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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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How to choose a host or hostess gift

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If you get invited to someone’s home over the holidays, it’s best not to arrive empty handed. However, it can be hard to know what to bring, especially if the host or hostess is a relatively new friend or acquaintance.

Fortunately, there are number of things — wine, chocolate, coffee, tea, fancy hand soap and unscented candles, for example — that make great gifts when you don’t know the recipient very well.

However, if you do know them, you could offer your host or hostess something that you think they’ll appreciate. If they love to cook, for instance, a cookbook or an inexpensive kitchen gadget would be ideal.

Whatever you bring, make sure it’s not something that makes your host or hostess work. For example, if you choose to bring a bouquet of flowers, arrange them in a vase before arriving so they don’t have to.

Remember, this gift is meant for the hosts to enjoy after the guests have gone home. They’re not obliged to share it with you or anyone else, so don’t expect them to.

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3 bad habits that will amp up your energy bills

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Many homeowners are surprised to learn how much energy their electronic devices use. If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy and spend less on your utility bills, here are three habits that you should break immediately.

1. Watching television and movies on gaming consoles. Video game consoles use 30 to 45 percent more power than televisions. In addition, running one high-definition gaming console requires the equivalent amount of energy as running 10 Blu-Ray devices. You’re better off using your console for nothing but gaming.

2. Leaving your electronics plugged in all the time. This is a common habit, but did you know that many electronic devices use up to 40 percent of the energy required for their functioning, even when they’re turned off?

Unplugging your toaster and coffee maker after breakfast and removing chargers from outlets once devices are charged will help you conserve energy.

3. Not thinking through purchases. Laser printers use nearly twice as much power as inkjet versions. Before buying one, ask yourself if the increase in energy consumption over traditional models is worth it.

Similarly, a 55-inch flat-screen TV uses twice as much energy as a 32-inch model. Consider whether the upgrade in size is worth it.

The bottom line is that you should evaluate your needs and make purchasing decisions accordingly.

In sum, to save energy at home you should evaluate what electronics you use and how you use them. Doing so will allow you to save on your utility bills and may even extend the lifespan of your devices.

Settings
Televisions, computers, printers and various other devices may sometimes come equipped with a “sleep,” “power saving” or “standby” feature. You can reduce power usage in your home by engaging this function when the item isn’t in use. In addition, you can change some settings, such as screen brightness, to improve energy efficiency of the device.

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Debt management: the pros and cons of 3 debt repayment strategies

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Here’s an evaluation of three basic debt management strategies.

Make the minimum payments on all accounts
The minimum payment is the amount that the borrower is required to pay back to the lender by a certain date. Keep in mind that missed payments will tank your credit score, so it’s important that you cover at least this amount each month.

• Pros. The minimum payment usually amounts to only two to five per cent of the balance owed.

• Cons. If you only make the minimum monthly payment, you could end up spending more than twice the original amount. This is because interest will keep accumulating on your debt.

Prioritize low-balance debts (the snowball method)
This approach to debt reduction involves the borrower strategically paying off multiple loans by prioritizing the account with the lowest balance first. This is done by consistently repaying more than the minimum amount owed on the account.

• Pros. Focusing on the smallest balance and quickly clearing it provides a strong psychological incentive to maintain good financial habits.

• Cons. Not prioritizing loans with a higher interest rate may not make financial sense in the long term.

Prioritize high-interest debts (the avalanche method)
Another, faster way of clearing multiple debts is to prioritize paying off the high-interest loans first. Once again, you’ll need to consistently pay more than the minimum amount on the associated account. However, this method reduces the overall interest you’ll pay.

• Pros. This method will ensure you pay the least amount of interest possible.

• Cons. Reducing debt this way requires a lot of discipline. In addition, it doesn’t provide the same quickly-gained sense of accomplishment as the snowball method.

Overall, it’s a good idea to make more than the minimum payments on your accounts. In addition, while prioritizing high-interest-rate loans is ideal, dealing with smaller balances may work better for you.

