Blue Ridge Leader News – January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010 Loudoun County, News, Tim Jon with BRLN Comments Off on Blue Ridge Leader News – January 31, 2010

Tim Jon here for the Blue Ridge Leader. Let’s get to it.

“What a dump (-ing)!”

Well, if the fact that it snowed yesterday comes as news to you, it’s probably too late to give you the details, but: personal observances can attest to anywhere from six to eight inches of very powdery covering out there. I experienced skating-rink conditions in west-central Loudoun- on Silcott Springs Road, Saint Louis Road and Snickersville Turnpike (almost didn’t make the hill west of Philomont), navigable but deepening snows on Otley and Black Oak and nearly impassable conditions on Paxson Road.

Which reminds me, I need to thank the kind gentleman at 35960 Paxson who helped me out of the snow-filled, muddy ditch and back onto the slippery roadway surface late in the afternoon.

Driving possibilities were slightly better in more residential neighborhoods, where at least some (but not all) plowing was performed.

The Route Seven Bypass was pretty much down to one lane by supper time.

We did note the presence of snowplows and sand trucks on major roadways throughout the day on our jaunt through rural Loudoun County.

Interestingly enough, in about 70 miles of driving, I can’t recall any vehicles in the ditch (except, briefly, yours truly); perhaps I was the only inept motorist on the road.

By all accounts, then, this makes for a relatively heavy winter for the Northern Virginia area- coupled with the snowfall back in late December.

Hope this is the swan song for the white stuff, though.

Fun is fun till overdone. Just too cold for this much snow.

Aftermath of Horror

Certainly no lack of heat currently focused on a woman from who admitted to killing her mother in Leesburg. Kim Dong heard a guilty verdict (first degree) in her murder trial late this past week; the jury recommended 35 years for the crime, which occurred in July of 2008.

Dong’s daughter Julie admitted to partnering in the slaying; the two were ostensibly motivated by money; they stole the elderly victim’s car, cash and credit card and fled to New Mexico before authorities tracked them down with the aid of transaction records.

The victim- 66 year old Hahn Hoang- lived on Golden Larch Terrace.

One can hardly help wondering: how a family can become so dysfunctional so that two members take another’s life- supposedly over financial issues.

We hope the surviving relatives can recover from a truly senseless tragedy.

Julie Dong comes in for sentencing later this month, after pleading guilty to first degree murder in August.

Brand New Choo Choo

Well, the train finally made it to Dulles Airport, in a manner of speaking. The facility unveiled their new subway this past week, set to serve most passengers arriving or departing from the regional hub.

The Airports Authority calls their new showpiece the AeroTrain; it runs on electricity with almost 30 rail cars (on rubber wheels) and tops out at a little more than 40 miles an hour.

It cost a cool billion and a half dollars (and you can bet that passengers’ll be footing that bill for quite some time, since the Airlines get tagged to help pay for improvements).

Speaking of which, recent years saw Dulles add a fourth runway, parking garages, control tower, new gates and expansions to the terminal and concourses.

The airport looks to get linked up to that other train- the metro extension from Falls Church- in about six years.

But that’s another story.

Oh, and those mobile lounges?

They’re gonna hang around for awhile; the Airports Authority plans to keep using them to shuttle international passengers as well as those accessing the D gates.

I keep hoping that someday they can reserve those for use in demolition derbies.

Power Play Chess Match

I can’t help but wonder: “What aren’t they telling us?” This- in response to the State Corporation Commission granting the applicants on the Path highwire project to pull their plans- for now.

This allows the two companies- Allegheny and American Electric Power- to circle the wagons and refile after gathering more information on future energy need projections.

The proposed design planned to string high voltage electrical lines across about 10 miles of northern Loudoun- as well as stretches in West Virginia and Maryland.

The SCC did rule that any future incarnations of the PATH project- Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highwire- include better data on pricing and supply ‘n demand.

So, maybe their opponents did catch ’em with their pants down and the region can get along without this extension- and without worrying about adequate electrical supply.

Or, just maybe- there’s something they’re not telling us.

Ya think?

Money Matters!

Well, the more we hear about the County Budget, the less we like. Now we hear that the Supervisors are sending a letter to Richmond to plead for consideration of implementing the composite index, which would give counties like Loudoun a fairer shake (by most local prognosticators) in the Commonwealth’s tax formula.

Trouble is, when’s the last time ‘Richmond’ (i.e., the majority of the General Assembly) raised a finger to help poor little old Northern Virginia?

Number-crunchers in Loudoun fear that we could lose out on about $35 million from this state of inertia and most of the pain would be felt by the school system- since education takes up about two-third’s of the local budget pie.

Not a good situation, according to pretty much anyone you talk to in the County.

Who’s gonna lose out?

Kids, taxpayers, politicians- and any resident who uses one of the programs that’ll get cut due to lack of funding.

