Boles joins real estate firm - Mount Airy News

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Boles joins real estate firm - Mount Airy NewsBoles joins real estate firm - Mount Airy NewsPosted: 16 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDTBolesLori Boles recently joined Yadkin Valley Real Estate Inc. and Farms Land & Country Homes as a professional sales broker.As a new Yadkin Valley Real Estate Broker, she will be assisting buyers and sellers with their residential and commercial real estate needs in the Mount Airy and surrounding areas. Under the Farms Land and Country homes banner, she'll be assisting buyers and sellers of rural properties in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Yadkin Valley appellation. Boles is a member of the National, State and nearby Winston Salem Regional Association of Realtors.Boles began her real estate career in 2017 and has been a top producing real estate broker every year. Before that, she owned and operated a successful hair salon for 24 years.She lives in Pilot Mountain with her husband Richard and their two twin children. She has an older marri…

What's anosmia? Loss of smell a hot topic in states hit hard by coronavirus - CNET

What's anosmia? Loss of smell a hot topic in states hit hard by coronavirus - CNET

Link to "google trends hot searches" - Google News

What's anosmia? Loss of smell a hot topic in states hit hard by coronavirus - CNET

Posted: 26 Jun 2020 05:41 PM PDT

smellingflowers
Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

People in US states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic are searching for information on one of its more unusual symptoms -- anosmia, the loss of ones sense of smell. According to Google Trends, searches related to the symptom over the last week are significantly rising in states such as Texas and Arizona, which are among the places with the highest rates of new cases in the US.

Texas governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that the state's reopening has been paused due to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state. Abbott told CBS affiliate KFDA-TV in Amarillo that the state was "looking at greater restrictions."

Arizona governor Doug Ducey ended that state's stay-at-home order in mid-May, and now local coronavirus cases have spiked there. And searches for anosmia are also high in South Carolina, another state which reopened early and is now seeing a surge in positive tests.

Some are born with it

Coronavirus isn't the only cause of anosmia -- some people are born with a complete inability to detect smells. In April, Brooklyn filmmaker Jacob LaMendola spoke with CNET about how he didn't even realize he had it until fifth grade, and how his first smell of anything (fresh chocolate from a New York shop) overwhelmed him to the point of tears. And while it may seem like a less invasive symptom than some others, a study out of the UK's University of East Anglia published late last year found smell loss can disrupt almost every aspect of life, from the practical to the emotional. 

Nose cell damage

COVID-19 isn't the first coronavirus known to cause a loss of smell, according to the British Rhinological Society. A March study by Harvard scientists suggest that COVID-19 might damage a particular set of cells in the nose. At the time of the study, it was unclear whether or not COVID-19 can cause a permanent loss of smell. 

Loss can linger

No two cases of COVID-19 are the same, but in a roundup of people who've recovered, anosmia was mentioned frequently. Olivia, a student who tested positive for the virus in March, notes that the loss of smell was one of her longest-lingering symptoms, along with congestion.

On the CDC symptoms list

A new loss of taste or smell is now one of the 11 symptoms the US Centers for Disease Control lists as a sign someone could have the COVID-19 illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, the CDC reports.

Good hygiene and social distancing remain the top two ways to prevent yourself from becoming sick.

First Things First: What parents need to know about increased cyberbullying during the COVID-19 pandemic - Chattanooga Times Free Press

Posted: 27 Jun 2020 09:03 AM PDT

Cyberbullying has been a hot topic for years, but when all of us, young and old, were thrust in front of our screens due to COVID-19, the experts warned we could see an uptick in this behavior — especially among young people.

Sure enough, we are six months into the coronavirus pandemic and Google Trends is seeing an 80% increase in parents searching for help in dealing with cyberbullying. According to a Digital Trends piece that came out in April about cyberbullying and distance learning, research indicated that they had seen a 70% increase in cyberbullying among kids in the first weeks of social distancing. Statistics indicate that roughly 50%-60% of kids have been cyberbullied.

Just so we are clear about what we are talking about, cyberbullying is using any type of digital platform to scare, harass, shame, embarrass, hurt or threaten another person.

Numbers to know

› Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Hotline: 800-662-HELP (4357)

› National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

With everyone online right now, there are lots of easy targets and the stakes are high. Some kids are taking their own lives because of it, and many others are dealing with anxiety and depression as a result. If you know what to look for and have some precautions in place, you have a much better chance of intervening before the situation takes a tragic turn. The big question is, what can parents do to address this problem?

