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Trusting Science

November 14, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 1 comment

“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 two papers by sociologist Lawrence Hamilton and colleagues concluding that Democrats and liberals accept science more than Republicans and conservatives across a broad range of topics [3-4]. Aspects of their survey raise some nuanced questions which likely do not affect their results but are worth discussing. The survey questions read:

“Would you say that you trust, don’t trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about [topic]?”

People were asked about several topics including climate change, vaccinations, forest management and the safety of GMO crops. I thought they should have used “science” rather than “scientist‘. In a private email Hamilton wrote: “I interpret ‘trust’ responses on all questions not as indicating that nuclear power, GMOs, vaccines etc. are necessarily all good, but rather that people accept ‘science’ as a good way to find out.” … Continue Reading

Avoiding Stupidity on Election Day

October 30, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Be the first to comment

“We found that people called an action stupid for three separate types of situations: (1) violations of maintaining a balance between confidence and abilities; (2) failures of attention; and (3) lack of control. … These results bring us closer to understanding people’s conception of unintelligent behavior while emphasizing the broader psychological perspectives of studying the attribute of stupid in everyday life.” Aczel, Palfi and Kekecs [1]

In a recent paper Balazs Aczel, Bence Palfi and Zoltan Kekecs show that we share a common understanding of what “stupid” means or what we define as stupid behavior. The first type of situation described by the authors is nothing more than the Dunning Kruger Effect [2] which we have previously discussed. Humans (all of us) tend to believe we have competence in areas where we are entirely ignorant. Think of George Will writing about human-caused climate change. While we recognize this behavior in others we often fail to recognize it in ourselves. All the scientists in the world could not convince Will that he is being stupid. John Cleese points out [3] that “In order to know how good you are at something requires exactly the same skills as it does to be good at that thing in the first place, which means — and this is terribly funny — that if you are absolutely no good at something at all, then you lack exactly the skills you need to know that you are absolutely no good at it.” … Continue Reading

A Dialogue on Climate Change and Global Income Inequality

October 19, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 3 comments

On October 23, Friday at 6:00 p.m. at George Washington University, Ashburn Campus, we (GWU, Sustainable Loudoun, 350 Loudoun, REHAU, Corcoran winery, your business our world, CCAN, and solar solutions for all), are hosting Klaus Hubacek, a professor at the University of Maryland, to speak and lead a discussion on Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints . We will have food, and wine, and vendors of sustainable products and non-profits will be tabling.

In my April 9, 2014 article I described well-known positive natural feedbacks in the Earth climate system. These feedbacks are amplifying the warming directly caused by our carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. I posited that there is one more positive feedback which has never been identified in the scientific literature to my knowledge related to human behavior. While the paleoclimate record informs our understanding of the various natural feedbacks, human behavior is a new phenomenon. But it is predictable. I wrote: … Continue Reading

A Reflection on the Current Crisis in California

October 13, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Reflection on the Current Crisis in California

By Dr. David Goodrich
During his career in climate, Dr. David Goodrich was Director of both the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Office in Washington and the Global Climate Observing System Secretariat in Geneva. He retired in February 2011 as Director of NOAA’s Climate Observation Division. Three months later he rode his bicycle from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Waldport, Oregon. His first long bicycle ride was in 2000, across Washington state, Idaho, and Montana. This is excerpted from his forthcoming book, A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the US. http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2015/09/18/montana-in-the-time-of-fire/

Dave is a good friend and serves with me as a board member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. This article brings back memories of my own. I bicycled across the US in 1972 going 4500 miles in 45 days, through much of the same country. I have no fire stories to report from back then; not surprising as forest fires were seven times less likely than they are today. I was blissfully unaware of climate change. My good friend Paul Krizinauskas, had just mustered out of Army Special forces after his tour in ‘Nam from Fort Ord, California and we bicycled back East together with another good friend Ron Zrebec. We didn’t use a tent and showered every fourth day at a camp ground whether we needed to or not. We ate mostly at all-you-can-eat smorgasbords which dotted the praries, putting several out of business, I’m guessing. A dietician friend once estimated we were burning about 10,000 calories a day each. I don’t know but I do know that no matter how much I ate I could always eat more. … Continue Reading

Recognize Reality on Election Day

October 7, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 1 comment

“There are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy,” Pope Francis.

