Blues Music, Wine Fest and More to do this wkend of 09/27

One of the great things about living in this area is that there is always something fun and interesting to do nearby. Below are just a few ideas for this weekend, Sept 27 – 29th… everything from historic town ghost walks to great blues bands, to great local food. Check out all the links and make a plan for your weekend.
Family Fun this weekend –
Harford County Wine Festival –
Other great local events in the county:
and Outside the County:
Ye Haunted History of Olde Ellicott City Ghost Tour
8267 Main Street
We double dare you to walk the streets and learn more about the past inhabitants of this historic milltown – one of the oldest and most haunted locales in America!

Fantastic Music
Friday September 27
Katie Bowers Band Video sample Early show 4pm-8pm @ Cat’s Eye 1730 Thames St. Fells Point, 410-276-9866
Jay Cleaver Band @ Cat’s Eye 1730 Thames St. Fells Point, 410-276-9866
Glenn Moomau & the Juke Drivers (weekly) @ Bertha´s Restuarant and Bar, 734 South Broadway Fells Point Baltimore, MD 21231. 410-327-5795
Baltimore Book Festival Karter James (acoustic) Noon, Andy Poxon (blues) 2:30pm, Unity Reggae band 4pm, Toxin (Afro beat) 5:30pm and Joe Keys & The Late Bloomer Band (70’s funk) 7pm @ Mt. Vernon Place, 600 North Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland
King Teddy 8pm free dance lessons. Music at 9pm $12 includes light refreshments, dance lesson. Non alcoholic event @ American Legion Post #22, 125 York Road, Towson, MD 21204. (entrance next to Papa John’s) 410-583-7337
Great Train Robbery Southern and blues rock @ The Mallet Crab House & Sports Bar, 2403 Bel Air Road, Fallston MD 21047. 410-877-2722
Apple Scruffs Beatle tribute band @ MaGerk’s 120 South Bond Street Bel Air Maryland 21014
Dr. Harmonica with the Wayne Dean Band @ Pickled Herring Pub, in West Street Shoppes , 32 S. Main Street, North East, Md. 21901. 410-287-2020 (on left at corner of S. Main & West Sts.)
Dub Glenn (“one man electric blues band”) 4pm @ Chesapeake Inn, 605 Second Street, Chesapeake City, MD 21915. 410-885-2040
Find more great Blues shows from the famous “Crawlin King Snake’s” website –

Check out what’s happening in all three lounges at the Main Street Tower this weekend –
Friday, Sept 27th – 9pm
“Friday Night Lights” w/ DJ Jewell
Friday – 9pm
Karaoke Dance Party with DJ Big Ben
Friday – 9pm
Cockeyed Jr
Sunday –
Happy Hour “All-Day

See? We think about more than car insurance, homeowners insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance and business insurance. We do our best to get out and enjoy all our state has to offer whenever we can.