If you notice a change in your child's behavior or disposition, pay attention. Here is a list of nine signs your child might be the victim of cyberbullying:

* Appears nervous when receiving a text, instant message or email.

* Seems uneasy about going to school or pretends to be ill.

* Unwillingness to share information about online activity.

* Abruptly shutting off or walking away from the computer mid-use.

* Withdrawing from friends and family in real life.

* Unexplained stomachaches or headaches.

* Trouble sleeping at night.

* Unexplained weight loss or gain.

* Suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Now that summer is here, your kids don't need to be on their screens as much. Making some parental decisions about how much time your children are allowed to use their screens and standing by it can be helpful to the entire family. Screen Strong has a 7 Day ScreenStrong Challenge you might find helpful. Think of it as a seven-day cleanse for your entire family to help them kick off the summer.

Once you have completed the cleanse, set the tone for the rest of the summer with a family meeting about expectations moving forward when it comes to screen time. This is what parents say they struggle with the most because it causes such a huge uproar in the home.

Think of it like this: When you tell your child to hold your hand to cross the street and they throw themselves on the ground and pitch a fit because they don't want to hold your hand, you don't respond by saying, "OK, you don't have to hold my hand. Just be careful." You get your child off the ground and tell them, "You are holding my hand. Period." It doesn't matter how big a tantrum they throw, you aren't going to give in because you know the street could be very dangerous. For older teens, it would be like you putting them behind the wheel of a car with no training and telling them to be careful.

Screens have a great place in this world, but without limits or set expectations, they can negatively impact your children, and the entire family for that matter. In order to put structure around screen usage, be very clear about what appropriate behavior looks like when you are online, and define cyberbullying for them. The goal is to create an environment where it is abundantly clear that cyberbullying will not be tolerated and to let them know what to do if they think they are being cyberbullied. Working through this together can strengthen your relationship, too.

Create a schedule of things your kids can do instead of being on their screens. For example, reading is one of the best things they can do to increase their vocabulary and build their imagination. Exercise, getting outside or even doing things inside to get their heart rate up and create some sweat can do wonders for decreasing stress and anxiety along with elevating their mood. Look for activities you can do together as a family and ways for your kids to meaningfully contribute to your family and the lives of others who may need help with things like mowing their lawn, weeding their gardens, walking the dog and such. First Things First has a 30 Day Family Activity Challenge you might find helpful.

If you do not see change in a positive direction, you may want to seek professional help to deal with this situation. Also, it is helpful to talk with your children about other adults in their life they can talk to besides you because, honestly, sometimes it's just hard to talk with your parents about certain things (see related box).

These are complicated times for sure. As parents, our role is to lead — even when our children don't appreciate the direction and structure we are giving them. A child or teen's ability to assess their well-being is extremely limited due to their prefrontal cortex not being developed. Instead of being intimidated when it comes to doing what you know is in your child's best interest to help them thrive, make sure they know that you get how hard this time is and that you are for them. While they may act like they don't care about being in relationship with you, don't be fooled. Knowing that you care, that your love is unconditional and that you are there to listen is powerful, and although they may not acknowledge it, rest assured they notice.

Julie Baumgardner is president and CEO of family advocacy nonprofit First Things First. Email her at julieb@firstthings.org.

Consumer Interest in Dining Out is Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels - FSR magazine

Posted: 01 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDT

With COVID-19 cases rising and states backtracking, the future remains cloudy for restaurants. Yet there's little question people want to eat out again. According to Google Trends data, analyzed by Chef's Pencil, searches for "restaurants" and "restaurants near me" spiked in recent days. For some states, they're even above pre-pandemic levels.

Chef's Pencil chart.

Another telling sign: online searches for recipes have turned the other direction. Fatigue is showing through. Searches were at an all-time high during the lockdown period, Chef's Pencil said, surpassing holiday seasons.

Chef's Pencil chart.

You can see at the back end of the chart, though, where a recent climb in cases might be affecting behavior. And this might be coming on stronger. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Friday ordered a reclosure of all bars and mandated restaurants to roll back to 50 percent capacity from 75. Bars that took in more than 51 percent of gross receipts from alcohol sales were forced to close by noon, although they were still allowed to serve alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery. Florida also paused alcohol sales on-premises for bars.

Will this—and likely similar moves—reverse improving sentiment? We don't know yet. But we can take the pulse of the current consumer state.

