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Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

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On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States.
Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, foreign markets went into a deep dive. (fn. 1.) Many observers expected a similar reaction when the U.S. stock market opened on November 9, but after an initial drop, the S & P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and NASDAQ rose throughout the day; and all three indexes closed up more than one percent. (fn. 2.) Although this was unexpected after the late-night surprise, it actually continued a two-day surge that began when Democratic Hillary Clinton was expected to win the election. (fn. 3.) … Continue Reading

Guns and Estate Planning “Gun Trusts”

November 2, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Guns and Estate Planning “Gun Trusts”
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Due to the growth of gun ownership in the United States, there is the increased likelihood that estates will include guns. A thorough discussion of the application of federal and state gun laws is not possible in this article. However, responsible estate administrators can unknowingly violate gun laws, leading to “accidental felonies.” Thus, some information may be helpful.

There are two categories of weapons as to which different restrictions apply. The highly regulated category is referred to as “NFA Weapons.” These include short-barreled rifles and shot guns, fully automatic machine guns, silencers and components to build them, any other weapon (eg, pen and cane guns), and destructive devices (eg, grenades and missiles). All transfers of an NFA weapon must be approved by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). Thus, if an executor innocently delivers an NFA weapon (or even loans such a weapon) without ATF approval, he/she has committed a felony which carries possible imprisonment and significant fines. … Continue Reading

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?

October 5, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?
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Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.”

Where will you live as you age?

Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you to move or modify your home.

Staying Put
Most of us prefer to stay in our homes as we age. If that sounds like you, plan in advance for modifications you might need to make your home safer or more accessible (e.g. ramps, wider doorways, grab bars.) Think about whether family members can take you to doctor’s appointments, buy groceries and help with home maintenance. If you don’t have a support system, you’ll need a plan and budget for transportation, home repairs, and in-home health and personal care services. Hiring a personal aid, for example, costs and average of $21 per hour.

Sources: Legg Mason, longtermcare.gov

Moving Out
While it may be hard to imagine today, if you can’t stay in your home due to a health event, consider other housing options that could provide more personal, social and healthcare support.

Assisted Living
Among the benefits of an assisted living facility: social connections with other residents and help with everyday tasks like laundry, taking medications and transportation. Some amenities are included in your rent and some cost extra. Your monthly rent could be as high as $4,500, depending on the facility and care needed, so tour facilities in your price range and develop a short list. Ask about additional fees for services like help with dressing if you were to become less mobile.

Nursing Home
If you face a chronic illness or injury that requires 24/7 medical care, your next step may be a nursing home, also called a “long-term” or “skilled-care” facility. Tour facilities and talk to staff. Ask residents and their families (if you can) about the level of response and care they receive.

Keep in mind these facilities are often part of a continuing care retirement community, so residents already in a community’s independent or assisted care facility will get first preference on long-term housing. Ask if there’s a waiting list for non-community retirees.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities
If you’re thinking about the levels of care you may need as you age and prefer to minimize changing neighborhoods and providers, a CCRC may be your best option. These communities progress in cost and care, from independent apartments to assisted living and finally, long-term care. Ask whether there are buy-in costs that guarantee you first preference if, for example, you have to move form an independent apartment to the assisted living facility. Tour each facility within the CCRC and budget accordingly.

Tips
Visit at different times of day, including mealtimes. Talk to residents and visiting family members. Review fees for rent and additional services. Ask about average response time to assist a resident.

Next Steps
Think about if you’ll need transportation or live close enough to walk to shopping and medical facilities.

Learn what fees are required upfront to buy into a continuing care retirement community.

Calculate how much to set aside should you need long-term care.

Material provided by Raymond James for use by its advisors. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Legal advice and services are not offered through Raymond James. Amy V. Smith CFP ® CIMA. Amy Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. Tel. 703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com. Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

September 7, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?
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Amy and Dan Smith

Only in the rarest of circumstances will the state receive the property of a decedent.