Well, the State’s got problems of their own.

In contrast to a local shortfall of a couple hundred million, Virginia is facing a four billion dollar deficit.


This may reflect on their support to localities in the car tax reimbursement deal (who remembers Jim Gilmore? He laughed all the way to the Governor’s Mansion on that one.).

Big Reach from Big Hearts

It’s really heartening to see all the local support for relief to earthquake-devastated Haiti. Looks like just about everybody got involved: rescuers, schools, organizations, individuals, you name ’em, they started to pitch in.

We should let you know about a schedule change due to yesterday’s snow: the Maddy Curtis Concerts at Franklin Park are now set for this evening at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.

They had to cancel the Saturday show on account of the weather; probably a good idea.

Anyway, Maddy’s a Junior at Loudoun Valley High School and lives in Bluemont.

She plans to sing a variety of American Classics of Gershwin, Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael- and some English bloke named Sting.

Maddy recently made a name for herself on American Idol and these Haiti Benefits indicate that she deserves every break she can get.

But this young lady’s just one of many in Loudoun who’ve pledged or collected or sent relief to the struggling survivors on that shaken island.

The Lions Clubs already raised over a half million dollars.

Local public schools helping out in the cause include Heritage and Freedom High Schools, Monroe Technology Center, Mercer, Stone Hill and Blue Ridge Middle Schools- and Liberty and Frances Hazel Reid Elementary Schools.

Extra credit on their report cards, we say.

Gang Violence: an abrupt halt

The suspect in a horrific murder and beating from last year puts himself in for even more punishment; 18-year-old Jaime Ayala pled guilty to an assault charge in a gang fight one year ago at the Cascades Community Center. He faces much stiffer penalties in the beating death of William Bennett in Lansdowne last March; the victim’s surviving widow, Cynthia, still faces a long recovery process from wounds in that crime.

Investigators linked Ayala to both incidents through sightings of a white van by witnesses at each location.

The suspect also faces charges in a home invasion robbery from last year.

Expect to hear more on the murder case as prosecutors need to refile the documents, due to a question about Ayala’s exact age at the time of his arrest; he was reportedly 17 when those crimes took place.

Two other men- both in custody- face charges in the beating death as well.

Now That’s Orbital!

We can’t help but mention a recent visit to one of our local schools by a former Astronaut. Frank Culbertson Junior spoke to students recently at Catoctin Elementary in Leesburg.

He served on three Shuttle Missions and logged almost 150 days in space.

Culbertson watched the events of September 11th from the International Space Station- the only American above the surface of the Earth on that day.

The former Navy Fighter Pilot (retired Captain) advised local students to study hard and make plans for their futures.

He also advised them to expect- and be able to adapt to- changes in their lives.

Frank Culbertson Junior currently serves as Senior Vice President for Orbital Sciences of Dulles.

More about them in a later story.

Side note: I interviewed the last man to walk on the Moon a few years back; Gene Cernan said he wouldn’t have believed at the time that 50 years would pass and his footsteps would remain as the last reminder of man on that little sphere out there.

By the time Apollo 17 rolled around in 1972, most of us opted for the Beverly Hillbillies or some such idiocy in favor of watching Astronauts on the Moon.

Funny how times change.

And don’t.

And if this stuff interests you, we highly recommend a visit to the nearby Dulles Smithsonian- the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center- it’s worth the hefty parking fee.

Leaves a Good Taste

One more for dessert: a recent dinner benefit at Patowmack Farms raised about $9,000 for a local food shelf- Interfaith Relief. They hosted a homegrown, home-cooked (by local chefs) meal for 60 generous patrons last Thursday.

The evening featured a five-course meal with local wines- with live musical entertainment- at $150.00 per person.

Loudoun Interfaith Relief’ll pass on that money to their ever-growing number of clients: they distributed enough food last year to make about a half-million meals.

This boost should help them put the buck where it’ll do the most good.

Thanks for joining us- I’m Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader. Hope you caught that nice, pink sunrise this morning on all that fresh snow.

Radically Different: DNOW Weekend

January 30, 2010 Loudoun County Comments Off on Radically Different: DNOW Weekend

Each year, Purcellville Baptist Church (PBC) opens its doors to high school students to spend the weekend learning about discipleship and participate in various community service projects. However, this year on February 5 -7, PBC will be merging with Hamilton Baptist Church and Blue Ridge Bible Church for the event, Disciple Now, or DNOW, for short. The weekend program is led by Liberty University’s YouthQuest team, which consists of a discipleship team, drama team, media team, and a worship team. The teams work together to provide a fun, amusing, and entertaining weekend.

