Why Scoop the Poop?



Why Scoop the Poop?


Besides being a nuisance, uncollected dog waste is a serious problem for our association. Next time you’re tempted to leave your dog’s droppings on the lawn, please remember these facts:

1) The Environmental Protection Agency is becoming aggressive about enforcing the Clean Water Act. Our Association could be fined if dog waste goes uncollected.

2) Uncollected dog waste may lead to a special assessment. If fined by the EPA, the association could face a potential special assessment that would be levied against all members, not just dog owners.

3) Uncollected dog waste spreads disease and attracts rodents who feed on pet waste.

Please know that you’re welcome to drop your doggie bags in any trash dumpster or trash receptacle. Your help in keeping our community free from dog bombs is greatly appreciated!

Dress for the Dark


Pedestrians/Bicyclists Dress for the Dark


Now that it’s getting darker earlier, it is very important to dress appropriately when walking or riding a bike around Belle View. I’ve seen several people out walking their dogs in dark clothing, crossing the streets and because of their attire, they are not very visible. Same with people on bicycles. White tennis shoes, especially with reflectors are an easy way to be spotted. If you only have a dark coat, then perhaps carrying a flashlight with you might be a good alternative. Reflectors on bicycles, shoes, helmets, jackets, anything to help us spot you while riding a bike on the road would be appreciated by all. Please stay alert while you’re out, and driver’s, please slow down and stay within proper speed limit.


Outdoor Light Fixture Repair

Outdoor Light Fixture Repair

By Debbie Tolle


Outdoor light fixtures will often at some point need repairs or need to be replaced. Globes can get broken, wiring can come loose and the fixture can become so weathered that there’s no hope of repair. Outdoor lights are often found on front and back porches, back patios, garage entrances or on the gable end above the garage entrance. If you cannot afford replacement, paint or new globes can often give these fixtures a face-lift without replacing them.


Shut Off Power

If you’ve replaced your light bulbs with known working bulbs and your fixture still does not work, it’s possible that the wiring has come loose in the fixture. Turn off the power at the junction box to the light fixture. You’ll be able to tell if the power is off to that fixture by using an outlet tester on the same wall that the fixture is attached to. On the interior side of the wall, plug the ends of the outlet tester into an electrical outlet to see if any power is registering; if not, you should be fine.

Check Wiring

Remove the retaining covers holding the light to the exterior wall. Slide the light off of the anchor screws—this will expose the wiring. Look to see if either the black hot wires or the white neutral wires have come apart. If this has happened, you’ll need to put them back together. Place the end of the wire on the light next to the end of the wire in the wall; slide the wire nut over both wire ends and twist the wire nut. Make sure that you only connect same-color wires. Always remember: black on black and white on white.

Light Switch

Check your light switch for loose wires or replace it. Once you’ve checked the bulbs and the wiring on the light and the fixture still doesn’t work, it’s most likely a faulty light switch. Turn the power back off and remove the switch-plate cover.

Remove the retaining screws for the switch and pull it out of the wall. There will be a black wire and a red or white wire. Each wire is attached to a separate screw on each side of the switch.

Use a voltage tester to make sure that there’s no power going to either wire before you touch the screws with a screwdriver. Take note of which screw the wires are on. If the black wire is attached to the left screw, that’s where it will be attached to a new switch. The red or white wire will attach to the opposite screw. Hook each wire to the appropriate screw and tighten with your screwdriver. Set the switch back in place.


If your exterior light fixture has a broken globe, it can easily be replaced. Remove what’s left of the old globe and measure the threaded portion or top of the globe. This is the size that you need the threaded portion of the new globe to be. One size does not fit all.


Metal light fixtures can be painted to look new again. Use steel wool to sand off rusted areas and wipe off all sanding dust. Use a high-quality, oil-based exterior primer for metal; allow to dry the recommended amount of time for the product. Apply two coats of high-quality, oil-based exterior paint for metal.


Take a picture of your light switch before you remove the wires from the screws if you are afraid that you will forget where the wires go.

Fix a Fence Gate Latch

How to Fix a Fence Gate Latch

March 11, 2013 1:25 pm | A1 Fence | Fence Maintenance Tips

Have you been having trouble closing your fence gate latch? Do you find that it doesn’t latch properly or that young children and pets are pushing through your gate without much of a problem?

If you have a wooden fence then fixing your fence gate latch is no problem. You can quickly and easily modify your fence so that your gate not only latches properly, but closes automatically.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A power drill with a 5/16 drill bit.
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • A gate latch cable.

A gate latch cable is a nice little piece of hardware even if your gate is closing properly. It allows you to open your gate from the opposite side.

So if your gate faces the neighbor’s side you’d be able to walk out of your gate from within your own yard rather than walking all the way around. You might want to do this project even if your fence latch is doing just fine!

Here are the steps that you’ll need to fix your gate latch. Start by drilling a hole right above the point where the latch connects to the post.

Next, remove the spring cup and spring from the gate latch cable. Feed the cable through the hole. The steel clip goes towards the gate latch. The loop stays on the opposite side of the gate from the latch.

Next, restore the spring cup and spring to the gate latch side. The spring cup itself will pop right into the 5/16 hole that you’ve made.

You can then pry open the clip on the gate latch with your screwdriver. You don’t want to go crazy here. You just need to open it up enough to slip it onto the latch.

Next, make sure your spring fits neatly into the spring cup and pull back gently on the loop to make sure the gate latch cable is in the proper place.

Now, test your gate to make sure it latches automatically when it closes and that it opens without difficulty. If it does, you’ve successfully fixed your gate latch!

If you’re more of a visual person you might enjoy this video from the “Weekend Honey Do List” which basically outlines the same process.

Be Seen at Night



Sycamore Hill HOA is a unique community because it is divided into two sections and surrounded by Town maintained roads and walkways. No matter if you are walking on the sidewalks in the community or the streets, following some common-sense tips may help make your time out at night more enjoyable.

  • Wear reflective gear: Placing reflectors on your moving body parts, such as your feet and arms, will distinguish you from a stationary object like a reflective road sign especially if you are walking on or near roadways. Using a clip-on blinking light is also a great idea.
    • It is also a good idea if you are walking with your furry friend to buy a reflective vest or collar for them.
  • Slow Down: Darkness makes terrain more challenging, even on familiar trails.
  • Light Your Way: Flashlights and headlamps can light your way and headlamps are especially effective at keeping your hands free so you can focus on the trail in front of you while you’re on the go.
  • Leave the earbuds behind: Because you’re out at night you’ll already have diminished sight so why reduce your hearing, too? Give yourself every advantage and ditch the earbuds so you can hear other people, wildlife or oncoming vehicle traffic.
  • Bring a cellphone: If something does go wrong during your time out, you’ll be relieved to have a cellphone so you can make a call.
  • Tell someone where you’re going: Day or night, you should let someone know where you’re going in case you don’t make it back in the time you expect to.

Addicted to your phone?

Addicted to your phone? Here’s how to fix that in 2018

This year has seen a variety of studies show that too much screen time is bad for our health. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to spend less time looking at your smartphone, then read on for some expert tips to help.

Reduce the time spent checking your phone

Set times and guidelines allowing yourself to be on the phone only at certain times of the day says Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Jin Han, who adds, “We do this all the time when we have other lifestyle issues like with exercising, for example.

If you do not set some exercise guidelines for yourself, then it can lead to a sedentary life. Smart device use is the same problem. If you are on your phone excessively, it is not healthy.”

Another way to use your phone less us delete all the apps you don’t need, and turn off push notifications for the ones you want to keep to help reduce the amount of time you spend checking your smartphone. You can also turn notifications off for your email account so that it only updates when you manually refresh it.

WATCH: Your cellphone addiction could lead to Dowager’s Hump

Break your reliance

“There has been an evolution in technology as our phones have gone from just regular cell phones to smartphones that allow you to multitask all with one device,” notes Dr. Han. “You use your phone now to receive emails, to text and chat and to access social media platforms.”


To help break this reliance Dr. Han says ask yourself what you need your phone for at that moment. If you don’t need to be on your phone, then don’t use it. Another way to do this is to replace smartphone features with real objects, for example you can try breaking your morning habit with your phone by investing in a radio alarm clock, and start your new year by buying a new planner, so you write your appointments and to-do list there instead of in your phone.

Break up with Facebook

If asked where we spend most of our time online, many of us would say Facebook, with the social media site now boasting over 2 billion monthly active users. Quitting the site would for some therefore also mean less screen time.

For those who want to try kicking the Facebook habit but need some extra support, the team behind the Dutch project, 99 Days of Freedom are here to help. Those interested can join up to quit the site for 99 days, with the team contacting you after 33, 66 and 99 days to see how you’re doing. Those who wish to continue for longer, can.

Limit nighttime use

Being on your phone late into the night can make it harder for you to fall asleep and wake up the next day, with many studies also suggesting that it reduces the quality as well as the quantity of your sleep.

Restricting your phone use at night can help you implement a healthy sleep hygiene behaviour says Dr. Han, with many experts advising no phones for two hours before bed. If this is difficult for you, aim for at least 30 minutes.

New Year’s Day hikes


New Year’s Day hikes offered at area parks



State and local parks are inviting area residents to ring in the new year with a hike.

All of Virginia’s 37 state parks, including Leesylvania State Park and Mason Neck State Park in Northern Virginia, will offer free admission and special hiking opportunities Jan. 1 as part of the annual First Day Hikes program.

At Leesylvania State Park, at 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive in Woodbridge, guided history hikes will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and from noon to 2 p.m. and will be led by Brendon Hanafin and Jim Klakowicz, two former staff members who are experts on the park, according to the park’s website.

The hikes will start with a quick tour of the history museum and then will include a walk down the Potomac Trail, to Freestone Point, through Lee’s Woods Trail and back to the visitor center.

Pets are welcome. The trail is not accessible for strollers.

Reserve your spot by Dec. 31 by emailing Sarah.Percival@dcr.virginia.gov or by calling 703-583-6904.

At Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, at 7301 High Point Road in Lorton, four guided hikes of varying difficulty will be offered throughout the day. First, at 10 a.m., park visitors can join a 3.5-mile hike described as “moderate difficulty but at an easy pace.” At noon, a guided “bike hike” will be offered on the first 1.5 miles of the High Point Multi-Use Trail. At 1 p.m., visitors can go on a “fast-paced, heart pumping hike incorporating several trails” and covering 6.2 miles, or 10K. Then, at 3 p.m., a one-mile, leiseurly stroll” on the Bay View Trail will be offered. All of the hikes begin at the visitor’s center.

For a complete list of First Day Hike programs at Virginia state parks, click here or go to www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/blog/first-day-hikes-2017.

As an extra incentive, Virginia’s Department of Conservation is offering two contests for First Day Hike participants. Participants can sign up on the department’s website in advance here to be entered for a chance to win several prizes including a $500 Virginia State Parks overnight stay gift certificate.

Participants can also enter a photo contest by uploading a photo of their Jan. 1 hike here for another chance to win a overnight stay gift certificate or other prizes.

At Conway Robinson State Forest at U.S. 29 and University Boulevard in Gainesville, Charles Grymes of the Prince William Conservation Alliance will be leading an afternoon hike from 2 to 4 p.m. Meet in the main parking lot. RSVPs are not required, but interested participants can contact alliance@pwconserve.org or call 703-499-4954 with questions. Conway Robinson State Forest is a more than 400-acre forest managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

This year, the Fairfax County Park Authority is also joining in the effort to get people outside on Jan. 1.

Participants can visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/first-hike to see five options of “starter hikes” at Fairfax County parks, including Lake Accotink, Burke Lake Park, Cub Run Stream Valley Trail, Huntley Meadows and Riverbend Park.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is also offering a photo contest for First Hike participants. Everyone who submits a photo will win one free RECenter Pass and the grand prize winner will receive a four-month pass.



Loudoun County is offering five locations for residents to drop off their Christmas trees for recycling beginning Monday, December 26, 2016, through Friday, January 20, 2017.

Only natural, cut trees are accepted because the trees will be converted into a natural mulch product. The mulch is available for free year-round at the Loudoun County landfill.

Residents who receive curbside yard-waste recycling services should contact their homeowners association, town office, or recycling service provider for Christmas tree pick-up dates.

Whether dropping off at one of the county’s Christmas tree collection sites or at the curb, please remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, wire, stand, and tree bag. Dispose of the tree bag in your regular trash. If you wish to recycle your wreath, please remove all wires, bows, and any other ornamentation. Otherwise, you may dispose of the wreath with your regular household trash.

Please note that the Christmas Tree Recycling Program is a public service for Loudoun County residents only. Tree vendors operating in Loudoun County with leftover trees may recycle them at the Loudoun County landfill for $62 a ton. Netting, rope, wire, tags and other items must be removed prior to recycling. Visitwww.loudoun.gov/Landfillor call703-771-5500for more information.

Christmas trees will be accepted for recycling free of charge at the following locations through January 20, 2017:

  • Leesburg: Loudoun County Landfill Recycling Center, 21101 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg, 20175, OpenMondaythroughSaturday,8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Lovettsville: Game Protective Association, 16 South Berlin Pike, Lovettsville, 20180, Open daily
  • Purcellville: Franklin Park, 17501 Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville, 20132, Open daily,7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


  • South Riding: Town Hall, rear parking lot next to tennis court. 43055 Center Street, South Riding, 20152, Open daily
  • Sterling: Claude Moore Park (use Loudoun Park Lane entrance), 46150 Loudoun Park Lane, Sterling, 20164, Open daily,7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

More information about the Loudoun County Christmas Tree Recycling Program is available online atwww.loudoun.gov/TreeRecycling