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The top 3 dog breeds for farms

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Dogs make a great addition to any farm. They can help with herding cattle, guarding livestock, and chasing away pesky rodents. If you’re thinking about adding a new member to your family, consider one of these three breeds.

1. Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees are guard dogs through and through. Since they were bred to watch over the livestock and live with them year-round, these canines are incredibly loyal yet independent protectors. They also have a thick coat, which makes it easy for them to live outdoors in all types of weather. The Great Pyrenees is an extremely friendly and laid-back dog that can be a great companion for the entire family.

2. Border collie
Border collies are one of the dogs most suited for farms because they’re extremely smart, hard-working, and aim to please. They’re energetic and need daily activity and exercise, making them well-suited to the physical demands of working on a farm. Border collies are also notoriously easy to train and great around children.

3. Australian cattle dog
Because of their small and compact size, Australian cattle dogs make great herding dogs or ratters. They have boundless energy and thrive in an environment where they have a job. They’re eager to be involved in just about any farm activity and form a deep bond with their owners.

Besides being great companions, dogs can make your daily tasks and chores on the farm easier and more enjoyable.

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Safety First: Navigating the Intersection of Man and Machine

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Robots in the Workplace: Understanding and Minimizing the Risks.

The dawn of the robotic age in workplaces presents as much a challenge as it does an opportunity. With the seamless integration of robots, especially in warehouse scenarios, the intersection between man and machine is drawing a sharp focus on safety measures. Ensuring that human workers can coexist with their mechanical counterparts without danger is now a top priority.

A deep dive into data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) spanning a quarter of a century, from 1992 to 2017, sheds light on the potential pitfalls of the robotic age. Within this timeframe, there were 61 reported fatalities in the U.S. involving workers collaborating with robots.

Two primary scenarios have been identified as the culprits:

  1. Contact with Robots: A significant 60% of these fatalities occurred due to workers directly engaging with robots. The grim tally includes workers struck by robotic arms, trapped or caught in machinery, or crushed during operational hours.
  2. Programming and Set-Up Mishaps: The remaining 40% of the fatalities were rooted in technical errors. Whether it was a glitch in programming, software malfunctions, or improper configurations, the fallout was catastrophic for the workers involved.

Larry Layne, a seasoned researcher with NIOSH, pointed out a harrowing statistic: a staggering 78% of the fatalities happened when a robot inadvertently struck a worker, frequently during maintenance activities.

While the CFOI data might not specify the precise number of individuals working alongside robots during this era, the fatality count, although concerning, remains relatively modest given the broad integration of robotics in diverse sectors.

Addressing this, global safety mavens are amplifying their efforts. Not only are risk assessments and specialized training modules being devised, but robot manufacturers themselves are integrating novel safety mechanisms. These span the gamut from emergency halt buttons to advanced barriers and innovative presence-sensing devices that can detect human proximity and react accordingly.

As the robotics age unfolds, so does our comprehension of the associated risks. The key is to harness the potential of these machines while putting human safety at the forefront. A world where humans and robots can work in harmony is not beyond our reach, but it demands vigilance, innovation, and a commitment to prioritize safety above all else.

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The Burden of Learning: America’s Student Loan Divide

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Young and Old Alike: A Deep Dive into Student Loan Figures.

With student loans surpassing a staggering $1.7 trillion, one might believe this is a universally shared burden. However, the recent GoBankingRates survey paints a nuanced picture. While a majority of Americans remain free from student loan chains, a closer look reveals stark disparities across age groups.

