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Interview: Kwasi Fraser

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News 2 comments

Kwasi Fraser, a businessman and entrepreneur, settled in the Town of Purcellville because his family liked its balance of old and new and its small town warmth. Career-wise, he has significantly contributed to the bottom line at AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Marriott International and Verizon. He brings to his campaign an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University, an Executive Education certificate from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Stony Brook University, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate from the Project Management Institute. He is also certified in and has a working knowledge of Lean Six Sigma – a framework highly recognized for its ability to drive efficiency, improve cost savings and increase revenue. Fraser, and his wife Angela, and their three children live in Locust Grove. … Continue Reading

Interview: Ben Packard

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News Be the first to comment

Ben Packard grew up in the San Francisco region of California. He attended University of Utah and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. While there, he met and married his wife, Tiffany Packard. After finishing law school, he moved to Virginia to pursue a career in intellectual property law. Ever the student, he then earned a masters degree in chemistry at George Mason University, while working on the Hill and various law firms in Washington, D.C., and now works at a patent examining attorney for the United States Patent and Trademark office, specializing in small molecule bio-affected drugs. He resides in Hirst Farm with his wife and three children: Jacqueline, Spencer and Morgan.

BRL: Why are you running for town council?
Packard: I believe many residents have a strong interest in what happens in Purcellville but lack the time or energy to actively participate. I want to represent those residents to make sure all points of view are heard and considered. … Continue Reading

Interview: Karen Jimmerson

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News 5 comments

Karen Jimmerson was raised in Tampa, FL and after graduating from the University of South Florida she relocated to Virginia in 1992 where she worked as a general manager for a national store brand until she settled in Loudoun to raise her family and be a stay-at-home mom. She is the current secretary of her homeowners association, an active volunteer with the PTA, and a community activist who spearheaded the successful opposition to the Catoctin Creek Towne Center, a development which threatened the small town character of Purcellville. Through that work, she has learned to listen carefully to what residents want, worked hard to become informed by attending countless town meetings, and is committed to making careful, thoughtful decisions that benefit the entire community. Karen has been married for 22 years and has three daughters. … Continue Reading

Interview: Doug McCollum

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News Be the first to comment

McCollum, an eight-year resident of Purcellville, and a life-long resident of the greater Washington area, first discovered Purcellville in the 70’s while visiting his in-laws who were Loudoun County residents. He admired the small-town feel of Purcellville, the rolling farmland of the surrounding area and the blue-green hues of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. He knew that when the time was right, he would move west to Purcellville. Doug and his wife, Sue of 45 years live in the Courts of St. Francis. As a member of the Town Council, McCollum says he would work hard to preserve the quality of life that attracted him to Purcellville.

BRL: Why are you running for town council?
McCollum: I believe in citizen participation and public service. I have a proven record of community activity since moving here in 2006, including chair of the Purcellville Planning Commission since 2012 and president of my HOA since 2009. During my tenure in these positions, I have responsibly represented my community by listening to citizen comments, working as team member and leading the group toward consensus. Additionally, because I am retired, I intend to devote whatever time and energy are needed in service to the residents and businesses of Purcellville. … Continue Reading

Interview: Keith Melton

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News Be the first to comment

Keith Melton has been on Town Council for nearly four years and is the Vice Mayor of Purcellville.  He has also served on the Budget, Ways and Means and Public Safety committees.He has 21 years business experience in finance, telecommunications, networking and government consulting. He has been involved with many church and community activities. He is a member of Purcellville Baptist Church where he has been a second and third grade Sunday school teacher for several years and has led numerous church and neighbor small groups. His college education includes two bachelor degrees from Clemson University and a Master of Science degree from George Mason University. In 2000, he married Karen Brown and they have three girls, Katie, Madelyn and Rachel. The Meltons reside in the Villages of Purcellville … Continue Reading

Candidates Announce Bids for Purcellville Town Council

March 4, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News Be the first to comment

All announced Town of Purcellville candidates who filed as of our deadline have been contacted to send us their press releases. The statements from three of the four candidates for town council are featured below. Kwasi Fraser, who is running for mayor, sent us his press release last month.  We contacted mayoral candidate Keith Melton; however as of press time we have not received anything.

Karen Jimmerson
Karen Jimmerson is pleased to announce her candidacy for Purcellville Town Council in the upcoming May 6 town election.
“Among other reasons, I wish to become a member of the Town Council to protect the small town values that are being undermined by out-of-town developers,” says Jimmerson. Recent votes and annexations make it clear that developers have great representation in Purcellville, and Jimmerson believes that residents deserve to be better represented. … Continue Reading

Town-Wide Elections May 6

February 5, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News 4 comments

Attention prospective town office candidates in Loudoun County – the next election in May might seem far away, but preparations need to start now for people interested in being on the ballot. If you are planning on running in any of Loudoun’s town elections, the filing deadline to be a candidate is Tuesday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. Here is some information on how to run … more information is found at: www.sbe.virginia.gov/BecomeACandidate. Forms need to be turned in to Loudoun’s General Registrar, Judith A. Brown, 750 Miller Drive, SE, Suite C in Leesburg.

