What’s planned for Purcellville

October 25, 2009 by Blue Ridge Leader Loudoun County, News, Our Towns Be the first to comment

October 25, 2009

The accompanying map (click to view as a scalable PDF) shows the planned commercial development along and adjacent to the proposed Southern Collector Road.

Planned commercial development associated with the proposed Southern Collector Road

Planned commercial development associated with the proposed Southern Collector Road

The overview map on the left shows the eastern gateway of Purcellville. The map to the right is a detail view of the Business Route 7/Route 287 Intersection, (Main Street and Berlin Turnpike). Existing structures are shown in green, planned or proposed structures are shown in red. Square footage and property acreage of each of the three planned/proposed shopping centers are shown on the overview map. Square footage and building height (if more than one floor) as well as planned usage for proposed commercial buildings are shown in the detail map.

Despite claims by the Town Council that the Southern Collector Road will alleviate traffic on Main Street (Business Route 7), the map shows that traffic will actually increase due to the substantial planned commercial development at the eastern gateway: 178,752 square feet of new commercial development. Included in the plans are two banks with drive through service, two drive through fast food restaurants, a major supermarket, a large pharmacy, multi-story office buildings, three other large restaurants, 20,000 square feet of other retail space, and a large gas station.

This map clearly shows the true reason the Town Council wants to complete the Southern Collector Road. The proposed route of the SCR is indicated by an orange corridor. It will split Crooked Run Orchard in half. No plan has been offered to the owners of the farm as to how the Town will mitigate disruption and guarantee access for both sections, or accommodate pedestrians. The Town wants this road as part of a large commercial development on the eastern gateway of Purcellville. Far more traffic will be generated on Main Street as a result of all this new commercial development once the SCR is completed. The SCR will make traffic in Purcellville far worse than it is now.

Crooked Run Orchard establishes legal defense fund

October 24, 2009 by Blue Ridge Leader Farm and garden, News, Our Towns Be the first to comment

October 24, 2009
Crooked Run Orchard owners Sam and Uta Brown have established a legal defense fund in anticipation of legal action against the town of Purcellville, according to a press release dated October 22.

The annexation of the Brown’s land, a step toward condemnation and construction of the “Southern Collector Road,” is expected on January 1, 2010.

In addition, the Browns assert that the Town of Purcellville plans to zone 16 recently annexed acres Mixed-Use Commercial, in violation of the Purcellville Urban Growth Management Plan (PUGAMP).

According to the Town’s own documents, nearly 180,00 square feet of commercial development is planned around the intersection of business 7 and the new collector road (the “Eastern Gateway”), which would bisect the Brown’s farm and cause the destruction of one of their mature orchards.

The Browns are appealing to customers of their farm for help. “We will be very grateful to all of you who have spent time here and have fond memories of those times by assuring that we can continue to keep the farm as green and undisturbed as possible. With your help we intend to stand up for what we believe to be right so that our farm can continue to serve the community. You can send your contributions to: FBO Crooked Run Orchard, P.O. Box 2250, Purcellville, Va. 20134.”

Crooked Run Orchard is a pick-your-own farm that has been in the Brown family for over 200 years. Read more about the effort to save the farm here.

The sidewalk to nowhere

October 23, 2009 by Uta Brown Columns, View From the Ridge Be the first to comment

October 23, 2009

One of the observations of American culture in recent decades is that we seem to have thrown common sense out the window.

The problem the Howells have encountered recently is a perfect example of the wrong people being in positions of power, since they seem incapable of understanding how rules and regulations should be set aside when a situation arises where these regulations make no sense.

To make a very long and tedious story short, Warren and Carmen Howell subdivided their property, leaving one-and a half acres with one house on it, and another parcel of seven and a half acres where they want to put in a “green” house: A small energy efficient abode surrounded by the organic blueberries, blackberries and raspberries that Warren has been growing for the past few years, and the sculptures Carmen has created that punctuate the garden. They ordered the modular home, sent in the appropriate applications to the county, and expected a speedy response.

… Continue Reading

Releasing the Beast

October 21, 2009 by Alice Mullen Columns Be the first to comment

Oh crud, it’s Fall.  “How do I know?” you ask.  Is it the suicidal squirrels scattering themselves all over the roads?  The number of times I curse myself for forgetting the camera as I drive past gorgeous trees lit up with colors all but sure to blow away before I pass by again?  No, it’s the fact that today is Wednesday and I’m rushing around in a mad dash to find a costume for one of my kids.
It always goes like this.  And it’s not like I have any excuses.  Usually my children are painfully creative, hence the difficult Christmases as I explain that the things they want haven’t been invented yet, Santa doesn’t have the time to pursue a patent, and they will have to settle for what ever comes down the chimney.

“No Dear, Santa will not be bringing you a robotic remote controlled horse.”

“No sweet child, you will not be receiving a crane large enough to lift your father.”

“There is no such thing as a walking duck that can go upstairs and name objects as it sees them, Sweetheart.  Wouldn’t that be neat though.”

