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‘Anderson’s North Pole’ offers free light show

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A Christmas light show that has become a tradition in Woodbridge is still open to view.

For the past two decades, the Anderson family has seen more than 4,700 vehicles travel through their homemade light show, “The Anderson’s North Pole.”

Work on the five-acre light show begins in late October, as family members begin to string lights on the five acres of property they call home. The show is free, and the Andersons put on the display each year “solely to see all of the smiles that it brings to others’ faces.”

Children that come through the light display receive candy canes. On some nights, Santa and some of his helpers are there to waive at passersby.

Theresa Anderson works at Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge as a service writer. Owner ST Billingsley appreciates the Anderson family’s willingness to give to the community at the holidays.

“Theresa started working with us almost a year ago, so we’ve got access to all of the in and outs of what’s going on with their five-acre holiday lights extravaganza,” said Billingsley.

The Anderson’s North Pole is located at 15615 Bushey Drive, just off Cardinal Drive in Woodbridge. The light show will is open night nightly until Dec. 23. The show is closed on Christmas Eve so the Andersons can enjoy Christmas with their family.

This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge.

JTC helps company clear big hurdle in transition to cloud

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Michael Lynn is the co-owner and president of Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. (SES) located in Manassas.

The company supplies its clients with environmental management services, including soil interpretations, storm drains and wastewater system management. SES has been working with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. for nearly nine years.

JTC, Inc. helped move the company to the cloud.  

“Well, the problems we had before was keeping our data and our programs housed in-house. It was going to mean a costly equipment upgrade to be able to keep doing what we were doing and had the ability to expand.

Lynn said a move to the cloud became very attractive once he learned he wouldn’t be faced with costly equipment upgrades.

“So it [the Cloud] helped in two ways; one is it kept us from coming up with large amounts of cash for a capital expenditure and it let us budget our monthly expenses so that we’d know what our exposure would be every month, so that was the financial advantage,” said Lynn.

The cloud was let his employees be more productive wherever they are using smartphones and tablet computers.

“We have technicians that are on the road and we have people that live in some remote locations where teleworking one day a week or two days a work week saves us commuting time and makes them more productive,” said Lyons.

Problems with the SES’s internet service provider made the migration process difficult.

“[The internet service provider was] telling us that we had a certain level of service and the cloud wasn’t performing correctly and so we kind of got caught in a catch-22 for two or three months where JTC was saying ‘everything on our end is good’ and the internet service people were saying ‘everything on our end is good’ so we said that’s great but nothing’s working,” said Lynn.

Despite initial problems, JTC, Inc. rose to meet the challenges head on. “

We finally did narrow it down that it was the internet service provider and not JTC but JTC certainly stepped up and they were there at a moment’s call…,” Lynn explained, “I’ve also told John [the owner of JTC] that the only place I get better service than JTC is at Chick-fil-A…their customer response and customer service is one thing but customer care is another thing and they care.,” said Lynn.

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

Memories captured in 3D laser crystals make great gifts

Jerome's Laser CrystalsJermome's Laser CrystalsJermome's Laser Crystals

A daughter now has the image of her late father encapsulated in 3D crystal forever

Jerome Meadows captures memories in crystals using a laser engraving machine. When he met a young woman who wanted an image of her late father restored, and then laser etched into a 3D crystal, all of the training paid off.

“It was a young lady who came to me and told me that she had a niece that had lost her father at an early age. The lady said she found a picture in a photo album in her attic of the niece with her father, together. This lady wanted to surprise her niece, who is now an adult, with this image of her and her father engraved in crystal.

I took the photograph and restored it into a 3D format and engraved it into a three-dimensional cube. The lady came to pick up the crystal with her niece, and when the niece saw the crystal of her and her father she was amazed! The expression on her face was priceless! I will never forget how happy and emotional she was,” said Meadows.

The laser engraver came across the business of laser crystals by accident, after he missed a flight in his former job as a flight attendant.

“When I began with this business, I was a flight attendant with World Airways, Inc…we did military charters. I was on my way to Kuwait and I missed my flight out of Dulles Airport, and they put me on the next available flight that went through Dubai.

And when I got there, I was just killing time before my flight to Kuwait was called, and then I ran into the Duty-Free shop. That’s when I saw the laser crystal display. When I saw the laser crystals, and realized that now, people can have their image engraved and be immortalized in crystal, that’s when I was hooked,” said Meadows.

After doing extensive research, Meadows purchased a 3D laser engraving machine and spent over a month in China where he trained to use the machine.

“The crystal sits on a light base that has these tiny LED colored lights that shine through the crystal, and it spins around. At night, it’s really pretty,” he said.

Facial portraits are among the most popular pieces, along with images of famous celebrities, Prices range from $65 to $95.

Meadows sells this detailed crystal pieces on his website jeromeslasercrystals.com

The laser-engraved crystal keepsakes make great gifts for loved ones.

5 Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

Winter has arrived early this season across the U.S.

Here’s what you can do now to prepare yourself and your vehicle for harsh winter driving.

1. Get enough rest?

It’s important when you’re driving in hot or cold weather that you get enough sleep the night before. It’s estimated that 100,000 crashes each year are attributed to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving also results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in damage each year. Unlike a breathalyzer test that could detect the presence of alcohol on someone’s breath, no test exists to determine someones alertness on the road.