Here are details from each town: … Continue Reading

Fraser To Run for Mayor of the Town of Purcellville

February 5, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News 12 comments

Kwasi A. Fraser is pleased to announce his candidacy for Mayor of the Town of Purcellville in the upcoming May 2014 election.

Fraser states: “I am running for Mayor of the Town of Purcellville because I want a better and lasting future for every citizen of our community. Having settled in Purcellville years ago, I understand the local challenges of fellow neighbors. What we face today is the fact that our town taxes are out of control. Last year alone, we saw our sewer rate increase by 20 percent and our water rate increase by seven percent. Town property tax has increased by 17 percent. Locally, we pay an 11 percent meal tax – the highest in all of Loudoun County. … Continue Reading

At the Polls…

November 5, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, News Be the first to comment

As the votes roll in, check here for today’s election results.

We will update this article as we receive word from the polls.

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.
With 98.98% of the votes tallied:


Ken Cuccinelli II – 970,490 – 45.60%
Terry R. McAuliffe – 1,007,733 – 47.35%
Robert C. Sarvis – 140,634 – 6.61%

Lieutenant Governor

E. W. Jackson – 935,855 – 44.81%
Ralph S. Northam – 1,146,262 – 54.88%

Attorney General

Mark D. Obenshain – 1,056,083 – 50.27%
Mark R. Herring – 1,040,402 – 49.52%

Member: House of Delegates

David A. LaRock -13,256 – 53.82%
Mary L. Costello Daniel – 10,492 – 42.59%
Patrick G. Hagerty – 837 – 3.40% … Continue Reading

State Board of Elections Launches Online Voter Registration

July 28, 2013 by Contributor Elections, Elections, News Be the first to comment

HB2341, sponsored by Delegate Ramadan, authorizes online voter registration

The State Board of Elections (SBE), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), launch online voter registration as a result of recently enacted legislation sponsored by Delegate David Ramadan (HB2341). Eligible citizens of the Commonwealth will now be able to submit a voter registration application or update their registration information online.

In order to complete the application process online, citizens must provide their Virginia DMV customer identifier number, which is displayed on DMV issued identification cards or Driver’s Licenses. Citizens who do not have a Virginia DMV customer identifier may still fill out the registration application online, but will be required to print and return the completed application to the appropriate local voter registration office. … Continue Reading

Fairfax to Hold Political Debate September 25

June 15, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, News Be the first to comment

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (Fairfax Chamber) and NBC4 Washington are pleased to announce that they will host a political debate between candidates for Virginia Governor, moderated by veteran political journalist Chuck Todd, political director and chief White House correspondent for NBC News and host of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” The debate between Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe will focus on the economy and other critical issues facing businesses in Northern Virginia, and will be aired live in prime time September 25 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on NBC4 and NBC affiliates in Richmond, Charlottesville, Bristol and other cities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“For the 25th year in a row, we’re pleased to host Northern Virginia’s political debate,” said Fairfax Chamber President & CEO Jim Corcoran. “If the 2009 Virginia Governor’s race is any indication, history has shown us that to fare well in Northern Virginia a candidate must do well in this debate. We’re eager to hear from the candidates in this nationally watched race about their stances on the issues most critical to business.” … Continue Reading

Tim Kaine Announces Members of Senate Transition Team

November 21, 2012 by Contributor Elections, News Be the first to comment

Senator-elect Tim Kaine announced members of his transition team that will begin the process of establishing his U.S. Senate office.

Mike Henry, Chief of Staff: Mike Henry most recently served as the Campaign Manager for Kaine’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Henry, a veteran of Virginia politics, previously managed Kaine’s gubernatorial campaign in 2005 and U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s 2008 campaign for Senate. Mike has also worked in a number of policy roles, serving as a representative conducting case work for former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb and, more recently, as the Senior Director for U.S. Field Operations at the ONE campaign where he focused on strategies to alleviate global poverty. … Continue Reading

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Re-Election of President Barack Obama

November 8, 2012 by Contributor Elections, News Be the first to comment

Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement regarding the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“Tonight, I want to congratulate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on winning re-election.

This has been a spirited and tough campaign. The differences between the sides have been clear, widely discussed and vigorously debated. I strongly supported my friends Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. I believe they would have provided exceptional leadership for this nation. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to the principles of our party, and their commitment to helping improve the lives of the people of this great nation. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are honest, decent and selfless. They had big ideas that would achieve good results for all people. I wish them the very best moving forward, and I know they will stay deeply involved in the public life of this nation. We need their positive, optimistic visions as we address the pressing issues facing our country. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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