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Hope for Rural Loudoun in the Board Room

January 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Editorial, Opinion 1 comment
malcolm_baldwin

By Malcolm F. Baldwin

Let us begin the New Year by crediting Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors with some important 2013 actions benefitting our rural economy.

Earlier this year the board approved the Rural Business Strategy developed by the board-appointed Rural Economic Development Council (REDC, of which I am a member), albeit by narrow 5-4 vote. It later funded the staff assistant position requested by the REDC and the Economic Development Department staff to help implementation. And, it went on to reject a proposed notion of eliminating the REDC as an advisory body.

Further support for rural Loudoun came in December with the board’s consideration of the unanimous planning commission recommendation not to allow new school siting by right in rural zoning districts. Several supervisors reversed previous positions favoring speedier approval of school sites, now seeing benefits of public comments and requirements for board approval of special zoning exceptions for new school sites in rural Loudoun, and possibly elsewhere. The board appears likely to follow its planning commission’s recommendation. … Continue Reading

Bumper Cars on Main Street

January 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Editorial, Opinion 2 comments
town of purcellville sign

By Karen Jimmerson

America’s main streets are on a path to all look the same – the same McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Starbucks and Jiffy Lube. They fill the landscape of our everyday paths. Our lives have been franchised or chained. It is so commonplace that is now seems inevitable, unavoidable, and just a fact of our modern lives. Small towns that used to belong in a Norman Rockwell painting are losing that very real esthetic.

As you drive into western Loudoun, large tracts of open space still embrace you. A drive into neighboring counties and parts of eastern Loudoun, you see tangible evidence of development gone awry. Every few miles, fast food restaurants repeat themselves. Strip malls flank bumper to bumper traffic. Western Loudoun is slowing falling prey to this, and remember eastern Loudoun looked like western Loudoun not too long ago. … Continue Reading

A Few More Facts About The Autumn Hill Development

December 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on A Few More Facts About The Autumn Hill Development
town of purcellville sign

To continue the discussion at the point where Bob Lazaro and Janet Clarke left off. “Chestnut Overlook residents bought [land] next to something that was already approved, 20 plus years ago.”

Yes, we did. We bought land in a Joint Land Management Area (JLMA) that was governed by the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan (PUGAMP). And this area was set in a County that has regulations for all developments in western Loudoun to be on home sites of at least three acres and to be horse properties. This was in place to ensure that the agricultural traditions of the area remain in keeping with its roots within the character of “This Hallowed Ground.” Additionally, Purcellville was a town that at one time outlawed drive throughs. Purcellville was a town that valued its 21st Street, and “Don’t Fairfax Loudoun” was a very popular bumper sticker. The approved 500 unit complex was placed in as a defensive measure because it was so absurd that the town’s people would never want that. The people I knew in town, liked a low crime, low density, rural small town that valued its old family farms and the traditional western Loudoun life. … Continue Reading

21st Street Is Charming and Authentic

December 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on 21st Street Is Charming and Authentic
town of purcellville sign

Purcellville’s old-town business district on 21st Street is charming and appealing because it is authentic. Many of the businesses have changed over the years, but the exteriors of the buildings have remained essentially the same.

A drugstore becomes a restaurant. A car dealership becomes a furniture store, then a gift store, then a distillery. Part of another auto dealership becomes a storage facility and then a bazaar. A grain mill becomes a restaurant and another mill becomes a bicycle shop and bookstore. On and on, the buildings are adapted and modified in a natural progression to accommodate new enterprises without destroying the basic architectural character of the old town. … Continue Reading

Preserve Our Unique Old Town

December 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Preserve Our Unique Old Town
town of purcellville sign

A comment on the proposed 21st Street Project in the historic Purcellville town: This ghastly, tacky, multi-story monstrosity has no place in Purcellville unless the sole object of the development is the generation of maximum revenue for the developers at the prohibitive cost of replacing our charming and unique old town with yet another slice of generic, cookie-cutter suburbia. If this development is permitted, what is left of historic Purcellville will be swallowed whole, leaving little motive to preserve the small remnant that would be left. To add insult to injury, some taxpayer funding will no doubt be required to force us to assist in the destruction of our historic district. This project should be rejected.

