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Avoiding Stupidity on Election Day

October 30, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Avoiding Stupidity on Election Day
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“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

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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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Reflection on the Current Crisis in California
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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

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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.

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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints
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“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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Norfolk and El Nino
noerpel150

“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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Limits of Price and the Club of Foam
noerpel150

“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

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“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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Not Your Father’s El Nino
noerpel150

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 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on The Noisy Economist
noerpel150

“[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 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Cost of Deceit
noerpel

“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

Radiophysics

July 6, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Radiophysics
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“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

Shell Games

June 16, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Shell Games
noerpel150

“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 we have to understand is that free will is our capacity to see probable futures, futures which seem like they’re gonna happen, in time to take steps so that something else happens instead.” Daniel Dennett [2]

I received an interesting comment to my April 20 article “Stupid” [3] from Brett, a denier of human-caused climate change and it happens to segue into what I wanted to write about next.

“Why have you been hiding your genius from us so long. I’m now convinced by your omnipotent knowledge to just disregard any credible scientists that disagree with you. Now I too can live my life in fear.” … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Superforecasting a Book Review

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The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

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Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Brotherly Love

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– By Samuel Moore-Sobel There he was. A small, innocent being entering the world for the very first time. Can I touch him? Nervously, I lean forward. He seems so perfect, so completely serene. He is loved instantly. The last …

To The Teen Who Feels Alone

Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde I’m going to do something real here and be honest for a second. In a society where telling someone your deep emotional feelings is considered weak, doing just that seems to be detrimental and could …

Unmotivated Teen

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– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, At our insistence, our 17-year-old son is going to get a summer job. Well, that’s what he agreed to, but we are two weeks into the summer and guess what … he doesn’t …

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

Smith0035

– By Amy and Dan Smith For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

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Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

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Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

July 2016
M T W T F S S
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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

1

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

TGIF - Jake & the Burtones

2

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Ken Wenzel Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Yard Sale Benefiting EPIC

10

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Quentin Walston Live at North Gate Vineyard

18

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

19

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Paint Your Pint

20

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

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Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

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Lifestyle

Farmers Urged To Be on the Lookout for Marijuana

23 Jul 2016

blueridge

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this is a growing trend,” said Corporal Barbara Owens of the …

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Bluemont Harvest Ball To Be Held on September 17 in Warrenton

20 Jul 2016

blueridge

To commemorate the organization’s 40th Anniversary, Bluemont has announces the first ever Bluemont Harvest Ball, to be held on September 17 from 6:30 pm to 11:00 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Warrantor. This black tie event will feature live music from the Silver Tones Swing Band, dancing, a four-course, seated dinner, an open bar, and a silent auction. Tickets …

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What Do You Do To Stay Cool?

7 Jul 2016

ice-cubes

– By Amanda Clark “To chill out this summer I will spend a lot of my time playing music. During the summer, I have so much free time and I devote as much of it as I can to playing music.” – Michael Preston (Lovettsville) “To chill out this summer I will go to a friend’s house and borrow their …

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

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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 …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

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– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

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– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

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It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

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Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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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 …

Around Virginia

Blood Donors Asked To Help Address Summer Shortage

blueridge

Virginia Blood Services is urging Virginians to help replenish an extremely low summer blood supply and asking eligible donors to visit any one of its area Community Donor Centers or mobile blood drives. “Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections,” says Virginia Blood Services Executive Director, Todd Cahill. …

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McAuliffe Announces New Exports for Virginia Lumber Companies To the United Kingdom

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced new export sales of Virginia wood products to the United Kingdom (U.K.) during a trade and marketing mission to Israel and the U.K. The sales were struck between four Virginia lumber companies and James Latham PLC, one of the oldest and largest wood importers and distributors …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 105 New Jobs in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County

McAuliffe

Handsome Brook Farm, LLC to Invest More Than $6 Million to Establish Egg Processing Operation in Virginia RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that New York-based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will invest $6.4 million to establish a new pasture raised egg processing operation in the Town of Berryville and …

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Sports

Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

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Everyone’s Getting Into Cannons Action!

6 Jul 2016

cannons

Purcellville Cannons? Baseball July Schedule July 9, 7 p.m. at home Covington? July 12, 7 p.m. away Winchester? July 13, 7:30 p.m. Harrisonburg? July 14, 7 p.m. at home Strasburg? July 15, 7 p.m. at home Woodstock? July 16, 7 p.m. away Front Royal? July 17, 7 p.m. at home …

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