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Wild Loudoun: Luna Moth – Magical, Lime-Green Marvel

August 7, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Luna Moth – Magical, Lime-Green Marvel
File:Actias luna in Florida.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encycloped

I’ve seen a luna moth “in the flesh” several times, one time in the most unusual of places.

The first time I saw one I was driving down a quiet dirt road at night when a large, cool green-winged thing landed on the hood of my car.

I had a passenger with me and I must have scared her as I slammed on my breaks, jumped out of the car and exclaimed, “It’s a luna moth! It’s a luna moth! I can’t believe it! I have never seen one before!”

Unlike most moths – which often flutter furiously when encountered – the luna moth paused where it had landed and then ever so slowly floated away into the dark woods on the side of the road.

The next encounter was the most unusual one. Coming out of a Purcellville convenience store late one afternoon I noticed a luna moth resting on the side of a brick wall. I tried to interest another passerby in my sighting, and they actually seemed pretty surprised, if only for a moment. … Continue Reading

Free Gardening Lecture – Saving and Organizing Seeds (and Composting)

July 28, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Free Gardening Lecture – Saving and Organizing Seeds (and Composting)

Join Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their monthly lecture series at the Rust Library in Leesburg on Thursday, August 8, at 7:00 p.m. Are you interested in being part of a community that is helping to preserve unusual and heritage vegetables and flowers by collecting seeds? Seed saving is a cost-effective and rewarding pastime and Michael Neese will tell us how to go about it in his talk “Saving and Organizing Seeds (and Composting).”
Today, heirloom seeds are readily available but that was not the case when Mr. Neese was starting a vegetable garden and wanted to buy local heirloom seeds suitable for his microclimate. Instead what he found was a generous community of “seed savers” who not only freely gave him seeds but also shared their collective gardening wisdom. That experience led him to organize a seed exchange at his church that has now become an annual event and to share his gardening knowledge in the community too. Mr. Neese, has founded many community gardens in the Winchester area, is active in numerous community organizations and serves as Winchester’s Recycling Coordinator. In his words, “If you don’t see the change you want in life, start it.”

For more information about the Loudoun County Master Gardener program, visit www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

Bear Spotted In Lincoln

July 17, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Farm and garden Comments Off on Bear Spotted In Lincoln
photo

This picture was taken just days ago on Sands Road in Lincoln. Another bear … perhaps the same one … was spotted further north in the direction of
Purcellville approximately two weeks ago. If you feed the birds (or your pets!) in your yard, on your porch or in your barn, experts advise you to
bring the food inside at night. Let’s enjoy our wildlife! But these easy steps will help prevent the bears from relying on easy food sources.”

Saturdays in the Garden with the Loudoun County Master Gardeners

July 5, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Saturdays in the Garden with the Loudoun County Master Gardeners
master_gardeners

Come on out for free expert advice on vegetable gardening at the Loudoun County Master Gardeners’ “Saturdays in the Garden” program Saturday, July 20 with a talk on “Managing Insects in the Vegetable Garden”. The program is held at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, 10:00 a.m. to noon. The talk will be followed by a question and answer session with experienced Master Gardeners. … Continue Reading

Wildflowers … Nature’s Buffet Table

June 4, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wildflowers … Nature’s Buffet Table
Birdsfoot Violet 2 by MAG

Wildflowers delight the senses in so many ways. They present us with exquisite colors and delicious scents. Sometimes you want to reach out and touch their soft or spiny leaves and blossoms – just to imagine what it would be like to be them, swaying in the breeze or carpeting a forest floor.

But, nature is a both a beautiful and a practical sort. The bee, the butterfly or other insect, the bird, or the small mammal might be alerted to a wildflower because of its color or scent, but it goes there for the nourishment the plant provides.

Indian Pipe (or “Ghost flower”): This is a beautiful and very unusual wildflower that grows in the shade on forest floors. It lacks chlorophyll, the green substance plants create from the sun, and so it is white – occasionally with black flecks or a blush of pink. It secures its nutrients from the fungi associated with different types of trees. Butterflies and small bumblebees feed on the Indian Pipe flower’s nectar. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Flight of the Monarch 3,000 Miles on the Wing

May 1, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Farm and garden, Lifestyle 3 comments
butterfly

What is more arresting … the warm kaleidoscope colors of a Monarch butterfly’s wings, or the mind-blowing fact that the insect you are looking at might have flown 3,000 miles to get where it is?