2. To warm up, open your garage door

We all like a nice warm car to climb into on those cold winter mornings, but make sure you open the garage door before starting up the car. The carbon monoxide emitted by your vehicle’s tailpipe is odorless, tasteless, and has no color.

Dubbed a “silent killer” the gas can build up inside your garage when the car is running. If exposed to large amounts, it can lead to brain damage or death. Last month, a Connecticut couple was found dead inside a parking garage “most likely…by carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Pump up those tires

Properly inflated tires not only improve your gas milage that can also mean you car will have proper breaking distances and wear more evenly. In wintertime, cold temperatures make the air in your tires contract and your tires to lose air pressure.

With properly inflated tires, you’re tires are less likely to overheat and have a blowout on the road. You’ll also enjoy better control of your vehicle and improved braking distance.

4. Keep off cruise control

Insnow or on wet pavement, there’s always the possibility of spinouts or losing control of the car. The only way to regain control of the vehicle is to reduce the amount of power being output by the engine.

If you’re using cruise control and your car runs over a wet or icy patch of road, and you hydroplane or spin out, the cruise control setting will continue to apply the same amount of power to the car to maintain speed. That’s exactly what you don’t want.

5. Look and steer where you want to go

It might sound simple, but look and steer the car where you want it go. This comes in handy in the event you get caught in a slide.

If you get caught in one, release your brakes (they don’t work well on ice or snow, anyway) and then turn you steering wheel in the direction of the way the car is sliding. Then, keep looking in the direction you want to go and turn the wheel that way. If you turn too far you’ve “overcorrected” and that could cause the car to slide in the other direction.

The post is brought to you by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire of Woodbridge.

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Remote Backups Help JTC Inc. Keep Country Club Happy

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Paul Flood is the General Manager at Westwood Country Club located in Vienna.

Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. has provided their IT services to Westwood Country Club for about 10 years. Since JTC, Inc. replaced the older servers at the country club earlier this year, the country club has continued to enjoy great uptime, further allowing it to have more capabilities and ultimately provide better service to its clients.  

“Back in like February or March of this year…we certainly didn’t have any significant issues and I don’t know that we really had any issues that lasted longer than an hour or so. We [had] a pretty smooth, seamless transition from an old server to a much more modern, updated server…” said Flood.

Top-notch service with budget in mind

The Westwood Country Club are now in a better position than ever to serve their clients, much of it thanks to their strong and steady uptime that has so far been able to fit the country club’s busy schedule.

“We’re a country club, and one thing country clubs like to stress…[is] service and if our computers are down…certainly we can’t provide top-notch service and that situation did not arise,” said Flood. “We were able to deliver top-notch service on a regular basis and plus…the budget was right on target, there were no surprises at the end for additional charges or upgrades or change orders, it went very smoothly from that part.”

Country club employees trying new iPads

Due to the large lack of downtime at Westwood, both JTC, Inc. and Westwood are exploring new and innovative ways to operate the country club, for example some Westwood employees are now able to use iPads with thier clients.

Previously, Westwood suffered from miscommunication and lagging updates when some of the employees would receive an update and others wouldn’t. Thanks to JTC, Inc., that has all changed and Flood called that “significant.”

“Everybody gets the upgrade at the same time”

“If there’s an upgrade, everybody gets the upgrade at the same time, it’s not like in three or four years half the staff is using different versions of different software, we’re all in the same boat so to speak,” said Flood. “Because it was just six to eight months ago I don’t think there’s been any changes since but certainly if there is a change down the road…we’re all going to change at the same time so we’re all be able to communicate and better, as a result.”

Flood also enjoys the feeling of security he has with JTC’s ability to back up his IT properties remotely.

“We’re comfortable that if there is a problem, we got a backup, we got redundancy, we got offsite backup redundancy and that’s something that we didn’t have previously and that wasn’t even brought up to us previously. I get it, the IT industry changes…at a pretty rapid pace and maybe 15 years ago our vendors really didn’t have access to it but certainly JTC does and they’re happy to share new information they have with their clients.”

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

JTC: ‘They’re Not Just Looking to Build a Bunch of Tech Hours’

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Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

Mark Carroll has been a Managing Partner at Capital Group Benefits since 2013, after working for more than twenty years in employee benefits.

Capital Group Benefits started out as a brokerage firm, specializing in providing employee benefits packages to employers, employees and individuals. Carroll has worked with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. for eight years and he described their successful long-term relationship.

“I met JTC…eight years ago… I was referred to them by a company called McLean Insurance,” said Carroll,”…and the resource for a company I was at called Small Business Insurance Solutions, a brokerage firm, for employee benefits…[and] JTC just worked with us there to get some network stability, hardware, and the like and then basically was our backbone support for running our network for a number of years.” 

When Carroll decided to transition to Capital Group Benefits, he not only brought his clients, he also brought JTC, Inc. due to the past positive experiences he has had with them.

“I brought my clients here after being at the other place for 15 years, and then we needed some support here…so they did an online assessment of hardware, delved a little bit in some of our software applications and now we’re even looking to move forward with the phone system with them,” said Carroll. JTC, Inc. is the sole IT provider at CGB and it is helping the company reach new heights. 

