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An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

May 5, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville
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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 changes are similar to the changes that occurred in 2008 which gave us a six story project on 21st Street. By that we mean the town council at the time, based on developer input changed the height restrictions on 21st Street from 32 feet to 65 feet. … Continue Reading

Correct Course and Review the Comprehensive Plan

January 6, 2015 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 1 comment
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Like a ship lost at sea, many residents of Purcellville see the development patterns in and around town as having drifted dangerously off course.

The Autumn Hill/Mayfair development – which resulted in the annexation of previously open land, is one example of this drift. The Vineyard Square development project, which, if built, will in one fell swoop fundamentally and permanently degrade the historic nature of Purcellville’s downtown.

Town-based communities in Loudoun County are required to develop the planning and zoning document known as a Comprehensive Plan – a blueprint that directs both where and how development will occur, and provides protection for the historic and environmental resources communities have identified as essential to how they see themselves today and want to define themselves in the future. … Continue Reading

Debt, Debt and, More Debt … Or, Is There an Alternative?

December 10, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Debt, Debt and, More Debt … Or, Is There an Alternative?
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The entire trajectory of the Town of Purcellville can be summarized in one word. Debt.

The massive debt the town incurred to build the wastewater treatment plant – which currently operates at just 40 percent capacity – stands at $33 million. There was a $6 million mandated upgrade to the facility – which was paid for with a taxpayer funded grant. But, the balance of the $33 million spent was a choice by the town to dramatically increase the capacity of the facility- on the hope that the rapid growth in and around Purcellville would continue. Tap fees – the cost to be hooked up the system – now run about fifty thousand dollars apiece. And, that would keep the debt manageable.

But with the additional extravagant and ill-advised spending by the town (including the $8.5 million for the new town hall) and the housing crash recession, town debt has now ballooned to $61 million in less than a decade …

There is no looking back, but there is a way to look forward. … Continue Reading

I Wanna Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Undo It

August 6, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 1 comment
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There’s a popular country western song that tells the story of a young woman who gets swept up in a night of partying and wakes up to find she has a ring on her finger, a new last name and a new husband. Knowing she had been duped but determined to take her future back, she proclaims “Boy you blew it, you put me through it I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it.”

Many people in Purcellville feel the same way about the 100,000 square foot Vineyard Square mixed-use development project … a project which, once the zoning party got started moved from one excess to another, wedding the citizens and taxpayers of Purcellville to a decidedly unattractive future for their historic downtown. … Continue Reading

There’s a New Gang in Town – And Isn’t It Time?

June 3, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 4 comments
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For many, the recent town-wide elections in Purcellville present all of western Loudoun with a significant opportunity to launch a more citizen-focused future.

On July 1 there will be a new mayor and a decidedly different balance of power on the Purcellville Town Council, as four new members with fresh policy views join the group.

Growth is here and will continue. But, the question of exactly where that growth will occur, whom it will benefit and who will pay for it now has the opportunity to be answered – out in the open. … Continue Reading

Will the Voter’s Changing Mood Express Itself on May 6?

April 30, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Will the Voter’s Changing Mood Express Itself on May 6?
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Interesting …
Businesses and homeowners in Purcellville took up the cause of parents to the east, west, north and south fighting to save their small schools.

If you drove through the village of Hamilton to the east and the village of Lincoln to the south you saw signs of every kind demanding to “Save Lincoln Elementary,” “Vote For Kids,” “Save Hamilton Elementary,” and “Small Schools = No New Debt.” And, then those same signs started popped up in Purcellville proper. And, then there was a very-well attended school board meeting on Monday, April 21, followed by a 6-3 vote on Tuesday, April 22 which settled, for now, whether these small community-based schools would close. And, the answer was, NO. … Continue Reading

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

March 4, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 3 comments
viewfromridge

In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park.
Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts center. A community pool complex. Beautiful natural areas. Walking paths. A frisbee golf course. Tennis courts. Campfire and grill pavilions. Baseball and soccer fields. It, in short, is a really wonderful place, purchased, crafted and planned by a board of supervisors with active community involvement. A community that knew what it wanted and worked, through its government, to get it done. … Continue Reading

Purcellville’s Broken Heart

February 5, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 9 comments
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It is both interesting and so disheartening to read Wikipedia’s description of the place known as Purcellville.

