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Round Hill Author Earns Bronze Medal

October 6, 2013 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Author Barbara Simpson Carducci was recently announced as the Bronze Medal winner for the 2013 Living Now Book Awards in the Animal/Pets category for her book, “Storee Wryter Gets a Dog.”

In addition to the recent Living Now Book Award, “Storee Wryter Gets a Dog” has earned a Gold Mom’s Choice Award and was named one of the Best Dog Books for Young Readers in Cesar’s Way Magazine (August Issue), the Official Publication of Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer.

Kitchen Science Kids: Bending Light

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader People Be the first to comment

By Leah Enright

I love bubbles. Who doesn’t? Happy, round floaty things that last just a second . . . and when you blow a big one, what magic! Looking at a bubble, what will you see? A micro-thin film of multi colored, glistening fluid gently slipping and sliding around a transparent ball. They are beautiful . . . until they pop! At that point I’m hooked and I will blow and marvel until I remember that I am a grown up with laundry to fold.

How did that rainbow get on the side of that bubble? Well, to answer that we have to go all the way back to 1666 and an amazing guy-Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton achieved many great accomplishments, (including having a cookie named after him-Fig Newtons!) Newton was interested in optics, (which is the study of light and how things are seen). In fact, when coming home from a town fair with a toy glass prism, (a piece of glass shaped like a triangle), Isaac Newton noticed something interesting-white light came into the prism as expected, but came out of the prism broken into distinct colors-red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Amazing! The curious and inventive young man went on to accomplish many great things in science, but the one that we can see today is this fact that if light rays, which travel straight down from the sun, are interrupted and bent, they break apart and we can see that white light is not white after all. It is actually a combination of the seven colors of the rainbow, all mixed together! Wow! How can we bend the light to see this rainbow? … Continue Reading

Greer a National Merit Semifinalist

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Middleburg Academy senior Caroline Greer of Aldie was named a semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Greer is among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists who have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $35 million. To be considered for the merit scholarship award that will be offered in the spring, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship. … Continue Reading

Kitchen Science Kids: Bleaching Hair from the Inside Out

September 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People, Uncategorized Be the first to comment

By Leah Enright

When I was a kid, many of my friends’ mothers spent hours at the beauty salon, bleaching their hair blonde. It was fun for them, and seemed like a mysterious practice to me. How did that dark hair go light?

Well, it turns out that lightening hair with chemicals, and the natural gray grandparents wear, have much in common. What is the chemical responsible for this de-colorization? Hydrogen peroxide-the same stuff used on cuts and poured on laundry stains, is also manufactured naturally inside our bodies, inside of our cells.

How can this be? Cells are living things, so they perform work and create waste. When they create waste, in this case hydrogen peroxide, they can’t just throw it in the trash, it must be recycled into something harmless. Enter Catalase! Catalase is a special protein inside our bodies that is attracted to hydrogen peroxide, and changes it from a harmful toxin, to a harmless blend of salt and water. This works perfectly for many, many years while the catalase in our bodies is in supply, but when we are well into adulthood, we begin to run low on catalase, and our bodies can’t make more. That means that the peroxide swishes around, without catalase to make it harmless. When the peroxide swishes around the place where our hair forms before it grows out through our skin, it does what peroxide is known for-it takes the color out, and voila. Gray hair. (A color that many wear proudly). … Continue Reading

Martin Fair – The Quiet and Perfectly Tuned Craftsman

September 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment

By Andrea Gaines

If you asked Marty Fair what he did for a living he might just say, “I make guitars.”

An insider might respond, “Ahhh … you’re a luthier?” And, “Yes” Marty would say, “Yes, that’s right.”

The term “luthier,” derived from the word “lute” is the formal name given to professionals who make or repair lutes and other string instruments. You’d think a luthier might study and work in a place such as Paris or Venice. But, Marty learned his fine craft right here in the United States, and, he also has a good market for his work right here in our area, a placed filled with budding, longtime, and amateur musicians, as well as collectors and the fortunate few who bought an old farm and found a trunk full of beautiful old string instruments in a long-forgotten closet …

Marty works alongside good friend and fellow luthier Stuart Orser – and the smiles and accolades flow when they talk about each other’s work. (Marty and Stuart also play in a band named The Spruce Brothers). Marty’s Fairbuilt Guitar Company workshop is tucked away up a long gravel drive on Short Hill Mountain near Hillsboro. At the end of the drive you’re met by an orange and white cat and a friendly black lab named Ethel who seems to know you’re there to see Marty and, turning slowly seems to say, “Com’on, let me show you the way.” … Continue Reading

Remembering Dr. Dorothy Jane Pratt

August 27, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Dr. Dorothy Jane Pratt, 70, died Monday, August 12, in her home in Purcellville. She was surrounded by her husband of 43 years, John “Jed” Shilling, and her two daughters, Kaile and Kaitlin.

She was born the second of two daughters to the late Alice E. Palmer, M.D., and Lawrence Pratt, M.D., in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Pratt, known as Jane, spent more than 35 years in the field of global and domestic sustainable, equitable development and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Pratt moved to Washington, D.C., in 1973 where she began her career at MITRE, one of the few companies at the time hiring women for professional, rather than secretarial roles. At MITRE, she was involved in developing the process for environmental impact assessments, newly required under the National Environmental Policy Act. … Continue Reading

Liz Hall – A Jewelry Artist With Wings

August 7, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment
Liz Hall

Lovettsville artist Liz Hall’s jewelry is so unusual and intriguing it literally defies description. One of Hall’s newest pieces is something she calls “Sungate.” Hearing the word you’d think, “I bet that piece of jewelry is really spectacular .” Then you see it and realize it is beyond spectacular – wondrously creative is a more apt term.

In the jewelry world the Saul Bell awards are one of the most prestigious of them all, and Hall is one of the few worldwide artists to earn the distinction of “finalist.” Looking at her work you can see what attracts such recognition – with shapes and collections of colors that mimic something as cool as outer space and as warm and organic as a rain forest. … Continue Reading

Kitchen Science Kids: Glue from ‘Moo’?

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

By Leah Enright

Glue-that sticky stuff that holds books together, seals envelopes, and keeps cereal boxes closed has a long and interesting history. Did you know that even the Greeks and Romans used glue? They relied upon it for woodworking and general construction, and made many improvements on the glue recipes of their day. What did they use? Food! Milk, eggs, vegetables, and even grains found their way into the mix. Though that was a long time ago, we can still create adhesives using simple kitchen ingredients. … Continue Reading

Ship Brings Memories of Home

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Aaron Farris feels at home when he looks around his Navy ship, the USS Harper’s Ferry. Although the ship is far from Harper’s Ferry, there are plenty of mementos of the area displayed around the ship.

Farris now travels all around the world, but he was born in Leesburg, where he attended Catoctin Elementary. His family later moved to Winchester, and he graduated from Sherando High School in 2000. His family has strong ties to the Loudoun County area. His parents both grew up in Loudoun, his father graduating from Loudoun County and his mother from Loudoun Valley.

“My uncle farmed Ida Lee Park and lived in the house there before the park was even thought of,” Farris said, “Then they moved onto the farm that is where the new middle school and high school are built just down the road.” … Continue Reading

Chef Comes To Winchester Medical Center

August 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Seamus Mullen will be visiting the Winchester Medical Center on Thursday, August 15.

He will be discussing his battle with rheumatoid arthritis and a new initiative, Rethink RA, that focuses on techniques he has found successful for simplifying food preparation.

Mullen will be at the Winchester Medical Center, 1840 Amherst St., from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“I don’t think of cooking as an art – it’s a craft for me,” Mullen said. “What I love most about cooking is the opportunity to bring people around a table to share love, conversation and food. Everyone loves going out, and I derive a lot of joy from cooking. As someone who has RA, it’s important for me to cook things that make me feel good, and for some people with RA they feel overwhelmed. There are some things they can do that are empowering – it’s fun, and when you make something delicious it makes you feel accomplished – which brings you joy. If you go to rethinkra.com/cooking you can see my recipes, videos and download the kit.”

The Rethink RA campaign is designed to help people with rheumatoid arthritis enhance their understanding of the disease and prepare them to have more meaningful conversations about RA symptom management with their doctor.

John and Lil Palmer Remembered

August 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment
Lil & John July 24 2013

Olivia (Lil) Cloyes Clark Palmer, 74, and John Claiborne Palmer, 78, of Purcellville, died due to a car accident which happened on July 27 near Petersburg, WV. Lil was killed in the accident and John was airlifted to Morgantown, WV where he died from injuries sustained in the accident on July 29.

Lil was born on August 16, 1938 in White Plains, NY, she was the eldest daughter of Frank Crandall Cloyes and Ruby Mae Shorter Cloyes. She spent many summers in her early years in Stockbridge, MA where her work at the Audubon Society camp helped to shape her lifelong love of nature and animals. Lil graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1960 where she met her first husband Ronald Clark. She was active with her children in many equestrian activities and, an avid foxhunter. She was a member of the Casanova Hunt and the Old Dominion Hounds. For the last 20 years she has served a select group of clients handling all the myriad details of their financial and administrative lives. … Continue Reading

A Servant’s Heart Scholarships

June 30, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Joshua’s Hands was established in 1999 in memory of Joshua Guthrie, who was an enthusiastic community volunteer. Joshua’s years of service were cut short by his death at the age of 16. Joshua’s Hands seeks to continue to be his hands of service in the community and to encourage others to serve.

In addition to teen safe driving education, an annual Fall Festival that is free to the community, community service and heritage education programs, the organization offers A Servant’s Heart Scholarship. The scholarship is essay based and has the potential for three winners.

The 2013 recipients are from varied backgrounds with diverse interests. Laura Andrews (Tuscarora High School) will pursue a degree in International Studies & Economics at the College of William and Mary in the fall. She understands that service is purposeful. In her essay she wrote, “Serving others doesn’t just occur in big, once a year events. It happens in random acts of kindness, and in listening to one another. In life, it’s easy to get swept up in the day to day events and let service fall by the wayside.” … Continue Reading

County Employee Earns National Certification for Parks and Recreation

June 23, 2013 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Cheryl Wheeler, Assistant Manager of The Senior Center of Leesburg, was recently certified as a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) by the National Certification Board (NCB) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

The CPRP certification is granted to professionals working in recreation, park resources and leisure services who successfully meet the higher education and experience requirements and pass the national CPRP examination. The exam tests knowledge in all aspects of general administration, programming and operations management for the parks and recreation industry. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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