D.L. Bell
Purcellville

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

December 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
town of purcellville sign

The good citizens of the Town of Purcellville and the surrounding neighbors have seen few good things happen in and around Purcellville over the past several years. Many people moved here from areas of rapid growth to get away from it all. They liked the small unique character of the town and surrounding community. Now these same people feel the need to move away: Purcellville is becoming “Any town USA.”

Here are some of the reasons: 50 acres of proposed residential and commercial on 287 north of Hirst Road. Travel further south on 287 towards the traffic circle and you have another planned retail area including a gas station, travel south around the traffic circle along the Southern Collector Road, and yet another soon to be planned commercial development. There may be plans to build across from Blue Ridge Middle School, also. … Continue Reading

Autumn Hill/Mayfair – The Real Reason Behind Annexation

December 3, 2013 by Jim Burton Editorial, Opinion 5 comments
town of purcellville sign

In 1991 the County approved the Autumn Hill rezoning request that would allow the development of 492 multi-family residential units just north of Purcellville. The proffers or legal agreements that were approved required that the development be served by town water and sewer service which could only occur if the property were annexed into the town. Since the town refused to annex and provide the utilities, the current landowner sought and received a permit from the Loudoun County Health Department (which is a state agency) to construct an on-site alternative sewage system rather than use town utilities.

The Health Department’s permit expired November 15. The permit stated explicitly that “Any proposed construction or other action in furtherance of or pursuant to this permit shall be subject to and must comply with all applicable state and local ordinances or regulations, including without limitation, any applicable zoning regulations, proffers, or conditions, any applicable comprehensive plan conformance review requirements, and applicable inter-jurisdictional agreements.” … Continue Reading

Thank You From Delegate-Elect, Dave LaRock

November 11, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Thank You From Delegate-Elect, Dave LaRock
Dave_larock

Dear Residents of the 33rd District,

I’m writing this letter to express my sincere thanks to the good people of the 33rd District for making me your Delegate-elect. This is a great honor, and a humbling one; I look forward to building on the accomplishments of the other leaders who have served in this position with dedication and distinction.

To all of the folks that turned out and voted for me on Election Day, worked at the polls, organized behind the scenes, endorsed me, wrote letters on my behalf, and otherwise gave of your effort, time, and treasure, I am very grateful. Many of you gave very much, and many could only help in small ways, but all of you played an essential part in our campaign. Congratulations on a job well done! … Continue Reading

Preserve Our Unique Old Town

November 11, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Preserve Our Unique Old Town
21stSTfrontpagepic

A comment on the proposed 21st Street Project in the historic Purcellville town: This ghastly, tacky, multi-story monstrosity has no place in Purcellville unless the sole object of the development is the generation of maximum revenue for the developers at the prohibitive cost of replacing our charming and unique old town with yet another slice of generic, cookie-cutter suburbia. If this development is permitted, what is left of historic Purcellville will be swallowed whole, leaving little motive to preserve the small remnant that would be left. To add insult to injury, some taxpayer funding will no doubt be required to force us to assist in the destruction of our historic district. This project should be rejected.

D.L. Bell
Purcellville

Should VDOT Remain a Four Letter Word?

November 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion 1 comment
LTEpic

As my wife and I visit our new home under construction in the Lucketts/Taylorstown area, it remains highly disturbing to see VDOT ignore obvious safey hazards on roads they are responsible for maintaining. New Valley Church Road has a curve just west of the Route 15 intersection that is so bad residents have to plea for help by putting signage on trees. This assumes VDOT managers can read. Even the minimum standards required for road acceptance by VDOT are not practiced on such roads. Some cul-de-sac’s in Ashburn have wider and safer roads than Route 15 and New Valley Church Road, and a great many “secondary” roads where residents pay just as much taxes for safety maintenance. … Continue Reading

Thank You For The Purcellville Halloween Block Party 

November 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Thank You For The Purcellville Halloween Block Party 
blueridge2

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Re-Love It and all the sponsors and organizers for allowing me to MC the recent Purcellville Halloween Block Party. To put it simply, it is this kind of community programming that helps makes small town USA such a vital part of our changing society. With the support of the Town of Purcellville and its police department and the PFVD, it was truly a fun experience, not only for all the residents, but for all the visitors as well. There was no talk of politics….unless it was Snickers vs. Milkyway and there was no talk of metro/taxes…unless it was about aliens in hovercrafts, in short, it was a wonderful time to get to know each other, even though we may have had a mask on.

