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April Is The Time To Plant – Don’t Forget Hardscapes

April 1, 2015 Columns, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on April Is The Time To Plant – Don’t Forget Hardscapes
berries

– By Donna Williamson

April is a perfect time to plant permanent fruit-bearing plants at your home. The soil has good moisture and we can get the plants established before it gets too hot and dry.
You might be interested in the excellent book The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips. He has valuable information on growing all kinds of trees and berry fruits.

Blueberries love our climate but hate hot and dry conditions. Areas with sun, good moisture, and good drainage are premium spots for your blueberry bushes. Blueberries bloom on old or last year’s woody growth so early pruning would be counter-productive for your pie-maker.

Blackberries are delicious, love our summer heat/humidity, and are easy to grow. Like raspberries, they grow well in northern Virginia. You will enjoy them more with a little containment system that makes picking the berries easier. Google ‘berry trellis’ to view various design and building options.

Gooseberries and currants are shrubby. These old-time fruits are delicious in pancakes and jams. There are several varieties you can grow easily. Tuck them into a shrub border. Little hands can pick them easily. Don’t plant near white pines.

Rhubarb is another permanent fruit for your home landscape. Each year, it will emerge in spring to treat you with great pink stalks ready to be stewed with a bit of sugar and served by itself or with strawberries.

Figs require space and some winter protection but are well worth it. The leaves can be large and tropical looking and the fruit is the flower. Delicious and succulent fruit ripens in late summer.

Grapes can be wonderful – I’ve had good luck with the Concord grape. It tastes exactly like childhood memories of grape jam. There are seeds though. Grapes grow on a woody vine that can be trained over a fence, arch, pergola, or trellis, providing a leafy canopy in summer. Annual pruning keeps it from getting out of bounds.

Now On To Hardscapes

“Hardscapes” is a term used by landscape folks about the stuff that is not plants. Walkways, patios, fountains, pergolas, stairs, pool decks, fences, and stonewalls are all examples of hardscaping.

If you are planning to have some hardscaping done, you will want that finished before you add the plants. Plants are easily beaten up in the midst of stone, stone dust, gravel, forms, concrete and big construction boots.

My best advice to you is when you have any steps are installed, be sure the riser (the up piece) is no more than 4-5 inches high and the tread (the part you step on) is at least 16-18+ inches wide. It will give you a nice, comfortable step or stair. Steps should be solid and flat – no tipping and evenly spaced for good, safe, long-time usefulness.

Walkways are most accommodating when they are 4-5 feet wide, so two people can walk side-by-side, and are uniformly flat.

Stonewalls are lovely. A short stonewall, as part of a patio, can be useful as extra seating when entertaining. Short walls can also create terracing when there is a change in grade.
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Donna Williamson is a garden designer and coach. She has taught classes at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Oatlands and Shenandoah University. She has two e-books on Amazon – one is an updated version of her Virginia gardening book and her new perennials book. She can be reached at donnawilliamson2002@earthlink.net or 540 877-2002.

Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

April 1, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Underage Drinking and Fake IDs
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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

Dr. Mike,

I found a fake ID in my 18 year old son’s backpack. He uses his own name, but gives a false birth year that makes him out to be 21 years old. My husband and I caught him drinking with his friends in our basement a few months ago, but we didn’t make a big deal out of it because he does well academically and socially. My husband thinks that we shouldn’t say anything to our son and is taking the position that “teenagers will be teenagers.” My friends tell me differently that getting caught with a fake ID is serious business these days and that I should confiscate the ID and punish my son. He’s heading off to college this fall, and this whole thing scares me. What do you think?
-A Concerned Parent

… Continue Reading

Amy & Dan Smith’s Planning For Life: Planning For The Unexpected

April 1, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy & Dan Smith’s Planning For Life: Planning For The Unexpected
Amy Smith-BRL

– By Amy and Dan Smith

Life-changing medical events of the past week have reminded me to not only review my plans but perhaps serve as a messenger for a “call to action” to any of you who think financial and estate planning is for the well-heeled or something you cannot afford or don’t need.
The situation happened quickly. I had visited my parents last month and, while chronic issues were evident, crisis did not seem imminent. Then one of my elderly parents began falling at home repeatedly. My other parent, also physically impaired, did not register the gravity of this matter and did nothing. My sister, arriving a few days later, immediately called 911, taking my parent to the hospital emergency room.