As far as improving their technology, JTC works alongside the company and within their limits to provide the best service possible rather than trying to sell to their client the newest computer program.

“JTC can assess your scope and some proprietary software we do or don’t run…as far as network stability and promoting the computer system being an effective tool for the workplace, they keep that in mind as opposed to just a recommendation of what’s the latest, greatest and I like that,” said Carrol. 

Among other things, Carroll admired JTC, Inc. for how they engage with their clients, as well as their knowledge base.

“I like them because they seem to be astute enough to work with…on a hardware budget,” Caroll praised,” And they give you the sense that they’re not just looking to build a bunch of tech hours and they’re aware of the different types of software you’re running and if there’s an issue between them or not. I just really like their forward-thinking approach and using our resources as a client wisely.” 

Like many business partners, Carroll has worked with other IT companies previously and gave some reasons as to why he believes JTC, Inc. is different from the pack.

“JTC brings truth to computing.  Computing is all about reality.  The hardware doesn’t last long, the software and network set up are as expensive as the hardware.  Having professional guidance from a JTC is essential to have a computing environment that is stable and dependable.  The staff are always courteous, the advice, always sage.”

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology. 

Holiday Heavy Lifting: Follow These Special Tips to Avoid Injury

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The team at Advantage Physical Therapy wishes you a very happy holday season.

The heavy lifting that comes with Thanksgiving cooking, Black Friday Shopping and decking the halls can put a real strain on your body. Lifting heavy items such as a turkey, a new flat screen TV and box full of holiday decorations with the wrong mechanics can cause strain and injury to the neck, shoulders and lower back.  

The estimated direct costs associated with chronic lower back pain each year are a staggering $96 million.   Furthermore, 8 out of 10 individuals will experience some sort of back pain during their life.  

With the average size of the American Thanksgiving turkey dressed & in a pan weighing in at 30 pounds and the hot ticket Black Friday flat screen TV that you’re shopping for around 45 pounds, we are more and more susceptible to suffering a back strain while partaking in holiday preparations and festivities.

And if you celebrate the holidays with a live evergreen tree, you can expect to haul around about 70 pounds of pine on your posterior.

And if you celebrate the holidays with a live evergreen tree, you can expect to haul around about 70 pounds of pine on your posterior.

Being laid out with a back injury during the holidays is no fun.  Utilizing proper lifting techniques and body mechanics can prevent lifting injuries that might otherwise come from something as simple as lifting a turkey out of the oven, loading the latest flat screen into your trunk, or hauling frosty the snowman onto your rooftop.

To keep your holidays merry and prevent lifting injuries, follow these tips from the American Physical Therapy Association:

  • Plan ahead before lifting heavy objects. Make sure you have a clear path. This will help you avoid any awkward or sudden movements that can strain your muscles.

  • Test an object’s weight before lifting by pushing it with your foot. If it seems too heavy, ask for help.

  • Lift with your legs, not with your back. Don’t lean over an object to lift it. Face the object you intend to lift and avoid twisting. Instead, stand close to the object, bend your legs and keep your back straight, then lift.

  • Keep feet shoulder-width apart and maintain your balance by distributing the object’s weight equally on both sides of your body.

  • If you count yourself among those who like to marathon shop on Black Friday (or any day for that matter) wear comfortable shoes, preferably walking shoes.    Wearing shoes that provide the proper heel and ankle support will prevent foot & back pain while walking on the hard surfaces found at many shopping malls

  • If a back injury does occur, seek help from a physical therapist. What starts as a minor back injury can progress to a chronic condition without early intervention.   Seek a physical therapists care within 14 days of experiencing lower back pain for the best outcome.

We can instruct on proper lifting techniques and provide a treatment plan to assist with pain.  We will work to make you feel better and keep you happy during the holidays.   

This post was written by Advantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, LLC. Their team works with individuals to restore & improve movement of the body to achieve long term quality of life.   

JTC, Inc. Cloud Saves AireServe Cost of New PCs

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Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

Joe DeVito is the president and owner of AireServ of Northern Virginia and Refrigeration Systems. Both companies offer heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services to the community.

Recently JTC, Inc. installed a new RDP server at AireServ of Northern Virginia that moved all of their data into the cloud and off of the company’s local computers. So far, the solution has eradicated the problems of the past and has greatly added to the capabilities of AireServ of Northern Virginia.

“We’ve only had it for a week, and it’s fantastic,” said DeVito. “Before the RDP server, the employees at AireServ were unable to work remotely and relied heavily on the local office computers.  Now everybody is working out of the cloud” said DeVito.

The addition of the new server also means the company’s local computers will not have to back up as they are now all connected directly to the cloud. DeVito says this will save him money in the long run because he won’t have to consistently buy new computers, which he says became “quite costly and a hassle.”

JTC, Inc. also addressed AireServ’s email problems by hosting the company’s email and thus making it more reliable.

“Before, we hosted our own emails service out of Microsoft Exchange and now they [JTC] hosts it so now we don’t have to worry about our emails going down because of something [happening] to our server,” said Devito. 

Additionally, JTC, Inc. was able to identify and create a solution to AireServ’s unreliable internet and connectivity issues. The issues were so serious that AireServ employees could not access tickets when the internet was unavailable and, therefore, could not reach customers.

