Month: January 2016

On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On The Road

Alexandria resident Bob Steciuk is too interested in the October issue of the Old Town Crier to take a look around in Savannah, Georgia. He would have seen beautiful blue skies, an enormous canopy of interlocking trees laden with mysterious Spanish moss, and an elegant maze of Old South perfectly preserved plazas.   Alexandria resident Maggie Steciuk takes a break from a stroll through beautiful Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia, to read her October issue of the Old Town Crier.

Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

How Might Rising Interest Rates Affect Your Stock Investments

Carl M. Trevisan Managing Director-Investments Wells Fargo Advisors   Stephen M. Bearce First Vice President-Investments Wells Fargo Advisors   The Fed will eventually raise interest rates. What might this mean for stocks?   History paints a picture of the effect that rising interest rates have had on the stock market in the past. Be prepared for what might lie ahead by using these lessons to your advantage. The Federal Reserve’s actions can have a marked influence on the economy and financial markets. For instance, some market analysts believe that the Fed’s massive, multi-year bond-buying program coupled with a record-setting period of near-zero interest rates fueled the six-year bull market for stocks. Now investors are awaiting news of when — and by how much — the Fed will raise short-term rates, and what that action might mean for stocks.1 While many market watchers have speculated about the effect of rising rates, history provides a window into how stocks have reacted to such policy shifts in the past. A Look Back Research that looked at the past 35 years (and six rate-hiking cycles) found that stocks don’t necessarily follow a straight path up or down in reaction to a rate hike. Instead, they present a mixed bag of performance. For instance, analysis reported on found that in two of the six cycles, stocks, as represented by the S&P 500, were lower a year after the initial rate hike. Even so, the average gain for all six periods was 2.6%. And on average, a year and a half after the first rate hike in a cycle, the market was up 14.4%.2 What’s Different This Time? While heightened volatility is often a byproduct of the Federal Reserve initiating a rate hiking cycle, there are unique variables at play this time that may help…

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Business Profile

Old Town Windows and Doors

By Bob Tagert   Old Town Windows and Doors   This month’s Business Profile is about a relative newcomer to Old Town, but one who brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to our fair city. Gary Natovitz, already successful in business, decided to work with the best and begin to sell windows and doors. His plan was simple – base 50% of his business in an environment where they could dictate what products could be sold, and partner with a creative, visionary manufacturer that provided product, as well as ancillary products that could be sold in non-restrictive adjacent markets. They checked around for the most advantageous area and settled on Old Town Alexandria, and decided that Marvin Windows and Doors was the best product available. Marvin provided Old Town Windows and Doors the most versatile and highest quality products available – they covered all needs required. Marvin had traditional wood and clad products, new construction fiberglass/wood products and fiberglass replacements. Why Marvin? Just south of the Canadian border, nestled next to Lake of the Woods, sits the small town of Warroad, Minnesota, home to Marvin Windows and Doors – the world’s largest manufacturer of made-to-order wood window and door products. Heralded throughout the world as an industry leader, Marvin is known for its craftsmanship and rich legacy of producing high-quality and innovative products that are a result of the talents and entrepreneurial spirit of the people who work there. Natovitz had established his primary market and had their sources lined up. Marvin had always shown a true sense of loyalty to its clients and the dealers that represented the products. Natovitz then set his resources towards working with the city of Alexandria to systemize and simplify the rule for replacing windows and doors in the historic district. As the…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

By the Numbers

By Julie Reardon   Why yes—at the moment there are more farm animals than people in Fauquier County, and that used to be the case in Loudoun County as well. However, our neighbor to the north has been steadily losing farmland and farm animals as it’s had the dubious distinction of ranking at or near the top of the three fastest-growing counties in the nation for the past dozen years. Once thought of as “out in the boondocks”, Dulles is surrounded by a wall of suburbs marching inexorably west toward the Blue Ridge, halted briefly by the recession but again gathering steam as people continue to move to the area from all parts of the state, the country and in fact, the world. But Loudoun and Fauquier still have more horses than any place else than the state, even if the once-numerous dairy farms have all but disappeared and the number of beef cattle have declined, particularly in Loudoun. Beef cattle have in some instances replaced milk cows in Fauquier County, particularly the southern half of the county, once home to many productive dairy farms. But across the state, and particularly in Northern Virginia, horses have steadily increased in number since 2001. The 2006 Equine Survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 215,000 horses, ponies, and mules in Virginia, an increase of over 25% since 2001. The two counties with the largest horse populations were Loudoun and Fauquier. The most common breeds were Quarter Horses (49,000), followed by Thoroughbreds (30,900). In contrast, the 2012 Census of Agriculture identified only 86,840 horses on 12,058 separate farms, a number in-between the 2007 survey total (90,363 horses) and the 2002 survey (81,344 horses). Sixteen other states had more horses than Virginia in 2012. However, the 2012 survey counted only horses on farms…

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Single Space

Happy New Year, More or Less

By Lori Welch Brown I haven’t been a fun person to be around lately. I’ve been whiny, moody, impatient, scattered, exhausted, manic, indecisive, FEEL FREE TO STOP ME ANY TIME. Okay—so I’m a horrible, evil person and I should probably be hanged in Market Square. Or—maybe instead I should work out, cut back on the sugar and wine and get a good night’s sleep. In a nutshell, I’m fried. My brain is tapioca, I’m tapped out. My gas tank is on empty. It’s not a great way to start the New Year by any stretch, but I have no one to blame but myself. I’m a people pleasing, ‘never say no’, multi-tasker of the worst kind. If I ever set a professional boundary, it’s been long forgotten. My ego rarely lets me say no—“sure I’ll take that on. I can do it. I’m super woman.” It’s all an elaborate guise to get you to like me. How do you like me now? I’m going to guess the answer is no—at least in this moment because I’m not really liking much of anyone or anything. Those happy Christmas family video people are irritating. My cheerful workmate (size 2, perfectly straight blonde hair) is beyond annoying (eat a cookie for God’s sake), and that baby’s nose is too big—not ALL babies are cute. And, while we are at it, puppies are useless, needy little fur balls. Okay—I haven’t crossed the line over to baby and puppy evildom yet, but it could happen at any minute. And you thought ‘bah humbug’ was reserved for senile ghosts during the month of December? ‘Fraid not. It’s also reserved for over-holiday stimulated middle-aged women apparently. Somebody pass me some fudge, stat. If you can’t relate at all—well, aren’t you little Miss Sunshine. If you can relate,…

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History, History Column

The History of Human Trafficking

By Sarah Becker Human slavery did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Today human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry. “Money should be able to buy a lot of things, but it should never, ever be able to buy another human being,” Secretary of State, former Boston-area Prosecutor John F. Kerry noted. By Presidential proclamation, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 mostly ended national slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment, as ratified in 1866, abolished it. Yet the number of people now enslaved exceeds the number of African-Americans held at the height of the 19th century trans-Atlantic slave trade. At least 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. “Liberty is a slow fruit,” Ralph Waldo Emerson lamented. In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act became the first federal law to address the problem of human trafficking. The Act, Public Law 106-386 as amended, and the Palermo Protocol, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children describe “this compelled service” as involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage and forced labor. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, second only to the drug trade. Severe forms of trafficking in persons are defined as: (1) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such as act has not attained 18 years of age, or (2) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Trafficking in women and children involves crimes greater than a misdemeanor. It includes sexual…

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