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Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D.
Dr. Mike,
We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a horrible disaster. From the first lesson, she was frustrated, she couldn’t pick up the instructions, and it was a battle to get her to go every time. My husband took the hard line that our daughter had to continue because she made a commitment and because we couldn’t get our money back. I initially shared his position, but he never went to a single practice to see what I saw, and I couldn’t continue to drag my kid out of the car crying only to peel her off of me to enter a room and an activity she was miserable in for two hours a week over and over. I made the executive decision to pull our daughter, and my husband has been furious with me ever since. His unbending hard line position is that our society is all about immediate gratification these days and that commitment and perseverance means nothing to the youth of today; and that we are spoiling our kids by giving in to their every whim. What do you think?
Concerned Parent in Loudoun County
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New Book Helps Balance Children’s Screen-Time and Play Time

September 7, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on New Book Helps Balance Children’s Screen-Time and Play Time

By Amanda Clark
Michael Oberschneider, a clinical psychologist and founder/director of Ashburn Psychological Psychiatric Services, has just released a book titled Ollie Outside. This book addresses the very timely and important topic of screen- and media-time management for children. Ollie Outside is a story about a boy who wants to spend time with others, but everyone around him is preoccupied with some sort of technology. Ollie is resourceful and active and loves the outdoors, so he turns his moments of upset into action to solve his problem. At the end of the book, Ollie and his family come together to learn the valuable lesson of managing technology better, and putting their relationships first. “This is a very timely and relevant message for young children to hear in today’s technology-focused society,” says Oberschneider. … Continue Reading

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

July 20, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, also accidently discovered the extremely positive affects of lithium for mood disturbances that revolutionized the treatment for what we now know as Bipolar Disorder. Some of the other amazing medical discoveries that were found by accident include, Nitrous Oxide, the Pap Smear, the Pace Maker and even Viagra. … Continue Reading

Unmotivated Teen

July 6, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Unmotivated Teen

– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

Dr. Mike,
At our insistence, our 17-year-old son is going to get a summer job. Well, that’s what he agreed to, but we are two weeks into the summer and guess what … he doesn’t have a job yet. He’s applied to two places online (so he says) but no phone calls, no interviews and no job yet! Any advice on how to motivate a mopey teen that just wants to play video games and hang out all summer?
-Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent:
While you “agreed” for your son to get a job this summer, finding a job doesn’t seem to be a priority for him. I recommend that you sit down with him for a talk on the topic. First, be proactive and positive in your message; sharing with him that a job will put money in his pocket, will give him a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and will increase his social skills and independence, is a lot better than negatively telling him to get out of the house and get to work.

Second, your son needs to find a job because the job isn’t going to find him, so I think you need to manage things more as parents. Yes, he can keep applying to larger companies online and wait, and wait and wait. Or, he can go on foot to fill out applications. The Ashburn Patch posted that it had 20 part-time jobs in Ashburn last week alone, and there are many help wanted signs hanging up in storefronts and restaurants throughout Loudoun County.

Why don’t you make getting a job a positive parent-child moment where you drive around together to hunt out help wanted signs in nearby shopping centers; you could go fill out a bunch of applications and have lunch together. And keep in mind, the more applications your son fills out, the sooner he will be hired. Wishing you both a fun a productive summer.

Dr. Mike,
Our 4-year-old daughter can’t get enough of her princess costumes and fancy dresses, and she wants to wear them everywhere. From summer camp, to birthday parties and to bed, she wants to be Belle, or Anna or Elsa, or Snow White or Rapunzel or Sophia the First, etc. It’s not a big deal most of the time, but sometimes it’s not appropriate, like when she ruined one of her favorite costumes on the playground last week. Every time my husband or I try to redirect her or explain why she can’t wear her costumes or dress up at certain times, she has humungous temper tantrums. Everything is princess and all of the time. Any thoughts on how to turn a princess back into a normal little girl?
-Concerned Parent

Concerned Parent,
Actually, at 4 years of age, your daughter’s desire to be a princess is very normal, but I understand your frustration. Setting limits with children isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially when a child is very passionate about something and “no” is hard to accept. Perhaps you could start by agreeing with your daughter on the types of places where it’s “okay” for her to celebrate her princess self and places where it’s “not okay.” For the places where it’s not okay, I recommend coming up with an action plan. For instance, your daughter and you could agree to have a costume or two on hand, and she could dress up either before or after a “not okay” event or activity. Planning ahead of time and getting your daughter involved and excited should help (e.g., you could help her pick out her costume and fold it nicely to keep in the trunk of the car if you are going somewhere). You could also come up with princess alternatives with your daughter where she could take her Barbie or a doll or a princess storybook in tow. She could also watch a downloaded princess movie or movie clips on an iPad or phone when it isn’t possible for her to dress up.

