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Middleburg Academy Senior a Winner in Regional Scholastic Art Competition

March 4, 2014 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Middleburg Academy Senior a Winner in Regional Scholastic Art Competition

A painting by Middleburg Academy’s Caroline Greer received the highest possible Gold Key recognition in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers recent Regional Scholastic Art Competition.

Greer’s work , “Ivory,” will be exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond from March 1 through April 15. She also received honorable mentions for “Decomposition” and “Lifted,” two submissions in the Mixed Media Category. Caroline Greer is the daughter of Cynthia and Robert Greer of Aldie.

Tile Artist Joan Gardiner

March 4, 2014 Lifestyle, People 2 comments

Storyteller, Naturalist, Teacher And Fine Craftswoman

I could have spent hours wandering around Joan Gardiner’s tile studio in the quaint old village of Unison (population 30). As a little girl I collected any bit of natural material I could pick up outside – snakeskins, bird feathers, driftwood, rocks, beach glass. Joan Gardiner has many of these kinds of things casually displayed and posted in her workplace, a combination gallery, kiln-room and work area. Tacked and displayed all over the walls and tables, shelves, bookcases and desks are the inspirations and miniature studies for the tile works that have made her both famous and beloved. The graceful wing of a red-bellied woodpecker. A fallen bird’s nest. Sketches of a majestic and muscular jaguar. Fantastic bits, piles and corners of stuff that fill this spectacular artist’s head and provide her with both information and inspiration as she works her magic. … Continue Reading

Woodgrove’s Amanda Dukinfield Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

February 4, 2014 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Woodgrove’s Amanda Dukinfield Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

Amanda Dukinfield, a junior at Woodgrove High School, has earned the highest award possible within Girl Scouting. Amanda has been a girl scout since kindergarten and has earned her bronze, silver, and gold awards. Amanda’s gold award service project involved 80 hours of service in which she worked with Ken Falke, Founder of Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors, in helping beautify the interior of the guest cabins with her local photography. Keeping with the retreat’s rural setting, Amanda took pictures of old stone buildings and barns within western Loudoun that have a patriotic theme such as American flags.

Ken selected five pictures to adorn the walls of each cabin. Amanda then worked with local frame shops to complete her project. She gives special thanks to Photoworks in Leesburg for developing all 20 pictures, to Turner Framing in Sterling for providing all 20 frames, to My Frame Shop in Leesburg, Ashburn Art and Framing in Ashburn, and Nelligan Gallery in Ashburn for matting and finishing the pictures. Amanda will receive her Gold Award medal at the Girl Scout Council Nation’s Capital, Loudoun County teen awards banquet this May.

Kathy Ratcliffe, Quilting As Family, Fabric and Thread Memories

January 8, 2014 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Kathy Ratcliffe, Quilting As Family, Fabric and Thread Memories

Growing up I’d hear the whir of my mom’s sewing machine and watch as precious pieces of Irish linen and chintz, French silk tassels, soft spring cottons and colorful yarns were transformed into pillows, slipcovers, dresses, yardstick covers, curtains and tablecloths.

This was the beautiful, everyday fabric art and craft sewn by my mother. Art, craft and handmade delight was as common in our household as my grandmother’s homemade peach marmalade, the greens and flowers we harvested from our garden and yard for the holidays, the shells and rocks we collected as children to edge the driveway and the old barn beams that my dad hand-cut, carved and repurposed into handsome and decorative tables and cabinets.

Interviewing Kathy Ratcliffe just before Christmas in preparation for this January issue of the Blue Ridge Leader all of my family’s wonderful fabric and thread memories came pouring out of me.
… Continue Reading

Loudoun County Fire-Rescue System Applauds Efforts of Local Loudoun Boy in Toys for Tots Campaign

December 9, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Loudoun County Fire-Rescue System Applauds Efforts of Local Loudoun Boy in Toys for Tots Campaign

Friday, December 6, various members of the Loudoun County Fire-Rescue System, the Loudoun Co. Marine Corps League and the Loudoun Co. Local Firefighters IAFF Chapter 3756 gathered at the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company while 11 year old Matthew Newcomer dropped off hundreds of toys he’s collected for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign.

