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Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

August 7, 2015 Your Money Comments Off on Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

By B. Brandon Barker

The stats are real: 67 percent of people are viewing your website for the first time on a mobile device. For some potential customers, it’s a huge inconvenience (and sometimes a deal breaker) when they can’t find your products or location from a few taps on their phone. Almost 50 percent of e-commerce activity is mobile, and an increasing number of shoppers exclusively shop on mobile devices.

What makes a website mobile-friendly? In a nutshell, it needs to be readable and clickable from a small, handheld screen – a mobile phone or a tablet.

According to the Google Blog, a page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot: … Continue Reading

What You Don’t Know About Propane – But Should

December 10, 2014 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on What You Don’t Know About Propane – But Should

Answers And Insights That Could Save You Thousands
An Interview With Dale Schultz

Where Does Propane Come From?
Dale Schultz: Propane is a by-product of drilling for Natural Gas (Methane). All propane in our area comes from North America. The U.S. is a net exporter of propane, primarily to Central and South America. The propane is separated from the methane, butane, and ethane at the refinery. Propane is transported to our area via rail and pipelines.

Is Propane less costly than home heating oil and diesel fuel?
DS: Adjusted for BTUs, propane is about $1.00/gallonless than either home heating oil or diesel. This why school districts around the country are converting their school bus fleets to operate on propane. It is not only saving them money, but equally important propane burns cleaner than diesel. … Continue Reading

Looking Long Term … Towards Solar Power

October 1, 2014 Your Money Comments Off on Looking Long Term … Towards Solar Power

Is solar power coming? Nationwide statistics indicate that the national answer question is “yes.” A first-ever Solar Home & Winery Tour in Loudoun County – held in September – is a sign that more and more people in the county are looking into solar power.

With respect to Virginia, the Solar Energies Industry Association reports that the state ranks only 27th nationally in the growth of solar power. However, a quick look at a map of the state shows a large cluster of solar-related companies – including manufacturers, contractor/installers, project developers and engineering professionals – in the northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland region. So, the market is there. Virginia ranks second out of five categories in terms of how affordable residential solar power installation is. While solar power can dramatically reduce your energy bills, the average cost of residential system in not insignificant – $10,000–$15,000 in our state. … Continue Reading

The Builder’s Wife: The Evolution of Green

May 2, 2012 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on The Builder’s Wife: The Evolution of Green

By Cathy Little

There’s a lot of talk these days about Going Green. But, how much of it is reasonable and useful to do?  Can we be kinder to the environment and reduce our utility bills without spending too much green to go green?!

Due to industry innovation many green technologies have improved in efficiency and come down in price in the last few years.

Others are not yet practical options for Northern Virginia. … Continue Reading

Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks

Amy Smith-BRL

Meet Amy Smith, our newest columnist who will write here each month on how to plan for an independent financial future. She will give special attention to the needs of pre-retirees and widowed and divorced women.

It’s hard to take up the subject of financial planning these days when so many individuals and families have been hit so hard by the recession. And yet, there’s probably no better time to begin to look ahead than right now.

As J. Pierpont Morgan, a gentleman who knew a fair bit about money, said, “The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” … Continue Reading

Belt-tightening Homeowners Discover the Value of Do-It-Yourself Painting

October 28, 2010 Business, News, Your Money Comments Off on Belt-tightening Homeowners Discover the Value of Do-It-Yourself Painting

By Debbie Zimmer

Declining home values, tight credit, and concern about the jobs picture are causing homeowners to scale back their remodeling plans, according to industry sources. At the same time, more consumers are discovering the satisfaction and cost-savings to be had with do-it-yourself painting. “While economic stress has taken its toll on consumer spending, people still want their homes to look attractive,” says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute. “For many homeowners, the solution is to take things into their own hands and do their remodeling with paint.”

The economic benefit of sprucing up with paint is apparent when you consider the average cost of remodeling a kitchen or bath – two rooms that homeowners frequently focus on. According to the latest survey by Remodeling magazine, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs $16,142, while a “minor” kitchen remodel runs $21,411.

“By way of contrast, you’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $100 or so repainting a bathroom or kitchen yourself … For a few dollars more, you could even go one step further and repaint the cabinets and woodwork to give the room a totally new look. Granted, repainting would still leave the existing fixtures and appliances in place, but in terms of appearance, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders in remaking a room,” says Zimmer.

The story’s the same when it comes to exterior remodeling. Take the front door, for example. “The average cost of installing a new fiberglass entry door is nearly $3,500, but you could easily repaint an existing door for $30 or so in just a couple hours’ time,” Zimmer says.

Bigger savings are possible for those willing to tackle their exterior walls. Rather than spending more than $13,000 on average to have a contractor install vinyl siding, for example, the do-it-yourselfer’s cost for materials to repaint existing wood, vinyl, or aluminum siding would likely be well under $1,000.

“Do-it-yourself painters are the ones who reap the greatest savings, but big savings are available even to those who hire a professional painter to do the work,” says Zimmer. “It might cost $800 to hire a contractor to repaint a bathroom, but that’s a far cry from the $16,000 average cost to remodel the room.” For those who want to save the most and do their own painting, Zimmer offers some tips:

  • Spend time doing good surface preparation before starting to paint. Make sure all the surfaces are clean and free of dirt and rime, mildew, and flaking or peeling paint …

  • Use high quality brushes and rollers, and when working outdoors, use quality spraypainting equipment. Better tools and equipment apply the paint more evenly, make the work go faster, and produce a better-looking paint job. vUse top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint.

Zimmer explains: “Since these paints have better hiding characteristics, they’ll cover even dark colors in fewer coats, and many of them function as both primer and paint. As a result, they offer a lot of built-in cost savings. Top quality 100 percent acrylic paints are also easy to apply and they produce a tough, durable finish that will last for years, making them a great value in terms of cost-per-year-of-service.”

