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Local Student Recipient of National Hispanic Heritage Youth Award

February 8, 2015 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Local Student Recipient of National Hispanic Heritage Youth Award

A Leesburg student was the recent recipient of a national award for her accomplishments in the classroom and community. Laura Vazquez-Bolanos, a senior at Tuscarora High School, was one of eight Latino high school seniors honored at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 16th annual National Youth Awards.

Pictured: Laura Vazquez-Bolanos (left), with Andrea Pecunia from ExxonMobil, accepts the ExxonMobil Engineering and Mathematics Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation during a January 29 ceremony. … Continue Reading

Remembering Jean Sutphin Mohler

February 3, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Remembering Jean Sutphin Mohler

Jean Sutphin Mohler passed away January 16, following a valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.  She was born December 12, 1943, to Melvin and Ruth Hatcher Sutphin.  A life-long resident of Lovettsville, Jean graduated valedictorian in 1962 from Loudoun County High School and studied psychology at Mary Washington College.

In 1965, she began her career in education teaching first, fourth and fifth grades at Round Hill Elementary School.  She loved children and considered herself “at home with the most creative creatures in the world.”  She later became a preschool teacher at the Lovettsville Community Center where she was also a member of the Board of Directors.  In 1989, Jean began a second career as a dental assistant for Dr. Kirk Hawn, Dr. Ronald Segall, and Dr. Deirdre Kokel.  Her gentle manner soothed many patients. … Continue Reading

Nick Greer – Finely Polished Beauty

February 3, 2015 by Andrea Gaines Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Nick Greer – Finely Polished Beauty

True artists, and true craftspeople, generally have a reason why they decided to use a particular medium and/or approach their work in a certain way. My good friend Reggie Simms for example, loved National Geographic Magazine as a boy. So, at some point, as an adult, he decided one day to paint a series of huge canvases depicting his favorite covers. He “just had to do it.”

Antiques conservator Nick Greer is a little like that. Greer is in love with antiques and old knobs, gold leaf and inlay, wood and vintage glass, ivory and tortoise shell. He marvels at the old way of building things and the spectacular nature of the materials used.

For example, one of his favorite things is the original material known as shellac. Developed in the 16th Century, shellac became known as French polish in the early 1800s. It’s made from the crust, as it were, of Laciffer Lacca, a tiny parasitic bug that lives on certain trees in India and other eastern countries. This form of shellac is sold in flakes that vary from pale orange to dark brown. When Greer restores a time period piece that has this finish, he uses this same material – the polish used perhaps hundreds of years ago naturally bonds with the new material being laid down, authentically restoring the piece. … Continue Reading

Remembering John D. “Buddy” Davis

January 6, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Remembering John D. “Buddy” Davis

John D. Davis, known to family and friends as “Buddy” passed away surrounded by members of his family on December 20.  He will be greatly missed by his wife of 54 years, Kay, three daughters and two son-in-laws, Jennifer-Lynn and Jamie Lee, Melissa and Nima Ebrahimnejad and Kimberly Davis, seven grandchildren, Rebecca, Jacob, Kayla, Samuel, Maya, Emma and Maxwell and his niece Linda Thomson as well as many other nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his sister June Gerber and his Mother Eloise Linthicum.

Davis was born on October 13, 1934, in Keyser W. Va., and moved to the Washington D.C. area as a youngster.  In his early years he developed an interest in music, especially bluegrass.  He was a self-taught musician and luthier (maker of string instruments) who apprenticed under a good friend and mentor Tom Morgan.  He enlisted in the USAF in 1954 with friend Allen Lewis during the Korean War and trained as a jet mechanic.   He was stationed at Andrews AFB.  It was during this time that he met his future wife Kay. … Continue Reading

With the Name “Hammer,” He Was Born To Be a Deputy

January 6, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment

By Hannah Hager

One could say Bill was born to be a Sheriff’s deputy. With a name like Shellhammer, how could he not have been predestined to live a life laying down the law?