… Continue Reading

Deniers and Liars and Dunning-Kruger

March 17, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Deniers and Liars and Dunning-Kruger
noerpel150

“We now live in a culture in which it is entirely possible to live the vast majority of one’s life inside a[n] ideological bubble.” Slaughter and Gutenson [1]

Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. [2]

“Without free will there could be no rational thought.” – Nicolas Gislin [3] … Continue Reading

Are GM Foods Safe?

March 8, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Are GM Foods Safe?
noerpel150

“Monsanto shouldn’t have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” Philip Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications [1]

“Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.” Federal Register [2]

Tony Noerpel

A few weeks ago [3], I described a PEW study suggesting that most scientists (87 percent) accept the human-caused climate change paradigm whereas most of the public does not. Both results contrast with the opinions of climate scientists which is for all practical purposes 100 percent in support of the theory. This support is well documented. As strong as the theory is on its own merits, the irrationality of those objecting to it, strengthens it further. All opposition is driven by neo-liberal economic ideology and the fossil fuels industry. … Continue Reading

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Looking Beyond U.S. Borders

March 4, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Looking Beyond U.S. Borders
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By Amy and Dan Smith

Even though U.S. equities still represent the single largest portion of the world stock markets, more than half of the world’s total stock market capitalization lies outside the United States, and economic growth rates outside the United States have in some cases exceeded that of the United States. Investors are beginning to consider diversifying their holdings beyond U.S. borders as a result. In the past, I have often recommended allocating no more than 10-20 percent of an investor’s overall portfolio to international funds. However, with the growth of global markets and the European Central Bank’s recent initiation of quantitative easing, many experts now suggest an even higher percentage can be appropriate given the right circumstances. … Continue Reading

The Real Valentine’s Heart

March 4, 2015 Columns, Mary Rose Lunde Comments Off on The Real Valentine’s Heart
Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde

A hero is someone who cares enough to make a difference. Most are known for bravery, strength and selflessness. Selflessness is the real key. Putting another person’s needs in front of your own is not an easy task, and it requires much personal sacrifice. In my opinion the truest of these heroes are those who are humble enough to stay in the shadows. They are the people that we see around us, who we all assume are common, ordinary people. But they aren’t.

I’ve recently discovered a new type of hero based on these criteria. Last week, I found myself taking a six and a half hour trip back to Northern Virginia on a Wednesday. It meant leaving the comfort of Virginia Tech where I had a community (Chi Alpha) that supported me. I left though to deal with a family emergency. My sister, only 14 years old, went into open heart surgery earlier that morning due to a heart condition that was discovered the previous day. The actual condition, known as ALCAPA, developed before my sister was born. Her left coronary artery was connected to a pulmonary artery instead of the aorta. … Continue Reading

Facebook Family Woes

March 4, 2015 Ask Dr. Mike, Columns Comments Off on Facebook Family Woes
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Dr. Mike,
I love my sister, but her Facebook posts are causing me problems. My sister is very, very wealthy, and she is constantly on Facebook posting photos of her family’s many exotic travels and purchases. She rarely returns my calls or cards because it seems that she is always too busy, but she’s sure not too busy to post to the world her family photos at the Ritz Carlton in Paris or their safari excursions in Africa or their many far away tropical travels. And do I really need to see again and again photos of her new jewelry and new cars and upgrades to the beach house that she can afford but I can’t? All of it is just gross, and it offends my husband and me and it upsets our kids. With all of her travels, my sister hasn’t once visited us. I suppose we’re not fancy enough here in Loudoun County to be a destination spot? I want to tell her how I feel, but there doesn’t seem to be a good way to say anything without coming off like a jealous brat. I also don’t want to be the older sister complaining to her successful younger sister about real life problems that she can’t handle or relate to – like not having enough money sometimes to pay for things, etc. What are your thoughts?
Concerned in Loudoun
… Continue Reading

