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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Retirement: Men suffer boredom,loss of identity, studies say

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John is a successful family man: Married for 25 years, he supported his family as a truck driver, always on the road. In his last year before retirement, he dreamed of being at home, improving his guitar skills, jamming with his brother.

Then, a retired friend tells him: “Don’t be surprised that there is nothing to do. Winter is the worst. It is so boring.”

So this is how retirement is? Boring? Disappointing? Aimless?

For many men, boredom is first and depression is second. It may come as a surprise because they were looking forward to free time. According to a 2012 study by University of California, men experience satisfaction the first year followed by a steep decline. In fact, a 2013 study showed that retirement alone increased the probability of depression in men by 40 percent.

Lindsay Greene, author of “Ready to Retire? What You and Your Spouse Need to Know About the Reality of Retirement,” writes that the happiest retirees have multiple selves — hobbies and activities that keep them busy.

Some psychologists say the happiest retirees are those who spent the last three years before retirement hating their job. While they inevitably lose their identity as the breadwinner, at least they don’t go back to the hated grind. But, for those who love their job, it’s probably best to ease into retirement. Either work part time at your job before official retirement or take a part-time job.

Either way, in retirement men (and women) need social relationships, scheduled activities, and meaning.

Interesting Things You Need to Know

Agricultural equipment operators: the force that powers our farms

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Equipment operators play a vital role in the farming industry. They operate and maintain the equipment used in virtually every stage of modern agricultural production, from the combines used to harvest crops to the loading machines that prepare them for market. Agricultural equipment operators work with all kinds of farming machinery including tractors, raking equipment, berry pickers, threshers and hay balers. Their important work is essential for tilling soil, planting seeds, fertilizing plants and harvesting crops.

Working with heavy-duty farm equipment requires a unique skillset and specialized training. To be a successful farm machinery operator, you need to have excellent physical coordination and driving skills as well as mechanical aptitude and the ability to make decisions quickly. In short, you need to be good with machines and good with your hands. You should also love spending time outdoors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for an agricultural equipment operator is $15.12 an hour.

If you think you have what it takes to become a farm equipment operator, there are certification programs available that combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience. In these courses, you’ll acquire a thorough knowledge of how various machines work and learn safe operating and maintenance techniques along with tips for how to maximize machine productivity. Becoming a certified farm equipment operator can improve your chances of landing a job at a competitive salary.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Cannabis in pop culture

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Here are five of the most iconic depictions of cannabis in pop culture from the last few decades:

1. Cheech and Chong
Deservedly number one on the list, this comedy duo made their love for cannabis the hub of many of their celebrated stand-up routines, studio recordings and feature films during the 1970s and 1980s.

2. The music of Bob Marley

Reggae musician Bob Marley publicly smoked marijuana and wrote many songs about it. As a member of the Rastafari religion, he saw smoking ganja as a sacred act that brings spiritual enlightenment.

3. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
This 1982 coming-of-age comedy featuring Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, a perpetually stoned surfer, has become a cannabis culture classic.

4. Weeds
This Showtime series starring Mary-Louise Parker as a weed-dealing soccer mom ran for eight seasons and received rave reviews for its darkly comic take on American suburbia.

5. Pineapple Express
This 2008 stoner comedy follows the antics of a processer server and his weed dealer after they witness a murder and flee to escape a drug lord. Pineapple Express is the name of a cannabis strain, but it’s unclear which came first — the movie or the strain.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Swinging into golf season

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For golf lovers, spring is synonymous with swing. As soon as the snow has melted, they’re reaching for their clubs. However, before teeing off, golfers need to get back their groove. Prior to heading onto the links this season, make sure you properly stretch, check your equipment and get some practice in.

Pre-season stretching and exercise
Most people become less active during winter. Any return to athletic activity after a lull needs to be done gradually and should involve stretching. Even if you were active last winter, stretching remains imperative: given that your muscles haven’t executed the specific motions involved in the golf swing for months, they can injure easily if not properly stretched.

The most important areas to stretch are the wrists, fore¬arms, triceps, shoulders, neck, lower back, glutes and hamstrings.

As for pre-season exercise, Golf Digest stresses the importance of strengthening your glutes. These large muscles not only stabilize your golf posture but also protect the lumbar spine from the stress involved in swinging a golf club repetitively. Some exercises that help train your glutes are squats, glute bridges and deadlifts.

Getting your gear ready
Golf might well involve more equipment than any other sport. Before starting your season, you’ll want to make sure your gear is up to snuff. Inspect your clubs, grips, shoes and the individual cleats on your shoes to make sure everything is course-ready.

Additionally, ensure you have what you need in the way of golf apparel. If you’re looking to hit the links straightaway, make sure you have clothing designed for nippy spring weather.

Finally, make certain your golf bag is well stocked. That means balls, tees, markers, an emergency kit and the rest.

Getting your swing back
Don’t expect to be at the top of your game right from the get-go. Before heading out on the course, you’re going to want to visit the driving range. It may be tempting to unsheathe that driver and start letting them fly; however, the best method is always to start with the wedges and work your way up to the big guns.

Having done all this, you should be back in the swing of things and ready to venture out onto the tee box.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Raising awareness about the importance of healthy money habits

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Since 2004, the U.S. government has recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month, a time for encouraging Americans to learn about financial issues and develop healthy spending and saving habits.

Studies show that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to put part of their income into savings. People of all ages aren’t saving enough money to retire comfortably, and numerous surveys reveal that most Americans would struggle to produce an extra $1,000 in an emergency. Plus, the average American household has just over $6,000 in credit card debt.

In light of these troubling statistics, it’s important to take steps to promote financial literacy in our families, schools and workplaces. Here are some personal finance basics to remember.

• Build an emergency fund. Experts advise having six months’ worth of expenses saved in case of an unexpected job loss or sudden medical emergency.

• Use credit cards responsibly. Avoid making only the minimum payment on your credit card each month. Try to spend only what you can afford to pay off.

• Co-manage money wisely. Whether you have joint accounts or manage your money separately, have open and honest conversations with your partner about money to ensure you’re on track to meet your long-term goals.

• Save 20 percent of your income. Automate payments into your savings account so you’re putting aside the recommended portion of your income each month.

Keep in mind that the best way to become financially literate is by developing good money habits early in life. If you’re a parent, consider kid-friendly ways to introduce your children to personal finance this April.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

What does the eco button in my car do?

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Many new cars have a feature known as eco mode that allows drivers to increase their vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Eco mode is engaged by pressing the button labeled “eco” or “econ,” which is typically found on the car’s central panel among the controls for the air conditioning, heat and radio.

So, what exactly does eco mode do?

It varies somewhat between makes and models, but generally the principal action is to reduce the vehicle’s throttle response (i.e. stifle its acceleration). Often this translates into a stiffer feel in the pedal.

Note that the eco mode function is automatically disabled when the vehicle travels at high speeds so that the driver can make safe passing and merging maneuvers.

Additionally, eco mode can enable various other tweaks to a car’s operations to increase fuel economy, whether it’s dialing back the air conditioning, executing transmission upshifts sooner or shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped.

So, if you want to save money on gas and reduce your tailpipe emissions, know that if you have eco mode, you can do it with the press of a button.

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Why your kid doesn’t want to go to camp and what to do about it

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During the summer, many parents send their kids to day camp while mom and dad are at work. Though many children love the experience and look forward to it, not all do. Here are some common reasons why some kids don’t want to go to camp and what to do about it.

BEFORE CAMP
Are your children saying they don’t want to go to camp before it’s even begun? Here are some possible reasons why they may be reluctant to attend:

They’re nervous

Talk to your children about how they’re feeling, empathize with them and let them know what they have to look forward to. You can then set up a play date before camp begins.

They don’t want to be alone
Try sending them to the same camp as a friend. If that’s not a possibility, reach out to the camp’s directors who may be able to put you in touch with other campers.

DURING CAMP
If your children decide out of nowhere that they don’t want to go to camp, this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a serious issue. Becoming averse to camp may be due to the following:

They didn’t like something that happened
Maybe somebody said something your kid didn’t like, or perhaps your child was unhappy with yesterday’s activities. Asking your kid questions or talking to a counselor can give you an idea of what’s up.

They miss you
Sometimes kids want to spend more time with their parents. If it’s possible, try picking them up early once in a while, or consider taking a Friday off to spend together as a family.

If your child is adamant about not liking day camp, consider enrolling them in one that specializes in their favorite hobbies or interests.

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10:00 am Humanity Day @ Main Street Gazebo
Humanity Day @ Main Street Gazebo
Apr 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Humanity Day @ Main Street Gazebo
This Saturday, April 20th, will be the 1st Annual Humanity Day sponsored by SONA Bank and the Habitat for Humanity. The event will take place at the Gazebo on Main Street in Front Royal from[...]
1:00 pm Dawn McCarty – Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Dawn McCarty – Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Apr 20 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Dawn McCarty - Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Thanks to the efforts of VGSR volunteers, Mickie was surrendered to the rescue and started a new adventure. Mickie was very special and it was not because of his feet. He was a fabulous companion[...]
1:00 pm Jeff Ryan – Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Jeff Ryan – Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Apr 20 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Jeff Ryan - Book Signing @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Author, speaker, photographer and avid hiker Jeff Ryan was born and raised in Maine. His love of the outdoors was evident early in life. He was skiing at the age of three and spending at least[...]