Common Sense Solutions to Keeping Teens Off the Streets

Every town is better off when our youth don’t get caught up in the wrong scene. Rich or poor, every neighborhood runs the risk of gang, drug and crime activities among teens because adolescence is such a vulnerable time in every person’s life. That awkward period between childhood and adulthood is very confusing as individuals try to figure out who they are and where they fit in. That’s why it’s so important that, as the adults in the village, we do everything we can to give our teens the best chance for making smarter decisions about how to spend their time and use their talents. This post gives a few common sense ways to pitch in as a parent, guardian or loved one.

1. Limit Screen Time

With social media bullying on the rise and online socializing playing into FOMO (fear of missing out), studies are showing just how harmful social media can be to mental health.

Teens have enough trouble navigating the pressures of school and social life without amplifying it throughout online activities. And it’s not just social media; obsessive video gaming keeps kids indoors and away from real life interactions. Teens are sitting behind screens rather than having real, meaningful conversations and interactions – it’s not healthy in excess.

For this reason, it’s important to be mindful just how much time teens are spending texting on phones, on the Internet and on video games. Limit access, limit time and encourage them to pick up other hobbies early in life, such as:

  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Scooter riding
  • Fishing
  • Walking
  • Arts & crafts

2. Treat Mental Health Issues

Teens today are highly prone to mental health issues and illnesses, not only because the high level of raging hormones, but also a result of society sinking back behind screens and reducing real life interactions. Kids today just don’t interact with people enough, leaving them unskilled at navigating interpersonal relationships and their own emotions.

When you add to that the social pressures to fit in and a desire to have an identity, you create the perfect environment for stress, anxiety and depression. Which, when left untreated, can result in seriously risky behavior and choices for the teen.

If you sense that a teen you love could be experiencing or at risk for mental illness, don’t stay silent. Encourage the parent to get the teen professional assistance through trained and licensed counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. And if the family isn’t too keen on traditional pharmaceuticals, consider talking to a doctor about natural alternatives.

3. Help Teens Find Other Outlets

Adolescents need other outlets for their energy and emotions that stave off excessive boredom and let them blow off some steam in a healthier way. Having a fun hobby or activity that excites them is going to help prevent troublesome behavior down the road. And if that activity involves other people, it’s even better because they won’t wind up running with the wrong crowd.

Encourage your kids to pick up hobbies and interests early, which could turn into an organized activity in the teen years.

  • Puzzles, sudoku and mystery books could turn into joining a math, chess or debate club
  • Park district classes could turn into trying out for sports clubs and school athletics
  • Arts and crafts could turn into building sets for the drama club or department
  • Reading and writing could result in volunteering for the school newspaper or year book organization
  • Mind-challenging hobbies, such as building models or elaborate lego structures, help kids learn to problem solve.
  • For older teens with a work permit, help them discover hands-on, practical career paths that will keep them busy but interested, such as appliance repair, which definitely takes a technically minded person to figure it out. Even if they don’t choose this for an adult job, this type of skill can help them when they become a homeowner anyway.

There are plenty of ways to gently guide teens in your family or community away from sketchy street activity whether you start early or later; it just takes a little observation, a willingness to help and a lot of compassion.

Residential Permits Required By Most Towns

One of the best contributions you can make to your local neighborhood is fixing up your own home. When your residence is updated and in great condition, the value of the house goes up and the value of the community along with.

And, when you own your own home and are considering making improvements to it, it’s easy to assume you have carte blanche to do whatever you like to your own property. After all, you own it, right?

Nope. Slow down neighbor, your local town or county may require pre-approval on certain property changes before you dive in.

Now, while this list is not exhaustive (ahem…check with your city, county and state first), it may help you recognize the wide array of property work that requires your local government’s consent before you dive in:

Neighborhood Events

While this category isn’t directly home improvement, it is related to neighborhood permits. Before you consider a garage sale or block party, find out if a permit or license is required to do so. Psst…don’t forget about noise ordinances too!

Public Walkways

If you’ve got plans to impact any public area near your house, such as a sidewalk or street, you best check with your city first. They won’t take to kindly to public alterations made without their approval.