It describes how in 1764 the town’s first known settler, James Dillon made his way here from Buck’s County, Pa. How an “early ox cart track” stretching west from Leesburg toward the Blue Ridge Mountains served as “the nucleus” of the town. How the first recorded business – “a combined store and inn” – arrived in 1799, followed by Purcel’s Store and Post Office, the town’s first stagecoach delivery (1841), a blacksmith’s shop (1848), and the first public school (1883). And, how on March 14, 1908, the town was incorporated by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. … Continue Reading

A Citizen-Directed Future for Western Loudoun?– What It Will Take

January 8, 2014 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on A Citizen-Directed Future for Western Loudoun?– What It Will Take
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The Blue Ridge Leader’s View From The Ridge feature was introduced in 1984.?This feature is intended to present to the public our big picture assessment of what is going on in our western Loudoun community – an independent and spirited assessment, free of the special interests that seek to control the day. As we begin 2014, we recommit ourselves to being that independent voice for you.

Why Is An Independent Voice So Important To Western Loudoun?

All communities, even small ones, have centers of power. As the people run their businesses and live their lives, it’s up to government, even if it is a small town council or county board of supervisors, to make sure everyone’s getting a fair shake. And, it’s up to the news media to make sure government is doing its job and conducting its business out in the open, while providing citizens a microphone with which to express their views.

This is critical in a fast growing community such as western Loudoun where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake in land deals, residential and commercial development and political favors. And, it is absolutely urgent in a political atmosphere where town councils and boards of supervisors seem more interested in greasing the skids for developers than in serving the public. … Continue Reading

The Last Hardware Store?

November 6, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 3 comments
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In their 2011 documentary The Last Hardware Store, noted portrait photographer and executive producer Sarah Huntington, director and veteran videographer Peter Buck and well-known advertising agency owner and writer/editor Drew Babb tell the nearly 100-year-old story of Nichols Hardware.

Representing, in many ways, the commercial lynchpin of Purcellville’s Historic District, Nichols Hardware is remarkable not only for the fact that it will celebrate it’s 100th anniversary next year, but also for the fact that you and I, old timers and newcomers alike can walk into Nichols today and experience the same thing a customer in the early part of the 20th Century would have experienced. Personal service. Quality products. Problem solving for that pesky household job.

Just as Nichols advertised back in the day, “We have the largest and most compete stock of hardware and furniture in the county … “ so goes the Nichols story today – not withstanding the product selection, size and reach of big box stores such as Home Depot. … Continue Reading

It’s Not “Time For Compromise”

July 2, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 28 comments
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The photo op tents are in place and the state and local government officials, local business leaders and more are lined up – current and former mayors of Purcellville, Virginia Transportation officials, members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, local developers.

The press is here, and a broad white ribbon has been pulled across part of the Southern Collector Road. Bob Lazaro, the Mayor of Purcellville has conducted his ceremonial ribbon cutting signaling that the road is open, and a muted moment of hand-clapping has blown off into the warm June breeze.

Yes, the Southern Collector Road is open and ready for our cars and trucks and commercial vehicles. And, it’s a big, beautiful wide and majestic road. … Continue Reading

What Is Our Vision For The Future?

May 3, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 1 comment
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On a beautiful spring day like today – or on any of the beautiful days we’ve experienced here in western Loudoun County lately – it’s hard to imagine that one morning you might wake up and wish things were different.

The sun is out and the weekend is here. You’ve got lots of errands to run but that’s OK. You’ll hit more traffic than you are used to if you head into Purcellville or Leesburg, or Tyson’s Corner, but you’ll put up with it. Once back home, maybe you’ll do a little gardening, take your kids to practice and then take a walk around the neighborhood, or maybe you’ll head out to a winery or a local farm to enjoy what the still rural aspects of our area have to offer.

Yes, it’s pretty nice living here in western Loudoun County. And, although everyone knows big changes are afoot, you don’t get the sense those changes will one day shock you.

But flash forward a year or two, or three, to Saturday, April 27, 2014 … or 2015 … or 2016 and imagine this scenario.

Your favorite old farm, the one trying to continue operations despite the road that was going through it, finally gave up and closed. Your favorite old time hardware is closed down, too – seemingly benign changes to the old downtown made it too difficult for their suppliers to get in and out of their loading dock. The woods that your yard backs up to got replaced. And, not just by another subdivision, but a huge apartment complex. The “back way,” that gravel road you’d take to avoid the more congested commuting routes has been made wider and is now paved; no longer a road that blends into its rural surroundings, it’s now just something that gets you from Point A to Point B. Looking out toward the west one night, instead of rolling hills and rooftops and the occasional horse farm, you see a big parking lot full of cars.