In previous years, the event has taken place solely at PBC. The youth spent the day at the church for the main sessions and were broken up into smaller, gender-specific groups for more personalized discussion. They then spend the night with these groups at a church member’s home and are driven back to church the next morning. Most meals were eaten in large groups at the church, where there is also an open gym that can be used during breaks. On Saturday, students were broken into different groups, and were driven somewhere to participate in a service project. In previous years, projects have included distributing blankets and toiletries to the homeless in Washington D.C. and cleaning up trash in Purcellville.

With the increased number of participants in this year’s DNOW program, the main sessions will be held at Patrick Henry College, but youth will still spend the night at the home of someone from their respective churches. Meals will be taken at PHC, and there will still be various service projects split up amongst the participants. The Student Leadership Team at PBC is still in the process of brain-storming and organizing what the service project may be, however, they are hoping to do something that will improve their school and the surrounding community.

Each year, the theme of DNOW is changed and the topic is addressed in worship sessions and small group discussions. Last year’s theme was “Christ of Convenience,” which taught participants that Christ was always present and wanting a relationship with them, not just when they were in need. This year, the theme is called “Radically Different,” and YouthQuest will still be leading the main worship sessions. PBC is excited to open DNOW up to the community and surrounding churches and is expecting a large turn out of approximately 100 or more participants.

Scott Jenkins Memorial Park *Update

January 28, 2010 News, Our Towns Comments Off on Scott Jenkins Memorial Park *Update

January 25, the Board of Supervisor’s Transportation/Land Use Committee, at the suggestion of Supervisors Kurtz and York, recommended lighting the ball fields at Franklin Park, west of Purcellville, using, in part, the money currently allocated for ball field lighting at Scott Jenkins Memorial Park.

Some committee members expressed concern about whether the lights at Jenkins Park would cause damage to the poinsettia nursery, which is north of the future park and across the route 7 bypass. The nursery owners were worried that spillover light from the ball fields would have a negative impact on their business. Poinsettias need total darkness at night from August to mid-December. The nursery, which is about 80 feet from route 7 bypass, has no tree shield. It is 807 feet from the boarder of Jenkins Park. In the light study, conducted by the manufacturer of “Light Structure Green,” the readings at the nursery were .01 and .00 foot candles. Moon light is .01-.05 foot candles. Vehicular headlights (which are at a lower level) from route 7 bypass, which is much closer to the nursery than Scott Jenkins Park, have apparently not caused harm to the poinsettia’s production.

Chairman Scott York expressed concern about protecting rural agricultural businesses such as the 37 year-old nursery. Supervisor Jim Burton recommended the lights at Scott Jenkins Memorial Park. donated by the Virts family, be used in the spring and summer only, and restricted during the poinsettia season until such time that it could be determined, by actual test measurements at the site, that the lights would have no spillover onto the nursery.

In the end, the Committee decided to shift the lights to Franklin Park rather than take the chance that the computer model predictions might be wrong, and harm could be done to the nursery.

*Update: At the February 2 Board of Supervisor’s Meeting, the Board voted to put lights for the ball fields at Franklin Park. Scott Jenkins Memorial Park, which will have baseball fields, will become a dawn to dusk park.

Climate Change Must Be Addressed

January 28, 2010 Columns, Public Safety, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Climate Change Must Be Addressed

*As spoken at the American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting 14–18 December, San Francisco, California. These remarks reflect the personal opinions of B.D. Santer. They do not represent the official views of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory or the U.S. Department of Energy.

We live in extraordinary scientific and political times.

Over the course of less than a dozen generations, humanity has transitioned from a passive bystander to an active agent of change in the climate system. We are now aware of this fundamental change in our role in the world. We can no longer plead ignorance.

As climate scientists, this is what we know with great confidence:

We know that human activities have changed the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

We know that these changes in the composition of the atmosphere have had profound effects on Earth’s climate.

We know that the human “fingerprint” on climate will become ever more visible over the next few decades, and will impact many aspects of our lives.

We know that we are at a crossroads in human history. The decisions our political leaders reach in Copenhagen – or fail to reach – will shape the world inherited by future generations.

Our political leadership must have access to the best-available scientific information. Without this information, they will be unable to reach wise decisions on how to respond to the problem of human-caused climate change.

The clearest, most complete assessment of the science is contained in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the Synthesis and Assessment Products of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, and in the scientific assessments of the U.S. National Academy and the Science Academies of other nations. These assessments all underscore the reality of a “discernible human influence” on global climate.

As scientists, we must be free to contribute to such assessments. We must be free to follow the science wherever it leads us, without fear of interference when we “speak truth to power”.

Sadly, climate scientists now see and feel interference from political and economic interests. This interference is pervasive. Powerful forces are using a criminal act – the theft of over a thousand emails from the U.K.’s Climatic Research Unit – to advance their own agendas.