Monarch butterflies start out life as tiny, fragile eggs laid on the underside of a milkweed leaf – eggs just about the size of a sesame seed. Female Monarchs rely exclusively on milkweed to lay their eggs. Part of a survival strategy, milkweed contains a natural toxin that makes Monarch caterpillars and adults inedible, or at least unpalatable, to predators.

Four days or so later the life force in the egg produces an inconspicuous little “worm.” But, with the milkweed’s leafy nourishment, that worm will grow into a chubby and very distinct green and black striped caterpillar – a voracious eater on it’s way to gossamer wings. … Continue Reading

23rd Annual Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival

April 18, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on 23rd Annual Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival
flower and garden

Historic Leesburg will once again be in full bloom as lush landscapes and gorgeous gardens fill the streets. On April 20 and 21, over 150 vendors will be on display featuring landscape designs, gardening supplies, outdoor living items, plants, flowers, herbs and so much more. Stroll through the streets and take in the sights and sounds of spring-time. Whether gathering ideas for your new outdoor patio, stocking up on gardening supplies, or searching for a perfect gift for the avid gardener in your life, this event will have something for everyone! The event runs from 10:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p,m, on Sunday.

For a taste of Loudoun County’s garden bounty, be sure to visit the Beer and Wine Garden located on Town Green. This tasting area will feature some of Loudoun County’s best wineries and breweries. Take home a commemorative glass and bottle of your favorite vino to enjoy after the festival concludes. Breweries to be featured include MacDowell Brew Kitchen/ Mud Hound Brewing Co., Lost Rhino, Starr Hill and more. Wineries include Bluemont Vineyards, Little Washington, and 868 Estates.

“The Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank: Native Plants and Natural Channel Design”

March 27, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on “The Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank: Native Plants and Natural Channel Design”

Join Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their free monthly lecture series on Thursday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Rust library, 380 Waterford Road NW, Leesburg.

Mike Rolband, President of Wetland Studies and Solutions in Gainesville, will discuss the creation of the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank, which to date has restored 45,000 linear feet of degraded streams in Reston. His presentation will focus specifically on native planting and restoration techniques that have contributed to the environmental success of this project. Reston is a unique urban space that is home to many species of bird and other wildlife that might have been threatened by the project, but in fact, the project has earned accolades from various conservation groups such as the Northern Virginia Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water ConservationDistrict. Please join us for another interesting talk.

For more information about the lecture or the Loudoun County Master Gardener program, visit www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

Master Gardeners Announce Annual Gardening Symposium

March 9, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Events, Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Master Gardeners Announce Annual Gardening Symposium
master_gardeners

Master Gardeners Kick Off Spring Gardening Season

Loudoun County’s Master Gardeners kick off this year’s spring gardening season with their fourth annual symposium packed with topics ranging from “Ten Steps to a Greener Lawn” to “Have Your Yard and Eat It Too.”

Registration is open now for the event, which will be held at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg on April 6 and 7.

“We have a wonderfully diverse group of speakers this year, each with a deep knowledge of subjects near and dear to the hearts of gardeners and nature lovers,” said Becky Phillips, a veteran Master Gardener and the symposium chairperson. “Anyone who attends will walk away educated, entertained and inspired.”

… Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun – Our Magnificent Backyard Birds

March 5, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun – Our Magnificent Backyard Birds

Looking out my snowy, overcast window in late February I was transfixed by the incredible color pecking and swooping and snacking at my backyard birdfeeder. I’ve seen perhaps dozens of species of birds on this farm. And, although it is a real thrill to see a soaring red-shouldered hawk or late night owl, it is equally captivating to watch common, everyday wild backyard birds feasting on the mix of sunflower and safflower seeds in my birdfeeders. … Continue Reading

Free Garden Lecture – Alien Weeds, Art from the Invasive Plant Harvest

February 13, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Free Garden Lecture – Alien Weeds, Art from the Invasive Plant Harvest