So my kids have come to grips with lowering their expectations.  They’ve also come to understand that Santa as well meaning as he is, is really an incompetent dolt.

Halloween has become the holiday where all their creativity seems to shrivel up and blow away.  I think they’ve all been the same thing for three years or so now.  I can understand this, though.  The focus, after all is the candy, and if the costume last year worked, why rock the boat?  Oldest, is a character from Harry Potter.  Middle child, a boy, is a skeleton, though there was a brief respite from that for a quick foray into being a robot -read here spray painted cardboard boxes.  My youngest, a little girl, is, and seemingly always will be, a bear.  I’m thankful for the predictability of it, really I am.  But of course the old predictable costumes aren’t as roomy as they once were and it’s thrown me into scramble mode.

There was one Halloween where the boy wanted to be a lady bug.  He’d learned that ladybugs bite and he was quite impressed since he’s the sensitive one and of course it had been incredibly painful in a way that I could never truly understand.  So that year he had wanted to provide a kind of educational service by dressing up as a ladybug, and in order to symbolically represent the painful bite, carry a gun.  Looking back on it, it probably would have been great, but since we were borrowing a friend’s neighborhood, I put the nix on it since I didn’t want to explain the costume at every door.  Unwittingly, I’ve probably taught them that simple is best and reruns are fine.  How boring.  But I hadn’t planned on them growing, and apparently plain fabric skeletons without blood aren’t in fashion at the moment so I have no choice.  I’m either going to have to get all crafty on this thing with puffy glow in the dark paint or release the hitherto pent up beast of their creativity.  So if some very strange and elaborately complicated, or seemingly nonsensical creature lands on your doorstep Saturday do me a favor and don’t ask.  We have a lot of houses to cover, a lot of candy to get, and I’m sure it will be a long story.

Making the Grade

October 19, 2009 by Lauren Pichon Columns, News, Schools Be the first to comment

New year, new start. From what I gather, this seems to be the overall attitude of Loudoun Valley High School students. This year, however, students not only have a new set of seven or eight classes but a ten point grading scale to go with them.

Talk of a new grading scale began toward the end of the last school year, but the majority did not count on this ten point grading scale getting approval from Loudoun County; the County came through and surprised us all. With the adoption of a ten-point grading scale, Loudoun County is now on par with Fairfax and other surrounding counties. Now, an “A” is anywhere in the 90-100 range, whereas before an “A” started at a 93. Last year, a “B” started at 85 while this year it starts at 80. The three point increase may not sound that beneficial, but it makes a big difference when calculating Grade Point Averages (GPAs), and getting additional credit for Advanced Placement classes.

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with a 5 being the equivalent of an “A,” a “4” being the equivalent of a “B,” and so on. If one obtains a certain score on an AP exam of, generally, a 4 or 5, a student may earn college credit at nearly any university they choose to attend. In the ’07-’08 school year, a student taking an AP class, or classes, was only rewarded “0.7” that was added to their class grade point average upon completion of the May exam. While this “0.7” is certainly a nice addition to a student’s GPA, it is not enough of an award for all the extra work and time that a college-level class entails. In the middle of last school year, however, Loudoun County approved the idea of awarding a full “1.0” in each AP class, with the only requirement successful completion of the class and the exam.

Finally, all my nights studying the Ottoman Turks and Genghis Khan in AP World History will pay off!

But what about the nights I stayed up late making cheese for my Independent Science Research Project in Honors Biology? Or the nights I sat staring into space trying to analyze the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy for Honors English? This school year, for the first time, students are being awarded an additional “0.5” to their GPA in each honors class upon its completion. Not only is the change active this year, but it will be retroactive for students who have completed an honors course in the past.

From what I can infer, students are embracing the new grading scale and the additional points they will be rewarded. My prediction: not only will the majority of student GPAs rise, but so will participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and even working a job. This is primarily due to the fact that students will be working hard and reap the benefits of the more fair ten point grading scale. Needless to say, it certainly will not hurt students to have better grades or to become more involved in school-sponsored activities!

Lauren Pichon is a junior at Loudoun Valley High School where she enjoys participating in the drama and history clubs and writing for the school paper. She would like to study journalism in college and aspires to be a print journalist.

A Scientist, a Whale and a Tourist Walk into a Bar…

October 9, 2009 by Meredith Bean McMath Columns Be the first to comment
Meredith Bean McMath

Meredith Bean McMath

If you could place Australia’s Great Barrier Reef along the east coast of America, the thing would stretch from Maine to Florida. At twelve hundred miles long, the Great Barrier Reef (or GBR) is indeed great, the largest coral marine system on the planet and the only living entity able to be seen from space.

But you just can’t settle for satellite photos, because the mind-boggling, life-altering effect of the Reef can only be had up close, when you find yourself staring at a fish ten inches away with a shape and color combination so surreal you doubt your eyes. The fish who finds you equally intriguing will stare back at you in the quiet of the ocean, and then, in a flash, he’ll be gone – the flicker of a tail disappearing neatly into a hole in the coral.

