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What It Means To Be a Man


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, so what impactful words can I impart? Yet this year I have begun a tradition that I hope will continue for years to come. With the recent batch of graduations and birthdays, I found myself writing letters. In last month’s column I detailed how my parents had asked mentors to write letters to me that were compiled into a wisdom book on my behalf when I turned 18. This year I decided it was time to give back to those who ask for advice, and start writing letters filled with humble yet heartfelt words. … Continue Reading

At Wits End

August 7, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on At Wits End

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 of this world and noises overwhelm him and leaving to go someplace upsets him. He also shakes his arms and hands when he gets overwhelmed, which I read about is “stimming,” and is a symptom of autism. My sister says her son has “ADHD” but he is not ADHD, he is autistic. As far as I can tell, my nephew doesn’t get any services or medicine for his “ADHD.” We just returned from a large family beach week vacation and his problems are getting worse. This year my own children got upset with their cousin a few times when he acted out. He also became aggressive a couple times with my children. I don’t know if another year at the beach together is a good idea for us if things don’t change. I guess I would feel a lot better if we all just addressed the white elephant in the room. How do I get my sister to admit that her son has autism so that she can finally get him the help he needs? How do I talk to my children about their cousin? I love my sister but am at my wits end.
… Continue Reading

A Social Security Strategy Could Enhance Your Retirement Income Plan

August 7, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith Comments Off on A Social Security Strategy Could Enhance Your Retirement Income Plan

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 part of their current incomes when they leave the workforce. Sadly, what really happens is that, because of timing decisions, 75 percent of those already receiving benefits are drawing a reduced amount.*

Your benefits can be greatly affected by your specific circumstances during retirement. Your monthly payment amounts as well as your tax status can change if you decide to work part time or start a second career. There is also your and your spouse’s beneficiary eligibility to consider. … Continue Reading

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

August 7, 2015 Columns, Wild Loudoun Comments Off on Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

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 and numerous insects with which we share our Wild Loudoun world. Dragonflies.

The dragonflies of Loudoun County, some 80 or so in all, are grouped under seven categories – including Darners, Clubtails, Spiketails, Cruisers, Emeralds, Skimmers and the related Damselflies. … Continue Reading

The Scientific Method

August 7, 2015 Columns, Kitchen Science Kids Comments Off on The Scientific Method

By Leah Enright

The Scientific Method is simple-and it is a great way to make good choices and solve problems. In fact, many ideas that we believe to be true today, are the result of people asking questions, taking a reasonable guess, testing it out, and seeing what happens.
Lets try it, by starting with a simple question.

Question: Can seeds sprout in the dark?

Guess: No. I do not think seeds can sprout in the dark.
(What do you think?) Let’s find out, by performing a simple test. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

August 7, 2015 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

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 times (for radio interviews and news stories, and I even directed a couple of Shakespeare productions on the grounds), so it’s hard to approach the site without some (or a lot of) preconceptions; that said, a quiet, overcast, weekday morning visit allowed me to walk through the gardens and grounds in complete solitude – as if I were sole owner and proprietor of the castle-like mansion and the surrounding thousand-plus acres. … Continue Reading

The Noisy Economist

July 25, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on The Noisy Economist

“[W]hereas classisists [economists] turned the spotlight on change, flow, process and dynamics, the neoclassicists [economists] spend their time analyzing states of rest, balance, equilibrium.” – Yanis Varoufakis [1]

Updating the evolving global surface temperature anomaly monthly for the Loudoun County Supervisors and Blue Ridge Leader readers put me in mind of a bet proposed by economist and fossil fuels industry consultant Scott Armstrong. The bet was described by Nate Silver in his book “The Signal and the Noise”. While Silver’s topic is important and a subplot running through my series of articles, Silver makes several mistakes; even blowing his Bayesian analysis [2]. … Continue Reading

The Cost of Deceit

July 20, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Cost of Deceit

“Most of the dozens of essential climate variables monitored each year in this report continued to follow their long-term trends in 2014, with several setting new records. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the major greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—once again all reached record high average atmospheric concentrations for the year. Carbon dioxide increased by 1.9 ppm to reach a globally averaged value of 397.2 ppm for 2014. Altogether, 5 major and 15 minor greenhouse gases contributed 2.94 W m–2 of direct radiative forcing, which is 36% greater than their contributions just a quarter century ago.

“Accompanying the record-high greenhouse gas concentrations was nominally the highest annual global surface temperature in at least 135 years of modern record keeping, according to four independent observational analyses.” Blunden, J. and D. S. Arndt, Eds., 2015: State of the Climate in 2014. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96 (7), S1–S267. … Continue Reading

Help for Shark Phobia

July 8, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Help for Shark Phobia

Dr. Mike,

We go to the Outer Banks every summer as a family, but our seven-year-old daughter is now freaked out by the reported shark attacks at the Outer Banks. Thanks to her older siblings teasing her about sharks, she says she is not going in the water at all. She’s even tearfully asked us to not go this year. My child has always loved the Outer Banks and jumping into the ocean but now all at once she has a shark phobia? How does that work? Any suggestions on how to help her get her over this? We really do not want to cancel our plans and lose our money or fun.