Yelp Wednesday released its latest Economic Impact Report, which spotlighted some similar headlines as Chef's Pencil. The data showed a quick shift in consumer interest over dining out. During the peak of COVID-19, the number of diners seated across Yelp Reservations and Waitlist dropped basically to zero. In early June, it bounced back significantly—now down 57 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

A correlation also emerged between restaurants that cater to group dining and those making a comeback, suggesting consumers are using restaurants to reconnect after quarantine isolation.

Fondue concepts are up 123 percent; tapas bars 98 percent; hot pot 49 percent. Buffets ticked up 17 percent, too.

Meanwhile, some pandemic winners are sliding back. Pizza declined 28 percent, Chinese 26 percent, and fast food 18 percent.

Dine-in, so far at least, evened the scales a bit and pulled trends closer to prior norms. But it's still early. Is this sticky behavior or simply pent-up demand? Likely, the reality will lie somewhere in between.

For instance, even as people return to restaurants, the increased interest in takeout and delivery hasn't waned much. Yelp said takeout and delivery continued to sustain interest on its platform, up 148 percent based on consumer interest relative to pre-pandemic levels. It's also seen a 10-times increase in searches for takeout since March 10.

We're looking at a very different field of restaurants as well, with fewer choices overall. Compared to March 1, Yelp said nearly 23,981 restaurants are now marked temporarily or permanently closed. Of those, 53 percent fall into the latter category.

This is a rough figure since restaurants on Yelp need to actively list themselves as closed or permanently closed, but it still illustrates how much disruption is taking place in real time.

Yelp chart.

But for those welcoming dine-in business again, they're finding willing guests. Some 16.6 million searches are performed in Google every month by patrons looking for restaurants nearby. Of the data points available, it's a pretty reliable indicator of the nation's interest in dining out. It might not guarantee foot traffic or actual sales. However, the fact consumers are exploring options again is a sign they're either dining out or working their way to getting there.

Google Trends data also shows consistent seasonal patterns over the years with the volume of searches high during the late spring and early months, dropping in fall, then peaking in December.

Since COVID-19, however, traditional trends evaporated. Searches fell to a record low—half the normal pre-Christmas slump—at the end of March, Chef's Pencil said.

Since the middle of June, there's been a steep surge in the number of people looking into dining out, nearing figures you'd expect to see in pre-virus times.

This has been most pronounced in South Carolina, followed by Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Not surprisingly, these are the states with headline reopenings in recent weeks. They're also surging in COVID-19 cases.

Chef's Pencil chart.

More cautious markets, like New York, are on the other side at 43. California, Alaska, and Montana scored 45. North and South Dakota 46.

Chef's Pencil chart.

Chef's Pencil chart.

All of this is stirring a good news-bad news debate across the industry and country. For a lot of restaurants, this uptick in business has kept the lights on and provided some much-needed hope.

However, it's difficult not to connect the dots between states where people are going out more often and COVID-19 case growth. The result, in a lot of situations, is restaurants reopening just to close again.

As pointed out by Eater, Nothing Bundt Cakes closed two locations this past week in California's San Gabriel Valley after employees tested positive. Workers at five restaurants in Las Vegas contracted COVID-19, forcing operations to shutter, sanitize, and test, which carries a sizable cost. This is happening in multiple markets.

"Restaurant workers are understandably desperate to get back to work, though some are concerned about being exposed to the virus," Chef's Pencil's Caroline Williams wrote. "But opening and then closing does nothing to create confidence in the sector or job security."

Some examples

Placer.ai, a mobile location analytics platform, measured the pre-COVID-19 and more recent performance of some large casual chains—Chili's, TGI Fridays, Perkins, and Olive Garden.

Like most brands, February was off to a decent start, year-over-year, thanks to the leap year. But then March arrived. May saw some recovery (visits upped at least 10 percent compared to the prior month for each brand) as the economy began to reopen.

Placer.ai chart.

This following year-over-year data, though, shows a resilient consumer. Each brand witnessed improvement in terms of year-over-year change, from April 28 to the first week of June. While numbers remain low, visits are inching closer to standard levels.

Placer.ai chart.

In the week of May 25, visits for Chili's and Olive Garden pushed closer to the mark with traffic declining 46.4 and 53.7 percent, respectively. Even with a shortened week affected by Memorial Day, growth increased from the previous week. The week that began June 1 generated the most impressive numbers so far.

"Looking at the overall dining sector has also continued to show weekly improvements year over year change numbers and the economy has begun reopening. And although many states still have tight restrictions surrounding the restaurant industry, the nationwide trend shows a very strong outlook," the company said.

In sum, people want to dine out again, and they are. But are we headed for some near-term softness from case spikes? Is that a risk restaurants need to take? As always, plenty of questions await.

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