If you are like me, you will then float there for a few seconds — blinking into your goggles, listening to the Darth Vader-like sound of your breath through a snorkel tube — and try to wrap your head around what you just saw… and what you felt when you saw it. Next up, you will have the brilliant realization you have only been in the water two minutes and that there is an entire world waiting for you in the waters up ahead. And you’ll kick up your flippers and go.

Hours later you will find yourself with cohorts, trying to describe fuzzy neon lips on gargantuan clam shells, the hypnotic power of a cuttlefish, the colors of impossibly-colored fish, and words will fail. Why? Because what you’re really trying to impart is this sense of extraordinary wonder, the intimate sanctity of the experience, the pleasure and the pride of it, and it can’t be done because everyone has to experience this for themselves: eye to eye with a fish… a turtle… a whale.

A day after my experience on the Great Barrier Reef (or “the GBR,” as Australians call it), I had the great good fortune to meet John Rumney of Eye to Eye Marine Encounters. When I heard the company name “Eye to Eye,” I laughed in recognition: this man understands. Scientists have determined the cradle of the origin of species lies within the triangle of Indonesia, the Philippines and the northeast corner of Australia (where the GBR begins) which explains the enormous bio-diversity of the reef. But meeting that bio-diversity face to face has to be experienced to be understood and fully appreciated, and John Rumney has built a business on that fact.

According to the material, Eye to Eye “creates the ultimate learning experience, where adventure and education combine to produce one of the best ecotourism operations in the world.” Meeting the founder in person, one is struck by John’s intelligence, enthusiasm, creativity and — perhaps most necessary in his line of work — utter pragmatism. This is a man who has had to spend 30 years watching the slow death of 70% of the fringing reef that lies directly off the Australian coastline, where there is agricultural run off (if the GBR stood just off shore and not an hour away by boat, there would already be nothing left to see and meet face to face). Yet he seems optimistic, cheerful in the face of a down economy, content with his work, despite the uphill struggle. Who wouldn’t be when you could visit the Reef any time you like?

Headquartered in Port Douglas in the northeast corner of Australia, particpants in John and Linda Rumney’s Eye to Eye experiences can explore the Great Barrier Reef, or at certain times of the year, get to know Minke whales. Billed as Eco-Tourism at its best, John’s business motto is “Always Exceed Expectation.” Eye to Eye practices conservationist-informed sustainability methods, and visitors are educated and trained on how to approach the reef and interact with its sea life and coral (see Eye to Eye’s Travel Ethics: http://www.marineencounters.com.au/practices.htm). And while it is Eco-tourism, John says a better name would be “Marine Research Tourism.”

The Research Tourism concept grew from John’s hope that Eye to Eye could be the source of scientific studies to inform the Australian government and thereby effect change. Since the early 1980′s, John’s dream was to combine “adventure diving with research” and in 1995 his dream became a reality with the financial support of Rino and Diana Grollo. In late 1995, the Grollos purchased the vessel, Undersea Explorer, allowing John to begin his new style of tourism. John wanted scientists involved in the program as soon as possible, because he knew their field information was out of date (too many hours grant writing and not enough time locking eyes with sea life, as he put it), and marine scientists would have to be at the table if there was any hope of changing the government’s environmental policies.

When the research vessel was finally secured, and John gave free space to both expand access and reduce the cost of research, the scientists began to join the Reef excursions and would literally find a new species every time they went out. Trained and educated by participating Scientists and staff, a portion of each visitor’s daily experience involves working through a check list of what they saw that day – how many of this variety of shark, how many of that fish, the temperature, the state of the coral; and, with the tourists’ cameras set to capture time and date, travel pics suddenly became part of a body of important research. As a result, Eye to Eye has now amassed fourteen years of detailed, irreplaceable information about changes in area sea life. Research gold.

The Production Possibilities Curve of basic economic theory tells you a company that plows a portion of profits back into research and development will eventually outpace its competitors, and the PPV is in effect right now for businesses which choose to Go Green. In Australia in particular, “Go Green” is not a marketing tool – rather, not just a marketing tool – but a lifestyle, particularly in those regions which rely heavily on tourism, and a profitable lifestyle at that. According to Maria Taylor, Education Officer for Water and Waste in Cairns, Australia, a conscious choice by consumers to support organizations that have gone green has created a boon for forward-thinking businesses. With consumers desperate to save money and the effects of climate change upon us, people are growing hungrier for information on how to lower costs and do some good for the world at the same time. Those that make some sacrifices to Go Green now are going to win in the long run, just as John has.

A few years ago, John gathered some of his research, called on some some well-chosen friends in the conservation movement, and went to the government of Australia to make a sustained effort to show tourism (and, by extrapolation, conservation of the environment upon which tourism relies) had a much higher positive impact on the economy than the commercial fishing industry (fishing had a devastating impact on the Reef population and the boats damaged the coral reefs and the water quality). Once the government saw the numbers, they created policies to limit fishing, as well as agricultural run off (the main killer of the reefs standing directly off shore). Australia now spends 180 million a year to protect the Great Barrier Reef — not because it’s the right thing to, but because of a bottom line return on investment. So, with Eye to Eye, John has proven two things: going Green is not only wise but profitable, and it is possible to form a business model that can change the world.