Crime in Harford County

Rampant drug abuse is not only destroying the lives of the users and their families, it is fueling a wave of crime in our neighborhoods that changes the way we think and live. Burglaries are becoming increasingly commonplace in quiet parts of the county where people used to lock their doors only because they knew it was something they should do, not because they had any concern that someone would actually try to get inside. Homes in Bel Air, Fallston, Pylesville and Jarrettsville have been recent victims of burglars. Even more frightening, most of these burglaries were committed while the families were at home! What can you do to help prevent crime while you’re at home?
Keep valuables out of sight. Some of the recent burglaries were of the “smash and grab” variety where the thieves broke a window, quickly took everything they could reach and ran without even entering the home. Don’t leave expensive items of any kind in plain sight where they can easily be seen from a window.
Break up boxes that contained expensive purchases and bag them for the trash to avoid advertising that you have new stuff. Never keep large amounts of cash on-hand and never let neighbor children see you get money from anywhere in your home other than your pocket. Use a heavy duty gun safe (one that can’t be picked up and carried) to store firearms and valuables. Keep it locked.
Maintain landscaping and shrubbery in a way that potential thieves cannot break in without being seen from the road and/or neighbors’ houses. A burglar is far more likely to pick your home to invade if he can be concealed by bushes, fences or trees while he breaks in. Dusk to dawn outdoor lighting is another deterrent as well as motion activated lighting that focuses on windows and doors. Security cameras can also be a good preventive tool.
Keep doors locked when you’re working outside. Don’t forget that while you’re working in the back yard, an intruder can very easily enter the front of your house. Worse, if you’re using a noisy power tool or mower, the intruder can tell from the sound that you’re pre-occupied and he will know when you stop working and may be returning to the house.
Do not attempt to hide keys outside. There are very few places you will think of to hide keys that an experienced thief hasn’t already learned about.
Never allow a stranger to enter your home regardless of time of day. Home invaders with intent to rob or injure often pick dinner time to get inside your home. It’s when you’re the most distracted, least on guard and everyone is likely to be in one room. Do not open or unlock your door unless you recognize the person on the other side. If it appears to be a utility worker or delivery person, make sure they have ID and a company vehicle with signage. When it doubt, call the company to verify the person’s identity before you open the door.
Finally, I must post the obligatory insurance plug. Make certain your home and belongings are properly and adequately insured with homeowners insurance or tenants insurance as appropriate. Keep an inventory of jewelry and valuables in a safe place away from where items are stored. Take pictures of valuables, label and store them with your inventory.
Vehicles can be another target of thieves and vandals so make sure you understand what your automobile insurance covers in your car is vandalized or stolen. Remember, Comprehensive coverage is what protects you in the event someone breaks glass or steals the car. Talk to your local independent insurance agent about the car insurance protection that best fits your needs.

Child Passenger Safety Tips

As Insurance agents and brokers, we use tools such as automobile insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance and so on to help protect your assets when tradgedy strikes. Only you can have a direct influence in reducing the frequency and severity of accidents. Make defensive driving an everyday habit under all situations and conditions. Being late or in a hurry should not open the door to taking chances, speeding or skipping important steps in securing passengers. You wouldn’t want your airline pilot to skip safety procedures and take unnecessary chances because you’re flight is a little late. As a driver, your obigation to ensure safety of passengers and other drivers is no less important. The leading cause of injury and death among young children continues to be automobile accidents. Please be sure to check out this link on child passenger safety from “”

Vision Safety Tips for Employers

About 2,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace every day in the United States. For the injured employee this can mean pain, suffering and lost time from work. For the employer it means reduced production, higher insurance costs and employee turn-over. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a great website with tips for employers and safety instructors to aid in the prevention of eye injuries in the workplace. Here is the link:

Holding Down Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

Workers Compensation insurance is often one of the largest insurance expenses for construction firms of all types. Loss control is a key factor in keeping insurance premiums low and avoiding the dreaded non-renewal due to excessive claims. Many Workers Compensation risks are obvious ones; falls from ladders or scaffolding, slipping when entering machines or large vehicles, cuts from power tools, back strain from excessive weight and/or improper lifing etc. One of the more insidious and potentially expensive claims can be from hearing loss.
Claims from hearing loss can be decreased or eliminated all together when the employer requires emplyees to wear hearing protection when they are exposed to loud and/or constant noise on the job. Put your hearing protection policy in writing, post it prominently and enforce the use of hearing protection. Using power tools and heavy machinery often becomes routine for construction workers, but damaging one’s hearing should never be considered “just part of the job.” Repeated or prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss.

To minimize the risk of hearing loss in the workplace, OSHA requires that employers limit their workers’ noise exposure to less than 90 decibels (dBA) for an 8 hour work day. However, NIOSH recommends further limiting exposure to 85 dBA for 8 hours of work. To give you an idea of how much noise that is, NIOSH reports the typical noise levels of the following power tools:
• Screw Driver: 85-91 dBA
• Drill: 87-93 dBA
• Grinder: 95-99 dBA
• Hammer Drill: 99-104 dBA
• Circular Saw: 102-107 dBA
• Miter Saw: 103-113 dBA
Still not sure how much noise is too much? When in doubt, wear hearing protection and reduce your exposure to these sources of noise. Protection factor ratings vary in terms of maximum noise reduction factor — see the manufacturer’s recommendation on the packaging.

