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Interesting Things You Need to Know

3 ways to get to know your new neighborhood

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Settling somewhere new can be challenging. Here are three ways to get better acquainted with your new neighborhood.

1. The practical approach
Take time to locate the essentials like grocery stores, medical clinics, drugstores and garages.

You should also investigate your town’s website. It likely contains information about municipal bylaws, garbage pick-up days and upcoming special events.

Many municipalities offer notification services for things like boil water advisories and roadwork updates. It’s a good idea to sign up for these if possible.

Also, keep in mind that local newspapers, like the one you’re reading right now, are full of useful information.

2. The recreational approach
A great way to get to know your neighborhood is to look for places where you can pursue your hobbies.

Creative types can seek out arts and craft stores or classes offered by galleries and local artisans.

Voracious readers should find out where the nearest library is. Many of them offer activities like book clubs, which are a great way to meet people who share your passion.

If you’re a fitness nut, make a list of gyms, pools and local sports leagues.

3. The community approach
Get involved in your community by joining your neighborhood association, your home owner’s association or your condo association. If you’re a parent with school-age kids, also consider volunteering at your children’s school.

These are great ways to actively participate in making your new neighborhood a better place to live and you’ll meet many new people to boot.

In addition to the three approaches mentioned, be sure to talk to your new neighbors. One of the best ways to learn about what’s in your area is by word of mouth.

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Cancer in cats: signs to watch for

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Did you know that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in cats? Or that cats who are exposed to the feline leukemia virus are likely to develop certain types of cancer? Luckily, in most cases this disease can be successfully treated if diagnosed early enough.

To this end, it’s important to be on the lookout for any changes in your cat’s appearance or temperament. If you notice any of the following signs, bring your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

• Lumps that change in shape or size
• Sores or injuries that won’t heal

• Bleeding or discharge
• Sudden weight loss
• Coughing or difficulty breathing
• Bad breath
• Difficulty urinating or defecating
• Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
• Uncharacteristic lethargy

If your cat is experiencing these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have cancer. However, it’s important to get them checked out by a veterinarian to be sure. Early diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death for your feline friend.

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A beginner’s guide to horseback riding

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Are you going horseback riding for the first time? To ensure you have a fun and safe experience, it’s recommended that you take a riding lesson. However, it doesn’t hurt to know the basics beforehand. Here’s what you should know.

Gearing up
Riders need sturdy shoes or boots with a slight heel, pants and a riding helmet. The horse should be outfitted with the proper saddle, bit, bridle and reins.

Getting on

Always approach the horse from the front, never from behind. Use a mounting block to make it easier to climb onto the horse or get someone to help you. Get in the saddle by taking the reins in one hand, fitting your foot into the stirrup, gripping the pommel of the saddle and finally swinging yourself up onto the horse.

Sitting in the saddle
Sit up tall, but don’t be stiff. Ideally, there should be a straight line from your shoulder to your hip and through to your heel. Keep your weight equal on both sides of your body.

Riding the horse
Direct the horse to move by giving it a tap or nudge with your heels, depending on how it’s trained. Stay relaxed and keep in sync with the horse’s rhythm, allowing your hips to swing with its gait.

Horses have four gaits: walk, trot, canter and gallop. For your first time, you might want to go at a walk the entire time. However, if you’re feeling comfortable, you could advance to a trot by lightly tapping the horse with your heel.

Turning, slowing down and stopping
Gently tug the left or right rein to turn in the corresponding direction. To slow or stop the horse, pull back gently on the reins.

Getting off
To dismount, take the reins in one hand, remove your feet from the stirrups, then grip the pommel and swing your leg up and over the horse before sliding down to the ground.

These are the basic things you need to know for your first day riding, but always be sure to listen to your instructor. They know their particular horses better than anyone.

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Seniors in the United States: a statistical portrait

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Seniors make up a growing proportion of the American population, and their numbers are projected to more than double by 2060. Here are some interesting facts about our aging population.

• As of 2016, 15 percent of the American population was aged 65 and over, which amounts to about 46 million people. By 2060, this number could escalate to 98 million people.

• In 2017, life expectancy in the United States was projected to be 76 years for men and 81 years for women.

• The life expectancy gap between men and women is narrowing. In 1990 there was a seven-year gap, but now it’s down to slightly less than five years.

