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February 3, 2015 Columns, Kitchen Science Kids Comments Off on Laundry?

By Leah Enright

One of the reasons I enjoy learning about science is that it helps me understand many things a little bit better. I am not as fooled by advertising claims-I can flip a bottle of hair conditioner on it’s back and read the list of ingredients, knowing what more than half of those chemicals really are. That helps me know whether a product will work for me or not-and it saves me time, frustration and money. The same is true for other household products-I regularly make my own cleaners, and I enjoy controlling the scent, keeping my products non-toxic, and the good feeling I get from being able to be creative and try new combinations.

Want to try? Here is a very simple recipe to get started: Laundry Detergent. … Continue Reading

Resident Advisors Are Heroes of the Hall

February 3, 2015 Columns, Mary Rose Lunde Comments Off on Resident Advisors Are Heroes of the Hall
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By Mary Rose Lunde

Living on campus is not what most upperclassmen choose to do for various reasons. It’s rare to find an upperclassman who chooses to stay on campus. Though there are people who have the biggest responsibility in the dorm: Resident advisors. These dedicated students are in charge of creating a positive community within their hall. These students are greatly admired and are often the nicest people on campus.

One of my RA friends, Alyssa Bushhouse, said that “being able to have a tremendous impact on incoming freshmen first drew me to becoming an RA. Through the role you have the opportunities to build community, foster self understanding, help others transition into college and create a unique bond with your staff members.” I see the way she lights up when she talks about her job. Though it is a big commitment it is well worth the experiences. … Continue Reading

Northern Cardinal – Celebrating the Language of Love

February 3, 2015 Columns, Wild Loudoun Comments Off on Northern Cardinal – Celebrating the Language of Love

Most wildlife biologists classify the northern cardinal as a bird that mates for life. And, why wouldn’t they?

The unmistakably brilliant lipstick red of the male cardinal cannot be described as anything other than inspiring the language of love. Catching that bolt of red as it streaks across a field of freshly fallen snow is like watching a modern oil painting emerging from its bright white canvas.
Female cardinals are often described as sporting plumage of “an attractive tan/grey” or a “dull brown.” But, that’s not what I see. I see a sophisticated pale olive lady edged along its brow, neck, tail, wings and pointy crest with a subtle watercolor red. And, when you see a pair of these birds perched together on a twig or fence railing, it is clear that they are perfectly suited for each other. Perfectly. … Continue Reading

School Closing Stress

February 3, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on School Closing Stress

Dr. Mike,
These past few weeks of ridiculous two-hour delays and school day cancellations have been very frustrating for me as a single parent. I’ve had to juggle my day care, call out for work twice and my kids’ midterms were cancelled. For what? One bad day with a bunch of extra days off when the roads and weather were perfectly fine? Back in the day when I was a kid, school was rarely cancelled and we even walked to school knee deep in snow…oh yeah, and it was cold, very cold but we still had to go. How do I manage my stress when I am at a breaking point for such stupidity and my kids now feel entitled that a light dusting of snow always means a delay or day off?
Concerned Parent
… Continue Reading

Enjoying the Harvest of Your Summer Garden – Now

February 3, 2015 Columns, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on Enjoying the Harvest of Your Summer Garden – Now

By Donna Williamson

Bitter, windy, nasty weather has given me an opportunity to look at some of the books I’ve collected recently and think about plants I want to try this summer season.

From the book, The Resilient Gardener, I read about parching corn. With certain species of corn, you can drop a few kernels in a dry cast iron pan and cook them to deliciousness. The author also parches kernels in a custard cup in the microwave. The toasted kernels enlarge, split, and get soft and sweet. It doesn’t work with all kinds of corn; after doing extensive research it seems the red/purple varieties are the tastiest. Seeds of Change carries “Red Supai” (seedsofchange.com) while Seed Dreams (SeedDreams.blogspot.com) offers “Parching Lavender Mandan”. Siskiyou Seeds (siskiyouseeds.com) has “Magenta Parching Corn”. The author, Carol Deppe breakfasts on a cup of tea and a handful of parched corn. … Continue Reading

Climate Storms

February 3, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Climate Storms

“Global warming does increase the intensity of droughts and heat waves, and thus the area of forest fires. However, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, global warming must also increase the intensity of the other extreme of the hydrologic cycle – meaning heavier rains, more floods, and more intense storms driven by latent heat, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tropical storms … both extremes increase with global warming.” James Hansen [1]