Street Dumpsters

Typically a local dumpster rental that’s placed on your driveway can be done without a permit (again, check with your town to be sure), but a dumpster placed on a street is a different story all together. If you are remodeling your home and need to rent a trash bin that will be stationed on a public road, call your town first to find out the rules and requirements for doing so.

Historic Homes

If you are lucky enough to live in an Historic district within your town, you probably have a fabulously charming home. However, you also probably have major restrictions and requirements for what changes can be made to said home. Before considering any renovations, you’ll likely need to get every tiny little detail approved. Many historic districts have strict requirements for precisely which changes can be made and, often times, the renovations need to match the original construction.

Exterior Construction

Building an addition? Adding a garage? Creating a porch or deck? Installing a fence or swimming pool? All of these exterior improvements typically require a local permit and possible zoning clearances as well.

Structural Work

Any projects that are structural in nature, such as concrete foundation, electrical or HVAC roughing, plumbing roughing or framework, will often require the appropriate permits before work begins.

Major Interior Renovations

Any time you’re taking on a big home project, like demolishing walls or rooms, remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, changing window openings or installing skylights, there’s a good chance your local village will require a permit.

Functional Upgrades

Some towns permit essential inner working improvements too, such as any upgrades of electrical systems, replacing a water heater or furnace and even installing a new air conditioning unit. It’s always a good idea to check with your town before taking this on.


Why a Circuit Court Judge Matters & What They Do

We often hear the term circuit court popping up in TV and news but only some of us are aware of what does it do and why they are for? Here is an overview of the circuit court, the judge in circuit court and what are their responsibilities and who appoint them.

It is nearly impossible for a single court to handle the cases that arise on a regular basis so, for the large countries like the US, there is a huge criminal justice system working to resolve the problems. These are the courts that meet within the same district they preside over in various places. Circuit’s courts are presided over by circuit a judge who imparts justice to matters that are somehow overseen and they travel around that district for this purpose. They have a different responsibility and they are held accountable for state local and federal cases as well. These courts are a limited version of jurisdiction courts.


A circuit judge must have a law degree, a complete undergraduate degree, and license to practice and must have passed the bar. Some states have their own eligibility criteria for circuit judges. In some states, only a person with 5 years of experience in law is eligible to stand in the election for circuit judge. There is no appointment and in the state election, they have to run for office. After being elected there is a six-year serve contract. Those judges who serve on the 13 federal circuit courts serve for life and are appointed by the president of the United States.


Circuit courts are of different types. No matter if its federal court or county court, they have got a few common things in them. They handle all sort of appeals.  Be it tax case to military or anything in between them. Every circuit court has a specialty which is to be focused while working. A case not yet decided by the lower court is not heard in circuit court. These courts are only available for plaintiffs, defendants or sometimes, the government to appeal another’s court decision.

Responsibilities of Circuit Judge

Since this is a court of appeals so the judge must be aware of the appeal process both in America in general or in their jurisdiction. There a number of ways to appeal a court’s decision to a judge must be capable to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of various procedures that would arise. The judge must have a sound understanding and vast knowledge of the type of law followed in the court’s jurisdiction. To handle the workload they can make a team of an associate judge who can confer with other judge and can give an opinion in court during the cases. And the associate judge is eligible to deliver a verdict on any one case.

The court system is complicated in a country like America where over 300 million citizens are residing. Based on the necessity the courts are divided into small; jurisdiction. It is here where a large number of crucial cases are settled by incredible judges.

Local Park District

Fun Things to Do At Your Local Park District

On a beautiful day, you may get annoyed seeing your children glued to the couch playing video games or seeing them being a couch potato all the time. It’s high time to get them up and explore some exciting fun activities taking place in your local park. You can always find ample adventure there even if your budget is tight or limited. Plan an outing for your kids or the whole family and take advantage of your neighborhood green space, recreational area, or some expansive park near your house. For some free, recreational, and cheap fun, go out in sun for a while.

Below is a list of fun activities you will love to do at your local park district.