Pope Francis did not make human-caused climate change a moral issue. It has been one for decades. He did not make inequitable distribution of wealth and income and its resultant wars, slavery and desperate poverty a moral issue either. Greed has been a moral issue for several millennia. But his holiness does make these moral arguments accessible to the general public and in a way that should bring shame and embarrassment to many American politicians. I’m thinking Rubio, Bush and Santorum who all admonish the Pope to leave science to the scientists, just like they do. … Continue Reading

Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints

September 29, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints

“Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.” Hope Yen, USA Today [1]

On October 23, 2015, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sustainable Loudoun and the 9th year we’ve collaborated with George Washington University Ashburn Campus and other local organizations to present lectures and discussions on human sustainability in what we are now calling the Don Sandros Energy Summit. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with our speaker and with local for-profit and non-profit vendors. We will have food and wine. The talk and discussion begin at 7:00 p.m. Our speaker is University of Maryland professor Klaus Hubacek and the topic is global income inequality and carbon footprints. The event is free to the public. … Continue Reading

Norfolk and El Nino

September 24, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Norfolk and El Nino

“In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, strong westerly winds have pushed a massive amount of warm water against the coasts of the Americas, resulting in one of the strongest El Niño events ever observed. Not only does El Niño impact atmospheric patterns, changing storm tracks and suppressing Atlantic hurricane frequency, it also typically resulting in an increase in coastal “nuisance” flooding at high tide along the U.S. West Coast and mid-Atlantic coasts. Nuisance flooding is expensive, causing frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm water systems, and damage to infrastructure. According to a September 9 press release from NOAA, some cities along the mid-Atlantic coast can expect record amounts of “nuisance” flooding at high tide during the coming winter—at Sandy Hook, NJ, Lewes DE, Washington D.C. and Norfolk, VA.” – Jeff Masters [1] … Continue Reading

The Limits of Price and the Club of Foam

September 15, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Limits of Price and the Club of Foam

“Excuse me; it’s not limited from an economic point of view. You have to separate the economic from the physical point of view. Many of the mistakes people make come from this. Like the stupid projections of the Club of Rome; they used a purely physical approach, without taking prices into account. There are many different sources of energy, some of which are too expensive to be exploited now. But if oil becomes scarce they will be exploited. But the market, which is fortunately capable of registering and using widely scattered knowledge and information from people all over the world, will take account of those changes.” – Milton Friedman when asked about limited resources. [1]

It is not just economists like Ha-Joon Chang, Steve Keen and Kent Klitgaard, and physicists like Reiner Kummel, Robert Ayers and Mark Buchanan, and systems scientists like George Mobus, or engineers such as myself who have observed that economics is not a science, even Milton Friedman distanced economics or certainly his own economics from science as we see in the quote above. … Continue Reading

Poseidon’s Misadventure

September 6, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 3 comments

“A sea level rise of 5m in a century is about the most extreme in the paleo record (Fairbanks, 1989; Deschamps et al., 2012), but the assumed 21st century climate forcing is also more rapidly growing than any known natural forcing.” Hansen et al. [1]

In 2012 I forecast [2] that the planet was locked into at least 5 meters of sea level rise. I did not give a time frame other than to suggest that immediate action to limit fossil fuel consumption might slow the rise enough for relatively easy adaptation and keep the rise from being even higher. During the Melt Water Pulse 1 (MPW1) event 14,600 years ago, sea levels rose 5 meters per century for several centuries. Though such a rate is rare, one meter of sea level rise per century is common to abrupt climate change events such as Heinrich Events. Thus a rough estimate of the time frame would be 100 to 500 years or more. Of course it doesn’t necessarily stop there. We can make it worse. … Continue Reading

Not Your Father’s El Nino

August 15, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Not Your Father’s El Nino

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 the current sea surface temperature anomaly. These data are from August 6, 1997 and August 5, 2015. Note the huge impressive blob of heat on the west coast of Central America. So it looks the same but different and may not evolve in the same way.

In Figure 2 I’ve plotted the global temperature anomaly up to and including the July 2015 data published by NASA. If we assume that the 2015-2016 El Nino plays out similar to the 1997-1998 event and is followed by a strong La Nina, we can make a crude first order estimate of the global temperature anomaly out to 2025. The trend line of the anomaly from 1979 until July 2015 has a slope of 0.0165 degrees C per year. Since events are unfolding 18 years later, I’ve added 18*0.0165 = 0.297 degrees C to the monthly temperature anomaly for each corresponding month. We see that if the El Nino plays out anything like the 1997-1998 event, we may never again experience a year as cold as the year global warming “stopped” in 1998. … Continue Reading

The Noisy Economist

July 25, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on The Noisy Economist

“[W]hereas classisists [economists] turned the spotlight on change, flow, process and dynamics, the neoclassicists [economists] spend their time analyzing states of rest, balance, equilibrium.” – Yanis Varoufakis [1]