According to Zimmer, the trend toward do-it-yourself painting, and painting in general, will likely continue. “Recent surveys indicate that consumers’ spending habits will be permanently changed as a result of today’s tough economic conditions. As time goes on, we expect more people to discover that repainting is a very affordable, and very effective, way to beautify their homes,” she says.

For more detailed information about surface preparation, paints, and painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute website at www.paintquality.com.

Small Steps To Add Energy Efficiency to Your Kitchen.

May 20, 2010 Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on Small Steps To Add Energy Efficiency to Your Kitchen.

We are all aware of the push to save energy. Here are some easy ways to reduce energy usage in your kitchen. Most of us have heard some if not all of this before. A lot of us dismiss the information and continue life as usual. Try making a conscious effort when you’re in the kitchen to remember some these techniques. Don’t try to make too many changes at once. It will only frustrate you and you’ll slip back into the old habits. Try just one thing for starters, for example letting your dishes air dry. After a couple of weeks it will become habit. Next put a sign on your oven door, “Don’t Peek”. After a few false starts it too will become habit and you’ll be able to take the sign down.

Your appliances including your refrigerator, dishwasher and range use about 13 percent of your home’s energy. Here are some general guidelines for improving the efficiency and cutting energy costs.


Adjust the refrigerator temperature settings. Optimum refrigerator range is 37 to 40°F and freezer range is 0 to 5°F. Check your owner’s manual for settings if the temperature control does not specify degrees. A full refrigerator retains cold better than an empty one. The mass of cold items will help the refrigerator to recover more quickly after the door has been opened however don’t overfill it. That will interfere with the circulation of cold air inside. Minimize door openings as much as possible, easier said than done with children in the house. When you do have to purchase a new one keep in mind that top freezer models are 10 to 25 percent more efficient than a side by side. And look for a model with an ENERGY STAR sticker.


Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load. Running it after 7:00 p.m. will avoid using energy at peak hours. Avoid using the “rinse hold” setting on your dishwasher. “Rinse hold” uses three to seven gallons of hot water for each use, and heating water takes extra energy. Pieces of food can build up over the dishwasher drain and cause the dishwasher to work harder. Check the drain regularly to ensure it does not become clogged. If your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, use it instead of the heat-dry setting. You will cut the dishwasher’s energy use 15 to 50 percent. If there is no air-dry setting, turn the dishwasher off after its final rinse and open the door. When replacing your dishwasher choose an ENERGY STAR model with settings such as partial load setting (which uses less hot water) and energy-efficient drying cycles and the option of air dry and heat dry settings.


Avoid preparing meals that require you to use the range or oven extensively on hot days. This helps to reduce the load on your air conditioner and makes you feel more comfortable in your home. Don’t peek. Every time you open the oven door to look at the food, the oven temperature is lowered by 25°F to 75°F. Use cooking time wisely. Turn off the electric range two to three minutes before the task is done and allow the residual heat to finish the job. Use microwave ovens to save energy. Microwave ovens are about 33 percent more efficient than convection ovens and 66 percent more efficient than conventional ovens. Use the right sized pot on stove burners. A 6″ pot on an 8″ burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner’s heat. Also, cover pots and pans to keep heat in. When it is time to replace the appliance if purchasing an electric range look for one containing ceramic, halogen or induction range elements. They are more efficient than the type containing electric coils. They are also easier to clean and allow for greater temperature control. Consider purchasing a self-cleaning oven. It’s better insulated than other models, so they are more energy-efficient when used appropriately. Select an oven with a window. This allows you to check food without opening the door. Consider a convection oven. A convection unit in combination with a conventional oven cooks faster at lower temperatures.

This article written by Debi Skaggs of Lou Who Contracting, Inc. for informational purposes only. Lou Who Contracting provides conventional and alternative Heating and Air Conditioning solutions for residential and light commercial buildings in Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick County Virginia.

Surviving the Holidays

December 10, 2009 News, Your Money Comments Off on Surviving the Holidays

With Christmas fast approaching, panic is evident in the malls and shopping centers as people try to get all of their shopping done. With the tough economic situation this year, a little creativit … Continue Reading

Panel Offers Business Coaching

April 24, 2009 Business, Your Money Comments Off on Panel Offers Business Coaching

April 24, 2009

Last Thursday the Town of Purcellville hosted a Small Business Roundtable at the Carver Center. The event brought area small business owners face-to-face with a panel of nine business experts who offered advice and insight along with 30-days of personal coaching and consultation at no cost.

The experts presented 10-minute tutorials on legal, insurance, healthcare, technology, and commercial real estate issues. Over the next 30-days, registered business owners can tap into these experts as their own private consultants to answer questions and discuss ideas.

To find out more about the Roundtable or other future Roundtables, call Dee Cook at 703-777-2581, or e-mail dee.cook@vafb.com. To register as a Purcellville area small business and to set up your own session with the panel members, call Patrick Childs at 703-338-7421, or e-mail PCHILDS@purcellvilleva.gov.









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Leesburg-Daybreak Rotary Club Sends Supplies and Funds to Haiti

24 Oct 2016


The Rotary Club of Leesburg-Daybreak shipped water purification supplies and emergency funds to Haiti following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Partnering with an anonymous local corporation, the club shipped 3,000 water purification tablet packages via FedEx to Haiti. These packages, which were sent to an area battling a cholera outbreak, will clean 3,000 liters of unsafe water. Instructions translated …

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Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Grief and Greed


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 …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– 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


– 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

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


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

Around Virginia

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


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

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

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


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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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


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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