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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Plight of the Wolves - Defenders of Wildlife

Today, I am posting a link to Defenders of Wildlife regarding the urgent issue now facing wolves in several states. I have been a supporter for this beautiful yet misunderstood animal since I was a young girl. I remember the first time I saw hunters running a wolf down to exhaustion and then shooting it from the air. I do not know now what show or news clip I watched decades ago, however, I felt very badly for the run in to the ground animal. I later learned that this type of hunting was banned. Now, in 2009, legislation is again allowing for wolves to be hunted down in this manner. Many wildlife groups, especially Defenders of Wildlife has championed the wolf's cause to be allowed to live in its natural state here in the U.S. Success was gained in allowing wolves in the Yellowstone area to sustain their family groups. Now, they are being threatened to have parents shot, pups orphaned and fragmenting of existing family groups. I feel it necessary to divert from my entrepreneurial and travel writing articles as tomorrow is the target date for wolf hunting to start in Idaho. Please click on this link to learn more about the plight of the wolves in the United States. General Information About Wolves - Defenders of Wildlife

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Small Business Center: A Resource for Local Entrepreneurs

The Small Business Center (SBC) that covers the Wilkes, Ashe & Allegheny Counties here in North Carolina is a continuing resource for local entrepreneurs. The SBC is offering diverse classes for this Fall Semester's curriculum. Classes can be taken at Wilkes Community College for residents here in Wilkes County. The first class being offered on September 2, 2009 is brought to the Small Business Center by the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce. The course is one hour and tuition cost is $10. The course is designed to help one increase their memory potential.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Small Business Center Continuing Education - Fall Semester

Now that schools have returned to sessions, I want to encourage all adults that are considering starting a business to also return to school. Many small business centers work in conjunction with local community colleges to offer small business courses to assist area entrepreneurs with realizing their dreams of owning a successful business. Here in Wilkes County, NC at the Wilkes Community College these courses are offered at no cost. What a bargain in these difficult economic times!

These courses are taught by adults who are entrepreneurs themselves. Theses instructors gave valuable insight from their own personal experiences in starting up a new business. They had started by obtaining their dba (Do Business As) from their local governments to educating themselves on legal matters and then opening up their shops.

The courses offered at the Wilkes Community College vary each semester. There are also two nearby counties, Ashe and Allegheny, that are offering similar courses. So, if a day and time is not convenient due to scheduling conflicts, then the option of attending another class is possible.

I have taken classes this past winter and spring semesters at Wilkes Community College. I am still a fairly new entrepreneur myself, just obtaining my freelance writing service dba this past March. The course that I attended proved to be extremely helpful to a brand new entrepreneur in areas of obtaining licenses, accounting, inventory, marketing, taxes and many more. All instructors were knowledgeable regarding their curriculum and invited questions. Several gave out their business cards and said they were available in the future for additional questions.

I learned where to obtain free marketing tools such as business cards and post cards. In one 3 hour session, one instructor taught the class how to set up a free web page. One of the most valuable 3 hours I have spent in a long time! I set up this very website within a couple of days later. Of course, as with making fine wine, this site is continually updated. That class was like a window to the world of internet marketing. Again, a great value for simply arriving to class and occupying a seat with one focused on the instructor and taking good notes.

So, check with your local small business center and/or local community college to see what is being offered for the fall semester. Usually, the option exists to take just one class or all of the course schedule. I am looking forward to my first class on September 2nd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Cape Hatteras Light Station

Here I continue with my OBX journey that I took with Red and Natasha this past January. We were getting closer and closer to our destination, the Cape Hatteras Light Station. As Red, Natasha and I left Serendipity in Rodanthe, we passed a small fishing village on our right. A little further on our left, we saw the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station featured in the film, Nights In Rodanthe. The station would not be open for the season until mid-April.