By now you might be thinking about flying to Australia yourself, and if you’re thinking Green, you’re going to ask how it’s possible to feel good about international travel given the carbon footprint. You have a good point, and your point is being argued around the world. Some argue getting on an international flight is better than a domestic flight, because the fuel use is that much less per person on a long trip. Airlines such as Quantas and Virgin Blue take your question seriously and offer carbon offset programs: www.quantas.com/au/info/flying/flycarbonneutral/index and www.virginblue.com.au/carbonoffset. As for Eye to Eye, they are world leaders in the “Swim with Whales” program and approved by conservationists (www.minkewhaleproject.com). Why? For one, Eye to Eye trains visitors in underwater etiquette. If a whale is seen, guides instruct the tourists to swim back to the boat and grab a rope alongside. Whales have curiosity as strong as humans, but they’re not stupid. If a diver aggressively swims toward them, they’ll retreat, so training tourists to stay on the rope no matter what causes the whales to learn that the odd looking fish on a string are safe to approach. And so the whales usually do – sometimes to within a foot.

The other day I was telling a friend, Ed Cutshall of Hillsboro’s Hunt Country Jewelers, about Eye to Eye and my wonderful snorkeling experience on the Great Barrier Reef. He laughed and recalled the story of a woman he knew who used to be a cruise ship cook. Sometimes as she was preparing meals, she had the odd sensation she was being watched. One day the feeling became overwhelming, and she turned about to find a huge black whale eye staring in through the portal window.

Eye to eye indeed.

MEREDITH BEAN McMATH welcomes comment and can be reached at Meredith@storyroot.com or via www.storyroot.com. Opinions expressed in STORYROOT are the sole responsibility of the author. Meredith Bean McMath is a published author, freelance writer, award-winning historian and prize-winning playwright. FormerArtistic Director of Aurora Studio Theatre, Inc. and former Program Director of Round Hill Arts Center, Meredith is the Marketing Director of Cranial Tap, Inc. (www.Cranialtap.com) and an MS candidate in Arts Administration at Shenandoah University. She and her family live in Birkett’s Tavern, Hillsboro, Virginia.

Welcome back

October 9, 2009 by Blue Ridge Leader News Be the first to comment

October 12, 2009

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Leader and Loudoun Today – your place for online news in Western Loudoun – striving to be the best in Loudoun County.

Under new ownership, we pledge to bring to you balanced reporting that fills the media void, providing the information that other local media has ignored. Our goal is to report the news in its true light, allowing you to judge for yourself. We are devoted to building a better community where all views and lifestyles are represented. We hope you will find something here to pique your interest every day.

Reader participation is encouraged at BRLeader.com, whether it be a story idea, guest editorial, or a question for your elected officials at our Ask Your Rep page, a feature that brings town hall to your fingertips.

This website marks a new era for Western Loudoun’s long established media. While there are plans for a monthly Blue Ridge Leader and Loudoun Today delivered to homes in Western Loudoun, we recognize the great flexibility online news offers. Video portions of public meetings, sporting and social events is just one example.

We offer low cost advertising and a free business directory. Come back time after time, and you will find something new and interesting. Give us a click at BRLeader.com and discover your place in the community. Be our leader at BRLeader.com.

Note: The Blue Ridge Leader and Loudoun Today are trademark protected. Beware of imitators using our name for their financial and political gain.

Fairs to Remember

October 1, 2009 by Meredith Bean McMath Columns Be the first to comment
Meredith Bean McMath

Meredith Bean McMath

When I was a little girl growing up in suburban Arlington, I read about country fairs in books. They always sounded richly mysterious — wonderful playgrounds where amazing things could happen at any moment. At a fair, a girl might turn a corner to find a pony ride, an enormous pig, a pie-eating contest, crafts, crumpets, or a carousel ride. I was convinced anything could happen at a Fair, and I couldn’t wait to get to one!

Now, as a grown woman, I treasure a thousand memories from the many fairs I’ve attended in Loudoun and beyond. And I can honestly say my childhood expectations have never been disappointed.

A few snapshots from my Fair memories:

The Angel Rabbit

It was an ice-cream-melting sort of a day at the Loudoun County Fair. Getting away from the heat, I headed indoors to the 4-H Exhibition. I especially wanted to see the rabbits, as I have an inordinate love of Lop-eared bunnies. Rabbits are highly sensitive to heat, so the planners had taken caution to set up huge fans in the rabbit room. I walked in to the room to see the Lop Rabbits, but I stayed for the rabbit with angel wings. Apparently there is a type of rabbit called an Angora. As you might guess, they grow long, angora-like hair. But this, as I said, was an ice-cream-melting hot day, so the blessed owner of this one Angora rabbit had done the decent thing and shaved the rabbit all over… except for her ears. As the fans in the room blew mightily upon her, this beautiful white Angora rabbit sat proudly in her spacious cage, as the hair on her ears flowed out from behind her like angel wings. That was the most charming rabbit I have ever seen, and the image still makes me laugh and smile.