Purcellville resident William “Bill” P. Shellhammer died in his home December 16, aged 80. He was a retired Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy, a former Vienna Police Department deputy and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served during the Korean War.
These days, if a Sheriff’s Deputy knows you by name it indicates that you are a delinquent or a malefactor who is up to no good. In Shellhammer’s heyday, however, it was a mark of his sharpness of mind. … Continue Reading

Coalition Hires New Manager of Community Relations

January 3, 2015 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Coalition Hires New Manager of Community Relations
Brandon and Norma

Combat-wounded veteran Brandon Boyd joins ranks of leading service organization

The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (Coalition), a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror, announced today that Brandon Boyd has been hired as its new Manager of Community Relations. He replaces Jil Hinds, who relocated to Atlanta this summer and now serves in the Coalition’s field operations.

Boyd is a combat-wounded veteran of the United States Army. While on deployment in Iraq in 2008, Brandon suffered a severe TBI, T10 paraplegic and PTSD. After retiring from the Army, Brandon worked at the Pentagon and the Mark Center as the COOP, Emergency Manager and Assistant Security Manager for the Department of Defense. In July 2014, Brandon left the government to found Restoration Homefront, a Virginia-based organization that provides resume-building, jobs, college and housing resources for veterans. … Continue Reading

Betsey Brown Becomes Author

December 30, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Betsey Brown Becomes Author

Americas first pandaBetsey Brown of Leesburg fulfilled her 80 year dream to become an author by writing and publishing a children’s book. America’s First Panda is the true story about Ruth Harkness who in 1936 traveled from New York City to the mountains of China to bring back a baby panda, a bear that few had ever seen or heard about in those days.

The baby Giant Panda named Su Lin which Ruth translated to mean “a little bit of something very cute” was given to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Hayden Harris, Director of the Brookfield Zoo, and grandfather to the late Valeria (A.V.) Symington of Temple Hall Farm Regional Park, Leesburg, was instrumental in helping Ruth Harkness bring Su Lin to America. … Continue Reading

Loudoun Valley Is Where Jones’s Heart Is

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment

By Hannah Hager

If the home is where the heart is, then Loudoun Valley High School is home for Rodney Jones and its students and staff are his family.

A life in education felt like second nature to him because Jones, who is Social Science Department chair and presents lectures on both psychology and modern world history, comes from a long line of educators. His mother is a special education teacher and his father is an assistant principal in Stafford County.

“I like helping,” he said. “I’m big on service. It felt natural to [teach].”

The foundation of teaching stands the test of time – you plan a lesson, teach the class and grade the papers. But, as a graduate student teacher at the University of Virginia where he received both his bachelor’s and masters in history and teaching respectively, Jones discovered that it takes much more than the basics to make a house a home. … Continue Reading

Local Author Writes First Book In Series

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader People Comments Off on Local Author Writes First Book In Series

Devon Porter, a Virginia farmer and banker, has signed a four-book deal with Prepper Press. The first novel in the series, “After the Crumble,” was released on November 21.

“This book is a labor of love; I’ve been working on it for two years,” Porter said. “I have always loved books in the sci-fi and dystopian genres, and I’m honored to finally make my first contribution.”

The novel touches on several of Porter’s hobbies, such as hog farming, gardening and self-sufficiency. The story is set in Northern Virginia in the year 2037, where Porter merges northern Fauquier and southern Loudoun counties into the fictional “Colton County.” … Continue Reading

For the First Lesson, Listen To Your Inner Voice

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment

By Hannah Hager

The path to reach one’s calling in life doesn’t always build at a crescendo, but rather poco a poco – little by little – as we learn to embrace our inherent talent.

Such was the path taken by Jessica Morgan, the director of choral activities and advanced orchestra at Woodgrove High School. Maybe it should have seemed obvious for Morgan to one day become a professional music director; she was a singer at four years-old and a violinist at five.

