Archive for: December 30th, 2017

Are you dreaming of Caribbean Getaway?
December 30, 2017

Caribbean Night – Photos/ Roger Bianchini

With temperatures dipping into single digits, even here in Virginia and points south as 2018 approaches,* what’s not to like about “Caribbean Night in December?!!?

It didn’t take much arm-wringing to get this reporter to the event hosted by Passages Travel & Cruises’ Maria Dutton on the second floor of the Main Street Mill on December 19.  The event was co-sponsored by Sandals Resorts and featured, not only Dutton’s recently refurbished “Road Warrior” vehicle sporting art advertising balmy Sandals resorts throughout the Caribbean, but a slide presentation and literature on those destinations and their many distinctive amenities.

Maria Dutton’s Passages Travel/Sandals Resorts mobile ‘Road Warrior’ billboard

“Romance” – we like to emphasize the Romance equation at our resorts, the Sandals representative said in opening his presentation.  And speaking of “romance”: “the best beaches, whitest sands, bluest and calmest waters” – I am already IN LOVE with all these things (see the Sandals power point art attached below).

Snacks warmed would-be vacationers up for Sandals Resorts show-time.

For more detail on seasonal vacation offers through Sandals Resorts, contact Maria Dutton at Passages Travel and Cruises at (540) 636-1402 or online at [email protected]

Mike, Norma Jean – we need a travel writer don’t we?!!? Maria, can you hold a spot for Montego Bay or Negril, Jamaica or …


Local News
Mother of 2010 Warren County High grad Glenn Mikulak offers scholarship in his memory
December 30, 2017

Glenn Mikulak built a replica cruise ship after a trip to the Caribbean

– Glenda Mikulak was mother to a most extraordinary son. In sprite of the challenges of having Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and being confined to a wheelchair, Glenn Mikulak lived his life as fully as any other boy—right up until he died at the age of 18.

In his short life, the 2010 Warren County High School student touched many lives, including his late grandmother, Linda F. Hogoboom, as well as the students and teachers at his alma mater.
In fact, Glenn’s model of an eight-foot, six-inch replica of a cruise ship on which he sailed, is housed in the library at WCHS. Glenn was inspired to build the ship—dubbed the “Glennship” — with 10,000 K’NEX pieces while still on a cruise with his family.

Everyone who met Glenn knew he had a brilliant future ahead one him; he had planned to become an engineer. His mother is certain he would have achieved his goals, had he lived and gone to college.

That is why Glenda Mikulak decided to create the Linda F. Hogoboom Memorial/Glenn Mikulak Scholarship—to provide a $500 award to one college-bound senior at both Warren County high schools who has helped special needs peers and has a desire to contribute to society. Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw chatted with Ms. Mikulak in front of her son’s creation, the “Glennship” recently…

Click to download application.

Local News
Snow covers roads throughout Shenandoah Valley
December 30, 2017

File photo / Royal Examiner

STAUNTON – (6:00 a.m.) Up to two inches of snow has fallen since Friday night in parts of the central and northern Shenandoah Valley, blanketing roads and creating dangerous driving conditions early Saturday morning. Snowfall is expected to taper off over the next several hours, but temperatures in the teens and low 20s will prevent snow from melting. Motorists are urged to check road conditions before driving and use extreme caution on snow-covered roadways.The Virginia Department of Transportation has crews plowing and treating roads as needed throughout the 11-county Staunton District.

Here are the conditions as of 6 a.m. Saturday:

Interstate 64 – Clear in Alleghany, Rockbridge and Augusta counties.

Interstate 66 – Moderate conditions in Warren County.

Interstate 81 – Moderate conditions in Rockingham and Frederick counties. Minor conditions in Augusta and Shenandoah counties. Clear in Rockbridge County.

Primary roads – Moderate conditions in Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties. Minor conditions in Highland and Augusta counties. Clear conditions Alleghany, Bath and Rockbridge counties.

Secondary roads – Moderate conditions in Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties. Minor conditions in Highland and Augusta counties. Clear conditions Alleghany, Bath and Rockbridge counties.

For winter weather road conditions go to 511 Virginia, look at the orange bar on the top of the page and click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table”. Look at the pull down box that lists all jurisdictions, then select a location to check road conditions.

Studies: Smart phones drain the brain
December 30, 2017

As phones get smarter, people get dumber; at least that is what recent studies conclude.

Smart phones make people less capable of focusing, learning, and problem solving. People are relying on the phone, and not their brain, to store and analyze information, according to a recent ABC News report.

In fact, Apple says their users unlock their phones an average of 80 times per day.
Attention is a precious commodity for the human brain and a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that hearing a phone’s buzz or beep while engaged in a challenging task causes people to lose focus and produce sloppier work.

Further studies, like one in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, showed that hearing a phone ring without the ability to answer it caused a spike in blood pressure, a quickened pulse, and a decline in problem-solving ability. These findings support the claim that phones can diminish focus, logic, learning, and problem solving by distracting users even when the devices are in the background.

When it comes to intelligence performance, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, formed an experiment to see how the presence of a smart phone would affect scores on an IQ test among their subjects. During the test, each third of the subjects were asked to either leave their phones outside the testing room, leave them in their pockets, or place them on the table in front of them while taking the test. The results showed that performance was highest among those who left their phones outside and lowest among those who left them in view on the table. Secondary tests by the same team revealed that performance dropped the most among subjects who relied on their phones the most in their day-to-day lives.

A big part of the reason for this mental decline, according to the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, is that phones force the mind to work harder at paying attention. When a person tries to suppress the need to check a smart phone, it actually diverts cognitive resources to that task and leaves less on the table for the work at hand.