In my last article I presented a chart, reproduced below as Figure 1, published by the reinsurer Munich Re which shows that while the number of catastrophic geophysical events has not changed since 1980, the number of worldwide climate related catastrophic events has increased three fold. This is convincing evidence of human caused climate change and confirmation of the accuracy of climate scientist James Hansen’s testimony to a Senate Committee on June 23, 1988. There are those deniers who argue, without evidence, that the increase in the number of catastrophic events is due to a doubling of the human population thus more witnesses and more people to be impacted, and more technology such as satellites and cameras around to observe the events. Clearly that is not the case as the numbers of geophysical events, such as volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis would have been similarly affected and they were not. … Continue Reading

Neo-Liberal Economists: “We Are Irrational”

January 21, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Neo-Liberal Economists: “We Are Irrational”

“Irrational is a strong word, which connotes impulsivity, emotionality, and a stubborn resistance to reasonable argument.” Economics Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [1]

On global warming Kahneman wrote that it is “preposterous to forecast what it would be like to live on a warmer planet when we did not even know what it is like to live in California.” Kahneman was concerned whether or not people would be happy in a warmer world, warming more than ten times faster than at any other time in the last hundred million years, as shown by the example in Figure 1 [2] while physical scientists worry whether we will survive at all. See Figure 2 for the current physical state of California. I suppose people can still be happy right up until the time there is no more water to drink. Perceptive people who see it coming years in advance may be unhappy but if there are not many of those Kahneman may be right. … Continue Reading

Bad Economics Is Driving Out Good Science

January 8, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Bad Economics Is Driving Out Good Science

“The key to understanding [economics] lies in identifying the positive feedbacks and instabilities that lead to fast and surprising changes. These positive feedbacks are the most important elements in all markets; they’re not exceptional in the least. I’ll also argue that it would be utterly astounding for it to be otherwise, for instabilities, driven by positive feedbacks affect almost everything in the universe, from stellar supernovae to planetary ecosystems and our climate to the movement of the earth’s crust, and from the flow of electronic traffic through the Internet to the growth of cities.” Mark Buchanan [1]

A few years ago I introduced readers to the logical theorem ex falso quodlibet or from a false proposition, anything follows. If a logical system begins with a false axiom or assumption then no matter how robust the logic the conclusions can only be correct by pure chance; indeed any nonsense can be proved by starting with a false assumption [2]. Milton Friedman adopted this strategy to develop his neo-liberal economics by starting, in his own words [3], with “assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality.” Nobody should be surprised that denial of human-caused climate change is also based on bad assumptions. … Continue Reading

Correct Course and Review the Comprehensive Plan


Like a ship lost at sea, many residents of Purcellville see the development patterns in and around town as having drifted dangerously off course.

The Autumn Hill/Mayfair development – which resulted in the annexation of previously open land, is one example of this drift. The Vineyard Square development project, which, if built, will in one fell swoop fundamentally and permanently degrade the historic nature of Purcellville’s downtown.

Town-based communities in Loudoun County are required to develop the planning and zoning document known as a Comprehensive Plan – a blueprint that directs both where and how development will occur, and provides protection for the historic and environmental resources communities have identified as essential to how they see themselves today and want to define themselves in the future. … Continue Reading

The Unparalleled Joys of Travel

January 6, 2015 Columns, Samuel Moore-Sobel Comments Off on The Unparalleled Joys of Travel

By Samuel Moore-Sobel

The holiday season is known for many things, such as spending time with family, opening presents and eating lots of food. Yet travel usually plays a part in the holidays as well. As many can attest to, traveling is not always as seamless as we would like it to be.

For the first time in more than a decade, my family and I decided to spend Christmas abroad. Before the trip, I felt nothing but excitement at the prospect of finally going on a vacation with my parents, brother and sister. Yet since I had not traveled in so long, I had conveniently forgotten the stark realities of air travel. First of all, you have to arrive at the airport hours before take-off, only to find out your flight has been delayed. Spending countless hours in an airport is not my idea of fun.