Join the Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their monthly lecture series on Thursday, March 7, at 7:00 p.m. at the Rust Library, 380 Waterford Road NW in Leesburg. This month’s topic is “Alien Weeds: Art from the Invasive Plant Harvest”. The guest speaker is Patterson Clark, an artist and naturalist who writes and illustrates the “Urban Jungle” weekly natural history column for the Washington Post when he is not out pulling invasive weeds in DC area parks with park permission and creating art from his harvest. His invasive weed pulls have an unusual twist: instead of composting or throwing out the weeds, Clark creates paper, pens, ink, artwork and even brushes from his weed crop. He began to experiment with making paper from the fibers of English Ivy, Rose of Sharon and garlic mustard. That led to making inks from white mulberry, honeysuckle and wineberry. His brushes, described as “crude but useful” are made from fibers in the bark of porcelainberry and multiflora rose. Mr. Clark has a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Biology and Art from Hendrix College. His artwork can be viewed at www.alienweeds.com

For more information about the lecture or the Loudoun County Master Gardener program, visit www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

Honors Given to Loudoun County Master Gardeners

January 2, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Honors Given to Loudoun County Master Gardeners

More than 40 Loudoun County Master Gardener volunteers received state and local honors this year for their service and dedication to the goals of the county Master Gardeners program and the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE).

Loudoun County Master Gardeners is an organization of trained and certified volunteers dedicated to encouraging and promoting environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management educational programs. … Continue Reading

Wood Ducks

December 5, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wood Ducks
Drake and Hen

By Andrea Gaines

There’s a wide rambling creek and large wetland area near my house, about 3 1/2 miles south of the town of Purcellville. The creek is called Crooked Run, the same small waterway that runs through some of the last remaining farmland in the town, Crooked Run Orchard. It is part of the larger Goose Creek system of Loudoun County waterways and connects to both the Potomac Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.

One late spring morning I was walking along a dirt road there, and glancing towards the trees edging the wetland, I saw a large bird emerge out of a hole in a dead tree and float in a half-graceful-half-plunge to the shallow water below. The bird hit the water and joined what looked to be a mate, disappearing into some marsh grass. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015

noerpel150

NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with …

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Ask Dr. Mike

At Wits End

7 Aug 2015

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My sister’s son is autistic, but she is in complete denial. I’ve done my research and he fits a diagnosis of autism. He is three years old and doesn’t talk or socialize. He has meltdowns that are out …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015

morvenpark

I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining. I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of …

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Mount Zion Church

1 Jul 2015

timjon

– By Tim Jon So: You’ve never given the American Civil War a great deal of thought, much less walked the grounds of Gettysburg or some of the other, major battleground sites located in our region; you may not be …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

pot of gold

Hello everyone, this is Hokie Cat from Fields of Athenry Farm. Sushi is in big trouble as we speak and is residing in doggy dungeon. I am here to fill you in on what took place. My brother Mountie loves …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015

donnawilliamson

By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

What It Means To Be a Man

7 Aug 2015

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel As I have gotten older I have noticed that there are more and more young men who ask me for advice. To me it seems silly – I am often not much older than the person asking, …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

A Social Security Strategy Could Enhance Your Retirement Income Plan

7 Aug 2015

Smith0035

By Amy & Dan Smith What do you think of when someone mentions Social Security? Many people consider Social Security and retirement as one and the same. More than 90 percent of working Americans plan for Social Security to replace …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Blue Ridge National Science Day Declared Tuesday, June 10 has been officially been declared Blue Ridge National Science Day. At a recent Purcellville Town Council Meeting, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and members of the town council signed a proclamation designating this …

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Events

August 2015
M T W T F S S
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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Friday Night Live with Emma Rowley & Saffron Gourmet Food Truck

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Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Chef Sebastian Oveysi's Saffon Gourmet Food Truck at North Gate VIneyard

Book Signing: 'Beyond Jefferson's Vines' by Richard Leahy

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Spinners

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Chef Sebastian Oveysi's Saffon Gourmet Food Truck at North Gate VIneyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Live Music: Connor Duffy at North Gate Vineyard

Ronnie Milsap

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Live Music: Willie White at North Gate VIneyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Lovettsville Historical Society Lecture: "Hex Signs: the History and the Mystery"

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COFFEEHOUSE: LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Dinner and a Dive In

Creedence Clearwater

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Emily Guagliardi Live at North Gate Vineyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Mobile Hope’s “Back to School” Shopping Event Helps Loudoun Struggling Youth

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards Monthly Bluegrass Jam is BACK w/Short Hill Mountain Boys

