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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Drinking responsibly over the holidays: what you should know

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Car crashes are more common on Christmas and New Year’s Eve than at any other time during the winter. Here are a few reminders that’ll help you celebrate the holidays safely.

Driving under the influence is risky
The dangers of driving while impaired are well known. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), over half of the fatal crashes that occur every year involve drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol. Cannabis is detected roughly half the time that drugs are involved.

Whenever you get behind the wheel, you’re responsible for the safety of the passengers in your vehicle. You’re also obligated to those you share the road with. Though driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may seem like a small matter, by doing so you’re in fact risking many lives. Waiting for a cab or spending the night on a friend’s couch may seem inconvenient, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure everyone’s safety, your own included.

How to get sober if you’re impaired
Once you’ve consumed alcohol, it will remain in your bloodstream and affect your cognitive and motor functions for several hours, no matter how many cups of coffee you drink or how much food you eat. Indeed, there’s no quick way to get sober. Therefore, the best strategy is to simply sleep it off or call a cab, a designated driver service, or a friend or family member to take you home.

Ensure your friends get home safely
If you notice that a friend, colleague or family member is planning to drive even though they’ve had a few drinks, try to talk them (possibly away from other guests so they don’t feel attacked). Offer to call them a cab and, if they become confrontational, get someone to help you. If all else fails, you may need to call the police.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is risky but getting behind the wheel while tired or distracted can also cause road accidents. The American Automobile Association reports that driver inattention is responsible for nearly 4 million crashes in North America every year.

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For the love of singing

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You don’t need to have the voice of Pavarotti or Celine Dion to join a choir. All you need is a love of singing, because this is an art that can be learned. The voice is an instrument, just like the guitar or piano; all you have to do is learn how to use it. With practice, you can develop your musical ear and vocal abilities.

Some choirs are open to all who share a love of singing, regardless of ability. So, even if you are a beginner, it is possible to find a choir ready to welcome you. Singing in a group is also a great way to improve rapidly, as it allows you to draw on the experience of others. In addition, choral singing, unlike private singing lessons, develops a sense of harmony—both musically and socially.

There are choirs for all musical tastes. Some sing popular music; others sing from a liturgical repertoire, or classical or folk music. And if you loved Whoopi Goldberg in the comedy movie Sister Act, you’ll love singing in a gospel choir!

Singing in a choir is also an opportunity to share your passion for music, to work as part of a team, to socialize, and to surpass yourself. In a way, music is like a sport; it requires you to work your breathing and posture, it is excellent exercise for the back, and it is an activity that uses many different muscles in the chest and throat.

Do you like humming in the shower? Do you enjoy singing at the top of your voice during your solitary car rides? What are you waiting for? Join a choir!

You want to share your passion for music? Join a choir!

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Science of VDOT: Highway Safety

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Learn how VDOT works to improve safety on Virginia’s roads.

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Snowboarding 101: tips for beginners

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Are you thinking about taking up snowboarding this winter? If so, here are some tips to make learning this sport a little easier.

• Take lessons. Snowboarding isn’t an easy sport to learn on your own. A professional will teach you the basics of skating (propelling yourself using one foot), turning, stopping and controlling your descent.

• Avoid crowds. Choose runs that aren’t too busy, even if they’re a little more challenging than the overcrowded bunny hill. Having more room to maneuver will allow you to learn at your own pace, without worrying about getting in anyone’s way.

• Wear protection. Frequent falls are to be expected the first few times you hit the slopes on a snowboard. Protective gear like helmets and wrist guards will help you avoid serious injury.

• Learn to fall. Besides wearing protection, knowing how to fall is the key to not getting hurt. If you feel yourself pitching forward, keep your arms close to your body and try to land on your elbows and forearms. If you’re falling backwards, crouch and put your hands behind your neck to protect it.

You probably won’t master snowboarding on your first day out, but that’s okay. Most people need a few sessions or even a whole season to be truly comfortable on a snowboard. Take your time, have fun and keep trying.

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Cost of retirement: More expensive than you might think

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The cost of retirement can vary dramatically depending on where you live and what choices you make before you retire.

Ideally, you want to have enough social security and investments to maintain your current lifestyle.

While investment advisors routinely say $1 million in investments will ensure a happy retirement, this is not necessarily true. In high-tax states with high cost of living, a big retirement pot is probably essential. But, in lower tax states with lower cost of living, retirees might need about a fourth of that amount.

The key question is how you prepare before retirement.

– Run the numbers. Check with Social Security for an estimate of retirement income. But, remember your medicare and taxes will be deducted from social security, so that number will be lower.

For other income, you will be paying cash for taxes. Look at all your expenses. Medicare plus supplements and prescriptions could run more than you think. For example, some prescriptions could cost $100-$300 per month, even with a prescription plan.

– Get out of debt. The best strategy is to be out of debt before retirement. Aim for zero credit balances.

– Pay off the mortgage. In some cases holding a mortgage might be financially wise, depending on how much your investments are making as opposed to the interest rate on your mortgage. But good general advice is to pay off the mortgage before retirement.

– Transportation. Plan to have a late model car that is paid off before retirement. A car payment soaks up retirement funds.

– Emergency fund. Build one with at least 3 to 6 months of expenses. Emergencies won’t stop just because you are retired and you won’t have money coming in. You must avoid credit card debt.

– Long-term care insurance. Plan early to buy long-term care insurance when prices will be lower.

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4 tips for a hassle-free holiday

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Are you planning a trip? If so, here are four things you can do to ensure your holiday goes smoothly.

1. Book everything early
Reserve your hotel, motel or campsite as early as possible. The same goes for all plane tickets and car rentals. By booking things in advance, you guarantee that you have the best possible experience at the lowest possible price.

2. Double-check your documents
Make sure your driver’s license, passport and travel insurance are all up to date and won’t expire any time soon.

3. Think about your health
Visit your doctor to make sure you’re healthy and in good enough shape to travel. Depending on your destination, you may need to get one or more vaccines to protect yourself against foreign pathogens. Also, it’s imperative that you have enough medication for the duration of your trip.

4. Make sure your home is safe
While you’re away, mitigate the risk of your home getting burgled. Put your lights on a timer and have someone pick up your mail and perform basic upkeep so the place looks inhabited. Alternatively, you can get someone you trust to housesit. You should also avoid sharing information about your trip on social media until you’re back at home.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

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Science of VDOT: Highway Safety

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Did you know that 93 percent of all crashes are a result of human behavior? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shared the extraordinary tests they do with VDOT.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 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, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
30
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 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, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
31
Fri
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Jan 31 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Feb
1
Sat
10:00 am Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog.  For beginning readers and up.  Choose a time slot at registration, which begins[...]
11:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
Feb 1 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County will hold their 1st annual Polar Plunge event on February 1st at the Culpeper Lake, located at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow. “Plungers” are asked to[...]
2:00 pm World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos.  Registration begins January 1.
Feb
4
Tue
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 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, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 4 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
Feb
5
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 5 @ 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, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Feb
6
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 6 @ 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, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]