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How retirees can make new friends

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Has your social circle diminished over the years? If so, it can be difficult to make new friends as you get older. Here are some tips that might help.

1. Be proactive. Go out and meet people. Libraries, cafes and neighborhood gatherings are all ideal places to mingle. Alternatively, take a class that interests you, volunteer with a charity or join a club.

2. Seize opportunities. If someone invites you to an event or on an outing, accept! Don’t make excuses just because you’re nervous. If you meet someone you like, make plans to see them again soon.

3. Be interested. Listen to others and be interested in what they have to say. Smile, ask questions and don’t monopolize the conversation.

4. Keep in touch. Meeting new people isn’t the only way to enrich your social life. It can be just as rewarding, if not more so, to get in touch with old friends. You may be surprised at how easily you’re able to reconnect.

There’s no shortage of ways to meet new people. Search the internet to find local groups and clubs that interest you. Alternatively, take regular walks around your neighborhood. It’ll keep you in shape and you’ll get to know people in the area.

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The fireplace as focal point: how to make it work

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If styled right, a fireplace can be a stunning focal point that pulls a room’s entire esthetic together. Here are some ways to dress yours up.

Paint it a bold color
This is a great place to try out a bold tone that you wouldn’t normally use to paint a room. Because of the relatively small size of a fireplace, the color will stand out without overpowering the space.

Wallpaper the space flanking it
Paint the fireplace a neutral color and apply eye-catching wallpaper to the wall space on either side of it. Choose a design that invokes the room’s style or theme.

Hang striking artwork
A large piece of art that occupies both the horizontal and vertical space above the fireplace is sure to draw the eye. The piece you choose will affect the room’s overall feel, so be sure to select something you love.

No matter how you style your fireplace, your choices will make an impact. Carefully consider the impression you want to make and design the feature accordingly.

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Safety tips for snowmobile season

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January 18 to 26 is International Snowmobile Safety Week, and the theme is Safe Riders! You make snowmobiling safe. Here’s a rundown of some of the most important safety practices to follow when operating a snowmobile.

Precautions to take before leaving
Plan your trip in advance and practice staying safe by adhering to the following:

• Choose trails that you know well or that you’ve researched in advance.

• Bring a map of the area.
• Make sure your snowmobile is tuned up.
• If it’s your first time using a snowmobile, don’t take it out until you’ve familiarized yourself with how to use it. Be sure to take it slow during your first ride.
• Avoid snowmobiling alone and give someone who won’t be in your company an itinerary that includes your route and the duration of your ride.
• Ensure that you’ve memorized the hand signals used to communicate between snowmobilers.

Staying safe on the trail
Snowmobiles are definitely powerful, which is part of what makes them fun. However, they can also be dangerous should you fail to take the needed precautions. Here’s what you should do:

• Know your limits and the limits of your snowmobile.
• Respect signage and be attentive to your surroundings.
• Stop completely at intersections and look both ways before proceeding.
• Stay on the trail and respect private property.
• Be extra careful when driving at night. Adjust your speed so that you don’t “over-drive” your headlights.

For a more comprehensive list of safety tips, visit the website of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association at snowmobile.org.

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Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids

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On January 20, Americans across the country will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The holiday presents a unique opportunity to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader and to follow his example by volunteering. However, for those with children, it’s also an opportunity to help kids understand why it’s more than a day off school. Here are some ways you can share the day with them.

Read to them
There are a number of accessible biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. Reading one with your kids is a great way to teach them about the civil rights movement and, depending on their age, to help them develop their understanding of the ongoing civil rights struggles taking place in America today.

Make a themed craft
For younger or more artistically-minded kids, try creating artwork centered around a theme like peace, diversity, acceptance or generosity. These values are all central to MLK Jr.’s legacy. You could create peace signs, doves or garlands made up of diverse people holding hands.

Attend events
Bring your kids to museums and libraries holding events for the holiday. These institutions often have activities for younger kids while providing informative installations for older children and teenagers. Some places also hold parades and marches you can attend.

Watch the “I have a dream” speech
If your kids are older, watch the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a timeless articulation of his message and watching it presents an opportunity for you and your kids to discuss how the speech continues to be relevant today. Perhaps it’ll even provide insight into ways they could volunteer.