Among the standout statistics is the figure concerning the youngest demographic. If you fall between the ages of 18 and 23, you’re statistically more likely to have student loans than not, with only 39% free from educational debt. On the brighter side, almost a third of the young debtors owe less than $10,000. The breakdown further highlights:

  • 11% owe $20,001 to $30,000
  • 9% owe $30,001 to $40,000
  • 4% owe both in the $40,001 to $50,000 and $50,001 to $60,000 brackets
  • 3% owe $60,001 to $70,000
  • A combined 16% owe between $70,001 and $100,000
  • 6% have debts that exceed the $100,000 mark

However, the most startling revelation isn’t about the young but about senior borrowers. A whopping 72% of loan bearers over the age of 65 owe between $20,000 and $40,000. Further, an unexpected 17% owe up to a staggering $100,000. These figures defy the conventional wisdom that older individuals have “settled” their educational dues.

These disparities in student loan figures underscore the complexity of America’s student loan landscape. It’s not just fresh graduates or young professionals shouldering educational debts. The reasons older generations acquire such debts vary from assisting younger family members’ education to pursuing further academic endeavors themselves. Regardless of age, the gravity of America’s student loan saga is felt across generations, highlighting the need for more comprehensive loan policies and assistance programs.

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Agriculture

Farm-to-Fork Fast Track: The Rise of Short Food Supply Chains

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The Sustainable and Economic Benefits of Bridging the Gap Between Producers and Consumers.

In an era marked by heightened environmental consciousness and a collective move toward ethical consumption, “local produce” is no longer just a farmers’ market catchphrase—it’s a critical component of modern sustainability efforts. A recent press release highlights an intriguing development in this space: the rise of short food supply chains. The concept, although simple, could revolutionize how we think about the food on our plates and its journey to get there. By minimizing the number of intermediaries between producers and consumers, short food supply chains promise economic gains for local farmers and a lower carbon footprint for all.

Short food supply chains enable local producers to sidestep the cost burden often imposed by multiple intermediaries, such as wholesalers, brokers, and retailers. This financial liberation boosts profit margins for farmers, enabling them to focus more on quality and potentially pass down cost savings to the consumer. For small-scale farmers who may lack the capital or infrastructure to compete with large industrial farms, this is an opportunity to level the playing field.

The environmental benefits of short food supply chains are manifold. Reduced transportation requirements directly translate to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This concept aligns with the general trend of shrinking carbon footprints, becoming especially relevant given that food in North America travels an average of 1,600 miles from producer to consumer. Additionally, the practice incentivizes local producers to employ greener practices, such as organic crop production, further promoting environmental sustainability.

There are various formats that short food supply chains can take, including U-pick farms, farm-based shopping, home delivery, farmers’ markets, producer-hosted e-commerce sites, and subscription boxes. This diversity in options not only offers convenience but also adds a personal touch to the food shopping experience. Consumers can know exactly where their food comes from, potentially even meeting the people who grow it.

When consumers opt for these local, shortened supply chain options, the positive ripples are felt across the board. This kind of conscious shopping strengthens local economies by keeping money circulating within the community. The press release sums it up aptly: When you buy from producers that prioritize short food supply chain practices, you support both your environment and your local economy.

The rise of short food supply chains signals a promising shift toward more sustainable and economically fair food systems. While it may not completely replace the current industrial food systems overnight, it does offer a viable alternative that appeals to the growing number of conscientious consumers. So, the next time you see a farmers’ market, consider stopping by—not just for the fresh produce but also for the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re contributing to a more sustainable and equitable food network.

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Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Vision: Beyond Imagination

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The reality behind the Reverie: Van Gogh’s Astronomical Precision.

At first glance, Vincent van Gogh’s iconic Starry Night may seem a mere artistic expression, a fantastical portrayal of a night sky brimming with emotion and imagination. However, one historian’s discovery suggests that the painting hides a meticulous representation of the heavens as they truly appeared.

Delving into the Night Sky

In 1985, Albert Boime, an art history professor, delved deeper into the intricate swirls and radiant stars of Van Gogh’s masterpiece. His findings? Van Gogh’s portrayal wasn’t merely a product of his vivid imagination but a precise depiction of the night sky. Despite battling his inner demons in a mental institution and dealing with the aftermath of severing his own ear, Van Gogh meticulously rendered the cosmic tableau outside his window.