Joint tenancy. If you hold property jointly with another person “with survivorship,” it is presumed that the survivor is entitled to all the property upon the death of the first to die. Typically, a deed or investment account will indicate “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” Joint ownership by a husband and wife with survivorship rights is called a “tenancy by the entireties.” Property owned by two or more people without survivorship is called a tenancy in common. This intention should be clearly stated in the title to avoid conflict upon the death of the first tenant. … Continue Reading

Your Retirement Plan B

August 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Your Retirement Plan B
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Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected.

Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is now strongly encouraging you to take an early retirement – five years before you’re ready.

So, What Now? … Continue Reading

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

July 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits
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– By Amy and Dan Smith

For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future
That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is the new 30. If that’s the case, then you’re just a kid!

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should be childlike about your finances. If your 20’s are the years when you lay the foundation for good financial habits, then your 30’s are when you build on that foundation.

By now you’re likely employed in your field, possibly married or in a committed relationship, and thinking about building a family. It’s important to factor in these life events when you are planning. A financial advisor can work with you to create a solid plan and provide objective guidance no matter how investment savvy you are.

Your priority should be saving and avoiding non-mortgage debt. Without debt, saving seems easy. And there’s a lot to save for: the wedding, starting a family, buying a house, sending your kids to college and retirement. Not to mention all the surprises in between. This is where the long-term plan you and your financial advisor create comes in. It’s important to stick to it.

Another key element is to review your financial plans periodically to make sure they still meet your goals. If you are part of a couple, consider making “financial dates” with your spouse or partner to proactively talk about money. It’s a good way to make sure both parties in a relationship are aware of the other’s goals for the future.

To Help You Get Started on your Journey, Here’s a Checklist for 30-Somethings:

Save for retirement. Are you taking advantage of the retirement plan offered by your employer? It allows you to invest a portion of every paycheck before taxes –or after taxes in the case of a Roth 401(k). While you’re at it, analyze other employer benefits. Are you taking advantage of all the benefits your employer offers? Look at everything, form flexible spending accounts to group discounts.
Pay off personal debt. Have you paid off all your high-interest debt? Paying off a credit card that charges 25 percent interest means substantial savings.

Write a simple will and also a living will. How will your property be handled if you die? A simple will can keep your loved ones from having to decide. What do you want to happen if you become seriously ill? A living will records your wishes and removes that burden form your family.

Name a guardian for your children, if you have any. Who will be responsible for your children if you and your spouse/partner die? Protect them by legally naming a guardian.

Review your insurance. If you’ve recently married or started a family, are life and disability insurance adequate given your new status? Also, the younger you are, the less long-term care and disability policies cost. It’s also a good idea to review your auto and home policies to ensure your family and property are fully covered. You may also be eligible for package discounts.

Start a college fund for your children if you have any. As soon as you are out of debt, begin an education fund. The costs for education are soaring, so the earlier you can begin saving the better.
Think about your future housing needs. Is your family going to outgrow your house? Will your parents eventually move in with you? A separate savings fund for housing can accommodate these possibilities.

The foregoing article contains general legal information only and is not intended to convey legal advice. For legal advice regarding estate planning, the reader should contact his/her lawyer. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Legal advice and services are not offered through Raymond James. Amy V. Smith CFP ® CIMA. Amy Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (Tel. 703 669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com. Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?

June 1, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?
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The proliferation of online vendors offering legal documents and services for fixed fees is causing a real stir in the legal community. On the one hand there can be no question that the pricing of legal services puts personalized legal counsel out of reach for many people. On the other hand, most legal problems do not lend themselves to over-the-counter solutions.

The North Carolina State Bar Association tried to close down LegalZoom charging it with the unauthorized practice of law. A court order reversed the action. In the meantime, Rocket Lawyer, a competitor to LegalZoom, is teaming with the American Bar Association to offer legal advice to small businesses. The Virginia State Bar is carefully reviewing the situation in Virginia. … Continue Reading

Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning

May 4, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning
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What do we tell the kids?

