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Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

August 7, 2015 Your Money Comments Off on Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You
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By B. Brandon Barker

The stats are real: 67 percent of people are viewing your website for the first time on a mobile device. For some potential customers, it’s a huge inconvenience (and sometimes a deal breaker) when they can’t find your products or location from a few taps on their phone. Almost 50 percent of e-commerce activity is mobile, and an increasing number of shoppers exclusively shop on mobile devices.

What makes a website mobile-friendly? In a nutshell, it needs to be readable and clickable from a small, handheld screen – a mobile phone or a tablet.

According to the Google Blog, a page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot: … Continue Reading

What You Don’t Know About Propane – But Should

December 10, 2014 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on What You Don’t Know About Propane – But Should
daveschultz

Answers And Insights That Could Save You Thousands
An Interview With Dale Schultz

Where Does Propane Come From?
Dale Schultz: Propane is a by-product of drilling for Natural Gas (Methane). All propane in our area comes from North America. The U.S. is a net exporter of propane, primarily to Central and South America. The propane is separated from the methane, butane, and ethane at the refinery. Propane is transported to our area via rail and pipelines.

Is Propane less costly than home heating oil and diesel fuel?
DS: Adjusted for BTUs, propane is about $1.00/gallonless than either home heating oil or diesel. This why school districts around the country are converting their school bus fleets to operate on propane. It is not only saving them money, but equally important propane burns cleaner than diesel. … Continue Reading

Looking Long Term … Towards Solar Power

October 1, 2014 Your Money Comments Off on Looking Long Term … Towards Solar Power

Is solar power coming? Nationwide statistics indicate that the national answer question is “yes.” A first-ever Solar Home & Winery Tour in Loudoun County – held in September – is a sign that more and more people in the county are looking into solar power.

With respect to Virginia, the Solar Energies Industry Association reports that the state ranks only 27th nationally in the growth of solar power. However, a quick look at a map of the state shows a large cluster of solar-related companies – including manufacturers, contractor/installers, project developers and engineering professionals – in the northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland region. So, the market is there. Virginia ranks second out of five categories in terms of how affordable residential solar power installation is. While solar power can dramatically reduce your energy bills, the average cost of residential system in not insignificant – $10,000–$15,000 in our state. … Continue Reading

The Builder’s Wife: The Evolution of Green

May 2, 2012 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on The Builder’s Wife: The Evolution of Green
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By Cathy Little

There’s a lot of talk these days about Going Green. But, how much of it is reasonable and useful to do?  Can we be kinder to the environment and reduce our utility bills without spending too much green to go green?!

Due to industry innovation many green technologies have improved in efficiency and come down in price in the last few years.

Others are not yet practical options for Northern Virginia. … Continue Reading

Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks

Amy Smith-BRL

Meet Amy Smith, our newest columnist who will write here each month on how to plan for an independent financial future. She will give special attention to the needs of pre-retirees and widowed and divorced women.

It’s hard to take up the subject of financial planning these days when so many individuals and families have been hit so hard by the recession. And yet, there’s probably no better time to begin to look ahead than right now.

As J. Pierpont Morgan, a gentleman who knew a fair bit about money, said, “The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” … Continue Reading

Belt-tightening Homeowners Discover the Value of Do-It-Yourself Painting

October 28, 2010 Business, News, Your Money Comments Off on Belt-tightening Homeowners Discover the Value of Do-It-Yourself Painting

By Debbie Zimmer

Declining home values, tight credit, and concern about the jobs picture are causing homeowners to scale back their remodeling plans, according to industry sources. At the same time, more consumers are discovering the satisfaction and cost-savings to be had with do-it-yourself painting. “While economic stress has taken its toll on consumer spending, people still want their homes to look attractive,” says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute. “For many homeowners, the solution is to take things into their own hands and do their remodeling with paint.”

The economic benefit of sprucing up with paint is apparent when you consider the average cost of remodeling a kitchen or bath – two rooms that homeowners frequently focus on. According to the latest survey by Remodeling magazine, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs $16,142, while a “minor” kitchen remodel runs $21,411.

“By way of contrast, you’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $100 or so repainting a bathroom or kitchen yourself … For a few dollars more, you could even go one step further and repaint the cabinets and woodwork to give the room a totally new look. Granted, repainting would still leave the existing fixtures and appliances in place, but in terms of appearance, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders in remaking a room,” says Zimmer.

The story’s the same when it comes to exterior remodeling. Take the front door, for example. “The average cost of installing a new fiberglass entry door is nearly $3,500, but you could easily repaint an existing door for $30 or so in just a couple hours’ time,” Zimmer says.

Bigger savings are possible for those willing to tackle their exterior walls. Rather than spending more than $13,000 on average to have a contractor install vinyl siding, for example, the do-it-yourselfer’s cost for materials to repaint existing wood, vinyl, or aluminum siding would likely be well under $1,000.

