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Neo-Liberal Economists: “We Are Irrational”

January 21, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Neo-Liberal Economists: “We Are Irrational”
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“Irrational is a strong word, which connotes impulsivity, emotionality, and a stubborn resistance to reasonable argument.” Economics Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [1]

On global warming Kahneman wrote that it is “preposterous to forecast what it would be like to live on a warmer planet when we did not even know what it is like to live in California.” Kahneman was concerned whether or not people would be happy in a warmer world, warming more than ten times faster than at any other time in the last hundred million years, as shown by the example in Figure 1 [2] while physical scientists worry whether we will survive at all. See Figure 2 for the current physical state of California. I suppose people can still be happy right up until the time there is no more water to drink. Perceptive people who see it coming years in advance may be unhappy but if there are not many of those Kahneman may be right. … Continue Reading

Bad Economics Is Driving Out Good Science

January 8, 2015 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Bad Economics Is Driving Out Good Science
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“The key to understanding [economics] lies in identifying the positive feedbacks and instabilities that lead to fast and surprising changes. These positive feedbacks are the most important elements in all markets; they’re not exceptional in the least. I’ll also argue that it would be utterly astounding for it to be otherwise, for instabilities, driven by positive feedbacks affect almost everything in the universe, from stellar supernovae to planetary ecosystems and our climate to the movement of the earth’s crust, and from the flow of electronic traffic through the Internet to the growth of cities.” Mark Buchanan [1]

A few years ago I introduced readers to the logical theorem ex falso quodlibet or from a false proposition, anything follows. If a logical system begins with a false axiom or assumption then no matter how robust the logic the conclusions can only be correct by pure chance; indeed any nonsense can be proved by starting with a false assumption [2]. Milton Friedman adopted this strategy to develop his neo-liberal economics by starting, in his own words [3], with “assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality.” Nobody should be surprised that denial of human-caused climate change is also based on bad assumptions. … Continue Reading

Turtle Soup

December 17, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Turtle Soup
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“We can debate this forever. George Will had a column in the last year or so pointing out that in the 70s, we were concerned the ice age was coming. I’m not a scientist. I’m interested in protecting Kentucky’s economy.” Senator Mitch McConnell [1]

“There is no doubt that climate change, mainly caused by our material production and consumption activities, threatens human existence.” Ha-Joon Chang [2]

Senator McConnell made his statement in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer editorial board just before the last election. The editorial board asked McConnell several times what it would take to convince him of human-caused climate change. The Senator deflected each question with economic arguments until finally he made the reference to George Will, champion of the over privileged. The relevance of this quote is not the economy of intellectual content but what it says about our new Senate Majority Leader’s commitment to bad policy. We can expect that over the next two years Congress is going to do its best to make the problem of human-caused climate change that much worse. Thus the imperative for local action is even stronger. … Continue Reading

Measuring Irrationality

November 30, 2014 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Measuring Irrationality
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“Irrational is a strong word, which connotes impulsivity, emotionality, and a stubborn resistance to reasonable argument.” Daniel Kahneman.

I admire the progress cognitive psychology and neuroscience has made in unraveling the workings of our brains. Since I cannot understand much of neuroscience, I make do with the cognitive psychology. A lot has been written about the irrationality of conservative Republicans especially in regard to climate science denial. Another new paper [1] by researchers at Duke University, Troy Campbell and Aaron Kay (CK), addresses this timely topic. Their hypothesis is that solution aversion motivates Republicans to deny science when the solutions contradict their laissez-faire free market ideology. They cite other research and only claim that solution aversion is part of the explanation. They accept the validity of other hypotheses such as the impact of conservative media or that “Republican’s cognitions are more motivated and threatened by negative information.” … Continue Reading

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
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“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

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015

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 …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

2 Sep 2015

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

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

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

2 Sep 2015

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

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015

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

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

pot of gold

Hello everyone, this is Hokie Cat from Fields of Athenry Farm. Sushi is in big trouble as we speak and is residing in doggy dungeon. I am here to fill you in on what took place. My brother Mountie loves …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015

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By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

A Man of Character

3 Sep 2015

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

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

When To Take Social Security: Timing Is Everything

3 Sep 2015

Smith0035

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

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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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

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

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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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

COFFEEHOUSE: J.RILEY STEWART

COFFEEHOUSE: LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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KAYDEE PUPPETS: SHEEP DOG DETECTIVES

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

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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

September Fourth Friday at Breaux

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Rally for the Cure

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

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

BUSH BROTHERS LIVE!

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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

Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

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

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Lifestyle

Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament

3 Sep 2015

stoneleigh

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

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Irish Sessions at Corcoran Brewing

3 Sep 2015

noerpel150

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

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September Calendar

3 Sep 2015

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

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015

wildloudoundragonflies

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

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Around Virginia

Good Government Reinforces the Family

davelarock

By Delegate Dave LaRock Working as the elected Delegate for the 33rd House District has renewed my understanding of the value of a strong family. After decades of raising my family of mom, dad, and seven children and building my family’s business, which provided countless opportunities for mom, dad and …

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Governor McAuliffe Launches Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship

McAuliffe

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

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Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers

davelarock

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

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Sports

Las Vegas Tournament Good for Loudoun Teams

2 Sep 2015

basketball

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

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Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015

drewhunter

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

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

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

Perfection and Expectation in High School

3 Sep 2015

Lunde new

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

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

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

Thank You Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

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

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

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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