Questions of how much and what type of information to give the children often arise during consultation. The answers depend on the circumstances of each family – the ages and maturity of the children being the most obvious factors. As a general rule the ideal is to advise the children as to the extent and nature of the parents’ assets and plans. This can lead to a smoother transition to the next generation.

Issues of entitlement, sibling rivalry (where there is more than one child involved), and perceptions of fair-ness may naturally surface with regard to the parents’ estate. Feelings may be particularly acute where one child has provided more care and attention to a parent than the other children, as is often the case. … Continue Reading

How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

April 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late
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With the recent changes to Social Security rules, filing and suspending will soon be phased out, but there’s still time to take advantage of the strategy.

Here’s a quick guide to maneuvering this rule while it still lasts, but as always, you should work with your financial advisor to discuss further how you can use this and other strategies in your financial plan. … Continue Reading

There If (Or When) You Need It

March 2, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on There If (Or When) You Need It
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By Amy and Dan Smith

Long-term care is one of the biggest and often unexpected expenses in retirement. Thinking about funding a long-term care plan now can save you later.

It seems we don’t pay much attention to long-term care until it directly affects us. Sure, it may pop up on our radar when consoling a friend who’s bearing the weight-physically and financially – of a loved one’s care or through the trials and tribulations of funding an aging parent’s assisted living needs. However, there may come a time when you or your spouse could face these challenges and decisions.
Few Americans place long-term care needs high on a list of concerns. In fact, more than half don’t have a plan for when they’re unable to independently bathe, dress, eat or get around, according to the 2012 State of Planning Survey. … Continue Reading

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

February 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn
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It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders.
It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and fear sets in that all you’ve worked for and set aside for retirement and other goals could be at risk. Here are six investing basics to keep in mind during volatile times:

Periods of volatility are normal – All markets move in cycles and periods of steep contraction are completely normal. While the length of market contractions varies, periods of growth and expansion are usually waiting on the other side. Since 1973, stocks have fallen more than 10 percent and subsequently rebounded eight times.

Don’t Panic – Letting emotions dictate your investing strategy is a risk you should not take. Short-term decisions can have long-term consequences on your portfolio. Being patient can pay dividends.

Know your portfolio – Understand your investments and how specific investments represent different goals and outcomes. Keep in mind your risk tolerance and investment timeline, and if either has changed, consider talking to your financial advisor about rebalancing your portfolio. Diversification can potentially help balance risk during a downturn and mitigate extreme swings in value.

Stay the Course – Remember your financial plan and long-term goals and stick to them. A disciplined investment approach is the best strategy for handling market downturns and will likely enable you to participate when the markets rebound.

Consider opportunities – Working with your financial advisor, determine whether periods of volatility are a good time to take advantage of investment opportunities in line with your long-term plan.

You’re not alone – Your financial advisor is available to help you when you need it. He or she can guide you through difficult markets and be the independent voice and “information bodyguard” that helps you stay focused on your long-term goals.

Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Amy V. Smith Wealth Management, LLC, an independent firm, CFP, CIMA, offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com) Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home

January 7, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home
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Despite our best efforts, sometimes grown children aren’t quite ready to enter the real world.

The day our children move out of the house, graduate from college, or land their first full-time job isn’t always-or even often-the day they achieve independence. Life is full of twists and turns, and even young adults with the best laid plans can veer off course, turning to their parents for support when things get tough. One study, conducted by Arizona Pathways to Life Success, says that half of recent graduates ages 23 to 26 depend on their family’s financial support to meet their current needs. … Continue Reading

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Giving and Taxes

December 2, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Giving and Taxes
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There is a relationship among income, gift and estate tax which can appear complex. However, in reality most of gifts are not affected by taxes.

This column addresses non-charitable gifts. Unlike a gift to charity, a gift to a person is not deductible by the donor for income tax purposes. A gift to a person is not taxable income to that person.