Get Everyone Moving At The Playground

You can perform a number of activities at your district park that goes beyond some classic playground activities and a swing set. Hit your nearest community park and your kids will love to have a blast navigating obstacles in their way to hiking or fortress, scrambling up rope nets, monkey bars, giant slides, mini rock climbing, and pint-sized zip lines. So all you need is some sun screen, juices, water, snacks, and passion. This way you can help your child build agility, confidence, strength, active life style, and laughers all the way.

Set Up A Challenge

The wide open spaces parks provide is best for hosting an obstacle course or race or other challenges that involve all the family members. Bring some simple props and break up into teams to set up your own family field day. It could include an egg and spoon challenge, hula hoops, soccer ball, tug of wars or a three-legged race. For more adventure find a park that offers zip line, rock climbing or a canopy tour.

Scavenger Hunt

If you want to explore all areas of your park in a relatively short time then scavenger hunt is the ideal deal for you. All you need to do is divide the members into teams and make a list of things they have to find at that local park. Give each time a bag to collect the items along with the list. You can also give those aids like camera, pencil and etc. after that decide a meetup place and the team who arrives before rest of them with all the items in their bag will win the hunt. Prize may include snacks, cupcakes or a free ticket to a movie that would be offered by the losing team.

Host A Family Reunion

If your budget is limited then the park is a wonderful budget-friendly venue to host a family get together. Some parks offers a covered pavilion with picnic tables on a first come, first served basis. There is plenty of space for kids to fend off boredom and can runaround freely. Elder people can simply sit around and reminisce. If you want something more than that then you must know that some parks also have lodges and accommodation for camping and thus you can extend the duration of family reunion beyond a single day.

Attend Special Events

District parks often host carnivals, funfairs, and special event to cater to families and hold their attention. Activities taking place in your local parks depends on the interest of people. Some people love carnivals with inflatable play objects, games, and races. Whereas state parks offer out the door and high adventure activities like fishing, orienteering, archery, and canoeing to you and your family. In holiday’s parks organize big events like parades, fireworks, winter wonderland, and Easter egg hunt.

Walk the Dog

More and more park districts are recognizing our love for our furry friends by setting up designated dog parks. Some are strictly for running leash-free and others actually have cool built-in obstacle courses for your family canine. So if your family has a pet dog, this is a great way to move both your legs and your puppy’s legs in a gated environment.

Go Sledding or Ice Skating

Many park districts in chillier parts of the country set up safe, designated areas during winter where kids and families can ice skate together on very low depth layers, so there is no risk of falling through thin ice. If your family is into skating, this is a great way to get some exercise in colder months.

Also, a lot of local parks and fields have small hills that become natural sledding slopes after snowfall. It’s a totally fun, free activity for the entire neighborhood that will keep your kiddos busy for hours In the fresh, crisp air.

Explore Nature

Many local Park Districts offer a Nature Center or Nature Walk that is run by either volunteers or city-paid staff. These places are an exciting, educational retreat for kids. They can learn about local animals, bugs, plants and more! Whether it’s a guided tour through local land or an indoor center with live animals to feed and observe, it’s sure to be fun for everyone.

To stay informed about the last upcoming events taking place at your Park District, you can subscribe to their email or get their updates via monthly calls or emails.

What Makes a Neighborhood Great

Neighborhoods don’t become enviable simply by coincidence. It takes a group of concerned residents to channel their creativity and diverse ideas to make any neighborhood a great and safe place to live. Let’s be honest, building up your local neighborhood may have become the least of your priorities in this digitally connected, busy world. But once you recognize that a great neighborhood not only keeps your family safe, but also raises your home value and brings more joy to your community experience, you’ll come to realize that taking care of your neighborhood, participating in community activities and taking pride in your neighborhood is an experience worth having.

Why Care About Living in a Great Neighborhood

A nice neighborhood is a place that beckons you to enjoy it, to visit with your neighbors who become lifelong friends, to enjoy the scenic landscape views and the ambient lighting at night that make you feel like this is the place I love to spend my hours and days.

