(Black &) Blue, Seeing Red
Good Morning! Tim Jon here for the Blue Ridge Leader Online News. Well, Loudoun’s gone Red again- in a big way- and that means salvation for one and all, according to some of the more rabid supporters of the Grand Old Party in these parts. Yeah, the Republicans took it to the Democrats in this week’s election- adding two more GOP Delegates from our locality- as well as supporting the Big Three Races in Virginia- Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.
The winners say, “People wanted change.”
Boy, I hope so.
If these new leaders can fix all the transportation problems, stop crime, lower taxes, fix the economy, help care for the indigent and helpless portions of the population, keep us healthy and protect the environment all at the same time, then we’ll have something.
A bit unrealistic?
Yeah, I thought so.
I guess all we can hope for is that these folks will do their best to work together to solve as many problems as they can- in so far as they define said problems and agreed-upon solutions.
But, back to the root of the matter, at least for me: who wouldn’t want things to be different?
The economy’s still in the tank, we have some of the worst traffic in the universe, many of us are working two or three jobs just to survive (often without health coverage, I might add), the nation’s involved in two very tragic and complicated wars, the national administration seems to be mired in an eternal healthcare debate and we’re told to buck up and stay strong and remain patient.
I was patient five years ago.
That got us here.
There’s no time for patience, in my opinion; so, anyone who can pick up a shovel and do some honest, cooperative work to make Loudoun County, Virginia a better place to live will get my vote(s) come next election- be it local, state or national.
Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Martian.
Is anybody listening?
Might makes…More Might
Well, I guess you could say it’s a case of power begets more power- as we hear that the Supreme Court upheld a decision for another big, electrical transmission line in Loudoun County. The eminent jurists sided with the State Corporation Commission’s approval of the latest of a series of those frightening-to-some, five hundred kilovolt wire extensions through the southern portion of our locality.
This comes after more than three years of public debate and opposition from a slurry of area antagonists.
Environmentalists, homeowners, parents, local governments, land holders and others formed a sometimes loose alliance of strange bedfellows in fighting this latest proposal from the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company.
The line affects Fauquier, Prince William and Culpeper Counties as well as Loudoun.
The Power companies- every pun intended- say they need more electricity to meet demand; opponents disagree- and ne’er the twain have ever met, or shall in the future, judging from our experience.
The power folks are still battling strong opposition in Maryland and West Virginia- as this project represents a regional extension- quite a massive undertaking.
And don’t expect that this is the last; there’s more to come…there’s money in them there wires.
Read Into It
Hey, here’s a bit of good news: The Gum Spring Library had a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday- with the usual assortment of local officials on hand to see it through.
Er, wait a minute: wasn’t the Gum Spring Library supposed to be done already and open last year?
Well, yeah. At least that was the plan; y’see, this was one of those public/private partnership deals- between the County Government (us) and Van Metre Homes.
Well, the homebuilders ran into the same economic challenges that the rest of the known world encountered in recent times, so the Library project got put on hold until they could sell enough units to afford to construct the critter.
At least, that’s the story I’m told.
Well, here we are in November of 2009, breaking ground, at least, on a building that the County thought would have been up and in use for a year.
Like I said, it’s a bit of good news.
Keep on truckin.’
Pay as you Go
Got yer seat belt on? Well, if you’re at home, pour yourself an adult beverage and listen in: remember when we talked about the rate structure for the Dulles Toll Road, this past summer- and we warned you not to be too surprised if they caught you in the seat of the pants?
Well, here we are: y’sure ya want to hear this, now?
OK- plan on another quarter to drive the road- starting the First of the Year.
But that’s not the end of it- not by a long shot: ya gotta dig for another two bits a year later- and another the year after that- if we should be so fortunate as to still be driving the toll road and enjoying this bountiful existence in Northern Virginia.
But, hey- you know what?
The Airports Authority- the guys who hold the keys to the city as far as the Toll Road’s concerned- say they need the extra change so they can complete some big-time projects- many of them at Dulles Airport- like the soon-to-be-up-and-running underground train system to get us around the terminal and concourse areas.