As frustrating as your princess conflicts can be at times with your daughter, take comfort in knowing that this is a phase that will pass. And remember to enjoy this precious time with your daughter because these sorts of moments go by fast.

Michael Oberschneider “Dr. Mike” is the founder and director of Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services. He has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN and other popular media spots as a mental health expert. He has received the Washingtonian Magazine “Top Therapist” honor for his work with children and teens. Go to AshburnPsych.com or call 703 723-2999.

Living in Debt

June 1, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Living in Debt

Dr. Mike,
My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, oh no, he has to have the newest and nicest one in the neighborhood. He can’t just have any old golf club membership, he has to have the most expensive one that oh, by the way he only goes to about 10 times a year. His bonus last year was his highest of all time but he spent it before the check even cleared the bank. We have no savings to our name, tons of credit card debt and spoiled kids, but every time I bring our finances up to him he tells me that he “works hard” or he “deserves it” or “chill out” and I “worry too much.” I love him to death but can’t keep living like this. Got a few ideas for us?
Concerned in Loudoun
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Concerned Parent

April 6, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Concerned Parent

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

Dr. Mike,
We are concerned about some habits our nine year old son demonstrates and would love some advice from you.  We are unsure whether it’s anxiety, nervousness, or just nervous/an excess of energy.  A few years ago he began biting his fingernails and does that very frequently now.  Along with that habit he seems to pick up other tics that he’ll demonstrate for a few weeks and then they’ll dissipate which will be followed by another one a few weeks/months later.  Some of these tics have been scrunching up his eyes/face and tapping his hands onto his legs.  My husband and I try not to draw attention to them as we don’t want him to feel badly about something he can’t seem to help but we are unsure how to help him.  Thanks for any advice and suggestions you might have.  
A concerned parent
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Am I an Enabler?

March 2, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Am I an Enabler?

Dr. Mike,
My husband thinks that I’m harming our son for life because of the way I parent. Our son is 12 years old and he was diagnosed with ADHD in the 1st grade. My husband calls me “the enabler” because I admittedly double or triple check things for our son, give him constant reminders, and stay up late with him to get homework and projects done. My husband’s approach to parenting our son is to leave him alone to fail. My husband’s favorite line to me these days is “how will he ever learn how to do things for himself if you are always doing everything for him?” Our son isn’t doing great at school these days already so I cannot agree to the hard knocks approach to parenting my husband believes in so much. Can you give me some advice on how to get through to my husband that being hands-on is a must when parenting a child with ADHD? Your input is appreciated.
Concerned Parent
… Continue Reading

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

February 3, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.
“snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly anticipate more snow days, there is a sense of reservation for many parents that it’s over and their children will be returing to school on Monday. … Continue Reading

The Scorpion, the Frog, and You!

January 7, 2016 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on The Scorpion, the Frog, and You!

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature …” … Continue Reading

How To Talk about ISIS and Terrorism with Your Children

December 2, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on How To Talk about ISIS and Terrorism with Your Children

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shaken the hearts and heads of many around the world. And since the Paris attacks, upsetting event after upsetting event has occurred, compounding the effect on our collective psyche as a nation. And while we are all upset by what his happening right now, our children as a group are the most at risk emotionally as a group.

As a child psychologist, I have been dealing with the emotional impact of terrorism this past week with a number of my child and teen patients. While I am perforce in the role of treating children with emotional and behavioral struggles, there are times when larger societal issues can enter the therapy space – and this is one of those times. Many of my child and teen clients have broached the topic of terrorism with me and with a heightened sense of anxiety. … Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

November 13, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it is also a time to reflect and remember with gratitude. America is a free and democratic nation today, and we as civilians are able to enjoy all that comes with freedom and democracy, in large part because of the courage, strength, and dedication of our service men and service women. Veterans Day, in my opinion, is also a time to remember our humanity; to be compassionate and to give to those who need our compassion and benevolence most – our wounded warriors. … Continue Reading

The Psychology of Your Child’s Halloween Costume

November 4, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on The Psychology of Your Child’s Halloween Costume

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

Even though Halloween has passed it is one of the most fun times of the year for children. The meaning of Halloween runs deep in our culture – it’s a time to celebrate, a time for treats, a time for being spooky, a time for costumes, and it’s a time to enjoy family and friends. When we think back to some of our fondest childhood memories, most of us have at least one or two Halloween moments.
And what costume your child selects, can say a lot about who he or she is or where they are developmentally.