Matthew and his family have actively participated in the campaign since 2006 and have donated thousands of toys for the less fortunate children in our area. Matthew continues to go above and beyond to grow his collection campaign year after year. Aside from reaching out to family and friends for help, he has enlisted the assistance of the Loudoun County Public School System and recently opened up the family home as a donation center complete with a train city for donating individuals to enjoy. … Continue Reading

Christmas 2013: Let Traditions Endure and Give Birth To New Ones

December 3, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Christmas 2013: Let Traditions Endure and Give Birth To New Ones

By Shirley Volberg

Last month I shared my hopes that my daughter would have a successful first Thanksgiving. It was the first time she hosted the family at her home, and, although there was a bit of flurry about serving pieces, etc., she did a fabulous job.

From the start, she happily delegated several of the more complicated side dishes to me, so she could focus on the turkey and the table.

Her table was lovely, decorated with a blue and yellow French tablecloth, flowers in complementary colors and a scattering of yellow paper leaves to give everything a beautiful fall theme. … Continue Reading

Artist’s Profile – Brown Shop Bears

December 3, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Artist’s Profile – Brown Shop Bears

The Thing Of Holiday Dreams

As West Virginia “teddy bear artist” Treva Blackford describes it, “My inspiration comes from a piece of mohair, vintage clothing or accessories. Some times a customer will ask for a certain color or style. Sometimes a family member will make a suggestion. I am always trying to come up with new ideas to keep my work interesting.”

But, it is hard to look at Blackford’s work – her handcrafted teddy bears, bunnies and foxes – and not believe that her inspiration comes from anything less than heaven itself.

Blackford has been making her creations for 20 years. “What got you started?” I asked. To which she replied, “I had always loved quilts but when I tried to make one I wasn’t very good at it so I started making cloth bunnies and other animals. I gradually progressed to mohair teddy bears, bunnies, foxes, etc. Raccoons will be my new animal for 2014! … Continue Reading

Remembering Our Bright and Shining Star – Gabriella Miller

November 6, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Remembering Our Bright and Shining Star – Gabriella Miller

Ten year old Gabriella Miller died at home on October 26, 2013 after a courageous yearlong battle with pediatric brain cancer. In his tribute to Gabriella, Randy Hollister, Headmaster of Loudoun Country Day School where Gabriella attended, spoke of her as “A model student and citizen whose presence lit up the classroom. Every day with Gabriella was pure exhilaration and adventure.”

Gabriella remained true to this description of effervescence during the course of her illness as she became a distinguished and selfless advocate for children with pediatric cancer. As a result of Gabriella’s tireless efforts, she helped to raise more than $275,00 for the Make A Wish Foundation through a letter writing campaign, but she didn’t stop there. Gabriella began a letter writing campaign with Make A Wish – that totaled more than 250,000 letters which were delivered to Macys department store before Christmas last year resulting in a $1 million dollar donation from Macys to Make A Wish Foundation. … Continue Reading

Remembering Ann Jacobson

November 6, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Remembering Ann Jacobson

Ann Natalie Jacobson (nee Gandrud), 83, of Hamilton died at her home on October 15, 2013, due to cancer. Jacobson was born April 16, 1930, in Fergus Falls, Minn., to the late Elvin Gandrud and Ada Aarrestad Gandrud. After completing the Glenwood Minnesota schools, she attended Concordia College in Moorhead for two years and graduated from the University of Minnesota in December 1951 with a BS degree in business education. At the university, she served on the governor’s youth commission.

She worked as an executive assistant to the president of Neiman Marcus in Dallas prior to her marriage to Gerhard (Jake) Jacobson on August 8, 1953, at the Glenwood Lutheran Church in Glenwood. As the wife of a career army officer, she traveled widely with her husband. In 1965 they spent a year studying Russian prior to his serving with our embassy in Moscow. In 1980 they moved from Mount Vernon to a farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge which they restored and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. She served on the board of the Land Trust of Virginia and Loudoun Cares. … Continue Reading

Historic Car Recreated by Middleburg Man

November 6, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Historic Car Recreated by Middleburg Man

As a prominent national paper reported at a recent display of the pictured Bugatti 57SC Aerolithe: “When it comes to recreating history, it’s hard to beat the detective job that it took to remake one of the most famous Bugatti show cars from the 1930s.”

