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Loudoun Transition Initiative

June 7, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Loudoun Transition Initiative
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By Guest writer Will Stewart

Will Stewart is an electro-mechanical engineer trained in the design of energy generation, HVAC, and solar applications. He designed the passives solar aspects of his current home, as well as the photovoltaic system that powers it. He also is an enthusiastic gardener, fruit and nut tree landscape designer, shepherd of a flock of Finnsheep, an avid bike commuter, and all-around supporter of a wide variety of sustainable practices. He is a former president of Sustainable Loudoun and an Enterprise Architect.

Bothered by steadily increasing impacts from global warming? Ever wonder what Bush meant when he said “America is addicted to oil”? Want less ‘globalized’ food and more local healthy food choices? Want a local economy that is resilient enough to withstand sequestrations and national/global economic disruptions? On June 8 at 1:00 p.m. in Oatland Plantation, you can find out what you can do to make a difference in these areas… … Continue Reading

The Age of the Universe

May 28, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Age of the Universe
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“This whole Big Shebang got started just a bit over 13.5 billion years ago. The trials and errors, painstaking observations and brilliant insights that have led to this answer amount to one of mankind’s most impressive intellectual accomplishments.” David Weintraub [1]

Astronomer David Weintraub explores the history of our discovery of the age of the universe in his appropriately titled book “How Old is the Universe.” From the nascent science of the ancient Greeks such as Aristotle and Eratosthenes to the mature science of present day astronomers and their space telescopes he describes how humans have tackled this question. Based on the most recent observations using the Hubble space telescope, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the Cosmic Background Explorer in combination with our theoretical understanding of the laws of nature such as quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity scientists have estimated that the universe is between 13.5 and 14 billion years old. This estimate uses four independent methods based on white dwarf (a type of star) cooling times, the ages of star clusters, the physics of the expanding universe and measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. … Continue Reading

Galileo and the Deniers

April 26, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Galileo and the Deniers
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“Some years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors—as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. … Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them. To this end they hurled various charges and published numerous writings filled with vain arguments.” Galileo Galilei [1]

Galileo wrote these words to a patron, Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany in 1615, complaining about professors who attacked his proof of the Copernican heliocentric solar system. While the facts and eventually history sided with Galileo, he was subject to house arrest and his less fortunate contemporary Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake [2]. … Continue Reading

Mission to Our Home Planet, a Future with No Landfills and Some Fine Music!

March 21, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Mission to Our Home Planet, a Future with No Landfills and Some Fine Music!
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Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair Energy and Environmental Sustainability Awards Results and Ceremony Announcement

Every year REHAU, Inc. of Leesburg Virginia along with Sustainable Loudoun sponsors four awards for the Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The name of the award is the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Award. The presentation ceremony will be on Wednesday April 24 at REHAU’s North America headquarters at 1501 Edwards Ferry Rd. in Leesburg. The students will display their winning projects and be available to discuss them at 6:00 p.m. Between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. entertainment will be provided by the Potomac Falls High School (PFHS) Guitar Quartet sponsored by Sand Energy. The formal program begins at 7:00 p.m. with a talk by NASA astrophysicist Dr. Michelle Thaller. Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick, III, Superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools will present the awards. Refreshments will be provided by REHAU. This event is free and open to the public. … Continue Reading

When Will Norfolk and Virginia Beach Have To Be Abandoned?

March 14, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on When Will Norfolk and Virginia Beach Have To Be Abandoned?
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“[F]ive meters of sea level rise … is at the low end of what we should expect and is now almost certainly locked-in. We may be able to slow it down but it is highly unlikely that we can prevent it from happening.” Tony Noerpel [1]

I based this assessment on evidence from the recent paleoclimate record including two previous interglacials in the Pleistocene Epoch: the Eemian (about 125,000 years ago) and the Holsteinian (about 400,000 years ago) and the mid Pliocene Epoch (about three million years ago). While there is considerable evidence going back over the entire Cenozoic Era which includes all Geological time since the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, the Earth was a different place much older than the beginning of the Pliocene Epoch, 5.3 million years ago due to plate tectonics. The Isthmus of Panama land bridge between North and South America formed about 3.5 million years ago modifying the ocean currents and heat transport from the tropics to the polar regions. It therefore seems a reasonable assumption that extreme climates after this time may be good analogues to the current climate event since the locations of continents and ocean circulation have been the same. The caveat is that human emissions are increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide at a rate ten to hundred times faster than during any other identified event in Earth history during the last 300 million years with the exception of collisions with asteroids such as the one which slammed into the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago, killing all the dinosaurs. Climate Scientist Andrew Glikson pointed out that: “asteroid collisions result in instantaneous release of carbon dioxide from the impacted, melted and vaporized target rocks, including carbonates and shale, and so release carbon dioxide much faster than the rate of human combustion of fossil fuels.” … Continue Reading

The Con in Economics

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“In so far as a theory can be said to have assumptions at all, in so far as their realism can be judged independently of the validity of predictions, the relation between the significance of a theory and the realism of its assumptions is almost the opposite of that suggested by the view under criticism. Truly important and significant hypotheses will be found to have assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality and, in general, the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions.” Milton Friedman [1].