Gore and the Macabre: Many young children are fascinated by monster costumes, but what is the message behind the mask? Perhaps Frankstein’s monster symbolizes science gone bad. Others have posited that zombies symbolize excesses of consumer capitalism and dissatisfaction with conformity and a loss of individuality. Is it a coincidence that zombies were first introduced in film after The Great Depression, and they have gained in popularity in the media since the recent recession and during a time that the U.S. economy is struggling again? … Continue Reading

Help with My Picky Eater

September 30, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Help with My Picky Eater

Dr. Mike,
My 6 year old son refuses to eat anything but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carby snacks and anything sweet – no veggies, no meat, no cheese, no pasta, etc. His pediatrician says his weight is fine, and she suggested a vitamin and mineral supplement shake, which my son actually likes because it’s chocolate. When I was a kid, I ate what was on the table for dinner, or I didn’t eat anything. Why doesn’t that approach work with my kid? The harsher I get, the more disobedient he gets. Even when I am super kind to him, nothing changes. Every day is a struggle, and there is always a fight with tears…sometimes for both of us. I am at my wits end because he’s not eating and we can’t take him anywhere. My neighbor suggested therapy but should I have to take my son to therapy to eat a balanced diet? Your help is appreciated.
Concerned Parent

Concerned Parent,
It seems to me that you are caught in a control battle with your son, and your son is winning the battle. In my opinion, the first thing I think you need to do is to agree with your son that you will no longer be battling him on the topic of food. Instead, you and your son are going to agree on an action plan to solve the problem. The first step in your action plan will be to replace the escalation of nudging, coaxing, prodding, arguing and fighting about food with agreed upon meals each day.

The next step in your action plan will be to sit down with your son to put together a list of foods that he likes, foods that he might like (or might be willing to try) and foods that he does not like. Perhaps you could categorize the foods as “yes foods,” “maybe foods” and “no foods.” Then for each meal, allow your son to have a small amount of one food that he likes, and serve a couple of maybe foods on his plate. If he chooses not to eat much, that is his choice. Remember no more nudging, coaxing, prodding, arguing or fighting about it. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will also want to decide on a time for when the meal is over and when the kitchen is closed.

I would then implement a no snack policy in between meals for your son. If he is filling up on Goldfish and candy after school, he probably will not have much of an appetite for dinner. By not snacking at all, your son will be hungrier at mealtime, and thus, he will be more likely to try the maybe foods he previously selected.

Whether your son is at a friend’s house, at school, or at a restaurant, you will want to keep him consistent with the meal plan. You will also want to reassess the maybe food list each day, and over time, your son’s list of maybe foods should grow. You could even bring your son grocery shopping with you to discuss his maybe foods. Young children are visual, and at 6, seeing the foods he is considering could be helpful. You could also let your son know that you will reintroduce healthy snacks into his day when he and you agree on what those snacks will be (e.g., fruit). And of course, continue to follow your son’s pediatrician’s recommendation for the food shake supplement.

Keep in mind that your son will probably not care very much for the action plan that I am offering here because it is going to challenge him to change and change is usually difficult. In fact, he might even fight you over the plan; things could seem to get worse before they get better, but that is okay. Stay the course and with time, and by being reasonable, consistent, loving and patient, your son’s picky eating should improve.

If, however, your son’s picky eating does not improve within a reasonable period of time (say a month or two), or if you notice that he is beginning to struggle in other ways or in other areas, you might want to consider seeing a child psychologist. While picky eating is not that unusual in early childhood, underlying anxiety may be what’s driving your son’s need to over control his food choices. Problematic anxiety with food in early childhood can sometimes work itself out with exposure and time, but sometimes it requires the additional attention of a mental health professional.

Michael Oberschneider “Dr. Mike” is the founder and director of Ashburn Psychological Services, a private mental health clinic comprised of 12 MD and PhD level mental health clinicians. Go to www.Ashburnpsych.com or call 703 723-2999 to learn more.









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


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 …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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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October 2016
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September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Steady and NoBull


Leesburg-Daybreak Rotary Club Sends Supplies and Funds to Haiti

24 Oct 2016


The Rotary Club of Leesburg-Daybreak shipped water purification supplies and emergency funds to Haiti following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Partnering with an anonymous local corporation, the club shipped 3,000 water purification tablet packages via FedEx to Haiti. These packages, which were sent to an area battling a cholera outbreak, will clean 3,000 liters of unsafe water. Instructions translated …

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Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Grief and Greed


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 …


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


– 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


– 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

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


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


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

land trust

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


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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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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