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Shoplifting goes online

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Google shoplifting, then read past the first page of results.

You’ll see stories about shoplifting gangs targeting stores all over the country, and nobody is really sure why. One author says it’s a ‘howl of grief.’ A Texas lawman says it is big business. Others say it just offers a big thrill.

But when dozens of people clad in ski masks looted a Nordstrom last November, was it just for the thrill?

According to the National Retail Federation, shoplifting caused $50 billion in losses to storefront retailers in 2020.


In San Francisco, Walgreens said shoplifting was the primary reason it closed five of its 53 stores. Bloomberg reported that the actual cause may have been slower pandemic traffic (or looting) and they said the stores didn’t report such incidents to police.

San Francisco famously passed a law in 2014 that reduced shoplifting to a misdemeanor crime if the stolen items totaled $950 or less, but recently Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that allows prosecutors to press felony charges against participants in shoplifting gangs if the theft totals more than $500, according to the New York Times.

But is there something different going on today than in the past?

Organized gangs have always had to become retailers themselves. It was a lot of work, but the work is easier now.

These days, some thieves have elevated their game — literally. In Katy, Texas, police raided a home with a freight elevator that moved 55 pallets of stolen Home Depot goods worth $5 million. The goods were sold on Amazon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In fact, online retailing, especially on Amazon, makes it a lot easier for thieves to steal and sell their goods. Police in San Francisco found a couple who actually acted as a wholesaler, moving $8 million in stolen goods to sketchy Amazon sellers. According to MarketWatch, the average shoplifting incident nets $750 at small stores and $300 at large ones. To accumulate $8 million in goods would mean thousands of hits to stores — and a lot of dedication from more than one person.

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5 ecological construction materials

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Are you planning on renovating your home or building a new abode? If so, have you considered the environmental impact of the construction materials? Here are five building materials you may want to consider to reduce your ecological footprint.

1. Wood is ideal for home construction because it’s weather-resistant, recyclable, renewable, and an excellent insulator. In addition, it’s readily available and easy to maintain.

2. Straw is an inexpensive insulator. In fact, it can stay in peak condition for several hundred years if kept dry. However, you must include fire protection as part of the installation.

3. Cork is a lightweight, water-repellent, and rot-proof material that’s great for insulating and soundproofing your home. It’s also resistant to insects and fungi. The only disadvantage is that it tends to be pricey.


4. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that reaches maturity in four years. It’s a versatile material that’s suitable for flooring, furniture, insulation, and soundproofing.

5. Steel is a great building material. You don’t need to use very much to reach the same structural stability as wood. It’s even more environmentally friendly when composed of recycled resources.

You can use many other materials to renovate your home while respecting the environment. Ask an expert in your area to show you available ecological solutions.

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When to buy an ATV

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Summer is just around the corner. Consequently, many people are thinking about purchasing an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) for working outdoors or exploring nearby trails. Here’s a look at the best time of year to buy a quad from your local dealership.

First come, first served
Dealerships typically receive shipments of brand-new four-wheelers in the fall. Therefore, if you want to browse new and old models alike, autumn is the best time of year to go shopping. Moreover, since public demand decreases at this time, dealers are particularly inclined to offer discounts to stimulate sales and make room for new arrivals.

If you’ve missed this window, you may still be able to find a model that works for you. However, don’t delay. Demand increases as the summer season approach. Additionally, since the pandemic has disrupted supply chains, the model you researched online may no longer be available at your local dealership.

If you don’t find an ATV that catches your eye, consider waiting until the fall. Although you won’t enjoy quadding right away, you’ll be rewarded for your patience with a wide selection of off-road vehicles at low prices.


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What police officers want you to know about policing

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How much do you know about policing? Unfortunately, what many people believe about this line of work comes from television. For National Police Week, which takes place this year from May 15 to 21, here are some facts about this profession to keep in mind.

Becoming a police officer is difficult
Earning a police badge is challenging. Only one out of every 100 applications is accepted for training. Many cadets won’t graduate from the academy, and more will quit during field training. The ones who make it are dedicated, intelligent individuals committed to keeping their communities safe.

Policing is inaccurately portrayed on TV
Shows like CSI provide a glamorized view of police work. In real life, officers involved in shootings don’t go back to work right away, and murder cases aren’t solved in a few days. Investigations are painstakingly slow. Don’t assume that because you watch Criminal Minds, you’re aware of what happens on the job.