I first read this remarkable passage by Milton Friedman a few years ago in Steve Keen’s book Debunking Economics [2]. Keen is one of only twelve economists to have predicted the recent great recession [3] so he is entirely credible. Still I’m a skeptical person and with due respect to Friedman I had to read the original paper. Even assuming Keen’s quote is accurate and it is; it may have been taken out of context, and it is not. I found Friedman’s remark so outrageous that I had to comment on it, and apparently so did a whole lot of other people. I came across the original paper along with several critiques by other economists, including Paul Samuelson, and philosophers, including Ernest Nagel, in Bruce Caldwell’s book Appraisal and Criticism in Economics, A book of Readings [4]. Economic methodology is an esoteric subject even for economists but the selections in the book are interesting and expose us to yet another example of how not to think. … Continue Reading

Willfully Ignorant

February 20, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Willfully Ignorant
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“Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, [1].

“The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 70 feet higher than now.” Kenneth Miller [2].

“Science Literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.” Neil deGrasse Tyson. … Continue Reading

Bursting the Ideological Bubble

January 16, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Bursting the Ideological Bubble
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“We now live in a culture in which it is entirely possible to live the vast majority of one’s life inside a[n] ideological bubble.” Slaughter and Gutenson [1]

“Right action trumps right doctrine and even legally correct ideology when all is said and done.” Slaughter and Gutenson [1]

“The problem that faces our societies is that we have developed industries and policies that were appropriate at a certain moment, but now start to reduce human welfare, like for example the oil and car industry. Their political and financial power is so great and they can prevent change. It is my expectation that they will succeed. This means that we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.” Dennis Meadows [2]

A year ago I read the book Hijacked; Responding to the Partisan Church Divide, by evangelical pastors Mike Slaughter and Charles Gutenson [1]. It made a deep impression on me and has been a topic I wanted to address but was fearful of appearing overly critical. So let me state up front that I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. Additionally, I admire and respect both authors for their good works (right actions) and their commitments to social justice. Hopefully, my comments will be considered conversational rather than argumentative. … Continue Reading

Year in Review

December 26, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Year in Review
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Happy Holidays and a Review of a Few of the Year’s Important Climate Papers

“Rates of sea level rise reached at least 1.2 m per century during all major episodes of ice-volume reduction.” Grant et al. [1]

Several recent papers have compared the climate projection of the International Panel on Climate change (IPCC) assessments with the subsequent historic record. These include Brysse et al. [2]; Rahmstorf, Foster and Cazenave [3]; and another paper by Frame and Stone [4]. David Frame and Daithi Stone compare the projections from the first assessment report published in 1990, more than 20 years ago, with the climate history to date. They conclude that “the climate is responding to enhanced levels of GHGs in accordance with historical expectations.” Climate in this context is averaged surface temperature. … Continue Reading

The New Normal

December 4, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The New Normal
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“There is a new normal of new extremes and we have to be prepared for it. And the reason we have this new normal of new extremes is because global climate change is happening and is real. And we’ve tolerated the deniers for far too long in this body. But we have to face the fact that the deniers are wrong. They are just plain dead wrong. And we have to deal with that, and I think some of the courtesies that we have given to one another collegially really have to yield to the fact that some of the things that are being said in the Senate, and occasionally regrettably in this committee chamber, are just plain wrong.” – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), November 29, 2012

From http://www.skepticalscience.com/2012-SkS-Weekly-Digest_48.html

It is a pleasure to read that we have at least one honest politician. Thank you Senator Whitehouse. And speaking of honest politicians, former Vice-President Al Gore sponsors an organization called Climate Reality which trains volunteers to give a presentation on climate change. I’ve seen it three times. It is a visceral description of all of the climate related disasters humans have experienced over the last few years. I recommend attending if you get the chance. Too often we are only aware of those disasters which impact us directly or which impact the United States without realizing that climate change disasters are a global phenomenon. … Continue Reading

Once a Turkey

November 18, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Once a Turkey
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“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

After spending a record amount of money (about $50 per voter in combined Democrat and Republican campaign spending) [1], Republicans are conceding that they suffered a devastating loss on Election Day. Republicans are questioning their “messaging”, strategy and tactics. Some of the party faithful are questioning the choice of “messenger”, whether Romney was too moderate or too far to the right. According to the Washington Post [2] however, they are not questioning their “message”, or the philosophical underpinnings of the party. … Continue Reading

Introducing the Loudoun Transition Initiative

November 13, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Introducing the Loudoun Transition Initiative
Loudoun Transition

By Will Stewart

Will Stewart is an engineer trained in the design of energy generation, HVAC, and solar design. He also is an enthusiastic gardener, fruit and nut landscape designer/orchardist, and all-around supporter of sustainable practices. He is the current president of Sustainable Loudoun and an avid bicycle commuter.