In contrast, a place that has litter all over looks unwelcoming and feels abandoned. A neighborhood like this is unattractive and usually becomes unsafe because it deters caring, vested residents and instead attracts folks with questionable motives. You can’t find a perfect neighborhood anywhere in the world, you have to help make it that way.

Making a good neighborhood is easier than you’d think. Here is a compiled list of some ways to contribute to your neighborhood and play a role in making it great.

Serve your neighborhood: there is always a need for hedges to be trimmed in your neighborhood or sidewalks to be swept or maybe lawns to be moved. You can take an hour or two on weekends to help pick up the slack when neighbors are busy. Rake their leaves for them, shovel their walkways, pick up litter off your shared streets– every little bit helps. Help people in every possible way and the people around you will feel blessed to have you and likely return the favor in some way too. This is how great neighborly relationships are forged and how to keep up the overall spirit of community pride. You can serve your neighbors by sharing useful links like

Know your neighbors: getting to know the people around you is foundational. The ability to communicate with friends and family is improving day by day with the help of far-reaching social network but we often overlook the people in our neighborhood. Once you socialize with your neighbors it makes and great differences that increase the sense of community that goes far beyond sharing a street you live in. so greet your neighbors with a simple, ask their names and their hobby or specific job.

Initiate a healthy competition: A healthy competition and a common enemy are the things that bring people closer. Take an initiative and hold a low stake competition for festive lawn decoration or best-kept lawn. And entertain the winner with some drinks and cookies. People would definitely love to invest some time in maintaining their yard or lawn and it will boost the curb appeal of your good neighborhood. Plus, it’s more fun when you’re tackling a hard project like this together!

Foster a new tradition: just start neighborhood traditions that will make people look forward to that tradition every year. Just like Halloween where children love to show their fancy costumes, begin trick or treating all together, and eat hot dogs. It’s kind of time where unity is seen among larger communities and families celebrate a good time together. Just like that introduce a tradition in your own community like spring garage sale day or forth of June block party. It will make people feel more entertained and invested in your neighborhood.

Make community spaces: to create a connection and pride in your neighborhood, develop a play space for kids or a community garden that will foster the creativity and unity among all age groups living in that area. This way, the community members will run into each other more often and eventually they will get to know each other in a better way.

Celebrate the children in the neighborhood: the real lifeblood of the neighborhood is children and it won’t be fair to simply brush off those kids. They are the ones who spend more time in the neighborhood and know about the neighborhood better than the adults in their homes. Plan a giant birthday party or a school get-together party for the kids in your neighborhood. Take care of them in a way that even the youngest member of your community feels seen and loved.

Start a block safety watch: to keep your neighborhood saves from common enemies or burglar with a coordinating effort will go a long way and is in benefit of every individual living there. Find a different way to run a neighborhood watch and choose the best one for your neighborhood. A happy neighborhood should be a safe neighborhood as well.

Treat others as you want to be treated: this is the golden rule that will make a huge impact in your life and will make your neighborhood a happy place. Don’t litter the street and pick up the trash if you see it anywhere. Invite people on lunch, help them with groceries, send birthday gifts, and spread kindness and love everywhere.

Make a committee for care watch: just like block watch, care watch will help the people in the time of distress. When there is a tragedy or some neighbor is having a really bad time, care watch will respond in a way to put them at comfort. If someone loses a loved one to death or is bedridden due to severe accident or injury, care watch committee should organize a meal to divert their attention from the problem. This would be the nicest act of kindness one can do and remember you get what you served. Have compassion for others so people will have compassion for you an hour of need.

Improve communication: To avoid isolation, make a list of name, number, and addresses of the whole block, and mail that to the whole block. Make a Facebook group where you can interact with every individual if they feel comfortable. Announce the dates and details of upcoming events and news via a Facebook post. Communicate with your community members and make your community a hostile place to live in.

How to Register Your 18-Year-Old Child to Vote for the First Time

Individuals younger than 18 years old can register themselves to vote and this election procedure is called pre-registration. The legal voting age for federal and state election in the United States is 18 and, once they reach this age, they are eligible to cast their vote!

