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2 Degrees of Trouble

November 20, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on 2 Degrees of Trouble
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“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.

We have seen that the surface temperature is not just increasing but accelerating [1]. To do this we used the Cowtan and Way data set which includes the Polar Regions. As it turns out all of the official temperature records ignore these areas in addition to a large part of Africa and a bit of Brazil as shown in Figure 1 because no temperature records existed for these regions going back to 1880. The area that is included represents most of the Earth surface and is therefore considered an accurate representation of the entire planet’s surface when determining long term climate trends. As we’ve seen the other data sets, ignoring the Polar Regions, show that the surface is continuing to warm at a constant rate [2] when natural variability is accounted for. All portrayals of a slowdown (stoppage, hiatus, pause) in the rate of surface warming leave an unexplained gap of instantaneous warming in 1998 which cannot be explained by any physical mechanism [3]. The denier argument that global warming has stopped is an extreme case where the gap is 0.25 degrees C or about a decade and a half of warming [1]. Thus the only conclusion which fits all the data, including the Polar Regions, and which is physically possible is that the surface warming is accelerating exponentially. This is also consistent with expectations. The fact that climate scientists continue to discover additional evidence of the radiation imbalance such as the accelerated warming of the oceans [4] makes our situation that much more tenuous. … Continue Reading

Human Caused Climate Change is Settled Enough

October 23, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Human Caused Climate Change is Settled Enough
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“[T]his peak-committed warming is increasing at the same rate as cumulative CO2 emissions, about two percent per year, much faster than observed warming, independent of the climate response.” – Myles R. Allen and Thomas F. Stocker [1]

“Mathematically, more uncertainty about models increases the scale of the distribution… Hence skepticism about climate models should lead to more precautionary policies.” Nicolas Nassim Taleb et al. [2] … Continue Reading

State of Sophistry

September 25, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on State of Sophistry
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There is a particularly sophistic science-denial argument which has been around since 2004. This popular argument cites a paper published in the journal Science in 2003 by Nicolas Caillon and colleagues [1] and then badly misinterprets it. It seems unlikely that whoever originated the argument read or understood the paper and it seems equally unlikely that they expected anyone else to read the paper either because the Caillon paper contradicts the argument. The reason this is relevant to us still is that denier and forest ecologist Daniel Botkin used this argument earlier this year in testimony to congress [2]. If we first discuss the actual science and then examine the Botkin canard in that light, we can better appreciate its irrationality. … Continue Reading

A New Climate Regime

September 9, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A New Climate Regime
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(To be presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisor Public Input Session September 17, 2014)

Figure 1 shows the NASA/GISS surface instrument temperature record since 1880 [1]. I draw your attention to the fact that the coldest year of the last ten years, 2008, was actually warmer than every single year up to and including 1997. At the time, 1997 was the warmest year in this data set. This is true despite the fact that 2008 as a La Nina year and in the trough of the solar intensity cycle should have been one of the coldest years in the record. Not only has the Earth surface not stopped warming in 1998, we have entered a new climate regime where even our coldest years are now warmer than any years prior to 1998. We are literally no longer experiencing our father’s weather. It is just a matter of time, a few years perhaps, when we will be wishing for the cool weather of 1998. … Continue Reading

Dear Loudoun County Supervisors

August 27, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Dear Loudoun County Supervisors
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We know three things with near certainty:

  1. Human-caused global warming is real
  2. The consequences of the business as usual scenario will be catastrophic
  3. Positive local action is required.

All knowledgeable climate scientists have explained this reality to us in great detail in tens of thousands of scientific papers and hundreds of summary reports published by every major scientific organization in the world. I cannot do better. … Continue Reading

The Gravity of Gravity

August 6, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on The Gravity of Gravity
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“Irrational is a strong word, which connotes impulsivity, emotionality, and a stubborn resistance to reasonable argument.” Daniel Kahneman [1]

“Plot idea: 97 percent of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.” — Scott Westerfeld, unknown source

In my last article I showed that the number one plausible argument in denial of human-caused climate change that global warming stopped in 1998 is false. In fact global warming is accelerating. Another convincing way to look at the data is to consider the surface temperature record shown in Table 1 [2]. The warmest decade since the temperature record began in 1880 was between 2000 and 2009, after global warming is supposed to have stopped. This decade was warmer than the previous decade, the 1990’s, by an impressive 0.2 degrees C, which is the largest change ever from one decade to the next. … Continue Reading

Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors

July 25, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors

For the Public Input Session on September 3, 2014

Excerpts from the following article will be presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on September 3, 2014 at the public input session.