“Do-it-yourself painters are the ones who reap the greatest savings, but big savings are available even to those who hire a professional painter to do the work,” says Zimmer. “It might cost $800 to hire a contractor to repaint a bathroom, but that’s a far cry from the $16,000 average cost to remodel the room.” For those who want to save the most and do their own painting, Zimmer offers some tips:

  • Spend time doing good surface preparation before starting to paint. Make sure all the surfaces are clean and free of dirt and rime, mildew, and flaking or peeling paint …

  • Use high quality brushes and rollers, and when working outdoors, use quality spraypainting equipment. Better tools and equipment apply the paint more evenly, make the work go faster, and produce a better-looking paint job. vUse top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint.

Zimmer explains: “Since these paints have better hiding characteristics, they’ll cover even dark colors in fewer coats, and many of them function as both primer and paint. As a result, they offer a lot of built-in cost savings. Top quality 100 percent acrylic paints are also easy to apply and they produce a tough, durable finish that will last for years, making them a great value in terms of cost-per-year-of-service.”

According to Zimmer, the trend toward do-it-yourself painting, and painting in general, will likely continue. “Recent surveys indicate that consumers’ spending habits will be permanently changed as a result of today’s tough economic conditions. As time goes on, we expect more people to discover that repainting is a very affordable, and very effective, way to beautify their homes,” she says.

For more detailed information about surface preparation, paints, and painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute website at www.paintquality.com.

Small Steps To Add Energy Efficiency to Your Kitchen.

May 20, 2010 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on Small Steps To Add Energy Efficiency to Your Kitchen.

We are all aware of the push to save energy. Here are some easy ways to reduce energy usage in your kitchen. Most of us have heard some if not all of this before. A lot of us dismiss the information and continue life as usual. Try making a conscious effort when you’re in the kitchen to remember some these techniques. Don’t try to make too many changes at once. It will only frustrate you and you’ll slip back into the old habits. Try just one thing for starters, for example letting your dishes air dry. After a couple of weeks it will become habit. Next put a sign on your oven door, “Don’t Peek”. After a few false starts it too will become habit and you’ll be able to take the sign down.

Your appliances including your refrigerator, dishwasher and range use about 13 percent of your home’s energy. Here are some general guidelines for improving the efficiency and cutting energy costs.

Refrigerators

Adjust the refrigerator temperature settings. Optimum refrigerator range is 37 to 40°F and freezer range is 0 to 5°F. Check your owner’s manual for settings if the temperature control does not specify degrees. A full refrigerator retains cold better than an empty one. The mass of cold items will help the refrigerator to recover more quickly after the door has been opened however don’t overfill it. That will interfere with the circulation of cold air inside. Minimize door openings as much as possible, easier said than done with children in the house. When you do have to purchase a new one keep in mind that top freezer models are 10 to 25 percent more efficient than a side by side. And look for a model with an ENERGY STAR sticker.

Dishwashers

Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load. Running it after 7:00 p.m. will avoid using energy at peak hours. Avoid using the “rinse hold” setting on your dishwasher. “Rinse hold” uses three to seven gallons of hot water for each use, and heating water takes extra energy. Pieces of food can build up over the dishwasher drain and cause the dishwasher to work harder. Check the drain regularly to ensure it does not become clogged. If your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, use it instead of the heat-dry setting. You will cut the dishwasher’s energy use 15 to 50 percent. If there is no air-dry setting, turn the dishwasher off after its final rinse and open the door. When replacing your dishwasher choose an ENERGY STAR model with settings such as partial load setting (which uses less hot water) and energy-efficient drying cycles and the option of air dry and heat dry settings.

Cooking

Avoid preparing meals that require you to use the range or oven extensively on hot days. This helps to reduce the load on your air conditioner and makes you feel more comfortable in your home. Don’t peek. Every time you open the oven door to look at the food, the oven temperature is lowered by 25°F to 75°F. Use cooking time wisely. Turn off the electric range two to three minutes before the task is done and allow the residual heat to finish the job. Use microwave ovens to save energy. Microwave ovens are about 33 percent more efficient than convection ovens and 66 percent more efficient than conventional ovens. Use the right sized pot on stove burners. A 6″ pot on an 8″ burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner’s heat. Also, cover pots and pans to keep heat in. When it is time to replace the appliance if purchasing an electric range look for one containing ceramic, halogen or induction range elements. They are more efficient than the type containing electric coils. They are also easier to clean and allow for greater temperature control. Consider purchasing a self-cleaning oven. It’s better insulated than other models, so they are more energy-efficient when used appropriately. Select an oven with a window. This allows you to check food without opening the door. Consider a convection oven. A convection unit in combination with a conventional oven cooks faster at lower temperatures.