Fairs are a place of wonder.

The English Fair

While in England on a college study program many moons ago, I stumbled upon a country fair replete with sheep herding, jarred jam contests, and a log roll. The log roll looked so easy. A horizontal, six-foot long smooth log on a pole set between two braces, so it could freely roll. I thought folks were going to climb on it and try to stand erect ala Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but, no, the object was to climb aboard and sit astride the log, then scoot yourself along until you reached the other side. Only no one ever, ever, ever reached the other side — which is why there was a nice deep mattress lying underneath the log.

Fairs are a place to act foolish.

The Romantic Fair

Ah, the Fredericksburg, Virginia Fair of 1979. Don’t ask me about the animals, the pie contest, the rides or the crafts. I can only remember the guy I was with: Chuck McMath. Oh, and I remember the photograph for which we sat: me in an oversize rattan chair and him beside me, looking ever so much like a couple on our honeymoon. And I have this look on my face? It’s the happy, goofy look of someone who realizes they’re falling in love.

Fairs are a place for romance.

The Cow of Many Colors

My husband, Chuck, has a cousin, Debbie Hardesty of Hardesty Farm in Berryville, and the Hardestys are always at the Clark County Fair. They are well known for a particular cow they bring with them every year: this Holstein is blessed with fewer black spots than his brothers which enables the Hardestys to spray this beloved bovine with non-toxic spray paint. Over the years, he has been presented as Ninja Cow, Chocolate Cow, Strawberry Cow, Rainbow Cow, and a host of others. Maybe it’s just me, but the Cow of Many Colors always seems irritated. But I imagine having hundreds of children yelling and screaming with delight at the sight of you every day for an entire fair week could become a tad annoying. I heard from a friend the cow was there again last year. He would be very, very old, so I hope by now that he is deaf.

Fairs may not be great for irritable cattle, but they are always a great place for children.

Holiday Fairs

Every year Hillsboro puts on an Independence Day celebration up at the Old Stone School (FYI: no matter where you are, the Old Stone School is always located “up”). I’m on the board of the Hillsboro Community Association, and I can tell you that the people who’ve been managing this business the last couple years – Amy and Mark Ware – are saints. Hundreds of hours of volunteer work is involved in this old-fashion celebration, and the results are fabulous: a neighbor built the children’s games, there’s home-made baked goods and door prizes, fabulous folk and celtic music provided by The Community, the Ruritans offer melt-in-your-mouth barbecued chicken, kind neighbors and local business donate free ice cream (that’s right – free!), and at dusk the fireworks begin. An increase in regulation has meant a decrease in fire power over the years, but the Hillsboro Community Association is committed to keeping the Celebration down home and wonderful. I have a hundred wonderful memories from twenty years of Hillsboro Fourth of July celebrations, but my favorite is a photograph as well: the moment our one-year old son took his very first steps.

Fairs are a place for Family.

Target Practice

My son was around six-years old when we attended a Loudoun County Fair at the old 4-H Fairgrounds. We stepped up to a target shooting game, and he gave it a go. His aim was none too good, and he was getting disappointed when a thought occurred to me: “Hey, Palmer? Try with your left hand.” The kid hit the Bull’s eye four shots out of five times. So that was the day we found out our son was left-handed, just like his father.

Fairs are a place for discoveries.

The Scottish Fair

Our cousins, the Blairs, participate in the Scottish Games at Richmond, Virginia every year. They bring the Blair tent, in fact, so our family tends to enjoy that fair a little more than others as it enables us front row seats for the music of the pipes and drums. I have fond memories of my husband and son in the axe-throwing contest, but my favorite thing to watch is the Caber Toss, wherein grown men stagger around with an upright telephone pole in their cupped hands, find the right moment, and toss the thing end over end. These are the truly brave – those who can laugh at hernia belts and litigation.

Fairs are a place to show off.

Historical Fair

Did you know The Waterford Fair is Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair? This year’s Waterford Fair, to be held October 2-4, marks the 66th year! I have a lot of lovely memories from Waterford Fairs, and a lot of treasures purchased from excellent craftspeople over the years. But I especially enjoy the Colonial and Civil War living history camps. Actually, my favorite memory from the Waterford Fair isn’t truly mine: about ten years ago, I lent historical costuming to a friend who was to portray a Waterford Quaker during the Civil War: frock coat, brogan boots, Quaker hat – the works. My friend was so accurate in this portrayal, the Waterford Foundation received a complaint about a Quaker on the street proselytizing his religion (guess the bit about the evils of slavery and the Confederate Cause went a little over the visitor’s head).

But Fairs are a place for history.

Looking back at my Fair memories, it’s no wonder I love them. Street fairs, County Fairs, crafts, music and art fairs – there’s always something for everyone at a fair. A little mystery, a little wonder, and a few life-changing moments, as well. Who doesn’t love a good Fair?

Go to VisitLoudoun.org to find out about upcoming fairs (like this weekend’s Oktoberfest in Lovettsville!), and if you have a favorite Fair memory, I’d love to hear it.