But, to whom much is given, much is expected and it was perhaps those expectations that initially drove Morgan away from sharing her talents with others. A Winchester native, she started out at James Madison University as a Biology major. However, a little birdy wouldn’t stop singing the song of music in her ear. She tried out for JMU’s School of Music and it’s of little surprise she was accepted. Any initial resistance melted into acceptance and today she realized that her role as teacher also poised her to be a lifelong student of music herself. … Continue Reading

Milan Ball – Tuscarora High School Fashion Design Student

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Milan Ball – Tuscarora High School Fashion Design Student

Milan Ball, Tuscarora High School student, would describe her fashion designs as eclectic. She likes to combine disparate elements and try to make them work together. Her portfolio is evidence of this style. Milan combines a floral mini with an ordinary tank top and ankle boots. She also looks at the ordinary and transforms it. One of Milan’s designs highlights jeans which she has cut and re-styled from the knee down and now ordinary jeans become the perfect backdrop for high heels. The fact that her aesthetic is theatrical comes as no surprise to those who know her. When asked about Milan, Mr. Justin Daniel, Tuscarora HS theater director and teacher said: “Milan is not just a leader at Tuscarora; she is also an asset to the theater department. It is a huge undertaking to design, build and manage costumes for a show and more uncommon to see high school students take on the task. Her dedication and creative designs have made our recent productions a success. Milan is so talented and will go far in the world of fashion design.” … Continue Reading

Contributions for Ray Family

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Contributions for Ray Family

A fund-raising website has been started by friends and neighbors of Rusty Ray of Purcellville. Ray suffered a stroke on November 12 while on business in Bradenton, Fla. He has partial paralysis on his right side and is currently in a rehab center in Florida; he will likely be released from rehab in early December.

His friends are asking for contributions to help with his long recovery. Contributions are being sent through Pastor David Milam with St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Purcellville and through go fund me at http://www.gofundme.com/RustyRay. Also grocery gift cards or meals are welcome.

FOCUS ON: Mr. And Mrs. Claus

December 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on FOCUS ON: Mr. And Mrs. Claus

Surprise Visit

Mr. and Mrs. Claus found time to stop by Photographer Sarah Huntington’s studio in Purcellville. They are very busy this time of year and have many elves in and around Purcellville, Bluemont and Round Hill who work tirelessly to help. They will be making many appearances in and around the area before they head back to the North Pole to get ready for the big day. Mr. Claus said, “Yes, boys and girls the elves report back telling me who has been naughty or nice.”

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Sustainable Planet

Trusting Science

14 Nov 2015


“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” – Rush Limbaugh [1] I previously reported [2] on …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

13 Nov 2015


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it is also a time to reflect and remember with gratitude. America is a free and democratic nation today, …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Phil Bolen Memorial Park

4 Nov 2015


I never knew Phil Bolen as the Loudoun County Government Administrator; I never even got to know him as Director of Parks and Recreation, and I certainly never knew Phil Bolen the teacher and coach at Loudoun Valley High School. …


Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Willisville

30 Sep 2015


You may never feel the urge to travel to this little, unincorporated community; it’s not exactly a conduit for commuter traffic, and there aren’t really any places to shop, or gas up, or procure much of anything else from a …

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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


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

Choosing To Live in the Present

4 Nov 2015


By Samuel Moore-Sobel I love a good story. I love telling stories and hearing other people’s stories. Our experiences bring meaning to our lives, and help shape us into the people we are today. Yet inherent in storytelling is the …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Trusts

4 Nov 2015


A common estate planning device is the trust. A trust is simply an agreement between two people: the person who establishes the trust, who may be called the Settlor, the Grantor or the Trustor, and the person or institution who …

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Student News

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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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015


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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December 2015
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Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Eighth Annual Lovettsville Christkindlmarkt

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Eighth Annual Lovettsville Christkindlmarkt

Christmas Concert


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Come paint with us at Breaux Vineyards


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Chorus of the Old Dominion Holiday Concert and Sing-A-Long

Chorus of the Old Dominion Holiday Concert and Sing-A-Long


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Holiday Brunch at Breaux Vineyards


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


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View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015


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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Good Government Reinforces the Family – Another Perspective

4 Oct 2015


By Malcolm Baldwin Who can disagree with the title to Dave LaRock’s September article in the Blue Ridge Journal – “Good Government Reinforces the Family”? But sadly he largely misunderstands what government has done and ought to do for such reinforcement. Many of his prescriptions would harm families while others would forestall any improvement in family conditions. His conclusions become …