This article written by Debi Skaggs of Lou Who Contracting, Inc. for informational purposes only. Lou Who Contracting provides conventional and alternative Heating and Air Conditioning solutions for residential and light commercial buildings in Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick County Virginia.

Surviving the Holidays

December 10, 2009 News, Your Money Comments Off on Surviving the Holidays

With Christmas fast approaching, panic is evident in the malls and shopping centers as people try to get all of their shopping done. With the tough economic situation this year, a little creativit … Continue Reading

Panel Offers Business Coaching

April 24, 2009 Business, Your Money Comments Off on Panel Offers Business Coaching

April 24, 2009

Last Thursday the Town of Purcellville hosted a Small Business Roundtable at the Carver Center. The event brought area small business owners face-to-face with a panel of nine business experts who offered advice and insight along with 30-days of personal coaching and consultation at no cost.

The experts presented 10-minute tutorials on legal, insurance, healthcare, technology, and commercial real estate issues. Over the next 30-days, registered business owners can tap into these experts as their own private consultants to answer questions and discuss ideas.

To find out more about the Roundtable or other future Roundtables, call Dee Cook at 703-777-2581, or e-mail dee.cook@vafb.com. To register as a Purcellville area small business and to set up your own session with the panel members, call Patrick Childs at 703-338-7421, or e-mail PCHILDS@purcellvilleva.gov.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Human Fingerprints on Climate Change

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Presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – June 23, 2016 Recently I was asked whether humanity’s fossil fuel use was the cause of the current global warming. This is a good question and I’m not surprised that there …

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

noerpel_new

Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those …

Sugar Crash

Lunde new

Sugar runs inside our body and fuels our very being. In biology they teach us that sugar is really glucose which is broken down in the body to produce ATP (adenine tri-phosphate). So why bring this up? Well, sugar is …

The Art of Memory

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel Still Alice. A movie that not only elicits tears, but naturally incurs reflection. This heartrending movie was the starting point of a personal wrestling with the implications of human memory. Remembering can bring us back to a …

Living in Debt

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Dr. Mike, My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, …

June in the Garden

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Conserve Water, Beat the Heat and Keep Things Blooming By Andrea Gaines It’s getting hot out there. And, there’s nothing more discouraging for a gardener that to come home after a weekend away – or miss a regular watering schedule …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Thank You

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It is with great anticipation that I look forward to Monday, June 27, 2016. On that day new Purcellville Town Council members will be sworn into office, at Town Hall. …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

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Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

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Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

July 2016
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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Yard Sale Benefiting EPIC

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Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

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Lifestyle

Rummage Sale Trailers Open July 9

27 Jun 2016

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78th Annual Ladies Board Rummage Sale Ready For Donations The Ladies Board of Inova Loudoun Hospital is officially accepting donations for the annual Rummage Sale. The first Donation Day of the summer will be on Saturday, July 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Inova Loudoun Hospital, 44045 Riverside Parkway, Leesburg, and at Inova Loudoun Medical Campus – Leesburg, …

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Troy and Paula Haag Perform at Old Stone School

9 Jun 2016

troy and paula haag 1a

Troy and Paula Haag, will appear on The Gap Stage at the Old Stone School on Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Dinner will be sold by Big Mike’s BBQ, drinks will be sold by the glass, and there will be desserts at intermission. Troy and Paula will be joined by Max Haag …

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Here’s To the Colorists, Manicurists and Blow Dry Mavens… Thanks for Listening!

1 Jun 2016

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Sunday, June 26 is Beauticians Day, celebrating the cosmetology and other experts who keep us looking and feeling our best – whether it’s with a haircut and style, a facial, a manicure, or just some quiet and light conversation.

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Around Virginia

HUD Awards $2 Million in Housing Counseling Grants To Virginia

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Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Catholic Charities USA, headquartered in Alexandria, will receive $951,150 in federal funding, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority, located in Richmond, will receive $1,040,918. This nearly $2 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) …

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Four Hop, Skip and a Jump Local Destinations

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Last month we encouraged our readers to consider visiting any one of five great destinations within just a stone’s throw of Loudoun’s history-lined borders – Berryville and Harper’s Ferry among them. This month we feature four destinations – two right here in our much-celebrated county, and two just over the …

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Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

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Sports

The Lady Vikings Earned Back-to Back Conference Title

1 Jun 2016

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The Lady Vikings earned the back-to back conference title with a 4-1 win over Heritage in late May. The team earned a first round playoff bye finishing first in the conference and then went on to defeat Rock Ridge 12-0 in the conference semi-finals. The Lady Vikings ended their regular …

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Big Baseball Coming To Fireman’s Field

1 Jun 2016

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Got Your Father’s Day Gift Lined Up Yet? The Purcellville Cannons’ Brett Fuller couldn’t be happier. He’s the owner of one of the most popular teams in the Valley Baseball League. The team, up until recently was called the Charles Town Cannons but now calls Purcellville its home.

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