Whether you’re handing off the reigns to your kid to take charge of the registration process themselves or staying by their side throughout each step, below is just about everything you need to know to get the ball rolling.

New Voter Pre-Registration

With a pre-registration or pending status, new voters would be added to the voter registration list just by filling out an application form. And upon turning eighteen the person will be able to cast his or her first ballot.

Now pre-registration depends on voters’ age. Some allow 17 years old to pre-register while others have set the criteria of 16 years. There are some states who have no specific age restriction for pre-registration. In some states, a 17-year-old can cast a ballot in the primary election if and only if he or she will turn 18 before the general election.

States that permit preregistration at age of 16:

Rhode Island, Utah, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon.

States that permit preregistration at age of 17:

New Jersey, West Virginia, Maine, and Nevada,

States that have different preregistration age criteria:

  • In Alaska, voter under 18 can register within 90 days before turning 18th.
  • 17.5 is the age criteria for preregistration in Iowa, Missouri, and Georgia.
  • Texas permits 10 months of age for preregistration.

States that have no specific age restriction:

There are some states that have no specific age criteria and one can register for next election right after the previous one even at the age of 16. For further details about pre-registration age, reach out to officials of the state election.

There is no pre-registration prior to the election in North Dakota. And one can only register after turning 18.

Who Can Register To Vote?

One is eligible to register for the vote in federal elections if:

  1. A person who is 18 years of age
  2. A legal citizenor natural born citizen of the United States of America
  3. A person who meets their state’s residency requirements

Voting requirements for local state elections vary from state to state. Check out this state voting requirement resource to find out the rules in your local state (we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this site, so always check with your local municipalities to confirm.)

How To Cast The First Ballot

The process of casting vote is not as complicated as we presume. By following a few basic steps we can easily register our self and can cast our vote. At state and federal level there are countless resources that can answer your queries and guide the people who are unfamiliar with the process. Here are six simple steps you need to know if you want to cast a vote.

Registration: States and territories have different requirements for registration at a local level. In many states, one can register online following a link, in person or via paper only when they are a qualified voter. They can also register for absentee voting, in case they need to go out of state on the day of voting.

Research Candidate of Political Parties: An informed voter is the one who selects an eligible candidate, unaffected by party propaganda and without relying on media coverage and paid promotions. This knowledgeable decision asks you to do extensive research before supporting someone with your vote. First-time voters must go through the comprehensive guidelines to become an informed voter.

Know The Issue: An informed voter must be aware of the current issues of the state and country that is at stake, as well as have clarity on their individual stance on these issues. On the occasion of any sort of election, be it city council election or presidential, understanding ones own personal values and principles about the way the government should operate is really at the core of being able to choose candidates that align with ones beliefs.

Check Rules And Regulations of State: On Election Day even busy people can ample time to cast a ballot because voting stations are open for 12 hours at least. According to federal law, first-time voters must submit a pay stub, photo id, bill, or government document showing their current address and full name. In some states, all voters are required to bring a photo ID in order to cast a vote.

Find Your Polling Station: Polling stations are assigned by state election depending on the voter’s current address. You can find your station either on in the search tool or you can directly contact the election office for details. You can also use ‘’get to the polls’’ to see find your polling station.

Cast Your Vote: Gone are the days when you need to feel frustrated because of delayed results. Now states have introduced an electronic voting system, which uses a touch screen or optical scanning that makes voting painless and getting results faster than ever before.

You can also check the machine at the polling station of your state. Gizmodo gives you a list of the type of machine and states so the first time voters can save their time can feel knowledgeable and confident.


Free Services You Probably Don’t Realize Your Local Library Offers

With the world literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget that one of the best resources for education and entertainment isn’t just your home computer or tablet. It’s your local library – and there’s a good chance you have no idea just how much there is to discover there.

After all, you’re paying for it. Whether it be through federal and state funded programs or via your town’s real estate taxes, you and your neighbors are already funding your local library, so you might as well enjoy it!

Sure, you have probably taken advantage of the stacks upon stacks of books that line every row shelves. But what about everything else?

Let’s explore just how much a typical local library offers that you can benefit from.