There is a federal gift tax but (with the exception of Connecticut and Tennessee) states don’t impose gift taxes. Here’s how the federal gift tax works: A person may make as many gifts as he/she wishes each year so long as the total value of gifts to each person for the year is within the amount of the “annual exclusion.” The annual exclusion is subject to adjustment each year and is $14,000 for 2015 and 2016. So Dad can give up to $14,000 of gifts apiece to each child, grandchild and neighbor without having to file a gift tax return, no matter how many children, grandchildren and neighbors he has. Furthermore, Mom can do the same. In fact, if Dad wants to give up to $28,000 per donee and Mom doesn’t want to give anything, Dad can “borrow” Mom’s annual exclusion for that year. However, Dad will have to file a gift tax return which Mom will sign to show she is allowing him to use her annual exclusion. (To avoid that requirement gifts can be made from joint property, as with a joint bank account.) … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Pearl Harbor

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By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

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On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States. Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, …

America: Worthy of Our Trust

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel My friend and I sit in a bar near our office. He is upset, bags under his eyes due to lack of sleep. Thursday, our weekly night to meet is usually a happy hour filled with intellectual …

South Riding

South Riding

I should have known that this one would take me far from my contemplative, Zen-inspired comfort zone; after I’d traversed more construction projects than I wanted to tally, competed with hurried, coffee-driven commuters with no time for mere existence, and …

Support Group Help Needed

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Dr. Mike, My son was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, and his pediatrician at that time recommended we try a social skills group for his “immaturity” and “impulsivity.” We did that, and our experience was horrible. The kids in …

The State of Corals

Figure 3 close up view of healthy coral polyps. [9]

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors December 6, 2016) “Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years.” – Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999 [4] Tony Noerpel

Reply to Nicholas Reid – What is Science

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“The word “cult” has always been controversial because it is (in a pejorative sense) considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices, which lacks a clear or consistent definition.” “[Dogma] is …

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

December 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
November 28, 2016 November 29, 2016 November 30, 2016 December 1, 2016 December 2, 2016 December 3, 2016

Holiday Open House

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

December 4, 2016

Holiday Open House

December 5, 2016 December 6, 2016 December 7, 2016 December 8, 2016 December 9, 2016 December 10, 2016

Barrel Tasting Event Saturday

December 11, 2016

Barrel Tasting Event Sunday

December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016 December 18, 2016
December 19, 2016 December 20, 2016 December 21, 2016 December 22, 2016 December 23, 2016 December 24, 2016 December 25, 2016
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017
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Lifestyle

Ugly Christmas Sweater Fad Keeps Growing

30 Nov 2016

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Since 2012, the Re-Love It consignment shop, at 138 N. 21st Street in Purcellville, has developed the reputation as the place to get your Ugly Christmas Sweater in the Metro D.C. area. In that time, Re-Love It has sold more than 3,000 vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters.

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‘The Giver’ Comes To Franklin Park Arts Center

30 Nov 2016

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Geronimo Production Company’s Premier Show Geronimo Production Company is bringing another sort of Christmas play to Loudoun County. The Giver, based on Lois Lowry’s YA dystopian classic, will be premiering at Franklin Park Arts Center on December 8-11. “This show is perfect for Christmastime,” director Keaghan Wier said. “It focuses on displaying the value of family, love, and joy…. These …

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What Is Special To You about the Holidays?

30 Nov 2016

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By Amanda Clark Henry Carlson – Purcellville “For me, the holidays are about celebrating the connection you’ve got with your kin, listening to 50’s music, and staying warm!”

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

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

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 …

It’s Our Right

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On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

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

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall

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The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

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On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

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Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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Sports

Accepting Applications for Sports League Funding

30 Nov 2016

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Purcellville is accepting applications from local organizations for its annual sports league funding program. Organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town from the IRS confirming the organization’s tax exempt status in order to …

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Woodgrove High Student Will Pursue Track and Field at George Mason

30 Nov 2016

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Puneet Kaur of Woodgrove High School has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at George Mason University. Kaur has held the school record in shot put since her sophomore year and is looking to throw shotput, hammer, discus and maybe even the javelin …

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