“That was our problem…when [the] internet would go down, everything shut down, our phones…emails…our web-based programs, gone. We one day went seven days without our phones…”, said DeVito.

The cloud that JTC, Inc. installed made Internet and data much more accessible to AireServ employees who can now access it across multiple devices, including iPads, telephones, and smart phones and they use cell service if the internet suddenly goes down.

DeVito has been in business for 26 years and has experienced his share of IT companies both as a consumer and customer. Other than its IT service, JTC, Inc. has a great reputation for its customer service and its team of people, AireServ is no exception. “…They’re the best,” said DeVito, “…when I connected with JTC, I’ve never changed, never looked back.”

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

JTC Greatly Enhanced NCC’s Business During Joint Partnership

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Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

Based in Alexandria, Virginia, NCC is a large and respected collection agency that serves the government, healthcare providers, utilities companies and credit unions across the U.S.

Deborah Feldman is the IT Director at NCC and for a couple of years, her IT team has partnered with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. This beneficial partnership has shown that JTC, Inc. can both be a primary IT provider and work alongside a company’s existing IT team. 

Feldman explained how the joint partnership with NCC and JTC, Inc. works.

“We [NCC] work hand in hand with [JTC]. We work very closely with them on a daily basis…we handle the desktop support, we handle stuff that we can handle internally and JTC takes care of any network issues or changes that need to happen.”

Though NCC’s IT team has only worked with JTC, Inc. for a period of two years, it has been clear that JTC, Inc. has stood out from all the rest. JTC, Inc. possesses a “much larger knowledge base” and their customer service and responsiveness to client issues have always been praised, NCC is no exception.

“We’ve dealt with other groups in the past,” said Feldman, “…[and] some of the other groups we’ve worked with we would be stuck in a lurch because the one who knew how to do what we needed done was off-site…[which] didn’t work out very well.” So far, collaborating with JTC, Inc. has greatly enhanced NCC’s business.”

Recently, JTC, Inc. assisted NCC with virtualizing their servers, which among other things, has helped to reduce NCC’s footprint and boost the company’s security. Feldman said that “NCC had ten individual servers…and we have virtualized 80% of our servers…which has greatly cut down on the footprint and greatly cut down on the physical maintenance because we don’t have those physical boxes anymore.” 

In regards to the company’s footprint, Feldman said “…because of the virtualization, we’re not jumping around anymore, everything is centralized into these two virtual machines…rather than ten different machines on your network…”

Lastly, Feldman recognized JTC, Inc.’s great customer service.

“They’re very responsive. If we have an issue they’ll usually get it fixed same day,” said Feldman, “They have the knowledge base there and the people there and the ability to say ‘ok, you need this done today, we’re [going to] get it done for you today'”. 

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

 

JTC Installs Server: ‘I Feel More Confident Now’

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In 1988, Branscome Paving Company was created by Julius Branscome, he is both the owner of Branscome Incorporated and an area contractor working in Northern Virginia since 1962.

To the present day, Branscome Paving Company functions as a family-owned, local business that provides asphalt paving, stone, and milling services to the area. Kathy Bowman is the Office Manager of Branscome Paving Company, and the business has worked with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. for the past few years. When Branscome Paving employed JTC, Inc.’s services, the company did not have a server, which was a problem for the company’s accounting department.

“We were pretty vulnerable before [the server] because there was not an on-going backup system,” said Bowman, “We had a breach…several years ago…and because one computer crashed it took all the data for all of our programs and we lost everything…we had to virtually start over from scratch.”

When JTC, Inc. deployed the server and put all of Branscome Paving’s data into one central location, it served to prevent a similar problem.

JTC, Inc. was especially crucial to Branscome Paving’s accounting department because all of the business’ payroll data was stored there and at risk. Plus, Bowman said that “In the past we had a particular accounting program and we weren’t able to utilize it because we had not been set up with that supplier, and JTC managed to facilitate all that for us and get our updates on our accounting packages with no problem.”

In effect, JTC. Inc. has given Branscome Paving the security it needed and the freedom from pesky and time consuming updates.

Ultimately, JTC, Inc. has made it easier and more secure for Branscome Paving and its clients.

“We feel like we’re more protected from viruses and computers crashing,” said Bowman, “I feel a lot more confident now.”

Bowman described the experience setting up the new server as “seamless” and as Branscome Paving’s primary IT provider, JTC oversees the server and regularly checks it for any suspected breaches and issues.

One of the most important reasons why Branscome Paving chose JTC, Inc. is that unlike other similar businesses, JTC, Inc. was able to meet Branscome Paving’s specific needs. Bowman said that “the key part” Branscome Paving needed was the ability to keep the capabilities of their own accounting package and link it to JTC, Inc.’s IT services. “Other IT providers had not provided us with that service, that was key for us,” said Bowman.

Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

Pitkins Dale City Hardware Planning Ladies Night

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Ladies night event offers tips, food and drink

 

Pitkins Ace Hardware in Dale City will hold a Ladies Night on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at their store in Dale City.