Hard Hat Safety Tips – Help contain Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

Between October 2011 and September 2012, failure to wear adequate head protection was the construction industry’s sixth most cited standard nationally, averaging $1,467 per citation.

The human cost of this oversight can amount to a great deal more, placing workers at risk of a range of injuries that include brain damage and death. To ensure that workers are sufficiently protected, OSHA requires that they wear head protection when there is a risk of the head:
• being struck by falling objects
• striking stationary objects, such as exposed pipes
• coming into contact with electrical hazards
Ensure that the hard hats used in your business protect their wearers adequately against the hazards at your workplace. When possible, opt to use Class B hard hats, which protect their wearers both against electrical hazards and physical impacts better than Class A and C hard hats. Regardless of which kind of head protection you use, remember to keep it in good condition and routinely inspect it for damage.

Replace head protection that is over 4 years past its date of manufacture, as well as worn suspension systems. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the suspension system once a year.

Safest Small Cars

When making car buying decisions, we often make choices based more upon emotion, curb appeal, and traditional family buying habits rather than taking some time to research issues such as the cost of car insurance for a particular vehicle and most importantly, vehicle safety ratings. More than 30,000 people die in automobile accidents every year in the United States alone. That is a frightening statistic and makes it no surprise that generally speaking, the safer a car is in any given class, the lower the auto insurance liability cost will be. Less severe injuries in a crash translate to lower insurance company pay-outs which can mean lower premiums for the consumer.

There are two primary organizations that perform automotive safety testing; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both have easy-to-use Web sites, and

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released some important research results on small car safety. One tough test they use for determining this data is known as the “overlap test” which simulates the more common type of collision with another vehicle or a utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end on the driver’s side strikes a 5-foot-tall barrier at 40 mph with a crash test dummy behind the wheel. In many vehicles, the impact at a 25 percent overlap misses the primary structures designed to manage crash energy. That increases the risk of severe damage to or collapse of the occupant compartment structure. The IIHS rates vehicles “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal” or “poor” based on performance in a moderate overlap front crash, small overlap crash, side impact and rollover test. Tests also evaluate seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear-end collisions.

The top five small cars evaluated by the IIHS for safety are:

1. 2013 Honda Civic (good)
2. 2013 Ford Focus (acceptable)
3. 2013 Dodge Dart (acceptable)
4. 2013 Hyundai Elantra (acceptable)
5. 2014 Toyota Scion tC (acceptable)

Three of the worst safety performers are:

1. 2014 Kia Forte (worst performer)
2. 2013 Chevrolet Sonic
3. 2013 VW Beetle

“The small cars with ‘marginal’ or ‘poor’ ratings had some of the same structural and restraint system issues as other models we’ve tested,” says IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “In the worst cases safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways with unstable steering columns and the dummy’s head hit the instrument panel. Side curtain airbags didn’t deploy or didn’t provide enough forward coverage to make a difference. All of this adds up to marginal or poor protection in a small overlap crash.”
Bottom line is this: Do your homework before going car shopping. Make sure you research the specific make, model and year of automobiles that you are considering. Very small, sometimes unnoticeable changes from year to year can make a big difference. For example, Toyota simply changed the airbag algorithm in one of its models to allow the side curtain airbags to deploy in a small overlap crash and brought its safety performance from marginal to acceptable. Research all the safety data, then ask your independent agent for hypothetical auto insurance quote on any vehicles you are considering. Always keep in mind, car insurance can help protect your wallet and good driving can help avoid an accident but only a well designed, safe car can help protect you and your passengers in a crash

West Nile Virus in Maryland

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has reported an increase in the number of confirmed human West Nile Virus
cases from 2011, when 23 cases were reported in Maryland, to 2012, when 47 cases were reported in the state. The virus is carried by
infected mosquitos. Outdoor workers should protect themselves
from mosquito bites, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active. Also: • Avoid areas of high mosquito activity, if possible;
• Wear long pants, longsleeved shirts and hats when working outdoors;
and • Use an EPA-registered insect repellant according to its packaged directions. For more information: