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Spirit and Place Worth Protecting

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Long time residents of our area – and even folks who moved here recently – describe the place known as western Loudoun with great fondness. There can be lots to be discouraged about – the loss of one’s favorite dirt road, the coming down of an old barn, fast food restaurants where that old mom and pop luncheonette used to be …

But, while there are things to be discouraged about – things that we hope against hope (maybe unrealistically) will never change – every once in a while something happens that reminds you how very special western Loudoun really is. Something that motivates you not just to consider the positives, but to act in a way that cultivates and sustains them. … Continue Reading

Keeping Citizens at Arm’s Length

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Purcellville, arguably the single most powerful governmental force in western Loudoun, has made significant changes in the way it makes decisions on the major development and zoning issues of the day, including decisions relating to annexations and the town’s comprehensive plan.

In earlier times, the developer for a particular project would present his or her idea to a town committee tasked with reviewing the developer’s plan. Important committees included Infrastructure and Ways and Means, recently disbanded by the town. Once in committee, key documents and ideas would be shared with citizens in open meetings on the specific proposal. Citizens could also follow the issue as it made its way through the decision making process – by attending future committee meetings, accessing minutes from meetings, following press reports, and reviewing documents put forth by the developer. … Continue Reading

Preserving Lincoln Elementary and Loudoun’s Last Great Public Schools

February 7, 2013 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Preserving Lincoln Elementary and Loudoun’s Last Great Public Schools
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A $310,000 regularly scheduled maintenance project for the 160 student Lincoln Elementary School has turned into a very convenient way for politicians to turn some of the most historic and educationally relevant Loudoun County educational institutions into nothing more than surplus property.

Certain members of the Loudoun County School Board are arguing that these small old schools – including (in addition to Lincoln Elementary) schools in Aldie, Hillsboro, Hamilton, Middleburg, and Round Hill – cannot meet the relative per-pupil cost achieved by other more modern schools – that they should be closed. And, what we really need to do is build a large $30 million or so new modern elementary school somewhere out in western Loudoun County … really? … Continue Reading

Offsetting the Costs of Residential Growth

January 9, 2013 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Offsetting the Costs of Residential Growth
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By Malcolm Baldwin

“According to a study by the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission, for every dollar in county tax revenue, residential costs $1.62 in services while commercial only costs $0.38 in services.” 

So wrote Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run District) in his December 2012 newsletter. Supervisor Matt Letourneau ?(R-Dulles District) noted the same facts in his own.

How will these facts about the costs of residential growth affect upcoming decisions of our Board of Supervisors, including Williams and Letourneau, who campaigned for lower property taxes and a stronger commercial tax base?

We may soon have some answers, as Loudoun now has eight applications to change zoning from commercial to residential that would result in a total of 10,000 new housing units. More than half of these rezoning proposals lie in Letourneau’s Dulles District, followed by Williams’ Broad Run, with the rest lying in the Catoctin-Leesburg joint planning area.   If approved they will add some 3,000 new students and require $282 million in capital facility costs. How would that square with the Republican goal of reducing taxes and increasing the business tax base? … Continue Reading

View from the Ridge

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By Karen Jimmerson

Since people are free to move, we can assume that they have sorted themselves into areas that meet their preferences. Politicians make determinations about the appetite for growth on the basis of what they hear from their constituents. If we clamor for job and population growth in order to improve economic opportunities and amenities, then go for it. If we ask for this growth without significant increase in population, or if we believe that the quality of life is about as high as it can possibly be, then better to listen.

Purcellville Town Council has been spending on street walk improvements, an expensive water/sewer system upgrade, a new town hall, and now a second roundabout. I believe the quest to bring in more residents is to offset this debt and fulfill a promise made to businesses who have recently moved into town or wish to. Though it is a private developer who wants to build the proposed Catoctin Creek Apartments off Hirst Road, because it will be done with HUD financing, taxpayers foot the bill with our local, state, and federal dollars to provide that financing. But the cost goes much further. … Continue Reading

Please Skip the PR and Protect the Things We Love

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By Andrea Gaines

Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed Purcellville mayor Bob Lazaro to the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF).

The VLCF – designed to protect the working farms, forests, natural areas, parks, rivers, and historical sites critical to the state’s economy, culture and quality of life – has spent more than 42 million dollars since 1999. That’s serious money and political influence, and you have to wonder whether Bob Lazaro is a fitting choice.

In the five years since being elected mayor, Mr. Lazaro has overseen one controversial action after another regarding the preservation of Purcellville’s history and the conservation of the broader local environment upon which this growing town has such an impact. … Continue Reading

“We’re Going To Look Like Sterling … ”

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By Andrea Gaines

In what many town residents will remember as one of the saddest days in recent memory, the Town of Purcellville last month bulldozed hundreds and hundreds of trees, including nearly 100 fruit producing trees, on the 250 year old working farm, Crooked Run Orchard.

Said local businessman Tom Inman, “We’re going to look like Sterling, and frankly, that’s not the reason I moved to Purcellville.”

The Crooked Run Orchard saga has been going on for many years – but this was a theshold moment. … Continue Reading

My Time with Paul

May 2, 2012 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on My Time with Paul
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It was things he said, and the way he said ’em: like, a chilly morning: “I tell ya, ya step outside, it gets yer attention, do-n’t it?” Or, his drive in from Middleburg: “Traffic at Gilberts Corner was jus’ outta this world.” And, the ubiquitous: “The cause o’ the fire – as they say – is under investigation.” But food-talk was the holy of holies, in which Paul possessed an almost otherworldly talent: On deep fried turkey: “Like sittin’ down to a meal with Jesus.” His favorite snack: “Chocolate’s one of the basic food groups.” And, his beloved donuts: “We need some Krispy Kreme.” Paul was perfectly suited for local radio, because- most of all – he just plain loved talking to- and about – people. … Continue Reading

A Matter of Priorities

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Budget decisions often reveal the real priorities of a Board. Competing needs and limited resources force any Board to fund its highest priority items. In that light, there are two decisions that the Board made during its budget workshop sessions that are especially worthy of note.

First, on the evening of March 21st the Board adopted a School Budget that will require the School Board to cut an additional $25.5 million from its proposed FY13 Budget. The School Board, a majority of whom are fiscal conservatives, had already reduced the Superintendent’s proposed budget as far as it felt that it could without causing serious harm to the school system. An additional $25.5 million in cuts will almost certainly lead to that end and do harm to the system. … Continue Reading

In Pursuit of Efficient Economic Development

March 7, 2012 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on In Pursuit of Efficient Economic Development
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By Malcolm Baldwin

Our new, self-described fiscally-conservative Board seeks business-friendly economic development for Loudoun County – a worthy goal. But, the Board’s path toward that goal reflects a narrow economic vision that neglects long-term costs and promising economic trends and opportunities already evident in Loudoun.

Despite the national recession, Loudoun businesses grew substantially over the past four years. Data reported by Loudoun’s Economic Development Department show exceptional growth in our employment, labor force, commercial building permits, business establishments, industry information and communica-tions technology, life sciences, finance data storage and other industries: a remarkable record. … Continue Reading

Long Live Roadside Clutter!

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By Andrea Gaines

After the Board of Supervisor’s first month in office we speculate on what Loudoun has in store for the next four years – given the poorly reasoned Board decisions at its first and second business meetings. Without a change of course we see a disturbing pattern of narrow, partisan perspectives at work within our Board that won’t benefit Loudoun. … Continue Reading

The Biggest Challenge in Journalism

January 5, 2012 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on The Biggest Challenge in Journalism
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The 500 page-plus agenda that kicked off the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ “inaugural” meeting of the year had plenty of controversy to it.

But nothing could compare to the combative approach newly elected Blue Ridge Supervisor and Vice Chair Janet Clarke took in rejecting the reappointment of local vineyard owner Stephen Mackey to the County’s Rural Economic Development Commission (REDC), whose term expires in December. … Continue Reading

What Makes Western Loudoun So Special? And, Will Citizens Work to Protect It?

December 1, 2011 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on What Makes Western Loudoun So Special? And, Will Citizens Work to Protect It?
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One day you may find yourself cruising down a western Loudoun road free of work deadlines, worries and runs to the grocery store. You might look around and marvel at just how beautiful it is.

The photo above was taken at just such a moment. Driving down Lincoln Road one day a member of our staff looked up to see a hot air balloon floating quietly above the barns, horses and fences of a nearby farm.

Such scenes like this are fairly commonplace here, but for how long? … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Holocene Climate

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(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions

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Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes

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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

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By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio

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I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power

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“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

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Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

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Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

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Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
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Recent Comments

  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Constitutionally protected speech is exactly what it sounds like, protected. We all have the legal right to utter nonsensical and...
  • Martha on Protecting Free Speech: Free speech is not a cherished right at the not-quite accredited Patrick Henry College, a religious school that Del. LaRock...
  • Martha Polkey on First Look at Envision Loudoun Results: It remains to be seen whether the direction citizens have provided to the Envision process is actually incorporated into the...
  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Mr. LaRock, I assume that the only reason you weren’t at every School Board meeting in 2005 passionately defending the...
  • LongTimePville on Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10: I bet Kelli Grim flip flops on her conflicts of interest and transparency campaign she ran on and does not...

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

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Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

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Keep Loudoun Beautiful—Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed

16 Mar 2017

Lovettsville Boat Launch 7-26-09

The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday-Friday. This is a great group or individual activity that can be scheduled around your availability. E-mail Lovettsville Area Leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to …

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National Awkward Moments Day

8 Mar 2017

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?Laughing at Yourself Is the Best Medicine No one knows who invented National Awkward Moments Day, Saturday, March 18. That’s no surprise, since it probably came about as the result of one stunningly awkward moment that the owner of that moment was hoping to forget. We surveyed our readers and friends to ask them about their most awkward moments, sharing …

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Editorial

Priscilla Nabs Plum Planning Commission Post

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Appointment Shocks Many On January 3 Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) nominated Tom Priscilla for the Loudoun County Planning Commission to represent the Blue Ridge District. Priscilla was …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

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– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

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– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Why Williams Gap Road Should Not Be Paved

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Today, most residents of Loudoun County know nothing about Williams Gap, even those living on Williams Gap Road (Route 711). Knowing who “Williams” was, why a gap in the Blue …

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

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We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

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By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Protecting Free Speech

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By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …

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Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

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Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

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Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns

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Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

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Sports

Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017

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The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

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WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017

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The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

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