Passing through security also presents its own unique challenges. A special designated section within the airport filled with angry passengers removing clothing, baggage and an unending amount of liquids. Who can relate to having their bottle of aftershave thrown out because it exceeded the 3.4 ounce limit? That will teach you to wait to purchase toiletries until after you have arrived at your destination. Most irritatingly of all, everyone between the ages of 13-74 is required to remove their shoes. I understand and wholeheartedly support strict security measures to keep Americans safe, but do I really have to walk barefoot through the airport to achieve this goal? I, like most sane people, would rather not have people walk around with their stinky feet exposed getting athletes foot. Can TSA at least provide clothes pins to deaden our sense of smell? … Continue Reading

Preparing Your Garden for Spring

January 6, 2015 Columns, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on Preparing Your Garden for Spring

By Donna Williamson

My winter sowing experiments of the last two winters have been entertaining and successful. One of the amazing things is that growing woody plants from seed is remarkably easy. Hydrangeas, abelias, and roses have germinated and grown quickly.

The tiny rose hips from my native pasture rose (Rosa carolina) opened to reveal shiny brown seeds that grew into foot tall plants this past summer. This rose actually likes sunny, dry hillsides and can thrive here on the mountain, forming dense thickets that birds, butterflies, and bees enjoy.

The practice of setting seeds and a little clean potting soil out in plastic containers to have rain, snow, and frigid temperatures as well as sun work on them is a great way to increase the perennials in your garden inexpensively. Whether you buy seeds or collect them from existing plants, annuals and perennials grow very well using this process. … Continue Reading

Top Secret

January 6, 2015 Columns, Kitchen Science Kids Comments Off on Top Secret

By Leah Enright

When I was a kid, I wrote many secret messages. None of them contained actual, important information, as I didn’t know any, but I loved the idea of getting away with something, (especially since it wouldn’t get me in trouble if my parents found out.) I never knew that my secret message formula worked because of a simple chemical reaction, called oxidation. I just knew that it was fun, and you may like it too. Let’s try – you’ll need: … Continue Reading

Below Zero at Virginia Tech

January 6, 2015 Columns, Mary Rose Lunde Comments Off on Below Zero at Virginia Tech
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By Mary Rose Lunde

Walking across the Virginia Tech Drill Field in the morning to get to class means one thing: Five minutes of below zero temperatures. The Drill Field is referred to as a wind tunnel in the winter and when you walk across in the dark it feels like the temperature is below zero. It’s not, but it sure as heck feels it. Snow falling around you to the ground does not help, neither does the heavy jacket you swore would keep you warm. Wearing gloves, a scarf and fuzzy socks do nothing but prevent frostbitten hands, ears and toes. Suffice to say, going to a college in the mountains does have its downsides.

Blacksburg weather is bipolar at best. I’ve been told that all four seasons have happened in one weekend. From what I’ve experienced so far I don’t doubt that. Though the question remains if it’s going to be a “bad winter” or not. Last year, most of the East Coast of the United States was covered in snow for a majority of the winter months. Schools were out for over a week at a time. Some schools, like my high school, had to cancel midterms because of the number of days missed. Even colleges like Virginia Tech, which has only had 11 snow days since opened, had to cancel because the conditions were that dangerous. This poses the question of how bad this year’s winter will be. How many days will be below zero and calling for snow? … Continue Reading






Asterisk No More


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

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 …

What Is a Sport?

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By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn


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 …

El Nino Evolution

Figure 3. Sea-surface height as inferred by by NASA satellites during the current El Niño (December 27, 2015, at left, from Jason-2) and at a comparable point during the last “super” El Niño (December 28, 1997, at right, from TOPEX/Poseidon). Warmer temperatures in the upper ocean result in higher sea-surface heights, as the seawater expands. In 1997, the above-average sea surface height was generally more intense and peaked in November. In 2015, the area of high sea levels was less pronounced but considerably broader. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. (see [4])

Figure 1 shows the annual global temperature anomaly since 1980 up to November 2015 using the NASA GISS data set [1]. NASA has not yet published December’s data though BEST has [2] and yes 2015 was the hottest year on …


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 …


Oh No, It’s the Christians!


By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville


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 …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016


Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015


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


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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February 2016
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Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner


Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

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Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY



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Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

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THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert


Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

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VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016


There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016


By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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6th Annual Loudoun Grown Expo February 27

3 Feb 2016


It’s that exciting time of year again for the Sixth Annual Loudoun Grown Expo. The yearly event will take place at the Bush Tabernacle 250 South Nursery Avenue, Purcellville, on February 27 with new expanded hours starting at 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be wine and beer exhibitors, farm exhibitors, artisans and makers, restaurants and other rural economy …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House


The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse


On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships


Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016


The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015


The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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