MEREDITH BEAN McMATH welcomes comment and can be reached at Meredith@storyroot.com or via www.storyroot.com. Opinions expressed in STORYROOT are the sole responsibility of the author. Meredith Bean McMath is a published author, freelance writer, award-winning historian and prize-winning playwright. FormerArtistic Director of Aurora Studio Theatre, Inc. and former Program Director of Round Hill Arts Center, Meredith is the Marketing Director of Cranial Tap, Inc. (www.Cranialtap.com) and an MS candidate in Arts Administration at Shenandoah University. She and her family live in Birkett’s Tavern, Hillsboro, Virginia.

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Sustainable Planet

Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors

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For the Public Input Session on September 3, 2014 Excerpts from the following article will be presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on September 3, 2014 at the public input session. “The vital signs reflect “the largest changes …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

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Student News

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Allison_Arpajian

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Local Residents Graduate from the College of William & Mary

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Kevin Sherman Graduated from Ithaca College

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Kevin Sherman, a native of Middleburg, Va., graduated from Ithaca College’s School of Health Sciences and Human Performance with a degree in Sport Studies. The degree was awarded in May 2014.

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Events

July 2014
M T W T F S S
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Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

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June 30, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

1

Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

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July 1, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

2

Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

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July 2, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

VAL's Pals Kid's Club

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July 2, 2014N/A

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA
314-602-1325

FREE activity every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Held in Community Room at 1601 Village Market Blvd. #100, next to Plow & Hearth and across from Cobb Theatres, unless noted. 

  • July 2  – Paul Hadfield aka “The Funny Guy” Clown Theater program

3

Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

Close

July 3, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

4

Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

Close

July 4, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

5

Village at Leesburg VAL’s Pals

Close

July 5, 2014

Village at Leesburg Shopping Center
1602 Village Market Blvd
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Join us for this week’s FREE kids’ club program featuring a FREE movie at Cobb Theatres. Join us for “Turbo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for more information.

 

Saturday Summer Music Series

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July 5, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd., SE, Suite 215, Leesburg, VA 20175
Leesburg, 20175
USA
314-602-1325

Enjoy the sounds of summer every Saturday night through August 16! 5 – 8 p.m. in Fountain Court FREE. Bring your own chair or check out our new patio-style furniture in fountain court. Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule.  Check facebook/villageatleesburg.com

  • July 5thTed Garber

Conversations in History Series: The Nature of Sacrifice

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July 5, 2014

Mt Zion Church
40309 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, 20105

Carol Bundy, author and historian, will speak on William Hathaway Forbes and the California Battalion's confrontation of Colonel John S. Mosby, 1864. Co-hosted by Mosby Heritage Area Association and Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

6

July Sunday Brunch at Breaux Vineyards

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July 6, 2014

Breaux Vineyards
36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane
Purcellville, 20132
United States

End your Holiday weekend with a delicious Sunday Brunch! Take a break from the sunshine and heat to enjoy a 3-course meal paired with delicious Breaux Vineyard wines while overlooking the sweeping views! Chef Author from Grandale Farms has prepared a delicious farm to table meal for you to enjoy.

Tickets are $60 per person / $55 Cellar Club members

Cavaliers, Courage & Coffee Program

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July 6, 2014

Mt Zion Church
40309 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, 20105

As part of the sesquicentennial events for the Battle of Mt Zion Church, the Gray Ghost Interpretive Group will offer a lantern lit dramatic evening. 540-687-5578.

7 8 9

VAL's Pals Kid's Club

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July 9, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA
314-602-1325

FREE activity every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Held in Community Room at 1601 Village Market Blvd. #100, next to Plow & Hearth and across from Cobb Theatres, unless noted. 

  • June 9 –  Zumba for kids

VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 9, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 9 – The Goonies  PG  111 mins

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9th Annual Key West Festival

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July 12, 2014

Breaux Vineyards
36888 Breaux Vineyards
Purcellville, 20132
USA

Come enjoy our "Vineyard in Paradise" at the 9th annual Key West Fest!  Wine tastings, food vendors,  live music, kids' activities and more!

Local crafters and vendors will also be on-site selling their wares and have great items you could win!  We will draw prizes under the band tent during the band breaks!

Please remember, no dogs or picnics are permitted at our festivals! 

Ticket sales coming soon!

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14 15 16 17

Increase Your Reach: Social Media Advertising for Business

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July 17, 2014

Why use social media advertising? What should your goals be? Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn—what’s best for your business? How can you analyze results to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth?

Get answers. Maximize the power of your SM advertising.

Presenter:  Kona Gallagher,  Marketing Program Coordinator for Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development.

REGISTER at Loudoun SBDC.eventbrite.com

Fee:  $25 registration online; $30 at door
Those who pay at the door are not guaranteed seating or handouts.