According to Boime’s calculations, the painting mirrors the eastern sky as seen on June 19, 1889, at 4 a.m. Venus, a bright evening star, and constellations like Capella, Cassiopeia, and Pegasus are all painted in their rightful places, underscoring Van Gogh’s attention to detail and his intimate connection with the universe.

However, Van Gogh did make one significant departure from reality. Instead of portraying the moon in its waning gibbous phase, as it would have been seen during that time, he chose to illustrate a crescent moon. Was this a deliberate choice driven by artistic impulse, or was there another reason behind this deviation? The question remains open to interpretation.

A Symphony of Art and Science

Van Gogh’s artistry, intertwined with his observation skills, reiterates that art and science often go hand in hand. His work challenges the preconceived notion that artists rely solely on imagination. Instead, it emphasizes the value of observation and the profound connection between an artist and their surroundings.

Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, already revered as a masterpiece, gains an added layer of depth with the revelation of its astronomical accuracy. It stands as a testament to the keen eye of an artist who, even amidst personal turmoil, was deeply in tune with the world around him. Van Gogh’s painting is not just a portrayal of the night sky; it is a harmonious blend of emotion, observation, and precision.

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The Parenthood Question: A Life-Altering Choice That’s Yours to Make

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Navigating Social, Professional, and Personal Factors in the Decision to Have Children.

The decision to become a parent is often considered one of the most consequential choices in one’s lifetime. The ramifications extend far beyond the biological act of conception or the legal process of adoption, touching every aspect of your personal, financial, and even professional life. While societal pressures may paint a rosy picture of parenthood or imply it’s a foregone conclusion, the reality is far more complex. Here’s an in-depth look at the many facets you should consider before embarking on this life-altering journey.

Personal Desire vs. Societal Expectations
Whether single or in a relationship, the “biological clock” can be a loud tick in the ears of individuals as they approach their late 20s and 30s. But this monumental decision should be motivated by personal desire, not societal expectations or familial pressure. A child, while potentially enriching your life in myriad ways, doesn’t stay a cute baby forever. The responsibilities of parenthood are long-term, and it’s essential to understand your emotional readiness.

The Career Dilemma
The balancing act of managing a successful career and being a responsible parent is often easier said than done. Maternity and paternity leave can put a pause on your professional life. Moreover, not all workplaces are flexible when it comes to accommodating parents with young children. Companies like Google and Netflix have set a gold standard in parental leave policies, but many smaller firms are yet to catch up. Before you decide, investigate your employer’s stance on work-life balance and family-friendly benefits.

A Financial Balancing Act
Raising a child is expensive. Reports suggest that a middle-income family will spend an average of $233,610 to raise a child to age 18 — not including college. While some countries offer substantial parental benefits, these often cover only a fraction of the total cost. If your finances are already stretched thin, consider speaking with a financial planner to review your budget and future forecasts.

Your Well-being Matters
Parenthood is as physically and emotionally draining as it is rewarding. Sleepless nights, constant worry, and the daily demands of childcare can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions or lead to new ones. It’s not selfish to consider your well-being; your ability to care for yourself directly influences your ability to care for a child.

The Importance of a Support Network
Child-rearing is not a solo endeavor. Whether it’s the involvement of a co-parent or the support of family and friends, you’ll need a reliable network to lean on, particularly during those sleep-deprived early years. Community organizations and parental support groups can be invaluable resources for first-time parents.

Choosing to become a parent is a deeply personal decision that deserves careful, thoughtful consideration. Factors like personal desires, career implications, financial readiness, and both physical and mental well-being play a crucial role in making an informed choice. If you’re on the fence, professional guidance from psychologists or family planning advisors can offer additional insights. And remember, choosing not to become a parent doesn’t require justification; your life choices are valid in their own right.

