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5 ways to celebrate National Customer Service Week

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Since 1984, the International Customer Service Association has promoted National Customer Service Week in order to recognize those who provide outstanding service. This year, the event takes place from October 7 to 11. Here are five great ways businesses can recognize their customer support staff.

1. Serve them a meal. A breakfast or lunch provided by the company is sure to make your team feel appreciated, especially if it’s served to them by higher-ups in the company.

2. Organize games. Team-building activities will encourage your customer service staff to work together. Board games, trivia competitions and office Olympics are all great ways to let loose. Alternatively, plan a trip to a local escape room where your team will have to work together to solve a mystery.

3. Recognize their achievements. A simple thank you note from the manager is a great way to make your staff feel valued. If you’d prefer a grander gesture, consider having an event where you hand out awards and prizes.

4. Plan a theme day. Encourage your whole team to dress according to a theme. Some possible themes are sports teams, ugly sweaters, superheroes or beach day. Award prizes for the best or most elaborate costume.

5. Provide extra training. National Customer Service week is an excellent time to focus your efforts on training and development. Consider hiring a motivational speaker or offering a free workshop.

While you’re thanking your employees, don’t forget about your customers. Send personalized cards thanking them for reaching out to your customer service team throughout year.

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What’s the difference between a financial adviser and a financial planner?

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There’s no shortage of financial professionals to help you manage your money. However, two of the most common designations are that of financial adviser and financial planner.

Many people believe that the terms are interchangeable, but this is inaccurate. In reality, all financial planners are financial advisers, but not all financial advisers are financial planners.

Financial advisers

Financial adviser is an umbrella term for professionals who help their clients manage their money. They may be bank employees that help their clients understand the range of products they offer of professionals who work independently. They often specialize in handling investment portfolios.

Financial planners
A financial planner is an adviser who specializes in helping individuals and companies create programs to meet their long-term financial goals. They assess the client’s whole financial situation in addition to any investments they currently hold. The strategies they create may include estate and retirement planning, education funding, insurance and risk management and taxation.

When hiring a financial professional of any kind, make sure they have the proper education and expertise. Almost anyone can take on the title of financial adviser. This means that while the person you work with may have extensive knowledge and training, they may also simply be a salesperson for the bank.

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Why do cats rub their faces on everything?

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Have you ever wondered why cats rub their faces on seemingly everything they cross paths with? This behavior is called bunting, and it’s actually a form of feline communication. However, depending on what they rub themselves on, it can have different meanings.

Cats have scent glands located in their feet, below their chin, on their lips, near their temples, along their tails and in their ears. These glands release pheromones, which cats use to mark their territory. If a cat rubs itself all over your furniture and walls, it’s saying that those things are the property of kitty.

Bunting may be a show of dominance over other felines in the house, or it may be a way for the cat to feel more comfortable at home.

If your kitty doesn’t like to show their face when you have visitors, they may rub their scent around the house once the strangers have gone. Bunting allows them to reclaim the house and feel calmer.

But what about when a cat rubs itself on you? Do they consider you their property as well? The answer depends on your relationship with the kitty in question.

Cats often rub themselves on newcomers to their home. If they do this, it’s to gather the intruder’s scent and find out more about them. However, if they bunt against their human companions, it’s a sign of affection and that they consider you a part of their family.

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Tired of flinching?

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Rifle flinch, also known as recoil anticipation or heeling, is something even experienced hunters struggle with. Unfortunately, flinching can have a detrimental impact on the accuracy of your shot. But as frustrating as it might be, it’s an entirely natural reflex. Here’s how you might be able to override it.

Retrain yourself
Firing blanks is one way to train yourself to avoid blinking or flinching, but it’s not necessarily the most effective method. It’s easier to replace a bad habit with a good one than it is to give it up entirely. To this end, try to give your eyes something to do. Tracking a point in front of you when firing may help you avoid closing your eyes when the shot breaks.

Work on your technique
Poor posture can amplify the effects of recoil, making it harder not to flinch when firing. Make sure you have a solid grip on your rifle and that you’re not trying to control recoil. There’s no way you can prevent recoil from moving your rifle, but you can minimize its effects by learning how to recover from it.

Get the right equipment
In some cases, you may want to consider a smaller caliber. There’s also a range of accessories you can purchase to minimize the effect of recoil on your body.

Every hunter needs to learn to deal with rifle flinch. Talk to other hunters or a professional at the shooting range to get more tips.

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Agriculture: a growing sector for tech jobs

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The agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on science and technology. With skilled workers in high demand, it’s a good time to pursue a career in this sector. Here are four agriculture-related tech jobs that will need to be filled in labs and farms across the country.

1. Drone technologist
Also called crop scouts, aerial applicators or agricultural pilots, drone technologists help farmers implement the use of dro¬nes to monitor and manage their fields.

2. Hydrologist
With dwindling water resources and increased concerns about the environmental effects of farming, hydrologists will play an important role in the coming years. These professionals work with agricultural companies and governments to protect the environment while helping farmers develop sustainable practices.

3. Food scientist
As the global population grows and consumers demand more wholesome food, the need for improved products increases. Food scientists can help by designing foods that can be grown with fewer resources while maintaining their nutritional value.

