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Greer a National Merit Semifinalist

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Greer a National Merit Semifinalist

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

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 Comments Off on Remembering Dr. Dorothy Jane Pratt

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 Comments Off on Liz Hall – A Jewelry Artist With Wings
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

Ship Brings Memories of Home

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Ship Brings Memories of Home

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 Comments Off on Chef Comes To Winchester Medical Center

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 2 comments
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 Comments Off on A Servant’s Heart Scholarships

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 Comments Off on County Employee Earns National Certification for Parks and Recreation

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

Woodgrove Girl Scout Earns Gold Award

June 7, 2013 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Woodgrove Girl Scout Earns Gold Award

Woodgrove High School senior Alexandra Guendert was recently awarded her Girl Scout Gold Award. Alexandra planted a new landscaped courtyard called “The Grove” at Woodgrove to benefit the entire student body with help from the special needs students.

The courtyard features benches, a pathway, trees, a garden, and stepping stones painted by fellow students.

This project could not have been completed without the help of Woodgrove teacher and project advisor Mrs. Kabernagel, troop leader Sarah Stinger and her scout troop 1579, family, and friends. Money was raised by bake sale fundraisers and donations from local businesses and families.

Alexandra Guendert would like to extend a special thanks to all donors including Blue Mount Nursery, Mr. and Mrs. Forrest from Faith & Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Cook, Browning Equipment, The Paint and Paper Place, BakeCo., Woodgrove SCA, Elegant Limousine Service Corp. , Holly Hoopes SunTrust Mortgage, Home Depot and Giant Food.

Taylor Justice Honored For Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

June 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Taylor Justice Honored For Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Left to right, Brion Bell BRMS Principal, Taylor Justice and Delegate Randy Minchew.

Taylor Justice, a seventh grade student at Blue Ridge Middle School was honored May 23 for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Del. Randy Minchew presented Taylor with a commending resolution to recognize her achivement. As part of a team of women participating in the kick-off climb for the organization Climb for Conservation, the nine day trek spotlighted the ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’ and the conservation of the critically endangered African Black Rhino, which lives right outside Kilimanjaro National Park.

Left to right, Brion Bell BRMS Principal, Taylor Justice and Delegate Randy Minchew.

Sheriff Chapman Invited as Guest Lecturer for FBI National Academy

May 5, 2013 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Sheriff Chapman Invited as Guest Lecturer for FBI National Academy

Loudoun County Sheriff Michael L. Chapman was at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Tuesday, as a guest lecturer for students of the 253rd session of the FBI National Academy in the Contemporary Issues in Police/Media Relations class.

During his presentation, Sheriff Chapman discussed high-profile cases that he worked while serving as a Special Agent with the DEA and compared them with some of the issues he faces as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Loudoun County. … Continue Reading

Bill Testa – An Artist “At Home”

May 1, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Bill Testa – An Artist “At Home”
Testa painting

By Andrea Gaines

Knowing that local craftsman Bill Testa and his wife see the family’s home as their very own piece of western Loudoun paradise, you are prepared for something special.

But, once inside you realize that you are looking at, not just a very unique space, but an art gallery in the form of one of the most comfortable home environments you have ever entered.

Everything in Testa’s home is very functional. Kitchen cabinets with lots of convenient storage, all in the right place. Perfectly appointed fireplaces in just about every room. A large, two-story sunroom in back that is toasty warm or beautifully cool regardless of the season and decorated with all manner of interesting old farm implements and family memorabilia. A dark and quiet study with wonderful antique furniture and old world paneling. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015


NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

2 Sep 2015


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects one in every 10 Americans.  And while the CDC’s data on depression currently shows that folks residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia fall slightly …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Suzanne Kane Nature Preserve

2 Sep 2015

suzanne kayne nature

This innocuous little area lay smoldering in my semi-consciousness for several years – and after thousands of passings-by – I finally woke up one morning and just had to find out what was to be found out there. See – …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015


I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining. I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of …

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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

A Man of Character

3 Sep 2015


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “I thought it would be appropriate to reiterate my thoughts on power and quote something from Frederick Douglass that I believe is quite true,” Manfred Kory wrote to me after reading Lonnae O’Neill’s June 29 column in …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