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12 great reasons to buy local

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1. Help create jobs
If you buy your holiday goods from local shops, you’ll help generate a need to hire more employees. Retail jobs are relatively easy to qualify for, meaning that people who otherwise struggle to find work have a better chance of being hired. This allows them to secure income during the holidays and hopefully year-round.

2. Enjoy local traditions

Wherever you live, chances are there’s a unique holiday tradition that people in your community take part in. Perhaps it involves a special dish or a particular type of holiday decoration. Regardless, it’s the perfect way to share something unique about your area with friends and relatives over the holidays.

3. Support non-profits
Small businesses tend to give more money to non-profit organizations, especially local ones. By completing your holiday shopping in the area, you’re ensuring they can give generously to organizations that help the less fortunate and other people in your region.

4. Get better customer service
Local business owners are passionate about their products. By buying local, you ensure that you’ll get the very best recommendations possible when making purchases. In fact, personalized customer service is a sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll get the perfect presents for your loved ones. And, even if you don’t, returning items will be a cinch.

5. Reduce your carbon footprint
Shopping locally is the eco-friendly thing to do, especially if you skip the car and do it on foot. Less driving translates to a decrease in fuel consumption and a smaller carbon footprint overall. In addition, local products haven’t traveled long distances to get to you. This holiday season, shop local to help protect the planet.

6. Stay informed
Visiting local shops during the holiday season is a great way to stay informed about what’s going on in your community. You’ll find out what holiday events are taking place, get insider tips about the best products around and reinforce your sense of belonging.

7. Meet Santa
Bring the kids along with you and turn your holiday shopping excursion into an outing for the family. The little ones can meet Santa, you can do a bit of browsing and everyone will enjoy indulging in a cup of hot cocoa afterwards.

8. Find unique presents
It’s easier to find something truly unique when shopping locally. While you could purchase artisanal creations off the internet, buying something from a local artist ensures it’ll be as special as the person you’re getting it for. Some items can even be personalized.

9. Get fresh food
Visit butchers, breweries, bakeries and gourmet grocers in your area to enjoy an outstanding holiday feast. In fact, buying local is the best way to find exceptionally fresh produce, pastries, meats and dairy products. In some cases, you may even be able to sample them beforehand. Plus, your local retailers can give you advice on how to prepare their products.

10. Eliminate stress
Shopping locally is a great way to eliminate stress. This is because you don’t need to worry about when packages will arrive or the possibility that they might get stolen. Plus, you don’t have to be concerned about returns or exchanges, as these things are super easy to do when you buy your items from the retailers in town.

11. Support your local economy
Did you know that many small businesses make between 20 and 40 percent of their annual income during the last two months of the year? November and December are crucial months and many stores rely on holiday sales to stay afloat. This holiday season, make sure to buy local so you can directly support the area’s economy.

12. Help build your community
Cafes, craft stores and bookshops are prime venues for events that can enrich your community. Supporting these places allows them to host classes, music shows and more, which helps to both enliven the holiday season and to invigorate the local economy.

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3 games to play at the office holiday party

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Are you looking for a way energize your holiday office party? If so, here are three fun games that virtually anyone can enjoy.

1. Office trivia. Before the day of the event, send a questionnaire to all employees asking them about their interests, pet peeves and preferred foods, books, movies and travel destinations. Collect the answers and use them to create an office trivia game.

2. Guess the word. Write words on individual strips of paper and then fold and place them in bowls. Each team chooses a player who will have to guess the word based on clues from their teammates.

3. Gift wrap challenge. Put players in teams of two. Tie one person’s right hand to the other’s left and have them attempt to wrap a gift with their free hands. The pair that does the nicest job wins.

If you play your office games in teams, assemble the groups randomly. A fun way to do this is to cut up old Christmas cards and hand out the pieces. Teams can then be formed by those who have pieces from the same card.

