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Gifts for the people who serve you all year long



The holidays are the perfect time to say thank you to the hairdressers, bus drivers, babysitters, baristas and many others who regularly serve you. If you’re wondering what to get them, here are some ideas.

• Pretty hand soaps
• Holiday dish cloths

• Scented candles
• A scarf or shawl
• A soft blanket
• A tote bag
• Premium coffee or tea
• A to-go mug
• A bottle of wine
• A box of chocolates

If you know a little about their tastes, you can also consider something more personal like a book you think they might enjoy, a sweater or a decorative item for their home or workspace.

The point of buying gifts for the people who serve you is to thank them for the positive difference the make in your life all year long. Don’t forget to include a nice card with a handwritten mes¬sage expressing your appreciation.

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Hunting waterfowl: a brief guide to decoys



When it comes to hunting waterfowl, setting up the right decoy spread is crucial to your success. Here’s what you need to know about luring in snow geese, Canada geese, and ducks.

Snow geese
Since these birds tend to move in flocks of hundreds, you’ll need to set upward of 1,000 decoys to attract them. If you’re relying solely on full-body decoys, however, about 200 to 400 should suffice to create a realistic setup.

Canada geese

Early in the season, about 20 to 30 decoys dispersed in groups of five to seven is enough. Once these birds begin to migrate, however, their flocks increase in size and you’ll need closer to 120 decoys. Toward the end of the season, reduce the number of decoys and opt for lifelike, full-body options.

When you hunt ducks, the appropriate number of decoys depends on the body of water where you’re set up. A more expansive area will require a larger decoy spread to look realistic. For example, a dozen decoys will suffice for a pond, but you’ll need several dozen on a large lake.

Remember to check for changes to your regional hunting regulations before the start of each season.

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4 tips for safe online shopping



Many people have turned to online shopping as a way to protect their health and respect social distancing regulations during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are four tips to ensure you’re doing it safely.

1. Learn how to spot a scam. Offers that sound too good to be true, websites that lack a professional design, and requests for banking information when your cart is still empty are all red flags.

2. Confirm the company is legitimate. Check the National Corporation Directory to find out if the company is listed, and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection website to find out whether any complaints have been filed against it. If it’s not an American business, look for mention of it on other websites and confirm whether it has a good reputation by reading customer reviews.

3. Read the return policies beforehand. Find out whether the company offers exchanges, returns, or reimbursements and under what conditions. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises if there’s an issue with your purchase. A lack of clearly stated policies is a sign you should shop elsewhere.

4. Double-check before you pay. Make sure the website’s URL begins with “https” and has a closed padlock or unbroken key icon beside it. Confirm the price of each item and the total cost (including taxes and shipping fees) before you enter your credit card information.

Finally, remember that you should never provide unnecessary personal details, such as your social security number when shopping online.

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A look at orthopedic problems in dogs



Orthopedic conditions can affect your dog’s bones, muscles, and joints, and they can range from a minor annoyance to a debilitating injury. If you’re a dog owner, here’s what you need to know.

Among dogs, the four most common orthopedic problems are:

1. Hip or elbow dysplasia

2. Herniated or ruptured disc

3. Luxating (dislocated) patella

4. Cruciate ligament tears

While some breeds are genetically predisposed to them, orthopedic problems can affect any dog, regardless of their type, size, or age.

Bone, muscle, and joint issues can be congenital or idiopathic, meaning they can appear suddenly with no clear cause. In some cases, the problem is the result of a trauma or nutritional deficiency.

There are a number of signs that can indicate your dog has an orthopedic problem. Here are a few to watch for:

• Walking with one paw lifted

• Struggling to stand up or jump

• Difficulty going up stairs or getting into the car

• Limping or stiffness after exercise

• Moaning in pain when picked up or held

You might also notice that one or more of your dog’s paws appear to be paralyzed.

Medication and surgery are the most common treatments recommended by veterinarians to correct or minimize the effects of an orthopedic issue. Often, these interventions will considerably improve the dog’s quality of life.

If you suspect your pet has an orthopedic problem, speak with your veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent further injury and discomfort.

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12 ways to winterproof your property



Winter weather can take a toll on your home’s exterior. However, if you take precautions, you can protect it from getting damaged. Here are 12 essential tasks to complete before the season’s first snowfall.

1. Inspect the roof. Clear off leaves and other debris so you can examine the shingles. Replace any that are damaged or worn out.

2. Clean the window wells. Remove all leaves, sticks, and other debris. Make sure the drains are clear to prevent water from pooling and possibly leaking into your basement.

3. Empty the gutters. Once the trees on your property have shed their leaves, remove all debris from your gutters. Clogs can lead to ice damming and even water damage.

4. Check the foundation. Look for cracks and repair them before winter. Otherwise, water can seep into the concrete and cause more extensive damage when it freezes.

5. Sweep the chimney. Hire a professional to remove soot and creosote from the flue to prevent a fire. Make sure the chimney cap is intact so critters can’t sneak in.

6. Install the vent covers. Keep out cold air and pests by installing covers over the exterior vents for your dryer and range hood. Otherwise, check that the existing ones are in good condition.