These “forces of unreason” seek to constrain our ability to speak truth to power. They seek to skew and distort what we know about the nature and causes of climate change. Having failed to undermine climate science itself, they seek to destroy the reputations of individual climate scientists. They seek to destroy men like Phil Jones and Mike Mann, who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and understanding.

We must not let this stand.

We no longer have the luxury of remaining silent on these issues. We all have voices. We need to use them.

To read a Dr. Santer’s bio, click here.

Calendar Revisions

January 28, 2010 Columns Comments Off on Calendar Revisions

We have to be quick about this. Seriously, he’s just around the corner and I don’t want him to hear us talking about him. Why, February of course! You know how conceited he is. So full of himself with pride for being the shortest month of the year. The truth is that they had to make him shorter because he’s so gruesome, dark, and dismal. He’s oblivious to the fact that he’s a month to be endured, not enjoyed.

This time of year is so . . so . . so . . not inspiring enough for adjectives. If we could just skip ahead to March everything would be better. Think about it, March is a time of magic with both St.Patrick’s Day (read here leprechauns, rainbows, and mass drunkenness) and the first day of Spring! We should just skip ahead to that. February is a stupid, stupid month and I think we should ditch it.

It might sound a little unreasonable when he’s not here to defend himself, but really, I have a point and you know it. For starters, you’ve misspelled the month more than once. There’s no shame in it. I happen to know a local company full of brainiacks and rocket scientists where they printed a company calendar, only to learn that whoever among them had placed the order, had spelled it Febuary. The true shame of it is, that they could have just left it the way it was, I mean it would still function, the dates would have all worked. They had to order a reprint just to maintain the impression that they were all geniuses. And that’s the kind of a month it is, making people look like idiots. What’s the point in the silent r anyway? If it’s not silent, then you just talk funny -go tend to your impediment and let me get on with my argument.

Then there’s the issue of the weather of February. Disgusting, wet nearly snow rain, or crusty old exhaust painted snow, ice sleet and wind, -all the worst winter has to offer with none of the novelty. And don’t forget the oddball days of balmy spring like warmth that make you take off your parka and turn towards the sun. Those days are just some cruel joke the month is playing on you, before it cancels school on account of ice.

Leap year is another problem. If any month is less inclined to hop around like a little bunny I’d like to see it. Changing the number of days the month holds? Why doesn’t this month have to follow the rules like all the others? The whole idea of leaping is insulting as well. As if I’m at his beck and call. He says “Jump!” and I’m expected to answer, “How high?” The indignity of it.

My sentiments aren’t new. Everyone knows this is a problem month. Why do you think people keep trying to dress it up with holidays? You can put a hat on a giant squid, it’s still a giant squid. You can put any holiday you like on a February and it’s still the worst month ever.

Valentines Day, where do I begin? Okay, as a mother, I can personally say that I don’t need, or want, to purchase, or help make, thirty or more valentines day cards for each of my three kids. Nor do I want them coming home with candy that I have to now regulate in some responsible way. Think of the trees that could be saved, never mind the glitter, if we just skipped it. That’s not to mention all the single folks out there that are made to feel that they are somehow lacking to not have a significant other on Feb 14th. And then there’s the added pressure put on us married folks. If the two of you are getting along and one forgets to do the card/flower/candy thing there could be tension. Or if they do it, there’s that sneaky suspicion, “what are they compensating for that I don’t know about yet? and do I want to know?”

The added tension just adds to more chocolate and candy eating. The truth is that the craving for sweets it just a natural desire to make the month more palatable. February is a bitter pill to swallow. The extra r gets caught in my throat and the F is all pokey.

Groundhog day is an obvious desperate plea for the month to please, please, please, End Soon. We hold up this sacrificial groundhog/shadow, just please go away you nasty nasty thing. The rest of the holidays of February are flimsy at best. As if the holiday bestowing powers that be, felt obligated to throw something on the month to dress it up, but didn’t want to sully any of their nicer bits of finery. For example, did you know that February is Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month as well as Low Vision Awareness Month? It seems these two should team up and just invest in carrots. February also plays host as Bake for Family Fun Month, Grapefruit Month and International Boost Self-Esteem Month. It is also the Jobs in Golf Month, and International Expect Success Month. Are these two things related? I’m imagining golf caddies with big dreams and sleazy wannabe types hobnobbing with the elite looking for investors to scam.

Being the month that holds Valentine’s Day it makes sense that February is also National Condom Month. I won’t comment on how February holds this holiday observance, but my understanding is that a little room should be left in the tip.

Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month- obviously not working because I don’t know what it is, and I’ve even taken the trouble to write it down.

Marijuana Awareness Month and National Care About Your Indoor Air Month, it seems that these two should talk.

With the candy associated with Valentine’s someone clever decided it should be National Children’s Dental Health Month. Someone must have learned the lesson that where children eat, things fall and animals eat as well, because it’s also National Pet Dental Health Month. Or maybe that’s just to assist the folks that get kids and animals confused.