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Recent Comments

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  • Mark Gunderman on Gifts Within: Second Mount Olive Baptist Church, located in Hamilton, VA, was founded in 1872. The congregation desires to exalt God and...
  • Kathleen Hannon on What It Means To Be a Man: Great article Samuel! We have two daughters and we try to teach them to look for qualities such as...
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View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Editorial

Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

Three Virginia laws address openness in government: the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), The Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) and The Virginia State & Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (VCOIA). VFOIA guides how public bodies conduct their meetings and regulates access to government records. VPRA establishes basic rules about what constitutes a public record and what the government’s …

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Lifestyle

Loudoun Health Officials Remind Septic System Owners of Need to Pump Out

28 Aug 2015

Loudoun County Seal Color

The Loudoun County Health Department reminds owners of septic systems that routine pumping out of their systems can extend the system’s life and reduce the risk of untreated sewage surfacing or backing up into a house. Loudoun County requires owners of conventional onsite septic systems to have their tanks pumped out at least every five years. Tanks must be pumped …

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Historic Village Prepares for 46th Annual Bluemont Fair

25 Aug 2015

IMG_4106

The sleepy Blue Ridge village of Bluemont in western-most Loudoun County, Virginia, is bustling with activity as it prepares for the 46th ANNUAL BLUEMONT FAIR, September 19 & 20, 2015 from 10AM to 5PM both days, rain or shine. Admission is still only $5/adults, under 10 free, with free parking available. One-way traffic and crosswalks will be enforced in the …

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Register for Rally for the Cure™

24 Aug 2015

blueridge2

Want to participate in a fun tournament for a great cause? Then sign up to participate in the Stoneleigh Women’s Golf Association’s annual Rally for the Cure ™ golf tournament in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! This is a great opportunity to play at the golf course recently cited as being the Prettiest Golf Course in Northern Virginia by …

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015

wildloudoundragonflies

Shadow Darner. Unicorn Clubtail. Black Shouldered Spinyleg. Blue Dasher. Ebony Jewelwing. Calico Pennant. Sanddragon. Their names conger up some magical place inhabited by devils and demons, elegant queens, daring lovers – creatures you would need to see with your own eyes to believe really existed. But, each of these, including the Calico Pennant, is actually one of the most common …

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Around Virginia

Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers

davelarock

By Delegate Dave LaRock It’s no secret that population growth and business development have left Loudoun County, especially busy areas to the east, with some pretty challenging traffic. The process of expanding the local network of roads and transit always seems to be playing catch-up, usually tied to availability of …

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Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

governorsigns

On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Sports

Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015

drewhunter

Loudoun Valley’s Drew Hunter placed second in the United States Track and Field 1500-meter run Junior National Championship. That earned him a spot on the United States Junior Team going to the Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada in late July. Drew lost to college freshman Blake Haney of the …

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American Legion Post 34 Hosting Mid-Atlantic Regional Baseball Tournament

5 Aug 2015

americanlegionpost34

Batter up! Chartered in 1919 by an act of Congress, the American Legion is one of our country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious veteran’s organizations – dedicated to mentoring youth, sponsoring community programs, promoting national security and supporting veterans and members of the armed forces. Specific programs include scholarships, scouting, …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

thismonthhistory

– By Andrea Gaines Loudoun County was heavily invested in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Loudouner Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of 56 delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. More Loudouners served in General George Washington’s army than any other county in Virginia, and the county’s enormous …

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Mary Rose Lunde

More Than a GPA

7 Aug 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde In school we are measured in every way based on a number system from a point scale resulting in grades then translated into a GPA that can’t be easily fixed in just one semester. Students are forced to think that all they have to achieve is …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

sarahcloset3

– By Sarah Nearis Look at these sweet and summery pink blouses and tops. Don’t you want to try one on? Some women are afraid to wear pink, thinking it’s a bit too feminine. But, pink comes in such a wide variety of shades – from soft mauves to fuchsias …

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Letters

Thank You Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

I want to express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support by the local business owners and residents in relationship to my challenge to …

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

speak

With graduations behind us and summer vacations ahead, we have much to look forward to. My summer will be full of events and opportunities to …

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Reflections for Father’s Day, a Child’s Constitutional Rights

15 Jun 2015

Bob Ohneiser

I’ve been a licensed attorney and a father since the late 80’s. Yet, I wonder about how many of our country’s legal theories – theories …

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