The daylight was waning as we drove on in the direction of the famous lighthouse as it was now mid-afternoon. Finally, I drove around a curve on NC Hwy 12 and there was the very familiar black and white striped lighthouse over in the distance. Excitement was building as I had not visited this structure since I was a little girl. This lighthouse is said to be the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. It proudly stands at a height of 208 feet. As I continued along the highway, the lighthouse then went out of sight. I kept following the signs making steady progress to reaching my goal.

When we arrived, I walked the two dogs around the parking lot being certain to observe the pet leash laws. Then, I put the puppy back in the van. I continued walking with Red over to the lighthouse itself. I asked Red to climb up on a bench and photographed him in yet another Kodak moment! Red had one leg dangling over the edge of the bench and posed beautifully. The sun was setting casting shadows on the lighthouse. We then walked around a bit and I noticed one sign explainging that this was not the original site for the lighthouse. It was moved to this site in 1999. So, Red and I climbed back in the van and followed the road which led us to the original location. We arrived at a parking area in the dunes. I saw one couple also walking a dog. So,this was the site my family visited in the 60's when I was a little girl. Many thoughts ran through my mind as I reflected on the moment. So much of life has happened since that visit. Who would have thought I would one day return at 47 and with my big stray dog in tow? Red thoroughly enjoyed himself investigating what the sand dunes had to offer. I was very impressed with the large dog's adaptability from the city to the farm to the coast.

My father and step-mother had traveled with their 2 Chihuahuas (Taco and Bell), their poodle Niki and their Macaws (Baby and Miami) to the same spot. They traveled in a Chateau Sport RV they purchased in 2001 and had spent nights in many campgrounds from Maine down to Key West. In fact, my father, William G. Hynson III wrote and published a book based on their travels entitled So You Want To Own An RV? This was published in 2006. After walking around for awhile, I spent a few moments looking at my plethora of travel brochures and decided to head over to the ferry dock to board the Hatteras - Ocracoke free ferry. I needed to hurry if I wanted to catch the next ferry before the sun went down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Nights in Rodanthe

We left Kitty Hawk and headed over to the nearby Walgreens to drop off my film. Next, I headed out towards Rodanthe. I was intrigued to see this town where film crews, actors, directors and spectators had been abuzz last year. As mentioned previously, Rodanthe was the town featured in the movie Nights In Rodanthe starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. We passed by Bodie Light Station on Bodie Island. This light station is not as tall as the Hatteras Light Station, yet similar with its stripes of black and white. We did not stop to visit this lighthouse as the day was passing quickly. We needed to cross yet another bridge. There were caution signs on our side of the bridge with a lane closed up ahead. Natasha was resting in her seat. Red was sniffing the sea air through the cracked window. This trip was the first one in our 7 years together where Red and I traveled to the coast. I noticed he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Not a bad life for a dog who came into my life on a cold, snowy day in January 2002 up in Connecticut. He wandered into my yard and I noticed he was wearing a collar with no tag. He was very shy and would not come over to me. I already had one Rottweiler and two Shepherd Huskies. I saw the big red dog again that day resting in the snow in a neighbor's yard (neighbors who did not have a dog.) My instinct said STRAY. So, I put out food and water in my front yard under one of the fire bushes. Nothing happened. However, on the next day, the food was gone and there were crumbs in the freezing water dish. I proceeded to repeat this procedure for 3 weeks. The dog would come after dark and then disappear. I saw him walk past my hedge one night at 11:30 pm. I let him eat without disturbance.

Then, one morning, the food was still there. I panicked for Red. Since I did not know his name, I nicknamed him Red to keep it simple. I drove around my neighborhood for an hour and a half looking for Red. I could not find him anywhere I searched. Finally, I had to go in to my job which just happened to be located next to the local dog pound. I glanced over towards the kennel not really expecting to see the dog. Then, something red caught my eye. I drove in there and there he was. A very negative sign was posted on his cage. I told the big dog not to worry about anything.  He was shivering. He was staying in the outside run rather than being warm inside. On the one hand I felt very bad for him, and yet, on the other hand I was relieved that he had finally been caught. I tried to reassure him by saying I would be back on my lunch hour to meet with the animal control officer.