• Older adults are working longer. In 2014, 23 percent of men and 15 percent of women aged 65 or older were in the workforce. By 2022, this number is expected to reach 27 percent for men and 20 percent for women.

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A history of roads in Virginia: The Auto Age Begins

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Pulling autos out of the mud was a sideline business for many Virginia farmers.

In Springfield, Mass., in September 1893, what generally is accepted as the first American gasoline-powered automobile was given a short road test by its builders, brothers Charles E. and J. Frank Duryea.

That same year in Washington, the Congress established the United States Office of Road Inquiry, directing the Secretary of Agriculture “to make inquiries in regard to the system of road management throughout the United States,” to investigate methods of road building and to assist in disseminating information about the nation’s roads.

Good roads societies were organized in many states, and in Virginia this movement dates at least to 1894. It was then that the Young Business Men’s League of Roanoke took leadership in forming the Virginia Good Road Association. Local meetings and statewide conventions were held, and enthusiasm grew swiftly.

In September 1895, the Duryea brothers established the first American company to manufacture gasoline driven cars, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company. In 1904 the Ford Motor Company produced 1,695 cars, and by 1907 had increased its production to 14,887.

The last decade of the 19th century was called the Gay ‘90s, and the daring new mobility was a part of the mood. What is believed to have been the first automobile of any kind operated in Virginia was driven along Norfolk streets in 1899, powered by kerosene. Eleven years before that significant event, the world’s first commercially successful streetcar system had begun in Richmond. The state’s population had grown to 1,854,184, and while the population was about 85 percent rural, Richmond could count 85,000 residents.

Throughout Virginia, as throughout the nation, the public’s delight with the automobile was mounting by leaps and bounds. But in most places, the roads weren’t ready for this “horseless carriage.”

Next up: Getting Organized for Better Road

Produced by the
Virginia Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
1401 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
VirginiaDOT.org

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Celebrating french fries

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French fry lovers, it’s time to mark your calendars — Saturday, July 13 is National French Fry Day. To get you primed for the event, here are some interesting facts about french fries.

Everyone has a favorite cut
Fries come in all shapes, sizes and cuts: curly, wedge, crinkle-cut and shoestring, to name a few. According to a National Today survey, America’s favorite is the straight cut, with 21 percent preferring it. Curly fries follow close behind at 20 percent. However, there are a lot of regional variations. July 13 is the perfect day to plan a local french fry tour to sample the many types available.

Not everyone shares equally

It’s not unusual for people to share their fries, although women are particularly generous. A 2017 Canadian survey by the McCain Company found that 63 percent of women share their fries, while men are a little more protective of theirs, with only 43 percent saying they like to share.

There’s more than one way to dress a fry
Fifty-five percent of Americans say they prefer ketchup on their fries. The second most popular dip is ranch dressing at 15 percent, followed by cheese sauce at 8 percent, barbecue sauce at 7 percent and mayo dead last at 4 percent.

French Fry Day only comes once a year, so don’t miss out and be sure to stay on the lookout for deals offered by local restaurants.

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How to attract birds to your yard

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Do you love to wake up to the sound of songbirds? If you’d like to attract more birds to your yard, the key is to provide them with food, water and shelter. Here’s what you need to know.

Food
It may take several weeks for the local birdlife to notice but hanging a feeder or two is a surefire way to attract them to your yard. Fill the birdfeeders with nutrient-rich seeds like black-oil sunflower, safflower and thistle. Avoid buying premixed birdseed from a big box store, as they’re usually packed with filler that birds don’t enjoy.

Water

Some birds are happy to use a birdbath, but the sound of moving water is a better way to signal that a drink and bath is available. Fountains, drippers and misters are readily available at pet supply stores.

Shelter
Wild birds need safe places to raise their young and to protect themselves from predators and the elements. You can provide roost boxes to shelter them from bad weather and birdhouses where they can nest and lay eggs.

Finally, consider planting native shrubs and flowers in your yard. These will provide both food and shelter for local birds and require very little maintenance.

How to attract hummingbirds
While native, nectar-producing flowers will help attract hummingbirds, another way to invite these tiny birds to your yard is to hang feeders filled with nectar. Simply boil four parts water with one part white sugar for about two minutes, and fill the feeder. Be sure to change the sugar-water regularly.

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Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
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1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
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Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]
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6:30 pm Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
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Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
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10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
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Let’s Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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Let's Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 30 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]

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