PTSD is a real problem
More than shootings can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in police officers. Horrible car crashes, violent altercations, and failed rescue attempts can all take a toll on an officer’s mental health.


Most cops never shoot anyone
Watching the news may give you the impression police officers are always shooting at suspects. However, the exact opposite is true. Most officers go through their entire career without firing their weapon outside of a training range.

During National Police Week, consider the good work officers do to keep our communities safe.

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4 common types of EMS calls

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National EMS Week, which takes place this year from May 15 to 21, is a time for all Americans to learn more about the lifesaving work emergency medical service (EMS) providers deliver every day. These front-line healthcare workers are trained to arrive at the scene of an emergency and deliver medical aid. Here are some of the most common types of EMS calls they face.

1. Trauma
Traumatic injuries happen quickly and require immediate medical attention. They can be wounds sustained in car crashes, drownings, shootings, and falls. About 100,000 Americans die from traumatic injuries every year, and it’s the leading cause of death in the country for people under 45. However, thanks to the medical training EMS workers have, many lives are saved.

2. Abdominal pain
Pain in the abdomen can be a symptom of gas, indigestion, or a pulled muscle. However, it can also be symptomatic of pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, or appendicitis. EMS workers have the training to assess and diagnose abdominal pains on the scene.

3. Respiratory distress
Determining why a patient can’t breathe properly is complicated and requires extensive medical knowledge. Respiratory distress can be caused by an allergic reaction, asthma, pneumonia, a stroke, or a drug overdose. Each scenario requires a different treatment before the patient can be safely transported to the hospital.


4. Chest pain
Chest pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including anxiety, acid reflux, pneumonia, and a heart attack. An EMS worker’s first job on a call pertaining to chest pain is to rule out the most life-threatening condition, which is cardiac arrest, then move on to other possible causes.

EMS workers face many challenges during an average shift, but their training and dedication help save lives. This year in May, be sure to show your appreciation for these medical professionals during EMS Week.

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Olivia and Liam top baby names for 2021

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Olivia and Liam are America’s most popular baby names in 2021. Liam has been the top choice for new parents for five years in a row, and Olivia has topped the list for three years. Once again, during this unprecedented time, parents chose to stick with familiar names. Out of both Top 10 lists combined, only one name changed, with Theodore replacing Alexander in popularity. The name Theodore joins the Top 10 list for the first time–welcome to the club “Teddy!”

Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2021:

Rank Male name Female name
1 Liam Olivia
2 Noah Emma
3 Oliver Charlotte
4 Elijah Amelia
5 James Ava
6 William Sophia
7 Benjamin Isabella
8 Lucas Mia
9 Henry Evelyn
10 Theodore Harper

Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi encourages everyone to enjoy the baby names list and, while online, create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

my Social Security, born ten years ago this month, is a personalized online account people can use beginning in their working years and continuing while receiving Social Security benefits.


Over the decade, more than 69 million people have signed up and benefited from the many secure and convenient self-service options. People who set up their my Social Security account have access to additional personalized services. They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes a retirement estimator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Additional Baby Names Information:

Social Security began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating back to 1880. At the time of a child’s birth, parents supply the name to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security card, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names.

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop culture on naming trends. Here are the top five fastest-rising boys and girls names in 2021:

Rank Male name Female name
1 Amiri Raya
2 Eliam Wrenley
3 Colter Angelique
4 Ozzy Vida
5 Loyal Emberlynn

Please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames to view the entire list.

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May Celebrity Birthdays!

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Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

Tim McGraw, 55, By Steve Kwak [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

1 – Tim McGraw, 55, country singer, actor (1883), Delhi, LA, 1967.

2 – Ellie Kemper, 42, actress (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Kansas City, MO, 1980.

3 -, Frankie Valli, 85, singer, Newark, NJ, 1937.


4 – Rory McIlroy, 33, golfer, Holywood, Northern Ireland, 1989.

5 – Adele, 34, singer, born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Tottenham, England, 1988.

6 – Roma Downey, 58, actress (Touched by an Angel), Derry, Northern Ireland, 1964.

7 – Alexander Ludwig, 29, actor (Vikings), Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1992.

8 – Joe Bonamassa, 45, guitarist, New Hartford, NY, 1977.

9 – Billy Joel, 73, singer, composer, Hicksville, NY, 1949.

10 – Kenan Thompson, 44, comedian, actor (Saturday Night Live), Atlanta, GA, 1978.

11 – Jonathan Jackson, 40, actor (Nashville), Orlando, FL, 1982.

12 – Burt Bacharach, 94, composer (six Grammys, three Oscars), Kansas City, MO, 1928.

13 – Sofia Coppola, 51, filmmaker (Marie Antoinette), New York, NY, 1971.

14 – Ronan Tynan, 61, opera singer (The Irish Tenors), Dublin, Ireland,1960.

15 – Sam Trammell, 51, actor (True Blood), New Orleans, LA, 1971.

16 – Pierce Brosnan, 69, actor (Remington Steele), County Meath, Ireland, 1953.

17 – Thom Filicia, 53, interior designer, Syracuse, NY, 1969.

18 – James Stephens, 71, actor (The Paper Chase), Mount Kisco, NY, 1951.

19 – Grace Jones, 70, actress (A View to a Kill), Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1952.

20 – Timothy Olyphant, 54, actor (Justified), Honolulu, HI, 1968.

21 – Sarah Ramos, 31, actress (Parenthood,), Los Angeles, CA, 1991.

22 – Naomi Campbell, 52, model, actress (Empire), London, England, 1970.

23 – Drew Carey, 61, actor (The Drew Carey Show), Cleveland, OH, 1958.

24 – Gary Burghoff, 79, actor (M*A*S*H), Bristol, CT, 1943.

25 – Lauryn Hill, 47, singer, actress (Sister Act 2), South Orange, NJ, 1975.

26 – Eli Goree, 28, actor (One Night in Miami), Halifax, NS, Canada, 1994.

27 – Chris Colfer, 32, actor (Glee), Fresno, CA, 1990.

28 – Jake Johnson, 44, actor (New Girl), Evanston, IL, 1978.

29 – Riley Keough, 33, actress (Magic Mike), Los Angeles, CA, 1989.

30 – Jared Gilmore, 22, actor (Once Upon a Time, Mad Men), San Diego, CA, 2000.

31 – Colin Farrell, 46, actor (Total Recall), Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland, 1976.

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Upcoming Events

May
21
Sat
9:00 am Kids’ Fishing Tournament @ Shenandoah River State Park
Kids’ Fishing Tournament @ Shenandoah River State Park
May 21 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Kids' Fishing Tournament @ Shenandoah River State Park
Held in the picnic area by the river. 2 prize categories: biggest catch and most unique catch Children ages 15 years and younger are eligible to compete Check in with the ranger at Shelter 1[...]
10:00 am Birds of the Woods and Fields @ Sky Meadows State Park
Birds of the Woods and Fields @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 21 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Birds of the Woods and Fields @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail Join Shenandoah Chapter Master Naturalist Margaret Wester and explore the habitat of birds and the woodland wonders utilized for their survival. Discover the diverse stories of the Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, Wood[...]
11:00 am National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 21 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Children’s Discovery Area This National Kids to Parks Day, join us for fun-filled activities and music at our interactive discovery stations. Kids, pick up a scavenger hunt brochure and hike on the Track Trail or[...]
May
22
Sun
2:00 pm Common Scents: Historic Perfume ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Common Scents: Historic Perfume ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 2:00 pm – May 23 @ 4:00 pm
Common Scents: Historic Perfume Making Workshop @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Have you ever wondered how to harvest the fragrance of a flower or capture the irresistible aroma of sandalwood? Then this hands-on workshop is for you! Join us and learn how people in[...]
5:00 pm Let’s Come Together @ DoubleTree by Hilton
Let’s Come Together @ DoubleTree by Hilton
May 22 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Let's Come Together @ DoubleTree by Hilton
A Night of Prayer and Worship, All are Welcome Prayers led by Pastor John Miller of Abundant Life Church and other Local Pastors DoubleTree by Hilton 111 Hospitality Dr. Front Royal, VA Sunday, May 22[...]
May
25
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
May 25 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
May
28
Sat
8:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 28 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]
May
30
Mon
7:00 pm 2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
May 30 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2022 Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Concert by Front Royal Community Band Monday, May 30, 2022, 7pm, at the Gazebo on Main St. (sponsored by American Legion Post #53)
Jun
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]