Nine Ideas As You Prepare Your Garden for Spring

March 4, 2015 Columns, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on Nine Ideas As You Prepare Your Garden for Spring
spring garden butterfly

By Donna Williamson

As winter winds down, we are so eager to get out and start cleaning-up and getting the growing season going. Many folks start pruning; remember that annual/regular pruning is not required or necessary. Spring flowering plants, like forsythia, can be pruned after flowering. Summer bloomers, like lavender, can be pruned earlier in spring as they flower on new growth. (For more info see pruning lists at www.dwfinegardening.com) … Continue Reading

Oatlands Mill Road

March 4, 2015 Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Oatlands Mill Road
oatland mills road

I’ve never joined in on the bird-watching activities in the big swamp off to the side of this little dirt road, and I’ve never seen the crumbling walls of the 19th Century mill site that sits on the bank of the nearby Goose Creek; I have, however, taken a good look at some of the historic buildings that lie a bit closer to the public right-of-way – and I’ve seen what changes can be wrought on its features by the cycle of seasons, or a particular misty morning, or brilliant sunset. Oatlands Mill Road only runs for something over a mile from Route 15 to its intersection with Gleedsville Road to the east, but its corkscrew corners, chuckholes and washboard surfaces may make it seem much longer by the time you’re on more reassuring surfaces. This short, dirt road harbors some treasures along the way, though; you can read internet documents about archeological research done on the Oatlands Mill ruins site back in the 1970’s (by the National Trust for Historic Preservation)- the structure once stood tantalizingly close to today’s commuter corridor of James Monroe Highway, just north of Goose Creek. … Continue Reading

A Day in the Life of a College Student

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel

My day begins bright and early each morning when the war with the alarm clock commences. After hitting the snooze button multiple times, I jump out of bed and grab a granola bar before I hit the road. The cold weather throws some complications into the morning commute. Dad believes the car should be warmed up for what feels like an eternity (15 to 20 minutes) while I think 5 minutes will suffice. If in a hurry, the morning routine involves sneaking out of the house in order to avoid hearing a lecture from my father. Too bad my secret is out! Just chalk it up to the perils of being a columnist. … Continue Reading

March Sushi

March 4, 2015 Columns, Sushi's Corner Comments Off on March Sushi
pot of gold

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

My brother Mountie loves telling stories in March about Leprechauns, fairies, rainbows and pots of gold. He had a perfectly mischievous, devilish idea. One that would finally get the perfect little Sushi dog into a heap of trouble. One that involved green glitter. Glitter Mrs. B had out on the counter to decorate with, for the Saint Paddy’s day party coming up for Murphy. The same glitter Mountie purposely dipped his shabby cat tail into. He carefully trotted down to the compost pile, where he gleefully shook the glitter off his tail into a neat circle around a deep hole he had started digging earlier that morning. … Continue Reading

Molecules on the Move

March 4, 2015 Columns, Kitchen Science Kids Comments Off on Molecules on the Move
sciencekids

After hurting my back in a trampoline accident, (a fun way to exercise), I visited a chiropractor in Purcellville. One of the first things he told me to do was to place an icy compress on my back, to “reduce cellular activity”, and bring the swelling down. Well, you know as soon as I heard the phrase, “reduce cellular activity”, I was interested. I had to learn more about this. Here is what I found – wait, I can’t tell you. You have to see for yourself.

Gather These:
1 bottle of food coloring, (any color)
2 clear cups or glasses that can hold hot or cold water
Ice
Water … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

A Habitable Planet

habitable_2

“At the moments when we are able to separate ourselves from our daily concerns and ponder deeply, most of us have encountered fundamental questions of our existence as human beings. Where do we come from? What happened before humans appeared …

Choose Joy, Don’t Go Negative

Lunde new

Sometimes life is pleasant and it is easy to smile, other times it is not. The real question is how do you react and live your life when you are going through trials? What do you do when you feel …

Character Outlives Us All

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“Brains are like muscles, you can rent them by the hour, but at the end of the day all you have left is your character.” This statement was uttered by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a phrase his father used …

Foxridge Park

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth- Foxridge Park-1

You know, I can still taste those sausages: The first early-spring bratwurst cooked over an open flame in a beautiful setting among good friends; nothing so surprising, really, in recalling a good meal in classic context. The thing is, though …

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 …

A Look Into What Is Learned in High School English

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By Mary Rose Lunde English is the arguably the most important subject for a student in high school to learn. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common — being able to communicate effectively. This is …

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

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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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

Isn’t Loudoun Better Than This?