Concerned Parents
… Continue Reading


July 6, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Radiophysics

“Radiophysics is a Hoax” – James Inhofe

The climate of a planet is stable when the incoming radiation from a planet’s star equals the outgoing heat radiation from the planet itself at the top of the atmosphere. Everything else is a factor only insofar as it contributes to or perturbs that balance. Understanding the radiation behavior of the atmosphere therefore is critical to understanding human-caused climate change [1-2].

Figure 1 [3] shows atmospheric absorption for frequencies from those used in satellite communications and point-to-point microwave radio links at the low end (left side) to visible light (right side) on the x-axis using a log scale and atmospheric attenuation on the y-axis also using a log scale. In particular if you have satellite TV or internet service, the dish antenna on your roof receives or transmits at the frequencies marked by the red lines. The green line represents spectrum the satellite industry is interested in using in the future. Note that we avoid the oxygen and water vapor absorption bands. Because of the popularity of smart phones, personal devices and wireless routers new spectrum is being requested up to and including 60 GHz identified by the red arrow. The 60 GHz band is attractive for wireless local networks such as inside a home because the strong oxygen attenuation guarantees the spectrum can be reused by neighbors with little interference into each other’s devices. And because of this strong attenuation, it is unsuitable for other radio applications such as satellite communications. … Continue Reading

The Marital Agreement

July 2, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on The Marital Agreement

– By Amy & Dan Smith

In Virginia, as in most states, a marital agreement can be entered into before or after marriage. It can cover a variety of topics but commonly addresses issues pertaining to the disposition of property upon separation, divorce or death of the parties, including spousal support. The agreement and any amendment thereto must be in writing and signed by both parties. Commonly, lawyers will require a list of assets and liabilities of the parties as an attachment to ensure that the agreement has been entered into with full disclosure. Each of the couple should have his/her own lawyer to avoid conflict of interest.

There is understandably a resistance to the idea of a marital agreement. To say the least, it would likely steal some joy after the marriage proposal for one to suggest to his/her betrothed that, while intending to live happily ever after, they should discuss terms of divorce. However, there is a place for the marital agreement even if divorce is not considered an option for the couple. It is important, especially with second marriages and blended families, that the rights and obligations of the parties upon death be addressed, even if separation and divorce are not included in the agreement.

Each state has statutes giving rights to a surviving spouse to elect a portion of the estate of his/her deceased spouse and to override provisions in a will. Such an election can disrupt a well-considered estate plan intended to benefit the children of the decedent. A marital agreement can specify the rights of the surviving spouse in the estate of the deceased spouse in return for a waiver of the statutory right of election. It can also contain provisions concerning who may serve as agent under a power of attorney and medical directive and as executor of the decedent’s estate. These can be very divisive issues in blended families.

Often, parents want to preserve within their bloodline the inheritance that they intend to leave to their child. They may insist that their son or daughter enter into a marital agreement as a condition to marriage in order to be sure that “grandma’s silverware” doesn’t eventually end up with the son/daughter-in-law either through death or divorce. If a marital agreement is not possible, an alternative is for the parents to leave the inheritance in a trust for the child. Properly structured, the trust could provide the benefit of the assets to the child (and grandchildren) while withholding ownership so that the assets are not available to the son-in-law or daughter-in-law in case of divorce or death.

As uncomfortable as the topic of a marital agreement may be, the fact is that a discussion of sensitive topics before marriage can be a very healthy exercise. Attitudes may be revealed which had hitherto not been apparent in the bliss of infatuation, and thorny issues can be resolved before they are allowed to disrupt family harmony.

Children of a blended family are often comforted to know that issues pertaining to their potential inheritances have been addressed and are being protected by their parent. Sharing the existence of – and in many cases the details of – a martial agreement with children can help to dispel distrust of the stepparent.

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. 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. (Tel.703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com) Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.

Kitchen Science Kids: EEEW, Mucus

July 1, 2015 Columns, Kitchen Science Kids Comments Off on Kitchen Science Kids: EEEW, Mucus

– By Leah Enright

All kids, especially Kitchen Science Kids, have a right to the very finest scientific education possible, right? And they should never be denied the opportunity for high quality, hands-on activities, wouldn’t you agree? Sounds like the perfect way to persuade an adult to help you do something a little gross, but very fun-making mucus.
Here’s what you’ll need:

An adult to approve and supervise this entire activity, there is boiling water involved, so I had to make that clear.
A cup
Corn Syrup
A Tablespoon
A fork
What to do:
Ask an adult to mix the mucus.
Fill ½ of a glass measuring cup with boiling water.
Add a tablespoon of gelatin to the boiling water.
Let it sit for a minute to soften, then stir with a fork.
Add a quarter cup of corn syrup.
Stir with a fork, admiring the long strings that form. (You may add more water as you go, if the mixture is too thick).
Play with, and marvel at, your amazing creation, even adding a drop of green or yellow food coloring, if desired.