18 19

Summer Saturdays

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July 19, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd SE
Leesburg, 20175
USA
5712912288

Village at Leesburg presents a music concert series. Come listen to various artists on Saturday July 19th, Saturday August 2nd, Saturday August 9th, Saturday August 16th, Saturday August 30th, Sunday August 31st, and Monday September 1st at Village at Leesburg in Fountain Court. There will be performances by Paul Pfau & Connor Pledger (R&B former The Voice contestants), Julian Roso (Acoustic Pop), Todd Wright Band (Alternative Pop Covers), Poorhouse Rd (Americana Blues), Music Bone (Electric Rock/Jazz), Gina de Simone & The Moaners (Swing/Dance), AJ Sith & The Apollo (Indie Rock) on alternating nights. For the full music schedule please visit villageatleesburg.com

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21 22

JUL Loudoun Federal Contractors Group Networking Event

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July 22, 2014

Patrick McMahon, Attorney - McMahon, Welch and Learned, PLLC, will present briefly on “Negotiating Teaming & Subcontracting Agreements from a Small Business Subcontractor Perspective.”

 

SPONSOR:   TD Bank, N.A.

 

Let’s continue building federal contracting relationships in Loudoun. Whether you’re a contracting neophyte or veteran, this event can help you move forward on your contracting goals.

The group’s founder, Loudoun SBDC, is a resource partner with the SBA. It has been helping to launch/grow government contracting businesses for over 10 years. It has strong partners within the economic development community and is well-positioned to assist you!

 

FREE but REGISTER at LoudounSBDC.eventbrite.com.

23

VAL Movies Under the Stars

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July 23, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

Movies Under The Stars

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July 23, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd SE
Leesburg, 20175
USA
5712912288

Come enjoy free movie screenings at Village at Leesburg. July 23rd Despicable Me (Rated PG) will be shown. August 6th will be the winning fan favorite vote. Choices are: Superman (original-Rated PG), Willy Wonka (Rated G), Surf's Up (Rated PG), and Smurfs (Rated PG). Vote on Facebook!August 20th Frozen (Rated PG) will be shown. Free event chair or picnic blanket will be given to the first 50 families!

24

VAL Movies Under the Stars

Close

July 24, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

25

VAL Movies Under the Stars

Close

July 25, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

FREE VAL Lawn Chair or Picnic Blanket for the first 50 families each week! Check out your film favorites at our NEW summer outdoor movie series. Grab refreshments from your favorite VAL restaurant, bring your own lawn chair and have fun! Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. For inclement weather updates, visit Facebook.com/VillageAtLeesburg. One giveaway per family, while quantities last. July 23 – Despicable Me PG  119 mins

July Fourth Friday at Breaux Vineyards

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July 25, 2014

Breaux Vineyards
36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane
Purcellville, 20132
USA

July Fourth Friday! July 25; 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Each month our "Fourth Fridays" event boasts a fabulous evening of wine + entertainment worth sharing with family and friends.  This month's fourth Friday falls on July 25th.  We will have live music, wine to taste and food to eat.  Don't miss out on this fun summer evening - come soak in the views, the music and of course some terrific vino!

No reservation needed - We'll see you Friday the 25th!

26

Village at Leesburg 5th Annual Summer Block Party

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July 26, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA
314-602-1325

Saturday, July 26

3 – 8 p.m.  FREE

Join us for this FREE family event with live bands, entertainers, inflatables, food, sidewalk sales and fun activities throughout the entire center.  Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule. 

 

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28

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

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July 28, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

29

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

Close

July 29, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

30

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

Close

July 30, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

31

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

Close

July 31, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

1

Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers Summer Camps

Close

August 1, 2014

38327 Charles Town Pike
Waterford, 20197
540.454.8639

The Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers are offering two, fun summer camps!  If you've never clogged before, join us July 28 - Aug 1 for our Novice Camp.  Hours are 9:00am - 12:00pm.  If you are an experienced clogger, join us Aug 4 - Aug 8 from 9:00am - 12:00pm for our Experienced Camp.  Ages 8 through adult.  $50 per camp.

2

Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Child Safety Day

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August 2, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd.
Leesburg, 20175
USA

Saturday, August 2 from 12pm-4pm  FREE

Get up close to awesome rescue squad vehicles and cool interactive displays! Enjoy music, inflatables,  prizes and giveaways and more fun. Go to VillageAtLeesburg.com for full schedule.

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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August 2, 2014

Notaviva Vineyards
13274 Sagle Rd
Purcellville, 20132
540-668-6756

Notaviva Vineyards presents their monthly Bluegrass Jam a FREE event held the first Saturday of every month!

An event for all ages featuring Ashby Run. Open to players of every skill level

3pm-6pm Saturday 7/5

Wine available by the glass and by the bottle, lite snacks available. Must be 21 to drink alcohol.