Free Movie Rental, DVDs, CDs, and Magazines

Your local library likely has a huge media catalog which may include audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, magazines and videotapes. You can cut down your subscription charges with Netflix and Redbox by checking out from your local library instead. Some movie rentals are free, others may require a low fee as compared to subscription charges. Typically, new releases and popular items will still be free, but have a shorter rental period. Call or visit your library to find out what’s available.

The robust collection of DVDs subscription will leave you astonished. If you’re looking for family favorite and classics and are fed up with blockbusters, you can visit your local library. It’s common for libraries to stock magazines collection so you don’t have to read the content standing at a grocery store and you don’t have to spend a few dollars for reading a single issue. And if you’re going on a road trip just visit your library, grab a CD, and drive carefree without the struggle of tuning in to local radio stations.

Free Online Courses For Career Advancement

If you want to advance your career and learn a new skill then you need to know that your local library gives you access to various online courses for free. It ranges from business and sales to health care and marketing. You can also join and start a course for your entertainment in various categories which include arts, digital photography, personal finance, computer courses and much more.

These courses are taught by college professors and you can avail any course out of 360 by Gale Courses. Use your library card and excel at your skills for free.

Free Summer Reading Programs And Online Tutoring For Kids

Being a parent some of you want to see your child exploring his talent rather than wasting all the summer vacations playing video games, lying in bed. There are services available at the local library for your child too to encourage him to put down his gadgets and read books rather than gaming all the time.

Some local library also offers online tutoring for kindergarten through brain fuse. With the help of this program, your kid can join online study groups, games, online quizzes. It also provides an online tutor your kid can interact with every day. A live tutor is available from 1 pm to 10 pm. Your kid can seek help for his homework and can also submit questions.

Citizenship Resources And Language Learning

If you’re not a native English speaker or you don’t have a strong grip on English language or you want to learn a new language before going on a tour to other corners of the world, the best place to go is your library. Many libraries provide access to the Pronunciator series of courses or other language learning resources. It can help you learn dozens of languages in a short time. A normal subscription to Pronunciator is as high as 295 dollars per years but it’s free with your library membership.

Events, Classes, And Programs

If you’re thinking of utilizing your spare time productively, then you can fill all the unmarked days on your calendar with library activities. Rather than spending your precious time in isolation, you should visit our libraries and avail every opportunity that gives you an escape from monotonous life. Some free programs include career counseling, cooking classes, movie screening, and leadership opportunities for teens, anime club, workout classes, author visits and meet-ups with local interest based organization. A patron can enjoy all these cool events for free.

Kid’s Friendly Area

A library that has a dedicated area for your kid is worth finding and visiting. Some libraries offer kid-friendly toys, games, computers, and puzzles so they too can develop an interest in visiting libraries. If you’re living in a major city then your local library may offer you’re an incredible discount passes for places like museum, zoo, parks, aquarium, concerts, sports gala, ballet, orchestra happening near you.

How To Enjoy These Resources

You must apply for a library card if you don’t have one and this is a simple, free, and relatively easy process that requires little effort. Take advantage of all that your local library offers and save some of your hard earned cash with its free services. A library is a place you’ll never regret going and is worth every minute of the time you spent there.

Who Decides What To Do With City Or County Tax Dollars?

The county budget is sensitive to the economic, legal, social, and political environment of the county or city. Before giving the insight on factors that influence county financial decision, here is illustrative break down of where your tax dollars are spent.

City or county taxes are used for different purposes than federal or country taxes. County taxes are invested for public services and betterment of infrastructure around your home, offices, and parks. But sometimes your taxes can also be used by federal government and vice versa. Whereas your state tax is used for funding projects at the national level and to support the bureaucracy.

Major County’s investment include:


City tax dollars are primarily used in the infrastructure of the county or city. It includes water lines, sewers, public parks, libraries, electricity, road development, and maintenance. Apart from taxes, county grows its financial resources by renting out properties owned by the county and are not in use. But contribute a small portion, rest is by the budget that comes from taxpayers.