February is National Senior Independence Month, but really, if they were truly independent would they need a month? It seems that they would better prove their independence to do without.

Also, February is both Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month, and Pull Your Sofa Off The Wall Month. Dare we? For some of us against the wall is the most practical place, and we might not be ready for greatness.

Finally it’s important to know that it is Spunky Old Broads Month and Sweet Potato Month. Or spunky potatoes and sweet broads, it seems a little interchangeable.

Sometimes a month is too much and a day isn’t enough. In this case we have the weekly observances of February. Or as I understand them, more pitiful attempts to make the month bearable. As if we needed to give farriers the opportunity to unite we have International Hoof Care Week from the 2nd to the 5th. Should someone tell them, that isn’t a full week, or were they trying to be cute with four days, one for each hoof? International Snow Sculpting Week is from the 3rd to the 6th. Again, this is not a full week, are they afraid they’ll run out of snow? Jell-O Week is from the 7th to the 13th of February. Just Say No to Powerpoints Week is also from the 7th to the 13th. Can we expect more presentations using Jell-O in this time frame?

I also couldn’t help but notice that Freelance Writers Appreciation Week is from the 8th to the13th. May I be so bold as to suggest rather than appreciation most writers would prefer payment? No, that’s just silly. The tacit agreement between reader and writer is a fragile bond of trust, and affection that shouldn’t be dirtied with the worldly pursuit of monetary gain. (I have a paypal account for your convenience, should you insist oh gentle reader.)

National Engineers Week is from February 14th to the 20th. You can count on engineers to at least have the right number of days in their week, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be fun. I find most of them to be engineeritating. There’s probably a high coefficient of geekocity, with a variable yet constant know-it-all factor. Do engineers have an affinity for pancakes? Because they share the week. Yes, February 14th to the 20th is National Pancake Week, batter up.

American Crossword Puzzle Week is from 26 across to 28 down.

I think I’ve made my point. This is the time of year that demands big changes and it’s time we all heed the call. One of my friend’s has a husband (-we all have our various afflictions, quit snickering). Her husband gets the itch to move, or build an addition, or switch careers, every year -right around the month of February. That’s the kind of pressure this horrible month puts on us, we all want to flee to some extent. It’s ridiculous to let some stinky month have that kind of power over us, we can’t run away from our problem any more. We must stand and fight! So this year when February comes calling- This year when he tries to bully us into submission- Let’s kick him to the curb! It’s about time we had an 11 month year. In the meantime, should you fail, these are just a few of the lesser known days you have to look forward to:

Feb 1: Working Naked and National Baked Alaska Day. No reports on whether these holidays are observed congruently in the major baked Alaska factories of the nation.

Feb 5: Move Hollywood & Broadway to Lebanon, PA Day,-which I admire for its specificity.

Feb 6: Dump Your Significant Jerk Day

Feb 7: the intriguing holiday of Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbor’s Day

Feb 9: Read in the Bathtub Day

Feb 10: Plimsoll Day -Look it up. A fine excuse to throw a party.

Feb 11: Be Electrific Day, National Shut-in Visitation Day, as well as White Shirt Day. It seems to me you could accomplish all these things at once if you’re serious about it.

Feb 13: Madly In Love With Me Day -Assuming the me in this holiday refers to ME than by all means celebrate

Feb 18: Battery Day: 18 (Volta’s birthday), Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day, Pluto Day (Planet is Discovered by Clyde Tombaugh)

Feb 19: Chocolate Mint Day

Feb 20: Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day, and in case you’re hungry it’s also Clam Chowder Day

Feb 21: International Mother Language Day ( In my case this is the subtle cursing I do under my breath)

Feb 24: Inconvenience Yourself Day -Is there a day that I don’t?

Feb 26: For Pete’s Sake Day

Feb 28: International Sword Swallowers Day and National Tooth Fairy Day.

Sshh! Here he comes. Look at the way he saunters in his slushy snow boots. He’s leaving muddy footprints all over the place and he doesn’t even care! Don’t tell him I’ve been talking about him. I don’t want him to be any meaner to me than he already is. Think about what I said though. Peace out.

Alice Mullen says a lot of things, and hardly anyone takes her seriously. You shouldn’t either. The Blue Ridge Leader is not responsible for what she says, only the punctuation and grammar with which she says it. If you are a raging lion of literary litigation, longing for lunch and feel particularly litigious there are tastier morsels elsewhere. Shoo bad kitty. Meow.

Ronald Regan Lecture Series

January 24, 2010 Loudoun County Comments Off on Ronald Regan Lecture Series

The Loudoun County Republican Committee is sponsoring the Ronald Regan Lecture Series. The first lecture will take place February 3, 2010 and will feature Bill Kristol. “The Case For Limiting Government As Specified In the Constitution” will begin at 7:30 in Sterling. The address is AVCom Visual Arts, 45965 Nokes Boulevard, Steling, Virginia 20166. Admission is free.