As we all enjoy our beautiful western Loudoun community today, new development projects in the works, new roads, and changes to how zoning decisions are made and government interacts with its citizenry are acting against the vision that is our rural and small town, quiet village way of life.
This includes the proposed 176-unit Catoctin Creek Apartments complex in Purcellville; changes to the town’s comprehensive and zoning plans; elimination of the special exception process, resulting in less public input on big box stores and other zoning changes; the Catoctin Corner commercial development that will add more drive-thrus and commercial strips near the entrance to Purcellville; the new hotel (or retail/condos) and parking complex planned for downtown Purcellville, and the plan to widen and level out this historic area’s sidewalks … all in the name of a new “Tourist District.”

And, then, for people in Purcellville and the communities within the town’s sphere of influence – including the towns of Hamilton and Round Hill and the villages of Lincoln, Philomont and Paeonion Springs, Waterford and others – will we see the open space buffers that now separate them from Purcellville shrink to the point where you don’t have a sense of being in a distinct community at all, and western Loudoun looks more like a Leesburg or an Ashburn? (Nice places to live, but not necessarily what you had in mind when you came here or chose to stay as a long term resident of the area.)

As newer residents and as long time residents, as we enjoy what we came here for and stayed here for, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are good forces of change and bad forces of change.

High-density development without regard to the quality of life of those around that development is not inevitable, unless we decide it should be.
Excessive new commercial development that enriches big national chains at the expense of smaller downtown businesses is the way most communities are going these days, but it doesn’t have to be the way western Loudoun goes.

Our agricultural heritage – and the local economic engine it represents – can be ours to cultivate and keep, if that’s what we want. (A Purcellville planning commissioner recently said that he couldn’t see a farm in town … is that how you feel?)

We elect our public officials to reflect what we want … and we should hold them to task.

We should be able to wake up on April 27, 2016, and know that, while we saw lots of change in western Loudoun, it matched our vision for where we wanted to live and what we came and stayed here for.

Spirit and Place Worth Protecting

April 3, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Columns, View From the Ridge 1 comment
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Long time residents of our area – and even folks who moved here recently – describe the place known as western Loudoun with great fondness. There can be lots to be discouraged about – the loss of one’s favorite dirt road, the coming down of an old barn, fast food restaurants where that old mom and pop luncheonette used to be …

But, while there are things to be discouraged about – things that we hope against hope (maybe unrealistically) will never change – every once in a while something happens that reminds you how very special western Loudoun really is. Something that motivates you not just to consider the positives, but to act in a way that cultivates and sustains them. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Shell Games

16 Jun 2015

noerpel150

“Let me be very very clear, for us climate change is real and it’s a threat that we want to act on. We’re not aligning with skeptics.” – Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell [1] “What …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Worried About Mid-life Crisis

3 Jun 2015

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Dr. Mike, I think my husband is going through a mid-life crisis, and I’m worried. It started about two years ago. He tries to get away from the kids and me every chance he gets on the weekend. He complains …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Brandon Park

3 Jun 2015

timjon

Considering its location – amidst the swirl of transportation axes, commercial and industrial scenery, residential neighborhoods, and the shadow of the busy downtown section of Leesburg, I was surprised to have this quiet little oasis of (mostly) green to myself …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Telegraph Springs Road

6 May 2015

timjon

There’s one guy out here who proudly informs all visitors arriving at his locked gate (at the end of a short driveway) that he owns a firearm and a backhoe; I’ve got a mental note to avoid this address at …

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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

donnawilliamson

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

Good Character Takes Work

3 Jun 2015

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel How is character developed? It is a simple question that requires, I suspect, a somewhat complicated answer. New York Times columnist David Brooks gives us profiles of the mental and moral qualities distinctive to great leaders in …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

Challenges for Blended Families

3 Jun 2015

Smith0035

By Amy & Dan Smith The blended family has become more the norm than the exception in our society. As with most second marriages, Amy and I came into our marriage with our own children, our own careers and our …

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Student News

Woodgrove High School Senior Garner Signs With Wheaton

2 Apr 2015

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Woodgrove High School senior, Kristen Garner, has signed to swim with Wheaton College in Ilinois She is the first Woodgrove swimmer to sign with a college and will compete on Wheaton’s NCAA Division III team. “I am incredibly honored to …

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Buchanan Earns Eagle Rank

1 Apr 2015

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Harry Buchanan, V, from Waterford, earned his Boy Scout Eagle Rank three days before his 18th birthday. The Eagle Rank is the highest rank from the Boy Scouts of America to award.  Less than 2 percent of all Boy Scouts …