Updating the evolving global surface temperature anomaly monthly for the Loudoun County Supervisors and Blue Ridge Leader readers put me in mind of a bet proposed by economist and fossil fuels industry consultant Scott Armstrong. The bet was described by Nate Silver in his book “The Signal and the Noise”. While Silver’s topic is important and a subplot running through my series of articles, Silver makes several mistakes; even blowing his Bayesian analysis [2]. … Continue Reading

The Cost of Deceit

July 20, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Cost of Deceit

“Most of the dozens of essential climate variables monitored each year in this report continued to follow their long-term trends in 2014, with several setting new records. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the major greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—once again all reached record high average atmospheric concentrations for the year. Carbon dioxide increased by 1.9 ppm to reach a globally averaged value of 397.2 ppm for 2014. Altogether, 5 major and 15 minor greenhouse gases contributed 2.94 W m–2 of direct radiative forcing, which is 36% greater than their contributions just a quarter century ago.

“Accompanying the record-high greenhouse gas concentrations was nominally the highest annual global surface temperature in at least 135 years of modern record keeping, according to four independent observational analyses.” Blunden, J. and D. S. Arndt, Eds., 2015: State of the Climate in 2014. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96 (7), S1–S267. … Continue Reading


July 6, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Radiophysics

“Radiophysics is a Hoax” – James Inhofe

The climate of a planet is stable when the incoming radiation from a planet’s star equals the outgoing heat radiation from the planet itself at the top of the atmosphere. Everything else is a factor only insofar as it contributes to or perturbs that balance. Understanding the radiation behavior of the atmosphere therefore is critical to understanding human-caused climate change [1-2].

Figure 1 [3] shows atmospheric absorption for frequencies from those used in satellite communications and point-to-point microwave radio links at the low end (left side) to visible light (right side) on the x-axis using a log scale and atmospheric attenuation on the y-axis also using a log scale. In particular if you have satellite TV or internet service, the dish antenna on your roof receives or transmits at the frequencies marked by the red lines. The green line represents spectrum the satellite industry is interested in using in the future. Note that we avoid the oxygen and water vapor absorption bands. Because of the popularity of smart phones, personal devices and wireless routers new spectrum is being requested up to and including 60 GHz identified by the red arrow. The 60 GHz band is attractive for wireless local networks such as inside a home because the strong oxygen attenuation guarantees the spectrum can be reused by neighbors with little interference into each other’s devices. And because of this strong attenuation, it is unsuitable for other radio applications such as satellite communications. … Continue Reading

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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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November 2015

Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Mrs. Lucketts’ Haunted Garden & Playground


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Steve Potter Live at North Gate Vineyard

2 3

Elementary Drama Camp

4 5 6

Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists – painter Karen Hutchison and glass artists David and Dale Barnes


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Kipyn Martin Live at North Gate VIneyard

9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

The Essential Elvis Tribute Show


Christmas Bazaar

23 24 25 26 27

The Capitol Steps


3rd Annual Bluemont (Juried) Holiday Craft Show

30 1 2 3 4 5

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 …



2015 Loudoun 10K Trail Race Raises over $30,000 to Support Boulder Crest Retreat and Our Nation’s Veterans

16 Nov 2015


“I continued to be humbled by our community and all they do to make Boulder Crest Retreat a success. Jim Schatz and his team at Loudoun Road Runners are amazing. This trail run is in alignment with the rural nature of Boulder Crest Retreat and we look forward to the event every year. My personal appreciation goes out to all …

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Purcellville Cross Serves as Beacon of Hope for Highway Travelers

9 Nov 2015

Crux St. Francis de Sales

By Mark Gunderman The Crux Gloria was erected and dedicated by St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in November 1990. If you’re traveling from Leesburg on Highway 7, passing through Purcellville just west of the Berlin Turnpike exit, you can look to your right and see a majestic metal cross sculpture. Within the cross, the shape of Jesus appears to …

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Carver Center November Events

4 Nov 2015


The Carver Center is at 200 Willie Palmer Way in Purcellville. Call 571-258-3400 to sign up for the following programs. November 6, Friday Lunch and movie Still Alice 12-2 p.m. (ages 55 and up).  To sign up call 571-258-3459. November 9, Monday AARP Driver Safety Class 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m (ages 50 and up). Pre-registration required. AARP members $15, …

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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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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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Leesburg Ladies Tennis Team Wins State Tournament

4 Nov 2015


Ida Lee Park Tennis Center’s Ladies Singles 2.5 Team, Simply Smashing, won the USTA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship tournament, held October 16-18, at the Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club. Simply Smashing members include team captain Beth Cioni, Debbie DeLadurantaye, Jennifer Fox, Robin Haast, Holly McMullen and Deja O’Malley. They train …

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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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