You know what?
I believe ‘em.
They’ve got a good track record for running the airports- and for getting stuff done.
Look at it this way- how many local projects is that Australian outfit- the ones who own the Greenway- what kind of projects are they working on with their profits?
I’ll take the Airports Authority- and their toll increases- and their capital projects- like Dulles Rail- an actual alternative to the Toll Road, once it’s finished.
OK, maybe those state politicians we elected on Tuesday can figure out how we can drive those roads for free- and build and maintain all those transportation projects.
Ya got any other good ones?
Three men walk into a bar…
Bridges to the Future
OK- some unadulterated, unfiltered, honest-to-goodness good news: we’re getting some money to fix a coupla bridges in Loudoun County. Here’s a test: you drive the local roads- which two bridges do you think they’d pick?
Well, I know a few on Snickersville Turnpike that could use some help- and one on the western portion of Paxson Road that’s a real experience.
But they stumped me- the money’s going for one on Airmont Road- just south of the Airmont Store off Snickerslle- over Butcher’s Creek, and for another in Eastern Loudoun- along Pleasant Valley Road- near the County Line- at Sand Branch- just east of the Dulles Industrial Park South.
Can’t say I can place that one, but I’m sure it’s in need of repair .
Oh- no word yet on whether these are total replacements or just prop-ups.
You want to see a really bad bridge?
Head west on Lime Kiln Road- off Route 15, just south of Oatlands.
Right after the sharp right and left curves, you’ll see a string of mailboxes on the left side of the road.
The folks who live on the other side of Goose Creek have a real nightmare of a bridge- remember Galloping Gertie on the west coast?
Well, this one’s in permanent sway.
It’s worth the drive and the shudder.
It’s private- thank God it’s off-limits for most men, women and children.
Ain’t Loudoun County a special place?
Oh, the latest on Swine Flu Shots: they held a special clinic this weekend for people in what they deem high risk groups: basically for pregnant women, kids between the ages of two and nine- and/or kids from four to 18 with medical conditions.
The County Health Department set up shop at Smart’s Mill Middle School- on the north side of Leesburg- yesterday morning- with a supply of about two thousand doses.
These were free for local residents; the County plans to have more of these clinics- and not just for high-risk groups- as soon as they get some more vaccine.
Where’s Louie Pasteur when ya need him?
For today’s Rembrandt’s, Ray’s and Rockwell’s
Here’s one for the artiste in all of us- howsoever hidden it may be: Loudoun County got its own Art Institute- a place of higher learning for the creatively inclined.
It’s officially called the Art Institute of Washington-Northern Virginia; I guess that means of Washington in Northern Virginia- not Washington and Northern Virginia.
We’re definitely a spin-off- not a real partner.
But that’s OK- we got us a real, sure-enough art institute- just like those big cities.
The facility’s not the usual Greek columned, marble-halled affair- it’s in that place they call the Neon Building off Route 28- in the Corporate Office Park at Dulles Town Center in Sterling.
They’ve got about 19 thousand square feet on the first floor.
Students can pursue Bachelor’s or Associate Degrees- in what we used to call ‘commercial art’ as opposed to the more basic drawing and painting (generally taken up by future janitors).
Programs include Advertising, Fashion & Retail Management,Graphic and Interior Design, Media Arts and Animation, Photographic Imaging, and Web Design and Interactive Media; Associate Degree programs focus on Graphic Design or Web Design and Interactive Media.
You know what, though?
I hope some of those students have a shabby little studio somewhere that’s filled with those messy, smelly oil paints and dusty charcoal and pastel chalk materials.
I bet some of ‘em do.
So Long, It’s Been
Well, that’s all for today, boys and girls. Till next time- keep your eyes peeled for those unique people and places in Loudoun County- ’cause you know- we’ll eventually be talkin’ about ‘em.
It’s often the ditches that make the road worthwhile.
I’m Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader Online News.
Thanks for bein’ part of it.