March 3, 7:30 at Patrick Henry College General Curry will be the speaker. He wrote the book “From Private to General” and then his wife wrote the companion book “The General’s Lady”.

After he retired he did a stint as head of the NTSB. His topic will be “A strong Defense Promotes Peace”. This event will be in Purcellville at Patrick Henry College.

Upcoming Lectures will include Health Care Individual Liberty and Responsibility, The Roll of Faith in Public Life, and The Wrongful Assault on Capitalism.

Shear Madness

January 24, 2010 Behind the Scenes Comments Off on Shear Madness

Meredith Bean McMath

Meredith Bean McMath

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the mechanisms of a watch — those miniature wheels creasing through one other in the intricate dance of a perfect tick-tock-tick? Taking in a professional production of Shear Madness — like the one that’s been playing at the Kennedy Center’s Theater Lab for over 20 years — is to see inside a magnificent timepiece, one whose intricate dance of wheels and gears march together in perfect synchronicity. The timing: impeccable, the comedy: over-the-top ridiculous, the jokes: as pertinent as today’s headlines, and the acting: superb! Click here for more.

Blue Ridge Leader News – January 24, 2010

News for Sunday morning, January 24, 2010

Good Morning! Tim Jon here for the Blue Ridge Leader.

Dollar Signs and Decimal Points

Seven hundred sixty-four million: $764,000,000; however you look at it, that’s a lotta money. That’s how much the local schools are asking for in the next budget cycle, after the School Board … Continue Reading

Walking in Their Shoes

January 24, 2010 News, Schools Comments Off on Walking in Their Shoes

As people enter the gates of Loudoun Valley High School’s track they hand over a pair of used shoes and begin to walk around the track—barefoot—along with others similarly shoeless. This is the sight that Valley’s International Service Club hopes to witness on May 15 for their project, The Barefoot Mile.

The International Service Club board, made up of President Maggie Gutierrez, Vice President Jessica Carr, Secretary Zanny Ludtke, and Treasurer Tess Warner, is heading the project. They have been working together to make the event possible after they first heard the idea to send shoes to impoverished Kenyans.

“The Barefoot Mile is an event where people come and, instead of paying with money, pay with shoes, as many pairs as they want. They walk a mile around the track barefoot to see how those people in Africa live,” said Gutierrez, who explained that they got the idea when they watched a video in their church’s youth group meeting about a high school student, Jamie Colman, who started the event at her school and received over 4,000 shoes.

Shoes are not a typical item thought of for charitable donation, however they were something that the board felt is often overlooked as a necessity.

Ludtke said that not having shoes “can cause different foot diseases and it can really impair their life because they can’t get around.”

One of the advantages to this event is the replacement of a required monetary donation, with the more specific donation of shoes, which most people would be likely to have an extra pair of lying around their houses.

Carr said “All they have to do is bring one pair of shoes: It doesn’t cost anything. Everyone should try to come; it’s a great cause. We’re really trying to make a difference.”

While it may not cost anything for those who want to walk, the cost of sending a flat rate box of shoes, approximately $56 according to Carr, will be the greatest expense for the event.

To raise money to ship the shoes Carr explained that International Service Club members will be sent out to go to local businesses, she said “They ask the business if they would be willing to donate a little bit of money… we’re trying to make it pretty personal.”

Not only is the board trying to get businesses to donate money, but they are also currently trying to find businesses that would be willing to provide additional support at the event itself.

“We’re trying to get different businesses to come and bring refreshments and play music,” said Carr. While none of the board stated any definite contributors, Tropical Smoothie was mentioned as a possible source for refreshments.

The suggested date of this event, while currently not finalized, happens to fall on Heritage day, which has been taken into account by the board.

“I think it’ll help… because people will come out to Heritage day anyway so they’ll be more inclined to just stop by,” said Ludtke.

An event which is primarily funded by shoes rather then money relies on the volunteer work of those willing to help, for the International Service Club, that help comes primarily from the members.

“I think it’s going to be a success. A ton of people have already offered to help,” said Warner, who was confident that the volunteering would surpass just this one event. “It’ll expand so people will take more action beyond the Barefoot Mile.”

With the event getting closer and closer the board has been busy working on making sure everything goes well and no problems arise during the walk.

Ludtke said, “I think that it’ll turn out pretty well, because it’s simple: they just have to walk a mile.”

Award Winning Musicians To Perform Upperville Event

January 23, 2010 Behind the Scenes Comments Off on Award Winning Musicians To Perform Upperville Event
Hardy and  Orkis are Principal Cello and Principal Keyboard in the National Symphony Orchestra and will perform in Upperville on February 21.