The special event will feature power tool and paint demonstrations, car repair tips from Steve’s Auto Repair, jewelry from Quinn’s Jewelers, drinks and hors d’ouevres. The Sentara Mammovan will also make an early appearance at the Dale City store from 2 to 6 p.m. The van provides a hotel-like setting, complete with dressing rooms, were patients can come and have mammograms performed.

There will also be demonstrations of paint, as well as a class on how to repair a broken toilet.

This is a natural place for women because they make a lot of the paint, design, and décor decisions for the home,” said hardware store owner Sarah Pitkin.

The ladies night event will build on Pitkins effort to support women in during October. The staff has worn pink t-shirts to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Pitkin says her store offers great customer service, and many customers can find what they need and be in and out of the store in 10 minutes. This helps her compete with larger chain stores, said Pitkin.

Pitkin and her sister, Amy Monroe, have operated the family business for the past eight years following her father’s retirement. Her father and uncle founded the business.

Pitkins Home Center / Dale City Hardware is located at 4340 Dale Boulevard in Dale City. For more information about the ladies night event, call 703-670-2139.

This post is sponsored by Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire of Woodbridge

*This post originally listed the incorrect date for this event. 

5 Tips to Remain Injury Free While Raking Leaves

The time of year is upon us where the leaves start changing to beautiful shades of orange, red, yellow, etc…, which of course is followed by their inevitable fall to the ground.

like-us-facebook-Transparent-300x143For many of us, this annual occurrence adds an item to our Fall “to do” list. Some, with a tree or two in their yard, may find this task quite simple. However, others may feel like they live in a forest by the time the piles of leaves have been raked, bagged and dragged to the curb. Keep the following in mind when you head out to clean up the yard this fall.

Pace Yourself – The good news is that raking your yard can be a good form of exercise. However, if you’re not accustomed to regular exercise, it is important not to overdo it. Inflexible muscles & overuse of those muscles may have you laid out rather than upright this fall. Complete one quadrant of your yard at a time, make it an activity you can do with your children or partner with a neighbor to get both yards done.

Posture is Important – Do not hunch over while you rake – this will put unneeded stress on your low back. Stand up straight and use small strokes. Furthermore, use your legs when you need to turn from side to side to avoid repeated twisting at the waist. Finally, try switching from side to side as you rake – this may feel a bit awkward at first – but chances are your body will thank you as this will help balance the muscles your body is using while you work.

Have the Right Tools – Use a rake that is the proper height for your size. This will help avoid unnecessary reaching and twisting. Wear gloves to avoid blisters. Dress in layers so you can adjust to the temperature. Remember the exercise part of raking leaves? You may work up a sweat. Finally, make sure your shoes have some tread & can grip the ground. Leaves can be slippery – especially wet ones.

Lift with Your Legs – This is good advice any time of year when lifting – of course it is one we often forget – so it bears repeating. Don’t overfill your bags – especially if they are wet. If it’s an option try not to rake after a rainy day. When moving those bags to the curb, lift by bending your knees, avoid bending at your back. Hold the bag close to your body and turn/twist by moving your feet – not your waist.

Cheat – Why not hire the industrious neighborhood boy or girl that wants to make a few bucks to rake your leaves? Maybe invest in a leaf blower – just be sure to be neighborly and not blow all your leaves into the next yard. We would hate to add “black eye” to the list of leaf removing injuries.

Hopefully, these tips and reminders will help you avoid becoming one of the 38,000 people who suffered an injury in 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This should leave you free to enjoy your Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Spice Kabobs, Pumpkin Spice Creole, Pumpkin Spice Gumbo, Deep Fried Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Spice Soup, Pumpkin Spice Stew, Pumpkin Spice Salad, Pumpkin Spice and Potatoes, Pumpkin Spice Burger, Pumpkin Spice Sandwich, Pumpkin Spice Shrimp….I think that’s about it.

Have a wonderful fall everyone.

Editor’s note: This post was provided by Advantage Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, LLC, with clinics located in Manassas and Gainesville, working with those who desire to restore and improve motion and achieve a long-term quality of life.

JTC Inc. Restores Important Data on Crashed Hard Drive

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Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

At HiTech Title Solutions, Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. recently assisted with a data recovery project.Whem

HiTech is a small company and works with land records, real estate titles, and more to help serve the needs of residential and commercial real estate. Since 2007, JTC has been assisting HiTech with both server and computer maintenance, as well as plenty of other routine duties.

With the data recovery project, Megan LaRoche at HiTech, explained that her husband initially had an external drive, which had been used for his business, RSL, Inc., that had suddenly crashed.

LaRoche and her husband both work in the same industry. When her husband decided to go paperless to better meet his business needs, all critical information over more than ten years was stored, and then she was unable to retrieve the data on that drive. LaRoche explained that she had spent roughly ten hours trying to retrieve the lost information but to no avail.  

The decision to bring the drive into the capable hands of JTC, Inc. was influenced by HiTech’s previous good experiences with the company. When JTC, Inc. received the drive, it was apparent that it had been “wiped” and corrupted and seemingly beyond repair. JTC, Inc. collaborated with another company to save LaRoche’s husband’s business because the files stored on that drive included vital title reports and other related work that was crucially important.