City Administration

City offices are run from the tax dollars paid by the public. Sometimes property taxes are increased by the administration for their personal benefits and they earn huge salaries. Dealing with municipal finances requires a precise balance between competent people are attracted by paying high salaries for betterment and low salaries to conciliate the common person.

Public Security

Firefighters and police are those municipal departments that get their pay from tax dollars. These two departments are supported and funded by the will of people because no one mind paying their money for their protectors. For a burglarized house or for a house on fire they are the social bodies that provide you security.

County Taxes And State Taxes

At the hour of need and at the time of distress, county and state support each other by transferring their funds. So a state may share it’s the fund for the county’s infrastructure and conversely county support bureaucracy when needed.

Factors That Decide What To Do With County Tax Dollars

Political Involvement

County legislative board and managers use the budget in a way to satisfy citizens and public rather government. Budget allocation is affected by this way. County city and city size also affect the budget. Local politicians and local government provide a wide variety and quality of services to develop a good image and reputation. Then they see citizen involvement to get feedback by their public. The feedback is obtained through town hall meetings, neighborhood forums, interactive websites, and citizen survey.

Economic Influence:

There are four factors that decide economic influence

  • Economic cycle
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation
  • Competition among local governments

Economic ups and downs affect county budget because when there is a decline in revenues especially income tax and sales, economic cycle gets interrupted. During a recession, government funds to the county are reduced.

Rapid Increase in cost of living creates a state of uncertainty for county revenue and forecast of expenditure. The county budget is also affected by fluctuation in interest rates. Although, the effect is not as worse as compared to the federal government, where they need a continual borrowing.

Demographic And Social Change

Local budgets are affected by personal income, age distribution, and population. These factors exert a long-lasting effect.

Spending your fund on public safety, public education, and recreational services are the fund categories that are influenced by age distribution.  Reports have shown a significant increase in a county or local budget as the personal income of citizen increases. And person earning a high salary want to improve their lifestyle and expect an upgrade in local government services and are willing to pay taxes.

Easy Ways To Get Involved In Your Local Community

All of us want to feel a sense of belonging in life and becoming active in our local communities is one of the quickest way to feel a part of something. Whether you’ve been living in your town for a decade or just moved in, there a number of ways to meet new neighbors, make new friends and become a contributing member of your town.

Having said that here are some ways you can easily get yourself involved in your local community:

Introduce Yourself:

The first baby step is the introduction. Just step out of your comfort zone and your house as well and meet your neighbors. Be courteous and approach your neighbors in a friendly manner and start a conversation. If a neighbor has just moved in, drop by with a Welcome Basket. If it’s winter, go door to door with homemade holiday cookies. Just find any reason to step outside and meet the homeowners around you.

Volunteer Your Free Time:

A satisfying way to spend your free time is volunteering. It requires no money and gives you a golden chance to meet like minded people. There are many different ways you can volunteer your time. If you’re an animal lover, volunteer yourself as a dog walker for a local animal shelter. Read newspaper to seniors. Volunteer yourself for collecting donations for charity events. Volunteer your services in organizing events in your community.

Subscribe To The Facebook Group Or Some App:

Social media gives you a goldmine of opportunities to socialize with your community members. There are countless groups on Facebook for just about every town out there, which is filled with your immediate neighbors. Join any group of your interest, stay active, and make friends. Community ties would be facilitated with such activities through social media. Next Door is a unique app that would help you to stay connected with your neighbors.

Join A Sports Team Or Gym:

The community sports complex is one of the strongest pillars of community engagement. Going to a gym and playing or supporting your favorite sport at your local community, facilities the chances of meeting new people of your kind, sharing a common interest. Kickboxing, yoga, bodybuilding, cycling, soccer, basketball, and cricket, all of these activities give a great networking opportunity.

Look For A Local Event Or Organize One:

Maybe you can come up with an excuse that mm No! I don’t have enough time and money to organize an event. But I suggest you give it another though differently. You can team up with some sponsors, some neighbors and throw a party or some art festival, Music night, maybe? And if you’re not convinced yet, go for the easiest option, look for some local event, and have fun enjoying it with new people, making new relations.