True to my word, I came right back on my lunch hour. My friend Linda, the animal control officer, was already there. She explained how she caught him after 3 attempts. I and another neighbor had both alerted her to the dog. She said he was a chow rottweiler cross and more than likely, no one would adopt him. She said the owner had 7 days to claim him. I kept up on his progress reports and visited him every day. He had whined to me that first day of his confinement. I pleaded for him on the 6th day. I offered to bring my Rottweiler Ty to meet him. Linda said it would be better for the dogs to meet on Ty's home grounds. She agreed to let me take him. First, we had him neutered as he was about 8 months old judging by his gleaming, white teeth. She dropped him at the veterinarian for me. I paid the proper fee for adoption and the next day went to pick him up. His back legs were bandaged and I inquired as to what happened. I was told he had dew claws on his hind feet that needed to be removed. The vet said he could rip one of those dew claws and could bleed to death. So, I put the dog in my van and drove him home.

Upon arriving home, I had Ty meet Red first. They bonded immediately. Probably because of three things, Red's young age, Ty's good nature, and their common Rottweiler heritage. On the other hand, my shepherd huskies did not like him too much. So, Red and I formed a trust right from the start of our association. He has not once ever tried to be alpha or rebellious with me or his siblings. He has grown into a loving, protective, beautiful, and most intelligent, companion. We have respect for one another.

I have always admired him for surviving for at least 3 weeks on his own as a half-grown pup just outside Hartford, Connecticut's city limits. So, due to life changes including divorce, career changes and relocation, Red and I have done a great deal of traveling together. Now, we have traveled out to the beautiful beaches of the OBX. Continuing on the highway to Rodanthe, we crossed over the bridge and went out to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This coastal refuge is home to many varieties of birds. We looked around as we were driving along, however, we did not make a stop here either.

Then, up on the left side of us by the beach, we came up to Serendipity. Serendipity is the house featured in Nights of Rodanthe. It was quite solitary now without all the activity of the film production or the seasonal visitors. I took a photo of the striking home and kept on traveling towards the Cape Hatteras Light Station. I was later able to obtain a copy of a local newspaper which featured an article on the film and the house. I have made a mental note to rent the DVD and see this film where the OBX and its beauty, charm, and especially its citizens, were highlighted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Wright Brothers National Memorial

My dogs and I left the public beach in Nags Head and traveled over to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. It was still a chilly morning. I paid the entrance fee and once again inquired about the pet policies. I was told my dogs could get out to walk if on a lead. They could not enter the public buildings.

So, I adjusted my minivan windows, checked that the water bowls and treats were adequate and left Red to protect the van and his new sister. Red is very good-natured at 102 pounds. However, he started in 2006 to take it upon himself to guard our vehicle. So, Red was content to stay in the van and take on this latest assignment. Upon leaving the two dogs, I went across the parking area to the exhibition hall. When I went inside, I was pleased to find that a presentation on the Wright Brothers was just beginning in the auditorium.

It was very informative and I learned a great deal about the Wright Brothers and their planes. For instance, I learned that these two men originated from Dayton, Ohio. Also, and more importantly, why they chose Kitty Hawk for their test flights. Finally, on December 17, 1903, Orville Wright flew his 1903 flyer for 12 seconds in the air and it traveled 120 feet. The morning presenter made the point in which the flyer was later housed at The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. There the plane was displayed at a height greater than it ever flew at Kitty Hawk. A replica is displayed in the memorial auditorium.

After the presentation, I decided to check on the dogs who were doing fine. I walked them around for a minute or two, then again put the puppy in the van due to the cold air. I continued with Red to make the trek with me to the monument. I thought it would only be a quick walk from the parking lot, so I omitted to grab a waste bag for Red. Of course, not long after we started over to the monument, Red needed to let nature take its course. I asked him if he could wait, but nothing doing. After the deed was done, I turned him back towards the van to get a doggie waste bag. No sooner had we turned around when a security guard rode over in his vehicle. I explained that I was going back to my vehicle to get the needed bag. He nodded and let me proceed. I also asked him if the bag could be placed in a trash can? He said they preferred that I take it with me.