Sustainable Loudoun, George Washington University, and REHAU, are hosting a public forum at the Loudoun George Washington University, Loudoun Campus , 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn VA on the evening of November 30 to discuss the Loudoun Transition Initiative. Co-sponsors include Harris Teeter, providing food and Corcoran Winery providing wine. Doors open Friday, November 30 at 6:00 p.m. In addition to food and refreshments we will have local businesses displaying alternative energy and energy efficiency products. Presentations begin at 7:00 p.m. … Continue Reading

Scientists Measure Minimum Distance between Republicans and Reality: 46.6 billion Light Years

November 1, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Scientists Measure Minimum Distance between Republicans and Reality: 46.6 billion Light Years
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Physicists at Eastern West Virginia University in Martinsburg led by researcher Claude Strudel have established the minimum distance between Republicans and the rest of us by examining their core scientific concepts and comparing them to the physical laws that govern our own universe. They conclude that Republicans must inhabit a parallel or alternate universe, the Republican universe or Re-verse, with entirely different physical laws. This places Republicans at a distance at least half the width of the known universe from the rest of us or more than 46.6 billion light years or more than 274,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Nature Astropsychology. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier

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(to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in January) “The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.” [1]

Pearl Harbor

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By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

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On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States. Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, …

America: Worthy of Our Trust

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel My friend and I sit in a bar near our office. He is upset, bags under his eyes due to lack of sleep. Thursday, our weekly night to meet is usually a happy hour filled with intellectual …

South Riding

South Riding

I should have known that this one would take me far from my contemplative, Zen-inspired comfort zone; after I’d traversed more construction projects than I wanted to tally, competed with hurried, coffee-driven commuters with no time for mere existence, and …

Support Group Help Needed

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Dr. Mike, My son was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, and his pediatrician at that time recommended we try a social skills group for his “immaturity” and “impulsivity.” We did that, and our experience was horrible. The kids in …

The State of Corals

Figure 3 close up view of healthy coral polyps. [9]

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors December 6, 2016) “Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years.” – Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999 [4] Tony Noerpel

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

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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

December 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
November 28, 2016 November 29, 2016 November 30, 2016 December 1, 2016 December 2, 2016 December 3, 2016

Holiday Open House

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

December 4, 2016

Holiday Open House

December 5, 2016 December 6, 2016 December 7, 2016 December 8, 2016 December 9, 2016

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 10, 2016

Holiday Open House

13th Annual Purcellville Christmas Parade

Barrel Tasting Event Saturday

December 11, 2016

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016

Intro to Essential Oils

December 18, 2016
December 19, 2016 December 20, 2016 December 21, 2016 December 22, 2016 December 23, 2016 December 24, 2016 December 25, 2016
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Musikabend

Restore & Renew

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Lifestyle

Farm Bureau President Hopes for Immigration Reform

5 Dec 2016

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Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor told county delegates at the organization’s annual convention in Hot Springs that immigration reform “is an issue that has been delayed too long.” He noted that: “Work will begin on the 2018 Farm Bill next year. This is the most complex federal legislation farmers face, and it typically takes at least two years …

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Northern Virginia Chamber To Host Congressional Roundtable

5 Dec 2016

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The Northern Virginia Chamber will host its annual Congressional Roundtable on Monday, December 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Northern Virginia Chamber in Tysons (7900 Westpark Drive, Suite A550). The dialogue will cover several issues at the intersection of federal policy and business – federal spending, energy, trade policy, the sequestration and the effect on Northern Virginia, transportation, …

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Ugly Christmas Sweater Fad Keeps Growing

30 Nov 2016

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Since 2012, the Re-Love It consignment shop, at 138 N. 21st Street in Purcellville, has developed the reputation as the place to get your Ugly Christmas Sweater in the Metro D.C. area. In that time, Re-Love It has sold more than 3,000 vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters.

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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

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

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We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

It’s Our Right

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On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

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By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Warner Introduces Bill To Help Wells Fargo Victims Get Their Day in Court

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U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced legislation to give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court. The bank was involved in a scandal this year after it was revealed that Wells Fargo employees secretly …

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History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall

outandaboutloudoun

The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

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On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Sports

Accepting Applications for Sports League Funding

30 Nov 2016

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Purcellville is accepting applications from local organizations for its annual sports league funding program. Organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town from the IRS confirming the organization’s tax exempt status in order to …

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Woodgrove High Student Will Pursue Track and Field at George Mason

30 Nov 2016

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Puneet Kaur of Woodgrove High School has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at George Mason University. Kaur has held the school record in shot put since her sophomore year and is looking to throw shotput, hammer, discus and maybe even the javelin …

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