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More than forty years I have watched a rising tide of development flowing from the east across Loudoun. Once it was thought the western mountains would be spared the flood. …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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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

eaglescout

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

blueridgemiddleschool

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

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

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

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Calendar

May 2016
M T W T F S S
25 26 27

Hamilton Town Hall

28 29

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

30

Lobster Day with Chef Seb at North Gate Vineyard

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

1

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Spring Wine Glass Painting with Penny

2

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

3

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

4

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

5

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

6

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

TGIF @ North Gate Vineyard!

7

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

The Sprouted Spoon Food Truck at North Gate Vineyard

Nathaniel Davis Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

8

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Celebrate Mother's Day at North Gate Vineyard!

Mother's Day Brunch at Breaux

9

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

10

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

11

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

12

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

13

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

14

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Dog Day at Breaux Vineyards

15

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

16

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

17

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

18

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

19

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Senior Caregiver Training

Hillsboro Ruritan Club Dinner Meeting

20

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Strawberry Afternoon Tea

21

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Strawberry Afternoon Tea

22

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Land Trust of Virginia Annual Garden Party

BRASS EXTRAVAGANZA

Waterford Concert

23

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

24

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

25

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

26

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

27

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

28

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

A Taste of Paris and View of Normandy at Breaux Vineyards

Annie Stokes Live at North Gate Vineyard

29

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Paella by Carlos at North Gate Vineyard

30

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

31

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

1

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

2

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Free Gardening Lecture

3

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

4

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Yard Sale

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

PAUL REISLER TRIO WITH LEA MORRIS AND MARSHALL KEYS

5

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Lifestyle

Movies in the Park Return to Ida Lee This Summer

25 May 2016

Leesburg01

“101 Dalmatians” kicks off the season on Thursday, May 26. Get the popcorn ready! The Town of Leesburg will once again be hosting Movies in the Park this summer. This free series will feature an evening movie on the third Thursday of each month throughout the summer, hosted at Ida Lee Park.

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New Concert Series Comes to Purcellville

20 May 2016

brianganz150

On Sunday, June 5 at 4:00 p.m., internationally recognized pianist Brian Ganz will present an all-Chopin recital at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 711 W. Main Street in Purcellville. The recital will feature several of Frédéric Chopin’s studies for solo piano, including the renowned “Revolutionary” Etude, among other works by the Romantic master. Ganz, who recently moved to Purcellville from Annapolis, …

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Eucharistic Procession To Pass Through Leesburg May 29

20 May 2016

Eucharist

– By Mark Gunderman Each year, Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ), symbolizing their belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. In the United States, the celebration of Corpus Christi is held on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. This is a time when Catholics can demonstrate their …

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Around Virginia

Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

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Update: Remains Located in Shenandoah National Park; Search Efforts Suspended

VSP Photo - 4-21-16 Whiteoak Canyon Trail Entrance VSP

Update: Body preliminarily identified as Nicole K. Mittendorff, 31, of Woodbridge. The physical and digital evidence collected during the course of this investigation includes a note recovered from the car leads investigators to believe there was no foul play involved in her death. ——————– Search efforts in the Shenandoah National …

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Virginia Trooper Shot and Killed at Richmond Bus Terminal

Tpr Dermyer Patrol Car in front of VSP SPHQ

A Virginia State Police trooper has died as a result of his injuries after being shot on March 31 at the Greyhound Bus station in the 2900 block of North Boulevard in Richmond. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Virginia State Police Trooper Chad P. Dermyer approached a male subject just inside …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

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

ODFCsoccerpics

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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