Once at the van, I decided to leave Red with his new sister Natasha. Then I went back to pick up after Red. As I had to return the bag to the van, I made the decision to leave instead of making a third trip out to see the monument. I learned my lesson and now keep a good supply of baggies on hand when traveling with my pets. I photographed the monument on the historic Kill Devil Hill and then we headed out to further explore the Outer Banks region.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Our Journey to the OBX

Today, I would like to address travel writing topics. The beach is one of my personal favorites. Here in North Carolina, this beautiful state offers many diverse beaches for a writer to hone his or her writing skills. From the coastline to the mountains, and all the places in between, each region offers its own unique beauty and attractions.

This week's blog will detail a trip I took in January 2009 with my two dogs, Red and Natasha. Red is a seasoned traveler at 8 years old. Natasha was 5 month old puppy that I had just adopted. That weekend I put her traveling prowess to the test. I decided to pack up my minivan and take my two dogs to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. It was a seven hour drive from Wilkesboro, NC to the OBX with one stopover in Tarboro, NC. The next day, we reached the welcome center in the early afternoon just across the bridge. There were several extremely knowledgeable individuals who assisted me with travel information on the OBX region.

In Plymouth, I had already made the acquaintance of a man from Massachusetts who gave very good insight into tourist spots and camp grounds. With a thanks to him, I made my way out to Rodanthe, and immediately recognized "Serendipity" from the movie, Nights In Rodanthe. This film was released last fall and starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane. I admit that I had not yet scene the movie on DVD, however, the house was impressive as it was the first on the left after the bridge from Nags Head. Later, a local magazine pictured a sketch of the house which was a very good likeness in deed.

My dog Red, an 8 year old chow rottweiler cross is an excellent traveler himself. Along with us was Natasha, a chow lab mix who was only 5 months old at the time. Her first weekend with us was memorable. We found the Travelodge in Nags Head to be pet-friendly and gracious. We were given a comfortable room on the ground floor facing towards the beach across the street.

The local beach likewise is pet-friendly complete with showers, drinking water and doggie waste bags. The puppy was reluctant to leave our minivan, so Red and I ascended the wooden walkway to the beach and the Atlantic ocean beyond. The wind was blowing and the air temperature was 35 degrees fahrenheit. Red dashed towards the water on his leash with me following with camera in hand. He stopped just short and circled back towards the dunes. Although cold, I felt he and I shouldn't miss this bonding moment. I walked into the water which was foamy and cold. I pulled Red over to me and photographed both our feet in the water.

This caused me to reminisce about another cold January day at a beach. That day was back in 1990, when my mother and I bonded in the cold Pacific Ocean in Monterey, CA along the famous 17-mile drive. We stopped just short of the water's edge and then a rush of foam swept across our feet. We laughed and laughed. One of our friends perched on a large rock above us photographed our Kodak moment.

As I scanned up and down the visible coastline, Red and I were the only ones on the beach. We stayed for a few minutes and then went back to the van. Natasha was asleep in the front passenger seat. I settled Red in the back seat and then we headed out to the main road to move along to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial where aviation history was made on December 17, 1903.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Savings Abound

Well, it's great to be back from a summer hiatus! Now, it is time to avail ourselves of the spectacular summer savings which abound in stores, in catalogs and online. As the season winds down from vacations and school breaks, it is a good idea to take inventory of office and school supplies on hand.

Many, many stores such as Wal*Mart, Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, etc. are offering deep discounts on their products. Laptops, computers, ink jet cartridges, paper, pens, and so on are on sale at great prices. I recently purchased notebooks at 15 cents a copy at Walmart. Taking some time to review catalogs, store notices and online websites may result in hundreds of dollars in savings. Well maintained offices should be well-stocked and ready to do business. As a special note, certain states i.e. North Carolina offer tax free days resulting in extra savings. So, shop, shop, shop and reap the rewards of end-of-summer clearances!

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Wilkesboro, NC, United States
My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at Etsy.com. In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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