Beside the implications of LaRoche’s husband losing large amounts of information and data, it would have undermined “the elemental liability” of his business, she said

If the specific report cannot be located, it would have been a “huge problem for him [Megan’s husband] and his business.” LaRoche said that it was about a month-long but easy process for her and her husband but going to JTC, Inc. was the “natural choice” for her, her husband, and his business, RSL, Inc., she said.

JTC is always open to talk to you about your IT questions. Why not start now and post your question below for our resident expert JTC’s Mike Walker to review.

You can also email them. Mike will take your questions and provide answers each week.

JTC Keeps Airports Council International – North America in the Cloud

technology solutions networking enterprise

Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

At Airports Council International – North America, Nancy Zimini is the Senior Vice President, Administration and Operations. Zimini manages everything from daily business operations and administration to human resources to information technology and everything else in between.

Zimini has been with ACI-NA for 18 years, for 15 of those years, Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. has been the machine that has ensured Zimini and the rest of the ACI-NA staff can continue to smoothly and successfully represent local, regional, and state entities that own and manage airports in North America.

JTC, Inc. operates “the entire IT function” for both the ACI-NA offices in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Canada. Zimini listed these services, which include “web server hosting, disaster recovery, IT maintenance…[and] the sequel server,” among plenty of others. 

JTC has an engineer on site daily to assist in any needs the ACI-NA staff may have.  Recently, JTC, Inc. implemented a new SAN (storage area network) solution at ACI-NA that allows for full recovery capability if one of the servers were to go down.  JTC replicates the ACI-NA SAN in Washington to their data center for a total disaster recovery solution.  Zimini expressed her sheer confidence and trust in working with JTC, Inc., saying ACI-NA is a “…13 and a half million dollar company…and 99.9 percent of the time we’ve been up.”

In addition, the SAN solution will permit ACI-NA to create their own Cloud system, with the intent to reduce expenses in the near future.  Soon JTC will decommission the server in the Ottawa office, utilizing the SAN infrastructure, to reduce the footprint and cost of ownership of having another server. 

As part of her job, Zimini interacts with different vendors on a daily basis and knows the importance of customer service. With JTC, Inc., Zimini praises them on what she called “exceptional customer service”, prompt response time and ample generosity, as well as seeing the network into the future, in the case of the SAN solution, which plans to reduce costs for ACI-NA in years to come when the infrastructure becomes a Terminal Server solution for the ACI-NA staff so they can truly work from anywhere. 

Lastly, Zimini commented that “…when you have good vendors, they become your partners  in business and you need to be good to them which creates a win win situation” and JTC, Inc. has been a great partner to work with.

JTC is always open to talk to you about your IT questions. Why not start now and post your question below for our resident expert JTC’s Mike Walker to review.

You can also email them. Mike will take your questions and provide answers each week.

Auto Shops, B-Thrifty Partner to Collect Unwanted Goods

steves auto, hometowne auto, b-thrifty

Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire and Homeotowne Auto Repair and Tire will work to see which shop will collect the mots unwanted goods.

 

B-Thrifty provides bins as part of donation program 

 

Employees at Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire and Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire want to see which store can collect more clothing items to be recycled.

Two bins have been placed along Neabsco Mills Road at intersection of U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, near the two automotive repair shops at Hanco Center.

The collection is part of a “recycling” program is open to businesses, schools, and just about anyone else who wants to host a collection bin, which is provided at no charge by the B-Thrifty thrift store and marketplace in Woodbridge.

Once the merchandise is brought to the thrift center, B-Thrifty pays the collectors cents on the dollar for each pound of items that have collected in their bin. Many organizations and schools, including public schools in Prince William and Fairfax counties have held fundraisers using the bins, says Alex Magdaleno, business development manager at B-Thrifty.

“It’s great exposure for the participating organization because we get to put their logo on the bin, they get the recognition for being green, and they collect money when they decide to end their recycling drive,” said Magdaleno.

The items collected by the thrift market are then put out on the sales floor and sold. What doesn’t sell is then shipped to places like Haiti, in 100-pound shipping bails, where it sells there. Magdaleno says the goods help create commerce and jobs for workers in Haiti and other locations.

“We found a balance for us to make a living and being able to give back to our community,” he added.

Both the Steve’s and Hometowne auto shops say they chose to host a bin for the recycling effort and not as a means to profit. Both shops decided to locate their bins in an easy pull off area alongside the road so drivers could conveniently stop, not block traffic, and then place their unwanted goods inside the bins.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire to Celebrate Grand Opening

Grand opening celebration to feature vendor booths, family games, free food

 

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire will celebrate its grand opening on Nov. 1, 2014. The neighborhood automotive repair and tire shop is conveniently located at 15698 Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The shop’s friendly staff and ASE-certified technicians specialize in providing an unparalleled car care experience with a dedicated mission of keeping their customers and their loved ones safe while traveling on the road.   Hometowne is also known for being the home of the free flat tire repair no matter where you bought your tires.

A grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting will offer many fun-filled, family activities throughout the day free to all attendees. An event listing, including event times, is provided below.

As an independently owned and operated business in Prince William County, customer service stands at the forefront of Hometowne’s business model.

“With nearly 20 years in the automotive repair business, we wanted to build a clean and convenient automotive repair shop with mechanics that our customers trust to work on their cars,” said Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire owner ST Billingsley.