Summer Saturdays

Close

August 2, 2014

Village at Leesburg
1602 Village Market Blvd SE
Leesburg, 20175
USA
5712912288

Village at Leesburg presents a music concert series. Come listen to various artists on Saturday July 19th, Saturday August 2nd, Saturday August 9th, Saturday August 16th, Saturday August 30th, Sunday August 31st, and Monday September 1st at Village at Leesburg in Fountain Court. There will be performances by Paul Pfau & Connor Pledger (R&B former The Voice contestants), Julian Roso (Acoustic Pop), Todd Wright Band (Alternative Pop Covers), Poorhouse Rd (Americana Blues), Music Bone (Electric Rock/Jazz), Gina de Simone & The Moaners (Swing/Dance), AJ Sith & The Apollo (Indie Rock) on alternating nights. For the full music schedule please visit villageatleesburg.com

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Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

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

3 Jun 2014

blueridge2

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 …

(4 comments)

Editorial

War Madness

25 Jul 2014

dying gaul

The Dying Gaul By John P. Flannery In a world that prefers to war, can’t get enough of it, innocents are killed, and those senseless incidents in turn provoke more war. It happened in the Ukraine and the testosterone is running high. Ukraine calls to the West to put up or shut up with military force, not just economic sanctions. …

(Be the first to comment)

Bed and Breakfasts – Boon or Threat to the Rural Economy?

3 Jun 2014

malcolm_pamela_011

By Malcolm and Pamela Baldwin Breaking news, in case you missed it: the Board of Supervisors has created new rules for bed-and-breakfast establishments in Loudoun, among them an increase in the number and frequency of events – such as weddings – B&Bs are allowed to host on their properties. At the same time, the board also tightened fire safety, building …

(3 comments)

Lifestyle

Feed Loudoun – Fresh Food Drive

27 Jul 2014

Photo attached courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o'clock in the morning and again at seven in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops. As a volunteer, gleaning is a fun, family activity that usually lasts no more than about 2 hours on a beautiful day. It is also a good activity for groups who are looking for community outreach projects.

Special report by Mark Gunderman Photo courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o’clock in the morning and again at seven …

(Be the first to comment)

Susan Greenbaum to Perform in Middleburg

17 Jul 2014

Susan_Greenbaum-live

The Bluemont Concert Series is proud to present Susan Greenbaum on Saturday, July 26 for the last of our four Saturday evening concerts in Middleburg. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Middleburg concerts are now held at the Middleburg Community Center baseball field, located at 300 West Washington Street. Admission is $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont Friends and …

(Be the first to comment)

Woodgrove High School Debate Camp

15 Jul 2014

Ms. Purvis’s WHS Debate Team is conducting a debate camp this summer from August 4 through August 8. It will be held each day from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Woodgrove High School and is open to students who will be attending Woodgrove HS or Loudoun Valley HS. The purpose of the camp is to introduce aspiringdebaters to the art …

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Wild Loudoun

Fireflies – Green Sequins Of The Night

3 Jul 2014

fireflies jar

I don’t usually start my Wild Loudoun column by sharing information about the scientific classification into which a given plant, animal or insect falls. But, in the case of the firefly, it’s too fun not too … Fireflies are part of an insect family known as Lampyridae … as in “lamp.” Of course they are, you say. Firefly larva – …

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Around Virginia

VDOE Names Chief Academic Officer

Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples today announced that John William “Billy” Haun of Charlottesville will become the Virginia Department of Education’s chief academic officer, taking the position of assistant superintendent of instruction on September 1. “I am delighted that Billy is bringing his knowledge, leadership and innovative ideas …

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LaRock Appointed to Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Dave_larock

Speaker of the House William Howell has appointed Delegate Dave LaRock as a member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), effective immediately and lasting for the duration of his term in the House of Delegates. The Commission meets several times throughout the year to “Study all aspects …

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Virginia Earns Top Special Education Rating from U.S. Department of Education

Virginia is one of only 18 states and territories earning a “meets requirements” designation under the US Department of Education’s (USED) new results-driven accountability model for rating state compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Previously in rating states, USED focused on procedural requirements such as timelines …

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Sports

Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League Registration Ends July 28

20 Jul 2014

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Registration for the Fall 2014 NFL Flag Football league is currently ongoing for boys and girls, ages six to 14, and spots are filling fast. To secure a spot in the league, participants must register by Monday, July 28, 2014. The Ida Lee NFL Flag Football League is the premier …

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Lady Vikings Claim District Lacrosse Title

3 Jun 2014

ladyvikings

By Mac Shuford The Loudoun Valley girls lacrosse team beat Woodgrove 10-7 on May 22 for the district championship. It was a hard fought victory and a long time coming as Valley had never beaten Woodgrove until this game, having narrowly lost last year’s district and regional Titles in the …

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Letters

Good News – Virginia Budget Passed

3 Jul 2014

speak

I hope folks have heard the good news that Virginia has passed a two-year budget, and passed it without allowing our new governor to force …

(3 comments)

T-Mac Does an O’Bama

24 Jun 2014

blueridge2

Everyone by now has heard that the Virginia Legislature was able to pass a budget without medicaid expansion. This has infuriated the Governor who has …

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De-couple Medicaid Expansion from the Commonwealth’s Budget

11 Jun 2014

blueridge2

At a September 25, 2103, debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, then Mr. McAuliffe declared, “No budget will be shut down in Virginia …

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