7. Close the pool. Clean out the filter, drain the pool about halfway, and disconnect the pump. Remember to remove the ladder before you install the winter cover.

8. Plant the bulbs. Get all your spring bulbs in the ground before it freezes. Remember to cut back perennials.

9. Tidy up the yard. Rake the leaves, clean out the gardens, aerate your lawn and add mulch or compost as needed.

10. Protect the shrubs. Wrap bushes and saplings in burlap or tree wrap, and bring potted plants inside.

11. Prune the trees and hedges. Cut away branches that are close to your home to avoid winter storm damage. This will also help prevent animals from climbing onto your roof.

12. Put away summer items. Clean the grill and disconnect the propane tank before you cover up the barbecue. Drain the sprinkler system and shut off the water supply. Wipe down and store the patio furniture.

Since fall is a busy time for arborists, pool technicians and other professionals, be sure to schedule your service calls sooner rather than later.

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5 tips for eco-friendly grocery shopping



If you want to help protect the planet, there are a number of ways you can make your grocery runs more eco-friendly. For starters, stick to local stores and follow these five tips.

1. Bring your own containers
Consumers are increasingly getting into the habit of carrying their groceries in reusable bags. You can take this a step further by bringing along small reusable bags for your fruits and vegetables. Additionally, you could transport ready-to-eat meals and loose bulk items in jars and reusable containers.

2. Opt for local products

This doesn’t mean you have to give up bananas entirely. However, if you have the option to choose between equivalent products from different regions, go with the one made or grown closest to home. Local produce is often identified as such, which makes it easy to spot. Plus, it’s more likely to be fresh and in season.

3. Choose older produce
If you eat it within a few days, there’s no harm in buying food that’s nearing its expiration date or starting to wilt. This will prevent it from being thrown out by the grocer. Plus, these items are often on sale, so you’ll save money too.

4. Avoid excess packaging
Steer clear of individually wrapped snacks and pre-cut fruits and vegetables. In general, you’ll generate less waste by purchasing large-format items or products in bulk — as long as you can finish the food before it goes bad.

5. Pick paper over plastic
Since paper products are safer for the environment than plastic ones, buy items like milk and juice in cardboard cartons rather than plastic jugs. Similarly, choose powdered laundry detergent over the liquid variety. Styrofoam packaging should be avoided altogether since it can’t be recycled.

Finally, if you plan your meals in advance and stick to your grocery list, it’ll be easier to buy only what you need and avoid wasting food.

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The downsizing dilemma: retirement home or condo?



If you’re thinking about moving into a smaller space, you may be wondering whether a retirement home or condominium would be a good fit. Here are a few things to consider before you decide.

Retirement homes
This type of residence offers a wide range of services to make your retirement years a breeze, from housekeeping to nursing care and cooked meals. Plus, you’ll be welcomed into a community and offered plenty of opportunities to socialize, build new friendships, and participate in a variety of activities.


Condos offer all the comforts of home without you having to deal with maintenance and repairs. Amenities might include a patio, pool, gym, security system, and indoor parking. However, you need to be self-sufficient enough to manage your own cooking and cleaning. There are also fewer opportunities to interact with other residents.

If you’re still not sure which option is right for you, consult a housing advisor or real estate agent. These professionals can help you determine your priorities and find the perfect home for the next chapter of your life.

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Upcoming Events

all-day WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Oct 19 – Nov 12 all-day
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Please show your support by purchasing fresh fruit for you, your family and friends to enjoy over the holidays! To place your order online, simply click here. Navel, Grapefruit, Juice Oranges — Whole Box $40, Half[...]
5:00 pm Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Oct 24 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Dinner Together and the Warren County Liason will host a free food distribution for the Front Royal/Warren County community on Saturday, October 24th, from 5-6 PM, at 1st Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall Parking Lot (14[...]
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and take a tour of Mount Bleak House[...]
10:00 am Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Oct 26 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Answers to your gardening questions and problems! E-mail questions and pictures to Mondays from 10:00am -1:00pm, April-October (except holidays) Come in or call 540-635-4549  *in-person and phone help available after coronavirus emergency*
1:00 pm Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Vi... @ Online Event
Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Vi... @ Online Event
Oct 29 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Virginia get back to work @ Online Event
Dear Job Seeker, We are delighted that you are participating in our Virtual Hiring Event sponsored by the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Career Works Centers. I am mindful that many of the citizens[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Oct 30 @ 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.
10:00 am Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Oct 31 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
10-11 am: Dog Costume Parade and judging 1-2 pm: Wedding on the Gazebo 4 pm: Children’s Costume Parade with judging and prizes 5 pm: Trick or Treat on Main Street. Merchants and County Businesses will[...]
5:00 pm Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Oct 31 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Bring your best costumes and GLOW throw with us! Trick or treat, throw axes and have an amazing Halloween with SVAXETHROWINGCO! KID friendly! Make your reservation today, spots will fill up fast: Fill out[...]
6:00 pm Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Nov 4 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Community Clinic @ Online Event
St. Luke Community Clinic, Inc., of Front Royal, will hold its Annual Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, by ZOOM. All members (those who donate $35 annually or volunteer at the clinic) are[...]