4. Precision agriculture technologists
New technologies can help farmers increase crop yields while decreasing inputs, but their implementation requires skilled workers. More and more operations, from large-scale factory farms to small and medium producers, are looking to adopt precision farming solutions.

Technology can help meet the growing demand for agriculture to produce more food with fewer resources. This means that tech jobs in the farming sector will need to be filled and those with right qualifications will undoubtedly prosper.

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Where to see birds this fall

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Fall is the perfect time to go bird watching. The air is crisp, the foliage is stunning and a variety of fascinating species are on the move. Here are several types of places where you’re likely to spot birds this fall.

• Migration flyways. Birds reliably use the same pathways to migrate every year. Visit a wildlife refuge or a nature center that’s located along one of these corridors to see them.

• Agricultural fields. When grain gets harvested from farms, birds typically arrive to feast on the leftovers. You’ll have a better chance of seeing them when the fields are near forests, which offer shelter.

• Parks and orchards. Fall fruits and flowers attract birds when other food sources are scarce. Migratory birds will often make a stopover in these places to load up on calories before making the long trip south.

• Your backyard. If you take the right steps, you can bird watch from the comfort of your own home. Offer nutrient-dense foods like black sunflower seeds, millet and suet, and plant evergreens that provide shelter year-round.

Fall is a great time to spot unique birds if you know where to look. Contact your local birding club or organization for more information about the best places to find them.

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3 accessible precision farming solutions for small operations

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Precision farming technologies have been in the spotlight for a few years, but their high cost often puts them out of reach for small- and medium-sized producers. However, there’s a growing number of affordable options that let you optimize your operation without breaking the bank.

1. Yield monitors
These systems are attached to combine harvesters or tractors and provide information about yield, grain moisture and soil properties in real time. This allows farmers to monitor the conditions of each field, which enables better resource allocation.

Nowadays, yield monitors can be installed on equipment of almost any age, making them very accessible.

2. Smartphone apps
Smartphone apps are a great starting point for implementing precision agriculture on small farms.

The eFarmer application allows farmers to use their devices as displays and navigate their fields more precisely. This helps them to work at night and in low-visibility conditions.

Taranis is a similar, web-based app that also offers solutions for monitoring integrated pest management processes.

3. Variable-rate fertilizer spreaders
These systems help farmers reduce the amount of fertilizer they disperse by only spreading as much as required. They pay for themselves thanks to good fuel economy and low resource usage.

Models are being developed for various-sized operations.

Precision farming isn’t just a fad, and it’s getting easier for the everyday farmer to benefit from it.

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Upcoming Events

Oct
15
Tue
10:00 am Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 15 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Acrylic Painting: An Individualized Approach @ Art in the Valley
With an emphasis on individuality and creativity, this acrylic painting class welcomes all skill levels. Some concepts we will explore include various paint application techniques, color theory, and composition. Within these basic parameters, we will[...]
Oct
16
Wed
10:30 am Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Oct 16 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class "Fall is Here" @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
7:00 pm Author Jeff Hunt book signing @ Warren Rifles Confederate Museum
Author Jeff Hunt book signing @ Warren Rifles Confederate Museum
Oct 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Author Jeff Hunt book signing @ Warren Rifles Confederate Museum
Author Jeff Hunt will be presenting and signing copies of his books from the Meade and Lee Series at multiple events in the state of Virginia. The first event is at 7:00 pm on Wednesday,[...]
Oct
17
Thu
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 17 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
18
Fri
10:00 am R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Oct 18 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Randolph-Macon Academy will welcome alumni and their families back to campus on Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th, during the annual Homecoming weekend. Events that are open to the general public include the Homecoming[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 18 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful acrylic paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with acrylics necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
19
Sat
10:00 am R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Oct 19 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
R-MA Homecoming @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Randolph-Macon Academy will welcome alumni and their families back to campus on Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th, during the annual Homecoming weekend. Events that are open to the general public include the Homecoming[...]
10:30 am 2nd Annual Peak Leaf Music & Bre... @ Valley Roots Farm
2nd Annual Peak Leaf Music & Bre... @ Valley Roots Farm
Oct 19 @ 10:30 am – 7:00 pm
2nd Annual Peak Leaf Music & Brewers Festival @ Valley Roots Farm
Join us for the 2nd annual Peak Leaf Music & Brewers Festival! Come party on Saturday, October 19th, 2019, for a day of live music, local brews, local merchants, and local food trucks; all for a[...]
1:00 pm Workshop: An Introduction to Col... @ Art in the Valley
Workshop: An Introduction to Col... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 19 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Workshop: An Introduction to Color Theory @ Art in the Valley
This one day workshop will be an introduction to color theory as it applies to image-making. We will talk about primary, secondary and tertiary colors and how to mix them from a simple palette for[...]
5:30 pm 7th Annual Front Royal Zombie Walk @ Bing Crosby Stadium
7th Annual Front Royal Zombie Walk @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Oct 19 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
7th Annual Front Royal Zombie Walk @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Put on your best zombie costume and practice your best shambling limp, because it’s time for the annual FRONT ROYAL ZOMBIE WALK! The Walk will begin at Bing Crosby Stadium at 6pm sharp. We will[...]