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Agriculture

The Imperative of Self-Care in America’s Most Hazardous Profession: Farm Work

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National Farm Safety and Health Week Turns the Spotlight on Mental and Physical Well-Being in Agriculture.

National Farm Safety and Health Week, running this year from September 17 to 23, serves as a timely reminder of the often underestimated risks and challenges faced by America’s agricultural workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture ranks as the most dangerous industry in the United States, with an alarming rate of accidents and fatalities, especially during harvest season. But how can those in this high-risk field better protect themselves, both mentally and physically?

In the world of agriculture, self-care starts with the basics—adequate protective clothing and staying hydrated. Given that tasks like planting and harvesting involve repetitive motion, experts recommend regular stretching exercises to ward off injuries. Physical therapist Dr. Karen Ellis advises, “Regular stretching isn’t just a good practice for those in sedentary jobs. It’s crucial for agricultural workers as it can prevent musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive strain injuries.”

While the focus often lies on physical safety, mental well-being is equally vital. Farm work comes with its set of unique stressors: unpredictable weather patterns, seasonal deadlines, and the very reality of depending on factors beyond one’s control. Incorporating mindfulness practices into daily routines can significantly help farmers maintain focus and reduce errors, which are often the precursors to accidents.

“Mental health can’t be sidelined when talking about farm safety,” says psychologist Dr. Sarah Turner. “The unpredictability of farming activities can lead to heightened stress and anxiety, potentially compromising attention and decision-making skills.”

This year, the organizers behind National Farm Safety and Health Week have allocated each day to specific focus areas:

  • Monday, September 18: Equipment and Rural Roadway Safety
  • Tuesday, September 19: Health and Wellness
  • Wednesday, September 20: Priority Populations
  • Thursday, September 21: Confined Spaces
  • Friday, September 22: Brain Health

Each topic aims to shed light on essential yet often overlooked aspects of farm safety, reinforcing this year’s theme, “No one can take your place,” urging farmers to take the necessary precautions to protect both body and mind.

In an industry as hazardous as agriculture, self-care is not a luxury; it’s an imperative. As we observe National Farm Safety and Health Week, let’s recognize that behind the statistics are real people whose well-being impacts not just them but also the communities and economies they serve. Let us consider this a call to action for not only the farming community but also policymakers and industry leaders to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of America’s agricultural workers.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

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The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

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Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

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White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

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Upcoming Events

Sep
23
Sat
10:00 am Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Wee... @ Abram's Delight Museum
Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Wee... @ Abram's Delight Museum
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Weekend @ Abram's Delight Museum
Join George Mercer’s Company of the Virginia Regiment at Abram’s Delight in Historic Winchester Virginia DATE: September 23 & 24, 2023 TIME: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm LOCATION: 1340 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester, VA[...]
10:00 am National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Get your hands dirty as we work to mitigate invasive species and improve the natural environment within the park’s campground. Join park rangers as they work to identify and capture these species that[...]
10:00 am Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Take into your heart the peace of wild things. Absorb the transformative words of writers who loved the natural world, read aloud by two Shenandoah Chapter Master Naturalists. Walk in silence at[...]
Sep
24
Sun
10:00 am Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Wee... @ Abram's Delight Museum
Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Wee... @ Abram's Delight Museum
Sep 24 @ 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Abram’s Delight: Annual FIWF Weekend @ Abram's Delight Museum
Join George Mercer’s Company of the Virginia Regiment at Abram’s Delight in Historic Winchester Virginia DATE: September 23 & 24, 2023 TIME: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm LOCATION: 1340 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester, VA[...]
Sep
27
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Sep 27 @ 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[...]
Sep
30
Sat
10:00 am Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connections Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the remarkable seasonal wild edible and medicinal plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This full-day hike will cover native and[...]
Oct
4
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 4 @ 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[...]
Oct
7
Sat
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 7 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Oct 7 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
Oct
8
Sun
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]