Hardy and Orkis are Principal Cello and Principal Keyboard in the National Symphony Orchestra and will perform in Upperville on February 21.

Two Grammy Award-winning performers, David Hardy and Lambert Orkis, will present a classical music program at the Third Annual Candlelight Concert in Upperville on Sunday, February 21 at 4:00 p.m. Both Hardy and Orkis are members of the National Symphony Orchestra and have been performing together since 1983. The concert will feature music from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Brahms and will be held in Buchanan Hall located at 8549 John Mosby Highway. The performance is a fundraiser for The Community Music School of the Piedmont and a special reception with the musicians will follow at the Blackthorne Inn at 10087 John Mosby Highway in Upperville.

“We are absolutely thrilled to host Mr. Hardy and Mr. Orkis for our Third Candlelight Concert. This is a wonderful opportunity to attend a world-class performance in the middle of winter right here in our back yard.” Says CMSP Executive Director, Martha Cotter.

For more information, call the Community Music School of the Piedmont at 540-592-3040 or visit

Dream Comes to Purcellville in February

January 22, 2010 Behind the Scenes, Our Towns Comments Off on Dream Comes to Purcellville in February

Not Just Shakespeare, Inc. will perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, on Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, at 8:00 p.m. A matinee performance will be held on Sunday, February 7, at 2:00 p.m., at the Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center in Purcellville. The show, directed by David Sturdevant, will entertain audiences of all ages.

To learn more, call 703-909-4903, or visit Tickets can be reserved by calling the Box Office at 540-338-7973.

Anjia Eichler

January 22, 2010 Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Anjia Eichler

“During the industrial period (1850–2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record.” [Eichler, 2009]

“If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability.” [Swanson, 2009]

What is remarkable about these quotes is that both papers are cited by global warming deniers as scientific evidence supporting denier ideology.

On December 10, 2008, Senator Inhofe referred to Prof. Eichler’s paper as supporting his denial of anthropogenic global warming on his web site at the U. S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works with the headline “Study: Half of warming due to Sun!” Note that this paper’s conclusion could not more strongly support the global warming consensus and contradict Senator Inhofe.

In 2009 the corporate lobby company, Cato Institute, decided to run a full page ad attacking this comment by President Obama; “Few challenges facing America and the World are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

In response, the Cato Institute ad begins, “With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true…The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.” As proof, they then cite the Swanson paper that I quoted above. While it is true that deniers fancy themselves skeptics, they are really quite naive and gullible. Did the corporate lobbyists at Cato think nobody would check their facts? To my knowledge after being blasted in the blogosphere the ad never ran.

The United States Environment and Public Works Committee published a minority report on December 20, 2007, titled “U. S. Senate Report Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007 Scientists Debunk ‘Consensus”, written by Senator Inhofe staffers Marc Morano, a career journalist and Matthew Dempsey [Inhofe, 2007]. The report is written to counter the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in 2007 [IPCC, 2007]. The only direct reference to the scientific literature in the entire174-page report is found on page 85 to an article by J. Oestermans, Science, p. 375, April 29, 2005. This paper does not exist.

In the entire year 2005 there are not any papers written by an Oestermans in the Journal Science but there is a paper written by Johannes H. Oerlemans. But the Oerlemans paper supports the consensus view of global warming (see for example Rahmstorf, 2008) and like Eichler’s paper contradicts global warming denial. Inhofe’s only reference in the 174 page opus contradicts him.

In 1996 ExxonMobil, General Motors and other large multinational corporations had formed a disinformation group called the Global Climate Coalition now defunct. In a report written by the GCC technical committee to the Board from Gregory Dana (tech VP) [Dana, 1996] from January 18, 1996, and leaked to the N. Y. Times in 2009:

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.”

“The potential for a human impact on climate is based on well-established scientific fact, and should not be denied.”

But deny they do. Global warming deniers themselves cannot find any scientific evidence supporting their nonsense. When they do cite science, as in the case of the Swanson paper cited by the Cato Institute, we see that the problem is actually much worse than the IPCC report would indicate.

We suggest that there must be very little scientific support for global warming denial, not simply because we cannot find any, but because global warming deniers themselves cannot find any.

[Eichler, 2009] Anja Eichler, Susanne Olivier, Keith Henderson, Andreas Laube, Ju¨rg Beer, Tatyana Papina, Heinz W. Ga¨ggeler, and Margit Schwikowski, Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing, January 15, 2009, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L01808, doi:10.1029/2008GL035930, 2009.

[Swanson, 2009] Swanson and Tsonis, “Has the climate recently shifted?” GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 2009

[Inhofe, 2007] Inhofe, Morano, and Dempsey, December 20, 2007, “U. S. Senate Report Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007 Scientists Debunk ‘Consensus”.

