or opinions would be most appreciated. Thank you!
Question: When does the Alewife T parking lot usually get full during weekday mornings? What are the alternatives for parking should this happen?
Question: I am thinking of changing the way I get into work by taking the 76 bus from near Wilson's Farm to Alewife. Anyone take this bus? Any tips, hints, warnings, etc? Thanks.
Question: Starting a new job. Looking for the least stressful way to go from East Lexington (near Toyota dealer) to Kendall area of Cambridge.
Answer: You could bike all the way, or to Alewife and then take the T. You could drive on 2A to 16, then take 38 (parallels 93) to 28, hitting traffic at the light on 16 near Medford Center and along 38, but the rest of the way will be pretty clear. Or you could take Rte. 76 or 62 bus to Alewife, followed by red line T to Kendall. Note that Rte. 76 bus is much faster than Rte 62 bus.
Question: What is the distance / average time / best route for riding a bicycle from Lexington to the Harvard Business School campus?
Answer: Riding on the bikeway to Alewife and taking the T. from Lexington to Harvard that route is about 45 minutes (30 minutes biking, 15 minutes on the T).
Question: Can someone briefly list the options for commuting from Lexington into Boston? To get to Alewife, for example, is the only choice the T (bus)?
Answer: You can ride on the bikeway to Alewife for 7.5 miles and then take the T. If you bike to Alewife, get a "Bike CharlieCard" which allows you to park your bike in the locked bike cage at Alewife. You can get those free at Alewife Station ().
From Lexington you can take buses 62 or 76 tp Alewife. If you live close enough to Arlington Heights you can take the 77 bus to Porter or Harvard. If you live near Sutherland Park, the 78 and 84 buses are sometimes useful. To find out real time when a bus is supposed to appear, use .
Question: Good Morning. I need to be in Cambridge (Brattle St.) tonite for a class that begins at 5:30 pm. What time should I leave Lexington to get there comfortably? I'm driving to Alewife and taking the T to Harvard Square. Thank you!
Question: How long is the morning commute to the Longwood Hospitals area in Boston? What's the best way to get there during peak and off-peak commute hours?
Answer: For rush hour commute: give yourself an hour and a half to get from Alewife to Longwood. On a good day I can get the bus in Lexington at Pleasant Street and Mass Ave and get to work in an hour. On a bad day, it can take 2 hours. You can park at Alewife so you won't have to deal with the bus, but you never know when a train is going to be broken or later or some other thing. You should be able to get parking mid-afternoon.
For driving by car: you can try Route 2 to Fresh Pond to Storrow. Take the Fenway/US 1 S exit (a few feet after the Kenmore exit). Bear right onto Boylston, then bear left on Brookline at the intersection of Boylston, Brookline & Park Dr. Then a left on Longwood. Or you can try Rt 95 South then Rt 9 East. A little bit more miles but much easier to travel, if you avoid rush hours.
Question: Hi People. What is the monthly cost for taking the bus (number 76) from Lexington to Alewife and from Alewife to Boston? I've called the mbta but got conflicting answers.
Answer: In 2013, the cost was $70 for a monthly pass for the MBTA (bus and subway)
Question: Hello List,
I need to drive from East Lexington to the JFK Library arriving at 10:00 am and leaving there at 5:00 pm on a weekday. I did a trial run yesterday but since it was Sunday I am not sure what the traffic will be like during the week. I have a few questions for people who are familiar with this drive:
1). My GPS took me through Medford to 93--is that the way you would go?
2). What time should I leave to arrive at 10:00 am on a weekday?
3). How long will it take to get home if I leave there at 5:00? Does it make more sense to park at Alewife and take the T?
4). If I do elect to take the T how much time should I allot? I know you have to take a bus as well from the T stop.
Thanks a lot.
Question: Hi. Any suggestions for apps for the MBTA bus? I know that there are a number of them out there and I am sure that there are so that are better than others. Also, any apps that might also work on a Kindle Fire.
Question: We need to get our family of 4 plus luggage to Logan. Which limo or taxi companies do people recommend? Thanks.
Review: A while back someone on the list reported that Uber is now in the Boston area. Uber is a car/taxi service that you summon with your phone (either kind works, smart or dumb). If you have a smart phone, there's an app that lets you type in your location (or it can just use your current location) and it will summon a car/taxi to you. If you have a dumb phone, you send a text with your current location (address) to Uber and they will respond with how long it will be before a car gets to you. I signed up for this a while back and finally got around to actually using it. I thought I'd share my experience with the list.
This was last Saturday morning. I texted my location and immediately (less than a minute I think) got back a response saying that it would be 10-15 minutes for a car to reach me. A text came back in 9 minutes that the car was arriving. Less than 1 minute later the car had arrived. So this was well within the 10 minutes estimated.
The trip is pretty much no hassle. When you arrive, you just get out. No signing anything, no paying (it goes on your Uber account which has a credit card associated with it), no tipping (it's included in the price), no nothing. Within a minute or two after I got out, I received another text message saying how much the trip had cost me. Later on that day, I checked my account on the web and it had all the details of the trip including a map showing the actual route (you can argue that's too much information, depending on which side of the NSA debate you're on, but let's not go there). The price of the ride was pretty much what I would have expected for the time/distance. You can also summon different levels of car (uber, taxi, black car, etc.)
Uber is really just a big electronic interface on top of existing taxi/car companies. I talked to the driver during the ride. He was actually driving a car for a Waltham company (not Harrison). When Uber gets "a call" they just farm it out to a local company(s) and whoever is the closest gets the trip. I'm pretty sure that Uber must require the taxi companies to put some extra GPS-tracking hardware in the cars, otherwise they wouldn't have had my exact route and known how much to bill me so quickly.
Uber also followed up within a few minutes with a text message asking me to rate my driver (1-5). I wish Harrison would let me rate their drivers. I gave mine a 5. When I received the initial text message saying how long it would be before my car arrived to pick me up, it also included the drivers name and his overall rating (1-5).
Overall this was a positive experience. I won't have need to use it very much, but I won't hesitate to when it is justified. It's not for everyone, especially if you don't do the text-message or smart-phone-app thing. But if you don't mind a little bit of automation, it seems like a pretty good service, at least for my one trip. I didn't have to wait on hold or push buttons to get through menu options as I would with Harrison. I don't mind Harrison, especially when I'm not paying for it, but this Uber thing seems like a pretty worthy service.