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Christmas checklist

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To avoid holiday mayhem, you need to remain organized in the days and weeks leading up to the main event. Here’s a checklist that will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done before Christmas.

Entertaining
• Choose a theme for your party if you’re having one

• Make reservations (caterer, event space, restaurant, cleaning crew, Santa Claus)
• Send out invitations
• Decide on a menu (don’t forget to consider your guests’ allergies and dietary restrictions)
• Make separate grocery lists for what can be purchased weeks in advance and what must be bought in the days before
• Start cooking (make dishes in advance and freeze them)
• Make a seating plan and choose the table decorations
• Obtain any extra dishes, napkins or chairs you need
• Choose the music and plan party games
• Clean the house from top to bottom
• Prepare a room for overnight guests
• Make sure your driveway and walk¬way are clear

Buying gifts
• Organize a gift exchange
• Start shopping early to avoid crowds
• Make note of what to buy for each person on your list
• Write Christmas cards and send them out early to ensure they arrive before the holiday
• Help your kids write their letters to Santa and send them off
• Buy wrapping paper, ribbons and bows
• Wrap gifts as you buy them to avoid doing it all at once, and hide them until the big day

Decorating the house
• Go through your decorations and throw out and replace anything that’s broken
• Hang outdoor decorations before the cold weather arrives
• Decorate the inside of your house
• Don’t set up your natural Christmas tree until a week or two before the day (or it will be dry by the time Santa arrives)

Getting yourself ready
• Make your appointments early (hair, esthetics, makeup, nails) to be sure you get the time slot you need
• Shop for your party clothes and visit the tailor if adjustments are needed

Keep this checklist handy to make sure you don’t forget anything this season.

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King Cartoons

‘Tis the Season

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Front Royal
35°
Cloudy
07:2216:51 EST
Feels like: 35°F
Wind: 2mph NNE
Humidity: 95%
Pressure: 30.1"Hg
UV index: 0
FriSatSun
min 34°F
49/39°F
47/33°F

Quotes

Upcoming Events

Dec
13
Fri
6:00 pm Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Dec 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Ruby Yoga will host a Holiday Open House Friday, Dec. 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. with free gentle yoga starting at 6:20, followed by refreshments and door prize drawings.
7:30 pm Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Dec 13 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
The Blue Ridge Singers presents its 2019 Christmas concert titled “Canticum Novum:  Sing a New Song” featuring some of the finest Christmas choral music across the centuries at one of the most popular events in[...]
Dec
14
Sat
11:00 am Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 14 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
December 14 is the 220th anniversary of George Washington’s death. Today we will learn more about this great leader of our country and celebrate his legacy. Refreshments will be served. For ages 7 to 18.[...]
11:00 am Saturday with Santa @ Warren County Community Center
Saturday with Santa @ Warren County Community Center
Dec 14 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saturday with Santa @ Warren County Community Center
Bring the kids and your camera for yummy snacks, crafts, and a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus! All are welcome!
1:00 pm “Clara, Little Mouse & the Golde... @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
“Clara, Little Mouse & the Golde... @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Dec 14 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
"Clara, Little Mouse & the Golden Key" @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Join us for this original version of the timeless story ballet The Nutcracker Suite. Follow Clara and Little Mouse on a journey to find what the Golden Key unlocks… Christmas will never be the same[...]
Dec
15
Sun
4:00 pm R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
Dec 15 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas Concert @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
The local community is invited to join the Randolph-Macon Academy family for an afternoon of holiday spirit with the R-MA Band and Chorus! The annual R-MA Christmas Concert will be held on Sunday, December 15th,[...]
Dec
17
Tue
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 17 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, December 3: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! After reading a Christmas story, we’ll discuss giving and how it affects us and the people around us.[...]
7:30 pm Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Dec 17 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert | Presented by the American Legion Community Band Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 7:30 pm Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus in Front Royal, VA
Dec
18
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 18 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]
Dec
19
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 19 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]