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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
noerpel150

“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
noerpel150

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

Sea Ice in Free Fall and 100 Million Little Boys

October 23, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Sea Ice in Free Fall and 100 Million Little Boys
noerpel

“Arctic sea ice extent averaged for September 2012 was 3.61 million square kilometers (1.39 million square miles). This was 3.43 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average extent. September 2012 ice extent was 690,000 square kilometers (266,000 square miles) less than the previous record low for the month that occurred in 2007.” – From the National Snow and Ice Center web site [1] … Continue Reading

The Real Romney

October 6, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Real Romney
Real_Romney

“A rise of twenty meters would roughly approximate to the sea level some three million years ago, in the Pliocene Epoch, before the beginning of the Ice Ages. This is probably a conservative mid- to long term projection for global warming.” Jan Zalasiewicz [1]

The Reality

In my last article [2] I wrote that five meters or 17 feet of sea level rise was locked in. Of course, this estimate is at the low end of probability. Eventually sea level rise will likely be much higher, given the penchant of us humans to exploit everything in sight, and is highly unlikely to be lower. My time frame for achieving the 5 meter mark is one or two centuries but it keeps on rising after that. The consequences for our economy will be devastating, putting to bed all the silly economic arguments for not addressing climate change as these are based on deeply discounting the future or ignoring it altogether [3]. It also contradicts the Republican Party platform [4] which, in its only mention of climate change, criticizes President Obama for spending some inadequate amount of money worrying about it. Such expenditure we are reminded threatens our national security, as presumably our money would be better spent fighting yet another war for even more oil against yet another country which poses no threat to us. As you might expect, the Pentagon disagrees with the Republican Party position recognizing climate change as a national security threat. The Pentagon Quadrennial Defense Review Report published in February 2010 [5] states: “Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.” … Continue Reading

Last Tango in Tampa

September 11, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on Last Tango in Tampa
noerpel150

“It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running….this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. [Civilization] is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned.” – Astronomer Fred Hoyle.

I can see where this is going to be a pretty distressing read for anybody who is unaware of the consequences of climate change. I would remind you that we still are a very cool species. We are the only species to have been able to read rocks with enough competence to determine our possible fates. And we’ve managed to do it with enough time to positively act and change course. If we do drive ourselves into extinction, you can blame evolution. We are after all only what we are and evolution does not require perfection only adequacy. And it is fine to get angry with the people who are driving us there and it is quite within bounds to ridicule them. It will make you feel better and they deserve it. But there really is no “they”. We are all in this together. When I ridicule George Will, I am equally ridiculing the George Will within me. And with that, be joyful, be kind and read on. … Continue Reading

Check Sources and Follow the Money

August 23, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on Check Sources and Follow the Money
noerpel

“Educate yourself. …give yourself a way of discerning between lies and misinformation you are fed each second of every day and truth as best as you can establish it by whatever means.” Tad Patzek [1]

Tad Patzek is the Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Professor and Chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also one of the first scientists to analyze the inefficiency of using corn to make ethanol. He found himself taking on the powerful Archer Daniel Midland Corporation. Though a person in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s view, ADM has been accused, sometimes sued, indicted and convicted, of everything from child slavery, price fixing, destroying rain forests and stealing from taxpayers [2]. You might think of ADM as just another “person” lacking moral judgment or you may wish to think of ADM as simply a corporation and not a person at all. … Continue Reading

On Thinking Part Two

noerpel

“It is paradoxical that the most successful mammalian species, Homo sapiens, should be the one harboring the vast majority of false beliefs.” Wallace Mattson, 2012 [1]

I have one very good friend who reads my drafts and gives me feedback: inevitably good advice though I don’t always heed it. One of his recent suggestions was the observation that if I wanted to influence global warming deniers I might refrain from calling them deniers and instead refer to them as skeptics as they prefer to be called. He has a point. It is easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar, though they also are attracted to feces and stools. My objection to this advice, as good as it may be, is twofold. First, we’ve been referring to deniers as skeptics for the last thirty years to no obvious beneficial effect. Reality continues to spiral out of control and they continue to deny. Second, it is dishonest. While it may on occasion be justified to adopt a dishonest policy if we think it might work, dishonesty can never be a good idea when it is clearly ineffective. Why has calling deniers “skeptics” failed? … Continue Reading

On Thinking

July 8, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on On Thinking
global_warming_map

The U.S. surface temperature map from Unisys at 4 pm, June 29,2012, shows 100° temperatures stretching almost continuously from California eastward to the Carolinas. (Source: Capital Climate) “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Doug Kammerer [1].

“Whenever people sense the presence of a puzzling and momentous force, they want to believe there is a way to comprehend it.” Richard Wright [2]. … Continue Reading

Consequences of Velocity (Beetles and Sea Level)

beetles

“Humans now dominate the Earth, changing it in ways that threaten its ability to sustain us and other species.” Anthony Barnosky and co-authors [1].

Regards the increasingly rapid human caused warming that I’ve been writing about, there is a new paper published in the American Geophysical Society’s flagship publication Geophysical Research Letters, by Anais J. Orsi, Bruce D. Cornuelle, and Jeffrey P. Severinghaus from Scripps Institution of Oceanography [2]. The authors are reporting on measurements of historic atmospheric temperature conducted at an ice core drilling site on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). These authors conclude: “This record also confirms the work of Steig et al. [3], showing that WAIS Divide has been warming by 0.23 +/- 0.08 degrees C per decade over 1957–2007 C.E. This warming trend has accelerated to 0.8 +/- 0.06 degrees C per decade over the last 20 years (1987–2007).” That these new measurements agree with prior measurements (those of Steig et al. [3]) gives us confidence in the results. What is significant is that the warming of West Antarctica is accelerating. … Continue Reading

A Page from the Story of Earth

May 22, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Page from the Story of Earth
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“The rates of such changes, not the changes themselves, should be our biggest concern. For climate, sea level, and ecosystems can reach tipping points. Pushed too far, positive feedback loops can kick in. What normally takes a thousand years could transpire in a decade or two.” Robert Hazen [1]

In my recent articles, I have been discussing the ongoing rate of the anthropogenic or human-caused changes in Earth’s climate. We are warming the planet at a rate of 2.76 degrees Celsius per century (NASA GISS and NOAA results but also confirmed by the denier study BEST [2]) which is unprecedented in the last 300 million years of Earth history. The only plausible explanation is the greenhouse gases we are emitting into the atmosphere also at a rate unrivaled in the last 300 million years. In fact scientists once believed that the extinction event 55 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) would be a good analogue for what we are doing today as it was believed to be the most rapid climate disruption in Earth’s history [3]. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

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?

Michael_Pic

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, …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

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

adamspromoted

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

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

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Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

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Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

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August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

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

shorthillmeeting

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

speak

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

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 …

Around Virginia

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

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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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

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 …

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State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

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Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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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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