“The vital signs reflect “the largest changes that we’ve been able to witness in the historical record,” said Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The planet is changing more rapidly … than in any time of modern civilization.”” NBC reporting on new NOAA analysis [1] … Continue Reading

You Too Can Be an Economist

July 9, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on You Too Can Be an Economist
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“Wealth, as Mr. Hobbes says, is power.” – Adam Smith [1]

“[T]he fundamental theoretical and empirical assumptions behind free-market economics are highly questionable. Nothing short of a total re-envisioning of the way we organize our economy and society will do.” – Ha-Joon Chang.
… Continue Reading

Tol Tales

June 16, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet 2 comments
noerpel150

“Organisms that make the environment less habitable will ultimately fail.” – Charles H. Langmuir and Wally Broecker [1]

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

I was with a friend a week ago when a political ad appeared on the television. The candidate’s issue was global warming and his solution was a carbon tax. I said: “I don’t care if that guy is a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. I would vote for him.” To my surprise my friend said: “you are just like all those single issue voters you criticize.” I write about economic issues at least as much as I write about global warming and energy issues nearly as much as economics so I am at least a three issue guy. And if I pointed that out there may have been no further discussion. … Continue Reading

Reconstructing Economics: Why Nations Fail, Part Two

June 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Reconstructing Economics: Why Nations Fail, Part Two
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“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page [1]

It may appear presumptuous of me, an engineer, to recommend reconstructing economics but it is not for two reasons. First of all, it is not my idea anyway but is as old at least as the publication of Fredrick Soddy’s prescient Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt in 1926 and has a long tradition both within and outside establishment economics. Second, regardless of how many good economists there are, the most influential school of economic thought is Milton Friedman’s Chicago school of laissez fair free market economists, who were best characterized [2] by economist Paul Samuelson as “empirically dead wrong.” The destructiveness of their policies is well documented [3] and those policies are an important contributor to the Great Contraction of 2008 [4]. Given the number of economists who failed to forecast the 2008 economic contraction, economic models seem unable to predict even the obvious [5]. … Continue Reading

Reconstructing Economics: Why Nations Fail, Part One

May 13, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Reconstructing Economics: Why Nations Fail, Part One
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“People are reluctant to believe physical systems and human systems are of the same kind. Although social systems are more complex than physical systems, they belong to the same class of high-order, nonlinear, feedback systems as do physical systems.” Jay Forrester

Economist Steve Keen writes in Debunking Economics that his discipline is broken and needs help from other sciences. Interestingly, he does this by demonstrating inconsistencies and bad assumptions within economics. Jay Forrester proposed a “systems economics” approach and indeed his collaborators produced perhaps the most accurate long term economics forecast to date with the publication of Limits to Growth in 1972. Using systems biology as a model for reconstructing economics and borrowing from these past efforts I propose integrating into economics the hard sciences: physics and chemistry, the soft sciences: biology, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, and the softer sciences: anthropology, history and the more rational schools of economics. … Continue Reading

Pungent Curry

April 9, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Pungent Curry
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The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities associated with human-caused climate change or anthropogenic global warming (AGW). These seven physical facts are true and are not disputed by any science:

  1. Carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases. This is rigorously supported by experiment, observation and analysis.
  2. Water vapor is a strong positive feedback. If the planet warms for whatever reason, there will be more water vapor and water is a greenhouse gas and will amplify the initial warming.
  3. … Continue Reading

Extreme Irrationality Is Extremely Irritating

March 5, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Extreme Irrationality Is Extremely Irritating
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“Hurricane Sandy was truly astounding in its size and power. At its peak size, twenty hours before landfall, Sandy had tropical storm-force winds that covered an area nearly one-fifth the area of the contiguous United States. Since detailed records of hurricane size began in 1988, only one tropical storm (Olga of 2001) has had a larger area of tropical storm-force winds, and no hurricanes has. … Most incredibly, ten hours before landfall, the total energy of Sandy’s winds of tropical storm-force and higher peaked at 329 terajoules–the highest value for any Atlantic hurricane since at least 1969. This is 2.7 times higher than Katrina’s peak energy, and is equivalent to five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. At landfall, Sandy’s tropical storm-force winds spanned 943 miles of the U.S. coast. No hurricane on record has been wider.” – Jeff Masters [1] … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Shell Games

16 Jun 2015

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“Let me be very very clear, for us climate change is real and it’s a threat that we want to act on. We’re not aligning with skeptics.” – Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell [1] “What …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Supporting a Transgender Child

1 Jul 2015

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– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, My husband and I are worried because our 14-year-old daughter thinks that “he” is transgendered. It’s true that she’s always been interested in more masculine activities, and this past year she announced to …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Mount Zion Church

1 Jul 2015

timjon

– By Tim Jon So: You’ve never given the American Civil War a great deal of thought, much less walked the grounds of Gettysburg or some of the other, major battleground sites located in our region; you may not be …