Mucus may be unappealing, but this stringy stuff serves a very important purpose in our bodies. Like a wet blanket, it lines our mouth, nose, throat and lungs and keeps these parts from drying out. It also acts like a trap, catching bacteria and dust before those things enter our bodies, and destroying invaders with special, natural chemicals called antibodies. You make a lot of this stuff-about a liter a day, though you may not notice it unless you are sick, or allergic to something, and your body helps itself by producing even more.

So the next time you have a cold and have to blow your nose often, you may feel differently about it. You might remember that this mucus is keeping your insides moist, and trapping bacteria and other things before they can get into your body and make trouble-and you can always pass the day away making more mucus. But this one will be in a bowl.

Leah Enright is a hairdresser who enjoys science. She likes to share her ideas with little people, hoping they will discover the joys of science as a hobby. She welcomes feedback, and can be reached at mizbeytac@yahoo.com.

Locks Of Hope Easy, Helpful

July 1, 2015 Columns, Mary Rose Lunde Comments Off on Locks Of Hope Easy, Helpful
Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde

I’m not the first one who has written about and done what I am about to describe, and I hope I’m not the last. It’s not an action that seems heroic, but it does make a difference. The best part is that no one is excluded in this, because everyone can grow out their hair to 10 inches and donate it. In all honesty, I’m surprised that more people don’t do it, it has no cost, and hair grows back fairly quickly.

I’ve donated my hair three times now: A week before I started fifth grade, two weeks before prom and in May. It took less than a year to grow my hair a full 10 inches in a ponytail with enough to keep it to just above my shoulders. It doesn’t take that long for many females to grow out their hair, and it’s not a long commitment. It takes longer to graduate high school than it does to grow out your hair long enough to donate.

If a minimal time commitment isn’t an incentive the cause should be. Many organizations such as Pantene have programs to make wigs from real hair for cancer patients as opposed to synthetic hair. These wigs provide a happy ending and hope for those going through cancer treatment. The fact that someone cares enough to donate their hair instead of spending thousands of dollars annually to protect their precious locks is inspiring to all. Being selfless enough to donate hair and give another hope is true heroism at its best.

This isn’t a female only thing either, men can do it too, and in my opinion will be quite heroic. I read an article about 8-year-old Christian McPhilamy who endured countless insults from classmates and discouraging looks from adults all to donate his hair for someone he won’t ever meet’s benefit. If that isn’t respectable, I don’t know what is. He’s just a kid and has gained my respect. I hope that more people learn how to have as big of a heart as he does. Hopefully, Christian will get the respect he deserves and serve as an inspiration that will continue to encourage others to donate.

Personally, the feeling of sending your hair off to make a difference is the best feeling. Knowing that you have truly impacted someone’s life and given them a hope and a feeling of normalcy even for only a moment is well worth it. Most people are motivated by this knowledge and usually aren’t motivated by anything other than the feeling of love that is associated with this donation.

I hope to be a continual donator for this cause because I know in my heart that I am making a difference. I don’t care how long each donation takes, it makes me feel good every time I brush my hair. I ask you to consider growing out your hair just once and making a difference. One donation can give someone the hope they need to continue fighting. Think about what you can do to make a difference.

Mary Rose Lunde is a rising sophomore attending Virginia Tech and is enjoying her summer. She is currently growing her hair out to donate to Pantene where it will hopefully make a difference.







The Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier


(to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in January) “The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.” [1]

Pearl Harbor


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


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


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


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

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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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

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 10, 2016

Holiday Open House

13th Annual Purcellville Christmas Parade

Barrel Tasting Event Saturday

December 11, 2016

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016

Intro to Essential Oils

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

New Year's Day Musikabend

Restore & Renew

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Steady and NoBull


Farm Bureau President Hopes for Immigration Reform

5 Dec 2016


Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor told county delegates at the organization’s annual convention in Hot Springs that immigration reform “is an issue that has been delayed too long.” He noted that: “Work will begin on the 2018 Farm Bill next year. This is the most complex federal legislation farmers face, and it typically takes at least two years …

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Northern Virginia Chamber To Host Congressional Roundtable

5 Dec 2016


The Northern Virginia Chamber will host its annual Congressional Roundtable on Monday, December 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Northern Virginia Chamber in Tysons (7900 Westpark Drive, Suite A550). The dialogue will cover several issues at the intersection of federal policy and business – federal spending, energy, trade policy, the sequestration and the effect on Northern Virginia, transportation, …

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Ugly Christmas Sweater Fad Keeps Growing

30 Nov 2016


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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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

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception


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


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


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

Warner Introduces Bill To Help Wells Fargo Victims Get Their Day in Court


U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced legislation to give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court. The bank was involved in a scandal this year after it was revealed that Wells Fargo employees secretly …

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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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Accepting Applications for Sports League Funding

30 Nov 2016


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


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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