When To Take Social Security: Timing Is Everything

3 Sep 2015


As you approach retirement, there are several decisions that can impact the level of income you will receive when you stop working. One such decision will be about claiming your Social Security retirement benefit. More than half of eligible Americans …

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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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September 2015
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Notaviva Vineyards Monthly Bluegrass Jam is BACK w/Short Hill Mountain Boys

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


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September Fourth Friday at Breaux

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Rally for the Cure

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event



Recent Comments

  • Merlis on Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers: Yes! What a great idea.
  • Mark Gunderman on Gifts Within: Second Mount Olive Baptist Church, located in Hamilton, VA, was founded in 1872. The congregation desires to exalt God and...
  • Kathleen Hannon on What It Means To Be a Man: Great article Samuel! We have two daughters and we try to teach them to look for qualities such as...
  • R. Ohneiser Esq. on Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers: Interesting discussion but let's consider how to actually resolve this problem permanently FOR THE BENEFIT OF LOUDOUN NOT JUST FOR...
  • Nan Siegel on Remembering Mabel: A lovely, heartfelt tribute. Though I never met Mabel, I think she must have had a wonderful life, full of...

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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Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

Three Virginia laws address openness in government: the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), The Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) and The Virginia State & Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (VCOIA). VFOIA guides how public bodies conduct their meetings and regulates access to government records. VPRA establishes basic rules about what constitutes a public record and what the government’s …

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Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament

3 Sep 2015


Stoneleigh Women’s Golf Association’s is having their annual Rally for the Cure ™ golf tournament in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity to play at the golf course recently cited as being the prettiest golf course in Northern Virginia by Golf Magazine and recently awarded a 3.5 star rating by Golf Digest. The format is …

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Irish Sessions at Corcoran Brewing

3 Sep 2015


Gina Faber and Tony Noerpel have started an “Irish Session” at Corcoran Brewing Company in Purcellville once a month on the second Sunday. The next session will be from noon to 3:00 p.m. on September 13. It is an open session, and anyone can bring an instrument and play along. Tony and his wife, Nancy, visited Ireland last year and were impressed by …

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September Calendar

3 Sep 2015


Ongoing events Saturdays, September 12 to October 17, Interpreting Scripture Through Visual Arts, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Jonathan Holland, artist and youth pastor, will take you on a journey to create powerful and moving art rooted within the Bible. Cost is $105. Go to opusoaks.org. On Saturday, September 12 at noon, Sunday, September 13 at 1:00 p.m., September 26 at noon and September 27 …

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015


Shadow Darner. Unicorn Clubtail. Black Shouldered Spinyleg. Blue Dasher. Ebony Jewelwing. Calico Pennant. Sanddragon. Their names conger up some magical place inhabited by devils and demons, elegant queens, daring lovers – creatures you would need to see with your own eyes to believe really existed. But, each of these, including the Calico Pennant, is actually one of the most common …

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Around Virginia

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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Governor McAuliffe Launches Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship


Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed Executive Order 47 establishing the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship, which shall be responsible for coordinating and implementing youth entrepreneurship initiatives and fostering the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for young people in Virginia. “The foundation of the new Virginia economy rests on the strength …

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Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers


By Delegate Dave LaRock It’s no secret that population growth and business development have left Loudoun County, especially busy areas to the east, with some pretty challenging traffic. The process of expanding the local network of roads and transit always seems to be playing catch-up, usually tied to availability of …



Las Vegas Tournament Good for Loudoun Teams

2 Sep 2015


D1 Sports & Athletics 15U Spartan Elite Boys basketball team won the Gold Elite Championship out of 158 teams from across the country at the Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic on July 26. D1SA Spartan Elite defeated Drive Bounce Elite from British Columbia, Canada, in the championship game with the …

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Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015


Loudoun Valley’s Drew Hunter placed second in the United States Track and Field 1500-meter run Junior National Championship. That earned him a spot on the United States Junior Team going to the Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada in late July. Drew lost to college freshman Blake Haney of the …

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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

Perfection and Expectation in High School

3 Sep 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde If you think about high school, what do you think about? Do you think about the sports and how important they are to some students whose only dream of getting into college is a scholarship? Do you think about the high school student struggling for an …

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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 Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

I want to express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support by the local business owners and residents in relationship to my challenge to …

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015


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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