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Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

August 7, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Your Money Be the first to comment
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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 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on What You Don’t Know About Propane – But Should
daveschultz

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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, Your Money Comments Off on The Builder’s Wife: The Evolution of Green
Piggybank

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

June 29, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns, News, Your Money 2 comments
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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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 by Debi Skaggs 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.

Refrigerators

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.

Dishwashers

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.

Cooking

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 by Michael Carter 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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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.

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015

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NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with …

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Ask Dr. Mike

At Wits End

7 Aug 2015

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My sister’s son is autistic, but she is in complete denial. I’ve done my research and he fits a diagnosis of autism. He is three years old and doesn’t talk or socialize. He has meltdowns that are out …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015

morvenpark

I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining. I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of …

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Mount Zion Church

1 Jul 2015

timjon

– By Tim Jon So: You’ve never given the American Civil War a great deal of thought, much less walked the grounds of Gettysburg or some of the other, major battleground sites located in our region; you may not be …

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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

What It Means To Be a Man

7 Aug 2015

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel As I have gotten older I have noticed that there are more and more young men who ask me for advice. To me it seems silly – I am often not much older than the person asking, …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

A Social Security Strategy Could Enhance Your Retirement Income Plan

7 Aug 2015

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By Amy & Dan Smith What do you think of when someone mentions Social Security? Many people consider Social Security and retirement as one and the same. More than 90 percent of working Americans plan for Social Security to replace …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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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

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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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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015

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Blue Ridge National Science Day Declared Tuesday, June 10 has been officially been declared Blue Ridge National Science Day. At a recent Purcellville Town Council Meeting, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and members of the town council signed a proclamation designating this …

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Events

August 2015
M T W T F S S
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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

Friday Night Live with Emma Rowley & Saffron Gourmet Food Truck

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Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Chef Sebastian Oveysi's Saffon Gourmet Food Truck at North Gate VIneyard

Book Signing: 'Beyond Jefferson's Vines' by Richard Leahy

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Spinners

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale Returns with Bargains for Everyone

Chef Sebastian Oveysi's Saffon Gourmet Food Truck at North Gate VIneyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Live Music: Connor Duffy at North Gate Vineyard

Ronnie Milsap

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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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Live Music: Willie White at North Gate VIneyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Lovettsville Historical Society Lecture: "Hex Signs: the History and the Mystery"

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COFFEEHOUSE: LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Dinner and a Dive In

Creedence Clearwater

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Emily Guagliardi Live at North Gate Vineyard

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Mobile Hope’s “Back to School” Shopping Event Helps Loudoun Struggling Youth

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

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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

Notaviva Vineyards Monthly Bluegrass Jam is BACK w/Short Hill Mountain Boys

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Recent Comments

  • Merlis on Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers: Yes! What a great idea.
  • Mark Gunderman on Gifts Within: Second Mount Olive Baptist Church, located in Hamilton, VA, was founded in 1872. The congregation desires to exalt God and...
  • Kathleen Hannon on What It Means To Be a Man: Great article Samuel! We have two daughters and we try to teach them to look for qualities such as...
  • R. Ohneiser Esq. on Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers: Interesting discussion but let's consider how to actually resolve this problem permanently FOR THE BENEFIT OF LOUDOUN NOT JUST FOR...
  • Nan Siegel on Remembering Mabel: A lovely, heartfelt tribute. Though I never met Mabel, I think she must have had a wonderful life, full of...

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

Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

Three Virginia laws address openness in government: the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), The Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) and The Virginia State & Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (VCOIA). VFOIA guides how public bodies conduct their meetings and regulates access to government records. VPRA establishes basic rules about what constitutes a public record and what the government’s …

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Lifestyle

Loudoun Health Officials Remind Septic System Owners of Need to Pump Out

28 Aug 2015

Loudoun County Seal Color

The Loudoun County Health Department reminds owners of septic systems that routine pumping out of their systems can extend the system’s life and reduce the risk of untreated sewage surfacing or backing up into a house. Loudoun County requires owners of conventional onsite septic systems to have their tanks pumped out at least every five years. Tanks must be pumped …

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Historic Village Prepares for 46th Annual Bluemont Fair

25 Aug 2015

IMG_4106

The sleepy Blue Ridge village of Bluemont in western-most Loudoun County, Virginia, is bustling with activity as it prepares for the 46th ANNUAL BLUEMONT FAIR, September 19 & 20, 2015 from 10AM to 5PM both days, rain or shine. Admission is still only $5/adults, under 10 free, with free parking available. One-way traffic and crosswalks will be enforced in the …

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Register for Rally for the Cure™

24 Aug 2015

blueridge2

Want to participate in a fun tournament for a great cause? Then sign up to participate in the Stoneleigh Women’s Golf Association’s annual Rally for the Cure ™ golf tournament in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! This is a great opportunity to play at the golf course recently cited as being the Prettiest Golf Course in Northern Virginia by …

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015

wildloudoundragonflies

Shadow Darner. Unicorn Clubtail. Black Shouldered Spinyleg. Blue Dasher. Ebony Jewelwing. Calico Pennant. Sanddragon. Their names conger up some magical place inhabited by devils and demons, elegant queens, daring lovers – creatures you would need to see with your own eyes to believe really existed. But, each of these, including the Calico Pennant, is actually one of the most common …

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Around Virginia

Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers

davelarock

By Delegate Dave LaRock It’s no secret that population growth and business development have left Loudoun County, especially busy areas to the east, with some pretty challenging traffic. The process of expanding the local network of roads and transit always seems to be playing catch-up, usually tied to availability of …

(2 comments)

Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

governorsigns

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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Sports

Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015

drewhunter

Loudoun Valley’s Drew Hunter placed second in the United States Track and Field 1500-meter run Junior National Championship. That earned him a spot on the United States Junior Team going to the Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada in late July. Drew lost to college freshman Blake Haney of the …

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American Legion Post 34 Hosting Mid-Atlantic Regional Baseball Tournament

5 Aug 2015

americanlegionpost34

Batter up! Chartered in 1919 by an act of Congress, the American Legion is one of our country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious veteran’s organizations – dedicated to mentoring youth, sponsoring community programs, promoting national security and supporting veterans and members of the armed forces. Specific programs include scholarships, scouting, …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

thismonthhistory

– By Andrea Gaines Loudoun County was heavily invested in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Loudouner Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of 56 delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. More Loudouners served in General George Washington’s army than any other county in Virginia, and the county’s enormous …

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Mary Rose Lunde

More Than a GPA

7 Aug 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde In school we are measured in every way based on a number system from a point scale resulting in grades then translated into a GPA that can’t be easily fixed in just one semester. Students are forced to think that all they have to achieve is …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

sarahcloset3

– By Sarah Nearis Look at these sweet and summery pink blouses and tops. Don’t you want to try one on? Some women are afraid to wear pink, thinking it’s a bit too feminine. But, pink comes in such a wide variety of shades – from soft mauves to fuchsias …

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Letters

Thank You Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

town of purcellville sign

I want to express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support by the local business owners and residents in relationship to my challenge to …

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

speak

With graduations behind us and summer vacations ahead, we have much to look forward to. My summer will be full of events and opportunities to …

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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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