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Brandon Park

3 Jun 2015

timjon

Considering its location – amidst the swirl of transportation axes, commercial and industrial scenery, residential neighborhoods, and the shadow of the busy downtown section of Leesburg, I was surprised to have this quiet little oasis of (mostly) green to myself …

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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

donnawilliamson

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

Saving The Art Of Letter Writing

1 Jul 2015

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– By Samuel Moore-Sobel This year a woman in France received a letter in the mail. What made her experience unique was that the letter had been written on January 27, 1877, and was intended for her great-grandfather. Steve Insekeep, …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

The Marital Agreement

2 Jul 2015

Smith0035

– By Amy & Dan Smith In Virginia, as in most states, a marital agreement can be entered into before or after marriage. It can cover a variety of topics but commonly addresses issues pertaining to the disposition of property …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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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

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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

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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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Events

July 2015
M T W T F S S
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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: READERS THEATER

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

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Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015

blueridge2

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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Editorial

How Did We Get Here And How Do We Get Out?? A Summary Of Purcellville’s Sewer Debt And Strategic Solutions

1 Jul 2015

kwasifraser

– By Kwasi Fraser, Mayor of Purcellville Many of our fellow citizens are baffled by the proposed increase in our already high water and sewer rates, and not just about the increase that was proposed for the Fiscal Year 2016 but also about the proposed increases over the next nine years. This quote from one of our citizens to a …

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Lifestyle

Artist’s Profile: Michele Sommers, Mural Artist – The Beauty Of Life, Evolving Over Time

2 Jul 2015

artist3

– By Andrea Gaines Two things defy reason when it comes to mural artist and painter Michele Sommers. The first is her irrepressibly humble attitude towards her talent. The second is the absolute divinity of her work. I knew that in writing about her in this way she would be thinking, Oh … come on … I’m not THAT good! …

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Kicking Off Farm To Fork With Music

1 Jul 2015

farmtofork

Kicking off this year’s Farm-to-Fork Loudoun project is the second annual Farm, Fork & Art, with music added: a special concert from home grown, award winning folk and Americana singer-songwriter Andrew McKnight. Farm, Fork, Art & Music begins at 6 p.m. sharp at the unique Trinity House Cafe located at 101 E. Market St. in Leesburg on Wednesday, July 22, …

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Hillsboro Celebrates Independence Day July 3

1 Jul 2015

hillsborojuly3

Bring your friends and family to Hillsboro’s Old Stone School on Friday, July 3 for the annual Independence Day Celebration. The celebration will be preceded by the second of four seasonal outdoor markets which will open on July 3 at 4 p.m., and the Independence Day festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the Old Stone School located at 37098 Charles …

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Wild Loudoun

Ancient Oaks – The Great Providers

1 Jul 2015

wildloudoun

– By Andrea Gaines She feeds the birds. She shelters the mammal. She cools the air, provides us with shade and conserves the water and soil. She is the mighty old oak, an ecosystem unto herself. All except the smallest living things function as an ecosystem of sorts – whether harboring the bacteria and microscopic plants that break down organic …

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Around Virginia

Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

governorsigns

On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Bipartisan Legislation Hopes To Reduce Wasteful Spending

blueridge2

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up on a bipartisan proposal to empower federal workers to identify and cut down on unnecessary federal spending. The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act of 2015 would build on existing law by expanding a program that allows U.S. government …

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Sports

Upper Loudoun Little League Pre-Game Ceremony

1 Jul 2015

ULLLpic5

– By Carri Michon The Majors championship game for Upper Loudoun Little League dawned with prospects of stormy weather. Nonetheless, a nice crowd assembled for the pre-game ceremonies in the light rain. Following the announcment of the AL Royals and the NL Pirates teams, the ULLL Hometown Heroes scholarship given …

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WLVBC Ignite Takes 2nd at Tournament

13 May 2015

Ignite Takes Silver at Spring Fling resized

Western Loudoun Volleyball Club U15 Team Ignite placed second at the NVVA 15’s Spring Fling Volleyball Tournament on Sunday, May 10 at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg. Ignite met the host team, NVVA 15 Fairfax Black, in the finals. “I’m proud of each player for pushing hard through 10 …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

thismonthhistory

– 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

Locks Of Hope Easy, Helpful

1 Jul 2015

Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde I’m not the first one who has written about and done what I am about to describe, and I hope I’m not the last. It’s not an action that seems heroic, but it does make a difference. The best part is that no one is …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

sarahcloset3

– 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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Letters

Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

speak

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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Minimum Wage: A Wrench in the Gears

3 Jun 2015

Dave_larock

By Delegate Dave LaRock You may have read in the news recently that the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles, voted to raise …

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