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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
noerpel150

“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

Contest Winner and the Last Deglaciation

contest

I hope this isn’t too confusing and I don’t want to repeat all the details here as you can read the articles and comments yourselves and ask questions on the comments section. In the comments section to my last article on April 25 [1], “Klem” commented: “there is NO WAY to conclude from the BEST study that it is caused, or isn’t caused, by human emissions.” And a few lines later he or she wrote this; “Good question, perhaps 800 years I would guess. Since that is roughly how long it takes for CO2 to respond to earlier temperature changes.” There is an embedded (and amusing) contradiction between these two statements. If you reread the entire exchange from my April 17th article [2] and my April 25th article plus the comments it should be easy to spot. In my reply, I offered a growler of Loudoun County’s own Corcoran Beer to the first person to discover Klem’s self-contradiction. I hasten to add that I am not trying to embarrass Klem, whom I really don’t know and who’s comments I enjoy receiving. But I thought this would be an excellent learning tool to get people to think critically and skeptically about our climate or indeed about anything. Skeptical thinking is in short supply in America, sadly and I was kind of hoping Klem would see his/her error and go for the win him/herself. In retrospect announcing the contest in the comments section was probably not a good idea. … Continue Reading

Global Warming Discovered – Again

proved1

“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Mark Twain

Years ago I was invited to attend a debate hosted by the MIT Alumni Association about global warming. The contrarian was to be the tobacco lobbyist and professional denier S. Fred Singer. I don’t recall the scientist who would be defending scientific reality but anybody committed to telling the truth would have a hard time debating someone whose profession is making stuff up. Singer’s abstract identified three key points: … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

noerpel_new

Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those …

Sugar Crash

Lunde new

Sugar runs inside our body and fuels our very being. In biology they teach us that sugar is really glucose which is broken down in the body to produce ATP (adenine tri-phosphate). So why bring this up? Well, sugar is …

The Art of Memory

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel Still Alice. A movie that not only elicits tears, but naturally incurs reflection. This heartrending movie was the starting point of a personal wrestling with the implications of human memory. Remembering can bring us back to a …

Living in Debt

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, …

June in the Garden

juneingarden flowers

Conserve Water, Beat the Heat and Keep Things Blooming By Andrea Gaines It’s getting hot out there. And, there’s nothing more discouraging for a gardener that to come home after a weekend away – or miss a regular watering schedule …

Potoma Wayside

potoma wayside

My advice is: Don’t look straight down; the combination of rushing highway traffic a couple of feet away and, what’s – to me, anyway – a dizzying height, can produce some unsettling sensations. I came to this conclusion after walking …

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

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Thank You Purcellville Voters

kelligrim

I would like to thank you, the Purcellville voters, for your tremendous support of my campaign for Town Council.  I appreciate that so many of you put signs in your …

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 …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

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

benkellog

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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Calendar

June 2016
M T W T F S S
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Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

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Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

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

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

Free Gardening Lecture

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

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

Yard Sale

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

PAUL REISLER TRIO WITH LEA MORRIS AND MARSHALL KEYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19th Annual Cajun Festival & Crawfish Boil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goats at BRNP

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

Bring Dad to North Gate Vineyard

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

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

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

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

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

June Fourth Friday at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

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

Love, He Called It

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

Sip & Paint at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Lifestyle

Troy and Paula Haag Perform at Old Stone School

9 Jun 2016

troy and paula haag 1a

Troy and Paula Haag, will appear on The Gap Stage at the Old Stone School on Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Dinner will be sold by Big Mike’s BBQ, drinks will be sold by the glass, and there will be desserts at intermission. Troy and Paula will be joined by Max Haag …

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Here’s To the Colorists, Manicurists and Blow Dry Mavens… Thanks for Listening!

1 Jun 2016

hair color

Sunday, June 26 is Beauticians Day, celebrating the cosmetology and other experts who keep us looking and feeling our best – whether it’s with a haircut and style, a facial, a manicure, or just some quiet and light conversation.

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Wait. Something That’s Really Healthy Can Be Really Fun … Too?

1 Jun 2016

poolsafety2

Parents of small children, and property owners with pools, ponds and other water features know that swimming safety is a must. You need to have clear rules about how ponds, pools and other places are to be used, and when. Safety equipment needs to be up to date and accessible, and it is critical that there be a responsible adult …

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Around Virginia

HUD Awards $2 Million in Housing Counseling Grants To Virginia

Kaine

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Catholic Charities USA, headquartered in Alexandria, will receive $951,150 in federal funding, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority, located in Richmond, will receive $1,040,918. This nearly $2 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) …

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Four Hop, Skip and a Jump Local Destinations

morven

Last month we encouraged our readers to consider visiting any one of five great destinations within just a stone’s throw of Loudoun’s history-lined borders – Berryville and Harper’s Ferry among them. This month we feature four destinations – two right here in our much-celebrated county, and two just over the …

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Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

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Sports

The Lady Vikings Earned Back-to Back Conference Title

1 Jun 2016

lvhs

The Lady Vikings earned the back-to back conference title with a 4-1 win over Heritage in late May. The team earned a first round playoff bye finishing first in the conference and then went on to defeat Rock Ridge 12-0 in the conference semi-finals. The Lady Vikings ended their regular …

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Big Baseball Coming To Fireman’s Field

1 Jun 2016

purcellville cannons

Got Your Father’s Day Gift Lined Up Yet? The Purcellville Cannons’ Brett Fuller couldn’t be happier. He’s the owner of one of the most popular teams in the Valley Baseball League. The team, up until recently was called the Charles Town Cannons but now calls Purcellville its home.

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