Druhan’s Actions are Dangerous

February 25, 2010 by Letter to the Editor Dear Editor Be the first to comment

I would like to thank the Blue Ridge Leader for posting Mr. Bill Druhan’s speech at the Purcellville town council meeting on February 16 . At this meeting, former mayor and current member of the Purcellville Planning Commission, Bill Druhan, openly threatened Hirst Farm residents. Equally disturbing is the lack of outrage displayed by the Mayor and Town Council at Mr. Druhan’s dangerous speech. Our local government, the Mayor and Town Council members of Purcellville, have an obligation to reprimand Mr. Druhan and remove him from his position on the planning commission. They also have an obligation to provide a formal apology to Hirst Farm residents.

Devonshire Circle is a street in the Hirst Farm neighborhood. Mr. Druhan promises that the “perfect life on Devonshire Place is about to change.” What does that mean, Mr. Druhan? No one knows. Neither the Mayor nor the Town Council stopped him to demand that he explain the meaning of his threat. Mr. Druhan goes on to say, “For those hypocrites who believe the SCR is not needed but who find it necessary to cut/speed through Maple Ave. and/or 9th St., you will find yourself on YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, MYSPACE and various other blogs.” Mr. Druhan’s inflammatory speech continues with another attack on Hirst Farm. He states, “So, to you self-important and blissfully ignorant folks on Devonshire Place, if you don’t want to be broadcast on the world-wide web, I suggest that you find another route out of town.” Again, the Mayor and Town Council quietly listened to this slander and threat.

Mr. Druhan, there is nothing more hypocritical than a former mayor, who, according to the Blue Ridge Leader, ran against the Southern Collector Road in 2002 and 2004; and who is also a current employee of the taxpayers of Purcellville, assuming the right to tell follow citizens which public roads they may or may not use.

To further underscore how serious his threat is to Hirst Farm residents, Mr. Druhan continues his speech. He gives a date, time, description and license plate of a vehicle that left Devonshire Circle and proceeded out of town via Maple Ave., Main St., and Rt. 287. Mr. Druhan’s details of the vehicle, including its speed on Maple Ave., show that he followed a driver from his/her home in Hirst Farm for approximately 2 miles. Presumably, based on his statement concerning use of the web, which he makes twice in his speech, he recorded video as well. At the end of his tirade, Mr. Druhan repeats his warning that “life on Devonshire Circle is about to change” and pulls out a radar gun noting, “by the way, it works in mobile mode”. This is not concern about traffic on Maple Ave. It is a deliberate act of aggression against Hirst Farm residents.

Mr. Druhan’s speech and actions are more than shocking and objectionable. They are abhorrent and dangerous. This video tactic is particularly heinous. How many pedophiles and kidnappers will benefit from Mr. Druhan’s broadcasts? One such person would be too many.

On February 23, I spoke to two members of the Purcellville Police Department. Neither one remembers a recent request for radar enforcement on Maple Ave. I do not believe that the police department would refuse a request from any homeowner on Maple Ave., particularly a request from the former mayor. Mr. Druhan deliberately attacked Hirst Farm.

What is it that Mr. Druhan wants? He told us in his speech. He wants the SCR completed. He appears willing to use any vile tactic to get it. The SCR is a divisive issue for Purcellville, and Mr. Druhan is attempting to divide Hirst Farm further. No matter what any person’s individual viewpoint of the proposed SCR; of the need or lack of need of the SCR; or of a citizen’s right to his land, home and means of income (farming) vs. a governments assertion that it can take land as it deems necessary; what Mr. Druhan is doing is wrong.

Mr. Druhan’s tactics of belittling, slandering, threatening, stalking and videotaping Hirst Farm residents is intolerable, unacceptable behavior. The Mayor and Town Council members did not take Mr. Druhan seriously. From watching the videotape, they did nothing except laugh when Mr. Druhan pulled out his radar gun and thank him when he finished speaking. The Mayor and Town Council members owe the residents of Hirst Farm a formal, written apology for condoning Mr. Druhan’s behavior. They also must formally reprimand and remove him from the Planning Committee. He is clearly not an objective, impartial member of that committee. For the mayor and Town Council to allow Mr. Druhan to continue in his duties is a slap in the face to Hirst Farm residents and demonstrates approval of Mr. Druhan’s aggressive tactics. As of Wednesday, February 24, there were no formal statements of apology on the Purcellville town website.