All of Hometowne’s customers are treated to free hot coffee, cold drinks, and snacks inside a relaxed waiting that includes a large flat-screen TV. The children’s waiting area is complete with games and video rocking chairs.

Hometowne also provides free shuttle service to many of the nearby stores and office buildings, to include Wegmans grocery and Apple Computer stores at the nearby Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on Sunday so their employees can spend time with family and friends. The shop specializes in brakes, wheel alignments, oil changes, and check engine lights. They are an authorized Michelin Tire dealer and an authorized Toyo Tire dealer.

To schedule a service, call 703-594-4646 or come by today.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire Grand Opening Activities

9:30 a.m.

·        Hytlon High School automotive education shop’s electrical on display, featuring Hylton student and Hometowne apprentice Katie Tatum

·        FREE coffee and doughnuts

10 a.m.

·        Exhibitor tents CarQuest, TCI Tire Warehouse giveaways, Valvoline oil supplier with giveaways, giveaways from Interstate Batteries and giveaways from Justice Tire.

10:30 a.m.

·        Ribbon cutting – Prince William Chamber of Commerce, Local elected officials

11 a.m.

·        Reception / FREE lunch sponsored CarQuest

·        Family games

From Dial Up to Cloud: JTC Continues to Grow 1st Customer

technology solutions networking enterprise

 

JTC moves first and longtime customer into their locally owned, operated cloud

 

In 1996, how were you using technology in your office?

Like many businesses, Interface Incorporated, a small “sales and business development” company aiding small and medium-sized businesses in securing contracts with Federal Government agencies, was accessing the internet via dial-up with very few computers in their office. In fact, many desks still had typewriters on them.

David Knapp, President of Interface Incorporated who has been with the organization for 33 years, began working with JTC, Inc. in 1996 as founder John Jewell’s very first client. As Jewell’s personal and longtime friend, Knapp said. 

Jewell originally worked with Dell before starting JTC, Inc. in 1996. Dell had been Interface Inc.’s “hardware liaison and provider” and after Jewell had stepped out to create his own business, it appeared to be a clear decision.

When JTC, Inc. was hired, the company assisted Interface Inc. with transitioning from using a dial-up network to a sophisticated Local Area Network and from typewriters to computers. From then on, JTC has provided Interface with their current JTC Cloud Server, fully hosted on JTC’s Sky platform, which will eventually evolve into a “fully hosted VoIP solution and terminal server” that will give Interface Inc. added capabilities.

JTC’s Sky platform was developed by the engineers at JTC on their own private cloud infrastructure and is hosted in a secured data center locally, giving Interface access to their data at any time should a major catastrophe ever occur.

Since 1996, Jewell has been Interface Inc.’s “first and…only IT supplier…for 18 years…” said Knapp. Knapp has witnessed JTC, Inc. grow tremendously into what he says is an “absolutely top notch” IT company. “Even if John were no longer at JTC, Inc. and the company was still around, Interface would continue to be a client because of the people that work there and the services that they have provided,” said Knapp.

“It’s no secret that we feel pretty highly about the capabilities of JTC…they’ve maintained a cutting-edge knowledge of the technology that they can bring to their clients.”

JTC is always open to talk to you about your IT questions. Why not start now and post your question below for our resident expert JTC’s Mike Walker to review.

You can also email them. Mike will take your questions and provide answers each week.

Hampton Hotel at Quantico Revamped, Expanded to Include Conference Center

hampton hotel breakfast stay kitchen inn
hampton-conference-roomhampton hotelhampton-breakfast-nookhampton-front-entrance

 

Hampton owners to celebrate with ribbon cutting party open to public

 

The owners of a Hampton Hotel at Quantico are ready to celebrate the center’s recent expansion.

A new 2,600 square foot conference center has been added to the hotel in North Stafford, as well as new guest suites, a new indoor pool, a reconfigured entrance, and a completely redesigned lobby has all been added. Located at the confluence of Interstate 95, U.S. 1, and Garrisonville Road, the hotel is now one of the most unique properties in the Hampton brand of hotels in the Hilton Hotels family.

“We knew that space is a big factor to retain guests and have them to return to the hotel, so that’s what we’ve given them here – more space to feel more comfortable,” said Amal Lambara, managing director for the hotel.

A ribbon cutting for the newly expanded hotel will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. Taste of Elegance will be the caterer for the event that will offer food and wine. All of the hotel rooms, enlarged and now called studios, will be open for all to see.

The idea is for the community to come see the new Hampton space and not only to tour the property, but business organizations to size up the facility to see if it’s right for their corporate events. It’s also a chance for for area residents to see if the new indoor pool and hot tub is a place where might choose to spend a cold winter weekend.

As for the Hampton conference space, there’s few like it around the Quantico Marine Corps Base area.

“Locals have to go further north to rent space, even further than Woodbridge, to rent a space. We can accommodate 200 or more people in our conference facility,” said Lambara.

A growing demand for extended-stay hotels around Quantico Marine Corps Base prompted the renovations. A feasibility study was completed and land next to the existing hotel was acquired prior to the start of construction last year.

Along with the expansion, Hilton Hotels has granted the owner of the hotel, Dhiren C. Patel , the use of the Hampton flag for another 17 years. The owner’s wife, Aneeta Patel , was instrumental in choosing the look of the hotel lobby where several events are held, including a guest afternoon social hour Monday through Thursday.