Local Winemaker To Teach Three Viticulture Courses at NOVA-Loudoun

1 Dec 2015


Kerem Baki, winemaker at Hillsborough Vineyards in Purcellville, plans to teach three viticulture courses at the Loudoun Campus of Northern Virginia Community College during the spring 2016 semester. NOVA’s viticulture program got off to good start in the fall 2015 semester with Baki teaching “Introduction to Viticulture.” He will build on that course with “Viticulture I,” “Introduction to Wine Making” …

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Tree Sales Come to Waterford

1 Dec 2015


Christmas Trees! The Catoctin Presbyterian Church and Venture Scouts in Waterford are co-hosts for weekend Christmas tree sales through December 12-13. Proceeds support important activities of both organizations in the local community. Locally grown fresh cut trees are available at the historic church – which celebrated its 250th anniversary this year – on Saturday (9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.) and Sunday …

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Mosby Heritage Area Association Recognizes Three Heritage Heroes

28 Nov 2015


The Mosby Heritage Area Association, the Northern Virginia Piedmont preservation and education organization, has selected three individuals to receive the organization’s annual Heritage Hero Award. The Heritage Hero award is given to individuals or groups in the Mosby Heritage Area who have demonstrated stewardship responsibility over many years. The awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 …

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Wild Loudoun

Wild Loudoun: of Chipmunks and Chestnuts

4 Nov 2015


Chipmunks are small, beautifully elegant little creatures, with large glossy eyes, a sleek brown body, a short, pointy head, dainty white stripes above and below the eye, and a series of black land white lines down their sturdy little backs. They have a very sweet posture – sitting upright and holding food with their two perfectly formed front feet, while …

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Around Virginia

Comstock Speaks on Syrian Refugees


Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) released the following statement on the current terrorist attacks in Paris: “After September 11, 2001, we tragically learned that al Qaeda was at war with us, but we weren’t at war with them. Again, with the recent murderous terrorist attacks in Paris, we have learned that …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Tourism Revenues Topped $22.4 billion in 2014


Statewide data shows increase of 4.1 percent compared to 2013 Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia’s tourism revenues topped $22.4 billion in 2014, a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. In 2014, tourism in Virginia supported 216,949 jobs, an increase of nearly 700 jobs to the previously reported forecast estimate of …

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Good Government Reinforces the Family


By Delegate Dave LaRock Working as the elected Delegate for the 33rd House District has renewed my understanding of the value of a strong family. After decades of raising my family of mom, dad, and seven children and building my family’s business, which provided countless opportunities for mom, dad and …

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Middleburg Wins State Championship

28 Nov 2015

Middleburg Academy volleyball

Middleburg Academy’s Girls’ Volleyball team won the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division 2 state championship at November 11th’s finals. The 3-0 victory over Peninsula Catholic (#2) capped a season for the Dragons who finished with an impressive 30-2 record. Key wins in their season were home and away victories …

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Funding Sought for Scholarship for Loudon Students Participating in Youth Sports

4 Nov 2015


The Don Rose, Sr. Youth Scholarship Fund is seeking financial support to provide scholarships at college, technical or trade school. Applicants from public, private, and home schools are eligible to receive the scholarship, provided they participated in youth sports within Loudoun County. The fund aims to award two $500 scholarships …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015


– 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

Behind Closed Doors

4 Nov 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It’s sad to say that the norm now is to wonder about the next school shooting. For a student it is the most terrifying thing, the next shooter could come at any moment, and any day could be the day that you die. It could be …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015


– 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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Thank You for Another Successful Halloween Block Party

4 Nov 2015


The 5th annual Purcellville Halloween Block Party was the best attended to date with an estimated 6,000 descending on 21st street in Old Town this past Friday evening. Costume …

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Ethics in Campaigning and Voting

1 Nov 2015


My Dad used to say it’s what you do when nobody is watching that counts. Over 80 percent of my “zoning permitted” and “land owner …

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$17 Dollar Tolls-Ouch!

27 Oct 2015


Recently Gov. McAuliffe proposed $17 round trip tolls on I-66 inside the beltway with Chuck Hedges the Democrat nominee for the HOD 33rd district being …

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