With little enthusiasm you can seek all those opportunities of getting involved in your community, waiting for you, just around the corner.

How Conservative & Liberal Neighbors Can Find Common Ground

No question, there is a lot of political tension out there since the most recent Presidential election. These days, it seems like the gap between conservatives and liberals grows bigger and bigger every year. And, unfortunately, their differences have led to physical harm, emotional abuse, and name calling on both sides.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re adults here. We can act like it

We can maturely handle awkward conversations that turn political when we would instead not “go there”? We can manage differences of opinion respectfully without escalating things and sincerely admire those that think differently from us even if we don’t agree. All it takes is to keep the following points in mind.

If you are one of those folks that have strong, deeply rooted beliefs in one party system but is neighbors or friends with people who starkly disagree with you – yet you want to get along – this post is for you!

First, Realize That We Probably Have More In Common Than We Think

Look, regardless of which ‘side’ you’re on, chances are you probably agree with your friend or neighbor on at least a few things:
• You love your country
• Homeland safety is good for everyone
• Everyone wins when families are self-sufficient and can thrive economically
• A well-educated population tends to result in a more prosperous society
• When we all respect and follow the law (i.e. play by the same rules), fewer people get hurt or taken advantage of, and it’s a fair playing field for everyone
• You probably agree on a lot more too…

Yes, of course, we don’t agree on other big issues. But if we focus first on where we have common ground with people, we tend to let our guard down a little and listen without judgment, knowing that we really all want this country to prosper.

Don’t Try to Prove Anyone Wrong…Unless You Thrive On Personal Conflict and Drama

‘”Oh, you’re right, I should totally change my mind based on the fact that you disagree,” said no one ever. Even if you have facts to back up your point of view, most likely, the person stating their opposite perspective isn’t interested. Today, a lot of people have their minds made up and trying to force your beliefs onto them is not going to bode well for you.

Instead, listen. It’s ok to admit you don’t agree, but try to do so respectfully. Like “Hey, that’s a valid point. I don’t necessarily share your sentiment, but it sounds like you’ve done your research.” And, then, if they seem to be receptive, it’s probably safe to go ahead and share your own experience or research to shed some new light on the matter.

If they aren’t looking receptive, let it go. Change the subject

Stick With the Facts Jack

Social media can amplify personal conflict and let disagreements escalate quickly. Between insulting memes, condescending assumptions and outright name-calling, sometimes reason seems to escape people online entirely.

Don’t be that guy/gal

Keep your cool and stick with the facts. If you have publicly known facts that dispute a claim or shed light on a subject, share that…respectively, and sans the sarcasm or insults. Putting other people down because they don’t agree with you isn’t going to take the conversation anywhere. It’s just going to make people on both sides defensive and closed-minded.

Realize That You Might Have Something to Learn Yet

Most of us can be so pig-headed to believe we’re always right and have all the facts…but we don’t, that would be impossible. Even journalists who report on politics for a living don’t know it all!

There is always something new to learn – a fresh perspective to hear – a breaking story to come across.

If you approach heated political conversations with an open mind, ready to learn something new, rather than assuming you know it all, you might actually go, figure, learn something new.

You’ll also gain instant respect from others because they’ll see you’re a reasonable, mature person who waits for all the information before formulating an opinion and doesn’t just assume everyone outside your political party is always wrong or misinformed.

Finally, Find The Joy In Diversity

You probably will not agree on a political discussion with someone who has very opposing views as you. Most likely, you can’t convince them to change their opinions or their view of the world. However, you can help them think more carefully, and that’s valuable. There is joy in the exchange of ideas, even those that are in opposition. There is enlightenment in the simple understanding of another’s perspective. There is wisdom in letting differences bring diversity into the world. So, let’s prepare ourselves to listen to things we do not like. Let’s enjoy looking to someone whose ideas are at odds with ours, knowing that new perspectives make us stronger and wiser.

Take to heart these tips for approaching tense political discussions more amicably, and soon you’ll find that even the most uncomfortable talks with friends and neighbors can become pleasant and even enlightening if you’re open to it.

Click here to know about officials you should always vote carefully.