[IPCC, 2007] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007,

[Rahmstorf, 2008] Rahmstorf, S., 2008: Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts. In: Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto., E. Zedillo, Ed., Brookings Institution Press, Washington, pp. 34-53.

[Oerlemans, 2005] Johannes H. Oerlemans “Extracting a Climate Signal from 169 Glacier Records,” Science 308, no. 5722 (2005):675-77
[Dana, 1996]

Temporary Injunction Granted

January 22, 2010 Loudoun County, News, Our Towns Comments Off on Temporary Injunction Granted

In August and December of 2009 the Town of Purcellville, without county participation, annexed four properties that, by their own admission, were outside of the Phase I annexation area outlined in PUGAMP (Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan). The county objected … Continue Reading









A Habitable Planet


“At the moments when we are able to separate ourselves from our daily concerns and ponder deeply, most of us have encountered fundamental questions of our existence as human beings. Where do we come from? What happened before humans appeared …

Choose Joy, Don’t Go Negative

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Sometimes life is pleasant and it is easy to smile, other times it is not. The real question is how do you react and live your life when you are going through trials? What do you do when you feel …

Character Outlives Us All


“Brains are like muscles, you can rent them by the hour, but at the end of the day all you have left is your character.” This statement was uttered by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a phrase his father used …

Foxridge Park

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth- Foxridge Park-1

You know, I can still taste those sausages: The first early-spring bratwurst cooked over an open flame in a beautiful setting among good friends; nothing so surprising, really, in recalling a good meal in classic context. The thing is, though …

Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning


What do we tell the kids? Questions of how much and what type of information to give the children often arise during consultation. The answers depend on the circumstances of each family – the ages and maturity of the children …

A Look Into What Is Learned in High School English

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By Mary Rose Lunde English is the arguably the most important subject for a student in high school to learn. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common — being able to communicate effectively. This is …


Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Oh No, It’s the Christians!


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

Isn’t Loudoun Better Than This?


More than forty years I have watched a rising tide of development flowing from the east across Loudoun. Once it was thought the western mountains would be spared the flood. …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville


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


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


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


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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May 2016
25 26 27

Hamilton Town Hall

28 29

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center


Lobster Day with Chef Seb at North Gate Vineyard

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Spring Wine Glass Painting with Penny


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

TGIF @ North Gate Vineyard!


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

The Sprouted Spoon Food Truck at North Gate Vineyard

Nathaniel Davis Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Celebrate Mother's Day at North Gate Vineyard!

Mother's Day Brunch at Breaux


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Dog Day at Breaux Vineyards


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Senior Caregiver Training

Hillsboro Ruritan Club Dinner Meeting


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Strawberry Afternoon Tea


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Strawberry Afternoon Tea


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Land Trust of Virginia Annual Garden Party


Waterford Concert


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

A Taste of Paris and View of Normandy at Breaux Vineyards

Annie Stokes Live at North Gate Vineyard


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Paella by Carlos at North Gate Vineyard


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson


It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison


It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Free Gardening Lecture


It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison


It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Yard Sale

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event



It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Movies in the Park Return to Ida Lee This Summer

25 May 2016


“101 Dalmatians” kicks off the season on Thursday, May 26. Get the popcorn ready! The Town of Leesburg will once again be hosting Movies in the Park this summer. This free series will feature an evening movie on the third Thursday of each month throughout the summer, hosted at Ida Lee Park.

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New Concert Series Comes to Purcellville

20 May 2016


On Sunday, June 5 at 4:00 p.m., internationally recognized pianist Brian Ganz will present an all-Chopin recital at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 711 W. Main Street in Purcellville. The recital will feature several of Frédéric Chopin’s studies for solo piano, including the renowned “Revolutionary” Etude, among other works by the Romantic master. Ganz, who recently moved to Purcellville from Annapolis, …

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Eucharistic Procession To Pass Through Leesburg May 29

20 May 2016


– By Mark Gunderman Each year, Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ), symbolizing their belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. In the United States, the celebration of Corpus Christi is held on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. This is a time when Catholics can demonstrate their …

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Around Virginia

Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

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Update: Remains Located in Shenandoah National Park; Search Efforts Suspended

VSP Photo - 4-21-16 Whiteoak Canyon Trail Entrance VSP

Update: Body preliminarily identified as Nicole K. Mittendorff, 31, of Woodbridge. The physical and digital evidence collected during the course of this investigation includes a note recovered from the car leads investigators to believe there was no foul play involved in her death. ——————– Search efforts in the Shenandoah National …

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Virginia Trooper Shot and Killed at Richmond Bus Terminal

Tpr Dermyer Patrol Car in front of VSP SPHQ

A Virginia State Police trooper has died as a result of his injuries after being shot on March 31 at the Greyhound Bus station in the 2900 block of North Boulevard in Richmond. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Virginia State Police Trooper Chad P. Dermyer approached a male subject just inside …

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Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016


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


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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