What’s planned for Purcellville

October 25, 2009 Loudoun County, News, Our Towns Comments Off on What’s planned for Purcellville

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 Farm and garden, News, Our Towns Comments Off on Crooked Run Orchard establishes legal defense fund

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 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on The sidewalk to nowhere

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 Columns Comments Off on Releasing the Beast

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 Columns, News, Schools Comments Off on Making the Grade

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 Columns Comments Off on A Scientist, a Whale and a Tourist Walk into a Bar…
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 News Comments Off on Welcome back

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 Columns Comments Off on Fairs to Remember
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.


 

 

 

 

Columns

Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)

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“In any field, the establishment is seldom in pursuit of the truth because it is composed of those who sincerely believe that they are already in possession of it.” E. T. Jaynes. Everybody prefaces Bernie Sanders name with “pie in …

Asterisk No More

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

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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 …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

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Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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 …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

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

benkellog

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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Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
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Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

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Music Together Classes - Winter Session

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Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

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Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

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5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

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Music Together Classes - Winter Session

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Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

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Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Chocolate & Cabernet

Sweetheart's Soirée at Breaux Vineyards

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

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Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Celebrate Valentine's Day at North Gate Vineyard

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

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Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

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LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

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CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

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Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

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Breaux Vineyards February Fourth Friday

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THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

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Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

Our Love is Here to Stay

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VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

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Merlot Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

North Gate Vineyard Wine Dinner with Chef Sebastian Oveysi

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VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Lifestyle

Creation and Evolution in Native American Spirituality

9 Feb 2016

turtle_swartz

In celebration of Evolution Weekend, an annual event led by clergy to encourage serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science, St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville has invited Roger and Deborah “Turtle” Swartz to guide a discussion of traditional Native American Spirituality and its wisdom in celebrating human relationship to the earth. In a …

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Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

lovinleesburgrealestate1

By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

Virginia_seal

Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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