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Loudoun Student Awarded Environmental Scholarship

6 Jul 2014

Allison_Arpajian

American Disposal Services is proud to announce Allison Arpajian, the Loudoun County recipient of their Annual American Disposal Services Inc. Scholarship. Applications were distributed to all public high schools in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. One winner was chosen from each …

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Events

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

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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Garden Party

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: READERS THEATER

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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

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

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Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

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

It’s Time We Invest in Public Education

3 Jun 2015

chuck hedges

By Chuck Hedges Delegate David LaRock believes in school choice. So do I. Delegate David LaRock is concerned about children with special needs. So am I. But that’s where our agreement ends. I have worked with children with special needs for some two years. I know the joy that comes with offering an effective program for these children. For 95 …

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Lifestyle

Kids Across Loudoun County to Perform in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr.

18 Jun 2015

LittleMermaidPR

Kids from more than 17 elementary, middle, and high schools from across Loudoun County will be spending their summer “under the sea” as part of Loudoun Centre Theatre’s summer production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. “We had no idea that kids would come from all over the county to audition for the show,” explains Jeffrey Taylor, Loudoun Centre Theatre’s …

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Team Mathias 5K and Family Fun Run To Be Held June 13

12 Jun 2015

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Team Mathias and Be The Match are excited to co-host this year’s 5K and Family Fun Run to raise awareness for childhood cancer on Saturday, June 13, at the Village at Leesburg. The race will start at 8:30am. It will be a family fun event with activities for all ages with music, lots of kid’s activities, food and fun. Smokehouse …

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Next Loudoun County Household Hazardous Waste Event Set for June 27

12 Jun 2015

Loudoun County Seal Color

Loudoun residents are invited to participate in the next Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at Freedom High School, 25450 Riding Center Drive in South Riding. Loudoun residents are welcome to bring Household Hazardous Waste from their homes to these events. Typical HHW includes: fluorescent bulbs, household batteries, oil-based paints/stains/varnishes, paint …

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Wild Loudoun

Belted Kingfisher – Streamside Rock Star

3 Jun 2015

wildloudoun

It’s hard to say what you noticed first. The cool blue streak of color. The piecing cry – a sharp rattle – here one second and gone the next. The splashy exit as a very spirited bird made off with a very unlucky fish. These are the behaviors, sights and sounds of the belted kingfisher, one of our local waterways’ …

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Around Virginia

Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

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On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Bipartisan Legislation Hopes To Reduce Wasteful Spending

blueridge2

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up on a bipartisan proposal to empower federal workers to identify and cut down on unnecessary federal spending. The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act of 2015 would build on existing law by expanding a program that allows U.S. government …

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Sports

WLVBC Ignite Takes 2nd at Tournament

13 May 2015

Ignite Takes Silver at Spring Fling resized

Western Loudoun Volleyball Club U15 Team Ignite placed second at the NVVA 15’s Spring Fling Volleyball Tournament on Sunday, May 10 at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg. Ignite met the host team, NVVA 15 Fairfax Black, in the finals. “I’m proud of each player for pushing hard through 10 …

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Valley Lady Laxers Off to a Strong Start

6 May 2015

ladieslacrosse

By Mac Shuford The Loudoun Valley Ladies’ Lacrosse Team is off to a strong 5-2 start this year with their recent victories over district foes Dominion and Park View. After losing seven starters to graduation off last year’s state runner up campaign, Coach Tracey Albro has been busy rebuilding her …

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Mary Rose Lunde

The Summer Semester Is No Break

3 Jun 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde So, what should a college student do with their summer? The appropriate response is relax; summer is meant to be a break complete with sleeping until noon each day and marathons of episodes on Netflix. Instead of doing this however, many college students wake up earlier …

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Sarah's Closet

Summer White Out

3 Jun 2015

sarahsclosetlogo

By Sarah Nearis Good fashion has a feeling. As we head into June and the warmer summer months, the feeling you want is one of being cool, easily put together, and comfortable. White has a way of cultivating that cool, comfortable feeling. A crisp pair of white capris. A simple …

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Letters

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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Minimum Wage: A Wrench in the Gears

3 Jun 2015

Dave_larock

By Delegate Dave LaRock You may have read in the news recently that the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles, voted to raise …

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No Tax Increases

1 Apr 2015

speak

– By Delegate Dave LaRock I’ve heard it said that elections should be held on April 16 so that people would cast their vote while …

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