While I was on stage keeping the ghosts and goblins at bay, I was reminded how much Purcellville means to me. Seeing this event in Old Town Purcellville was special. For years when I was on the Economic Development Committee for the town, we discussed “Where is the real Purcellville, where is the heart of Purcellville.” Well we have an answer, it is located on 21st Street and in the hearts of its residents.

R. Ben Weber

From “Affordable Housing” To “Food, Fun and Games”

November 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Editorial, Opinion 1 comment
affordablehousingpic

By Karen Jimmerson

As promised in late summer, lawyer Mark Nelis has repackaged his proposal for the controversial 178-unit Catoctin Creek Apartment complex. Inappropriate development can come to growing towns like Purcellville with lightening speed, greased by a wink and a nod by those who are (supposedly) charged with the public trust and the developer’s “sales force” – insiders who know the soft spot citizens have for terms such as “family friendly,” “low-cost housing,” and “open [air] space.” But, an increasingly well-educated and wary public, I hope, will see through the language being used to try and get this project over the finish line.

In October, the Town of Purcellville received a revised concept plan application for the construction of an approximately 178-unit apartment complex on Hirst Road along with a large outdoor and indoor “entertainment complex” to also include retail. The project includes different properties under different owners now lumped into one application. … Continue Reading

LaRock: Ready to Go to Work and Serve

November 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on LaRock: Ready to Go to Work and Serve
Dave_larock

I am pleased that the voters of the district endorsed our message and propelled my campaign to a solid victory. I’m honored and humbled to be selected by the voters of the 33rd District as their Delegate-elect.

Now it’s time to deliver on what I promised. I look forward to serving the District and our Commonwealth by focusing on improving our economy, attracting quality jobs, and building a better Virginia for our children and our grandchildren. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Shell Games

16 Jun 2015

noerpel150

“Let me be very very clear, for us climate change is real and it’s a threat that we want to act on. We’re not aligning with skeptics.” – Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell [1] “What …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Supporting a Transgender Child

1 Jul 2015

Michael_Pic

– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, My husband and I are worried because our 14-year-old daughter thinks that “he” is transgendered. It’s true that she’s always been interested in more masculine activities, and this past year she announced to …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Mount Zion Church

1 Jul 2015

timjon

– By Tim Jon So: You’ve never given the American Civil War a great deal of thought, much less walked the grounds of Gettysburg or some of the other, major battleground sites located in our region; you may not be …

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Brandon Park

3 Jun 2015

timjon

Considering its location – amidst the swirl of transportation axes, commercial and industrial scenery, residential neighborhoods, and the shadow of the busy downtown section of Leesburg, I was surprised to have this quiet little oasis of (mostly) green to myself …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

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 …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015

donnawilliamson

By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

Saving The Art Of Letter Writing

1 Jul 2015

moore-sobelnewmug

– By Samuel Moore-Sobel This year a woman in France received a letter in the mail. What made her experience unique was that the letter had been written on January 27, 1877, and was intended for her great-grandfather. Steve Insekeep, …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

The Marital Agreement

2 Jul 2015

Smith0035

– 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 …

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Student News

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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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Blue Ridge National Science Day Declared Tuesday, June 10 has been officially been declared Blue Ridge National Science Day. At a recent Purcellville Town Council Meeting, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and members of the town council signed a proclamation designating this …

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Events

July 2015
M T W T F S S
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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: READERS THEATER

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

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Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015

blueridge2

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 sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Editorial

How Did We Get Here And How Do We Get Out?? A Summary Of Purcellville’s Sewer Debt And Strategic Solutions

1 Jul 2015

kwasifraser

– By Kwasi Fraser, Mayor of Purcellville Many of our fellow citizens are baffled by the proposed increase in our already high water and sewer rates, and not just about the increase that was proposed for the Fiscal Year 2016 but also about the proposed increases over the next nine years. This quote from one of our citizens to a …

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Lifestyle

Artist’s Profile: Michele Sommers, Mural Artist – The Beauty Of Life, Evolving Over Time

2 Jul 2015

artist3

– By Andrea Gaines Two things defy reason when it comes to mural artist and painter Michele Sommers. The first is her irrepressibly humble attitude towards her talent. The second is the absolute divinity of her work. I knew that in writing about her in this way she would be thinking, Oh … come on … I’m not THAT good! …

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Kicking Off Farm To Fork With Music

1 Jul 2015

farmtofork

Kicking off this year’s Farm-to-Fork Loudoun project is the second annual Farm, Fork & Art, with music added: a special concert from home grown, award winning folk and Americana singer-songwriter Andrew McKnight. Farm, Fork, Art & Music begins at 6 p.m. sharp at the unique Trinity House Cafe located at 101 E. Market St. in Leesburg on Wednesday, July 22, …

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Hillsboro Celebrates Independence Day July 3

1 Jul 2015

hillsborojuly3

Bring your friends and family to Hillsboro’s Old Stone School on Friday, July 3 for the annual Independence Day Celebration. The celebration will be preceded by the second of four seasonal outdoor markets which will open on July 3 at 4 p.m., and the Independence Day festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the Old Stone School located at 37098 Charles …

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Wild Loudoun

Ancient Oaks – The Great Providers

1 Jul 2015

wildloudoun

– By Andrea Gaines She feeds the birds. She shelters the mammal. She cools the air, provides us with shade and conserves the water and soil. She is the mighty old oak, an ecosystem unto herself. All except the smallest living things function as an ecosystem of sorts – whether harboring the bacteria and microscopic plants that break down organic …

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Around Virginia

Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

governorsigns

On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Bipartisan Legislation Hopes To Reduce Wasteful Spending

blueridge2

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up on a bipartisan proposal to empower federal workers to identify and cut down on unnecessary federal spending. The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act of 2015 would build on existing law by expanding a program that allows U.S. government …

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Sports

Upper Loudoun Little League Pre-Game Ceremony

1 Jul 2015

ULLLpic5

– By Carri Michon The Majors championship game for Upper Loudoun Little League dawned with prospects of stormy weather. Nonetheless, a nice crowd assembled for the pre-game ceremonies in the light rain. Following the announcment of the AL Royals and the NL Pirates teams, the ULLL Hometown Heroes scholarship given …

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WLVBC Ignite Takes 2nd at Tournament

13 May 2015

Ignite Takes Silver at Spring Fling resized

Western Loudoun Volleyball Club U15 Team Ignite placed second at the NVVA 15’s Spring Fling Volleyball Tournament on Sunday, May 10 at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg. Ignite met the host team, NVVA 15 Fairfax Black, in the finals. “I’m proud of each player for pushing hard through 10 …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

thismonthhistory

– By Andrea Gaines Loudoun County was heavily invested in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Loudouner Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of 56 delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. More Loudouners served in General George Washington’s army than any other county in Virginia, and the county’s enormous …

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Mary Rose Lunde

Locks Of Hope Easy, Helpful

1 Jul 2015

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 …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

sarahcloset3

– By Sarah Nearis Look at these sweet and summery pink blouses and tops. Don’t you want to try one on? Some women are afraid to wear pink, thinking it’s a bit too feminine. But, pink comes in such a wide variety of shades – from soft mauves to fuchsias …

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Letters

Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

speak

With graduations behind us and summer vacations ahead, we have much to look forward to. My summer will be full of events and opportunities to …

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Reflections for Father’s Day, a Child’s Constitutional Rights

15 Jun 2015

Bob Ohneiser

I’ve been a licensed attorney and a father since the late 80’s. Yet, I wonder about how many of our country’s legal theories – theories …

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Minimum Wage: A Wrench in the Gears

3 Jun 2015

Dave_larock

By Delegate Dave LaRock You may have read in the news recently that the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles, voted to raise …

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