Exposing young people to the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. is a key way to help keep his message alive. This year, take a bit of time to share his insight and wisdom with your children.

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How to socialize your new puppy

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Socializing puppies early is the key to making sure they develop into well-adjusted dogs. Most experts agree that between two and four months old is the ideal age to begin. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Register for puppy class
An obedience training program will expose your pup to other dogs and people, while teaching them how to respond to basic commands. Learning alongside other puppies trains them to concentrate on you, even when there are distractions.

Bring your dog everywhere
Let your dog accompany you on as many errands as possible. Walking your canine companion through town is a great opportunity for them to become used to the area’s sights, sounds and smells. If your puppy is comfortable with it, allow all types of strangers to greet and pet them.

Invite people over
Dogs need to learn how to greet visitors into their homes as well as on the street. Inviting other people and dogs over to meet your pooch will illustrate that visitors are welcome and that there’s no need to protect the home from them.

Socializing dogs is important but it does leave them more exposed to disease. Until they’re fully vaccinated, be sure to keep them away from off-leash dog parks and other places where they may come into contact with unfamiliar canines.

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Are there any alternatives to declawing cats?

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There are two effective ways to protect your furniture, curtains and children from your cat’s claws without having to declaw it. After all, declawing is a major operation. The solution? Scratching posts and nail caps.

Scratching posts are covered in materials that cats love to dig their claws into, such as cardboard, wood, carpet or jute. A post gives your pet a perfect place to scratch as much as it wants, but the challenge is to get your cat interested in doing so. If your cat ignores its scratching post, it’s probably because the post isn’t located in the right place. Typically, it should be where your pet wants to scratch to mark its territory. To solve this problem, move the post around until your cat shows interest; try placing it near the corner of a sofa, for instance. You can also make the post more attractive by hanging a toy on it or by sprinkling it with catnip.

Nail caps are protective membranes attached directly to trimmed claws with non-toxic glue. These guards are painless, last about six weeks and are available in various colors. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more about nail caps or declawing.

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How often should you inspect your roof?

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Your roof is an integral part of your home and plays a big role in shielding you and your loved ones from the elements. Though roofs last a long time, they must be inspected regularly and repaired as needed.

So, how often should you inspect your roof?

Most contractors recommend checking it twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you’re not comfortable climbing on top of your house, it’s best to hire a professional roofer to perform the inspection.

Some things to look for are:

• Soft spots
• Shingles that are loose or curling
• Loose material around the chimney
• Anything protruding from the roof
• Large amounts of shingle granules in the gutters

Biannual inspections are crucial, but they aren’t the only time your roof should be given attention. Be sure to also visually check them after big storms, especially those with heavy precipitation and strong winds.

Your roof’s lifespan depends on its material. Slate, copper and tile roofs can last for up to 50 years, while wood shake roofs last for 30 and cement tiles have a lifespan of 25 years. Asphalt shingles will typically last around 20 years.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
20
Mon
9:00 am Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Jan 20 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Monday, January 20, 2020, starting at 9:00am, Esbie Baptist Church will be having their annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. The speaker of the hour will be Rev. Dr. Donald Reid, Pastor of Mt. Parah Baptist Church[...]
Jan
21
Tue
2:30 pm Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Jan 21 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith to visit R-MA @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
On Tuesday, January 21st, at 2:30 pm, in Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), the public is invited to be inspired by Rodney Smith, a man who has chosen to make a difference in the[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 21 @ 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, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
Jan
22
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 22 @ 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 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
23
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 23 @ 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 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
24
Fri
9:00 am Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veterans Services Meeting at Able Forces @ Able Forces
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America[...]
Jan
25
Sat
11:00 am Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
A Story Ballet. Join us in a celebration of classic literature through dance! The whole family will enjoy this ballet performance, presented by the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.
2:00 pm Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Are you aged 7 or older? Do you enjoy art? If so, please join us for our children’s art class. Using the classic scissor cutting art of Scherenschnitte, we will make silhouettes in a nature[...]
Jan
28
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 28 @ 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, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
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, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]