My dad grew up loving historic cars. As a young man he bought the chassis (only thing left) of an old Silver Ghost Rolls Royce just to prevent it from going into the scrap heap. So, when I found out that a local man named Chris Ohrstrom (of Middleburg) had overseen the perfect recreation of a Bugatti Aerolithe, I jumped at the chance to tell our western Loudoun audience about it. … Continue Reading

Artist’s Profile – Valentin Melik

November 6, 2013 Lifestyle, People, Uncategorized Comments Off on Artist’s Profile – Valentin Melik

“What set him apart from other kids was his innate gift of drawing the world around him.  On cold and snowy days he would run and play outside under his mother’s watchful eye.  When he would see a bread truck pass by the playground, he would pick up a twig, plop on the snow and draw the bread truck.”

An artist’s life is often as complex and inquisitive as their work. In talking to them, I’ve often found that when they approach a project, they are asking and answering a series of questions. “Where is the light coming from? What makes that object stand out from the one behind it? What color is the marble? And, what temperature? What is the person in my portrait thinking?”

Valentin Melik has one of those lives, complicated and looking for answers, some questions of which relate to the everyday things we all face, such as how to make a living, doing, hopefully, what we believe we were meant to do. … Continue Reading

Bradley Boland Installed as Virginia Association of Realtors® President

November 2, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Bradley Boland Installed as Virginia Association of Realtors® President

Bradley J. Boland, past Chairman of the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS®, Managing Broker of Keller Williams Realty Dulles and Purcellville business owner, was installed as the 2014 President of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® last week. Brad’s wife, Elaine, and four of his five daughters joined hundreds of Virginia REALTORS® in celebrating this exciting achievement during VAR’s Convention in Virginia Beach.

Brad has been a licensed real estate agent since 1975 and a licensed broker since 1978. He has worked in all areas of real estate including residential home sales, land development, construction of commercial and industrial buildings, and property management of large investment grade assets including retail shopping centers and apartment complexes. Over the years, Brad has owned and managed various real estate companies and has been responsible for overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate sales. In 2011 he was voted REALTOR® of the Year by the Dulles Area Association of
REALTORS®. … Continue Reading

Round Hill Author Earns Bronze Medal

October 6, 2013 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Round Hill Author Earns Bronze Medal

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.






Asterisk No More


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn


It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

El Nino Evolution

Figure 3. Sea-surface height as inferred by by NASA satellites during the current El Niño (December 27, 2015, at left, from Jason-2) and at a comparable point during the last “super” El Niño (December 28, 1997, at right, from TOPEX/Poseidon). Warmer temperatures in the upper ocean result in higher sea-surface heights, as the seawater expands. In 1997, the above-average sea surface height was generally more intense and peaked in November. In 2015, the area of high sea levels was less pronounced but considerably broader. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. (see [4])

Figure 1 shows the annual global temperature anomaly since 1980 up to November 2015 using the NASA GISS data set [1]. NASA has not yet published December’s data though BEST has [2] and yes 2015 was the hottest year on …


Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Oh No, It’s the Christians!


By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville


Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016


Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015


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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February 2016
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Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner


Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

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Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY



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Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

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THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert


Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

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VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016


There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016


By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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6th Annual Loudoun Grown Expo February 27

3 Feb 2016


It’s that exciting time of year again for the Sixth Annual Loudoun Grown Expo. The yearly event will take place at the Bush Tabernacle 250 South Nursery Avenue, Purcellville, on February 27 with new expanded hours starting at 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be wine and beer exhibitors, farm exhibitors, artisans and makers, restaurants and other rural economy …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House


The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse


On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships


Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016


The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015


The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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