 “The lobby is a perfect mix of new style and a relaxing atmosphere made to look more like a social gathering area, not a hotel lobby,” said Lambara.

Those who would like to attend the ribbon cutting party should RSVP by emailing Lambara directly, or call 540-657-0999.

JTC Helps Summit Point Reach Higher with New Server

technology solutions networking enterprise

Mike Walker, JTC Vice President

Mike Walker, JTC Vice President

In West Virginia, BSR at Summit Point specializes in security driving and firearms training to better prepare military personnel private citizens to handle threats posed by terrorism and crime. By taking two of Summit Point’s internal servers and merging them together, JTC, Inc. has made it easier for Summit Point to continue to provide great service to its clients.

Chris Otto, a retired Army policeman, is the Assistant Director of Training and a Security Driver and Firearms Instructor at BSR at Summit Point. Speaking of the services that JTC, Inc. provided, Otto said that “they helped provide a dual redundancy server system to integrate all of our operators and users to basically co-exist on the same network.”

Otto further elaborated that prior to JTC’s help, BSR at Summit Point had a small group of people working off of a small business server, along with 10-12 other users with their own desktops running on different operating systems.

Otto added that BSR encountered problems with communicating and transferring data to one another until JTC came in and “revamped our system”. By putting all users on the same, single server, Otto said that it resulted in “everything [being] all interconnected so we can communicate a lot better and faster.”

JTC’s work has brought something valuable to the mission of BSR at Summit Point by making the system more secure. Otto explained that in the past BSR had many open wifi networks and JTC “produced something that would run everything through a single server but also secured all of the access points, whether they be hard-lined or wireless.”

Summit Point has been working with JTC since 2010, and since then BSR has had a “great relationship” with JTC.

Otto said that JTC’s capabilities and professionalism were “top notch” and that no one has given him any complaint about these capabilities. If BSR encountered any issues, communication with JTC was easy and effortless and it appeared that there were several occasions when JTC would send same business day assistance and/or within 24 hours.

JTC’s team has also provided hands-on training for BSR at Summit Point employees. Otto remembered one time when employees were having some issues on how to work their new server.

JTC responded by “sending a couple of guys out the following day and they went to every single individual and their workstations…just showing them, training them how to navigate or whatever the situation was.”

JTC designed and implemented a high availability, virtual server environment, utilizing thin client technology. Built on Microsoft and Dell.
JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Solutions Provider.

JTC is always open to talk to you about your IT questions. Why not start now and post your question below for our resident expert JTC’s Mike Walker to review.

You can also email them. Mike will take your questions and provide answers each week.

JTC Inc. Prepares Students at Innovation Park for Cyber Challenge

 

JTC, Inc. President and CEO John Jewell talks to students at Prince William County’s Governor’s School @ Innovation Park about technology and networking security.

JTC, Inc. President and CEO John Jewell talks to students at Prince William County’s Governor’s School @ Innovation Park about technology and networking security.

JTC Inc making tech work for you

 

Special program tech program educates students at Innovation Park 

 

At the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park, JTC, Inc. is making an impact with local students by working to prepare them for their participation in the state level Cyber Challenge and giving them real-life knowledge and experiences in the field of cyber-security and networking.

“For the last two to three years, JTC has had some of their staff mentor our students for the Virginia state Cyber Challenge,” said Dr. Karen Dalfrey, the Director of The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park. “John Jewell [JTC’s owner and founder] would have one of his staff members come over usually once a week during the fall semester and the staff member would go through all of the modules that our students would have to do…prepare lessons and then come in and actually work with students and make sure they understood the content of the modules [and] the lessons,” said Dr. Dalfrey.

Outside of the classroom, JTC Inc. went further in their commitment by inviting students to their office for added exposure.

“Usually once or twice they would bring…our students who were participating in this cyber challenge to their facility and they would really explain the networking and the security behind the networking to our students…to make them more competitive in this challenge.”

Dr. Dalfrey said that, “this year…[it’s] the first year we’re doing a real internship for our high school students and JTC is allowing one of our students to go in and actually intern…up to about 10 hours per week where our student would go in and really be given the opportunity to become part of their staff…it would be an unpaid internship but it’s giving a lot of experience to the student.”

The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park created its first cyber challenge team in 2012. Dr. Dalfrey discovered JTC, Inc. with the help of a parent who put Dr. Dalfrey in contact with John Jewell in Fall 2012. From the start, JTC, Inc. were very receptive and Dr. Dalfrey’s experience working with JTC, Inc. has been a positive one.

The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park prepares students in the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and Dr. Dalfrey stated that the “big part of our mission is getting our students ready for [the] future workforce”. “JTC, Inc. has been really an advocate of our students…going further in their studies and beyond just textbook knowledge especially in the cyber-security field, and…and it’s  giving these students hands-on exposure to things that are going to maybe help them decide what field of discipline they want to study in their undergrad phase and then what field of discipline they might want to do some work later on in their career.” 

JTC is always open to talk to you about your IT questions. Why not start now and post your question below for our resident expert JTC’s Mike Walker to review.

You can also email them. Mike will take your questions and provide answers each week.

Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

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