Mr. Druhan did not stop at the contemptuous tirade against Hirst Farm. He also submitted a petition in support of town wide transportation improvements at this same town council hearing. Unfortunately, Mr. Druhan uses this petition, which starts with a very good idea, a request for a Rt. 690/ Bypass 7 interchange, to attack Hirst Farm resident Ms. Kelli Grim. I cannot imagine that it is legal to write or to accept a petition that contains a specific person’s name. It is certainly unethical. Mr. Druhan is once again trying to divide Hirst Farm. It is clear to Hirst Farm residents when Ms. Grim is speaking on an issue as the HOA president and when she is speaking as a concerned citizen. Citizen Grim has expressed great concern over the approach the town has used with respect to Sam and Uta Brown’s property, Crooked Run Orchard. If I faced the trauma the Browns face, of losing home, land, and livelihood, I would welcome a neighbor’s interest. Empathy, concern and an insistence that proper procedure is followed are hallmarks of good citizenship in action. It is Ms. Grim’s, indeed any American’s, Constitutional right to question government legislation. In cases of local government, the citizen component of checks and balances becomes even more crucial, as local issues are not broadcast and debated the way national issues are. Good legislation welcomes scrutiny. It will pass the test.

Mr. Druhan, a town employee, is using the petition to harass a taxpayer. Once again, the Mayor and Town Council owe an apology to Ms. Grim and have another reason to reprimand Mr. Druhan. They also must refuse to accept the petition. To accept the petition would be to actively participate in this harassment.

On Saturday evening, February 20, my family participated in Cub Scout Troop 1162′s annual Blue and Gold Dinner at Emerick Elementary. Mayor Bob Lazaro also attended the Blue and Gold Dinner. He is a former Boy Scout, and was honored, along with President John Kennedy and astronaut and Senator John Glenn, as one of 100 distinguished Boy Scouts. Many of the Cub Scouts and families with whom Mayor Lazaro dined and socialized are like mine. We live in Hirst Farm. So, Mr. Mayor, are you still a Boy Scout? Will you do your duty to Hirst Farm residents and take action now, or will you wait until Mr. Druhan brings a gun of an entirely different sort into our neighborhood?

Theresa Rosette

Climate Factors

February 24, 2010 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized 4 comments

Here is a brief summary of those physical factors which influence a planet’s climate and in the case of Earth, make life possible. These are included in the anthropogenic global warming theory presented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports [IPCC, 2007].

  • Solar luminosity

  • Atmospheric greenhouse effect
    o Carbon dioxide
    o Methane
    o Ozone
    o Water vapor
    o Nitrous Oxide
    o Others…

  • Earth orbital variation
    o Croll-Milankovic cycles
    o The fortuitous circumstance of our large moon which stabilizes Earth’s orbit.

  • Earth’s oceans
  • Plate tectonics
  • Position of continents and oceans
  • High mountains (long term weathering and winds)
  • Ocean circulation
  • Subduction and regeneration of CO2
  • Volcanism
    o contributes CO2 (carbon cycle)
    o contributes aerosols and dust

  • Plant and bacterial life via photosynthesis
    o Consumption of CO2
    o Creation of oxygen
    o Amplification of rock weathering

  • Burial of organic matter in oceans
  • Mountain weathering and deposition as carbonate layers in oceans
  • Surface and cloud Albedo
  • Glaciers and polar ice sheets
  • Geothermal heating from radioactive decay
  • Land use
  • Air currents

This is not necessarily a complete list. These factors are not in any special order and are interrelated. Plate tectonics would not be possible without Earth’s oceans for example.

Faint Young Sun Paradox

Having observed that the Earth climate system is complex, I want to focus on the two principle components, the solar luminosity and the atmosphere. Joseph Fourier published the first energy balance for the Earth back in 1826. He calculated that in order for incoming solar radiation and outgoing heat radiation to balance, the Earth would only be about -18oC assuming the Earth is a black body radiator and absorbs all of the incoming energy. In fact, even then some of the solar energy would be reflected back out into space without warming the Earth and it would be even colder as shown in Figure 1. Fourier hypothesized in his paper that the atmosphere must have some effect which is keeping the planet warm. In 1860 John Tyndall discovered that carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and ozone were the greenhouse gases responsible for the warming the planet. This was surprising at the time because all of these gases have very low concentrations in the atmosphere the bulk of which is nitrogen and oxygen.

Figure 1

The red curve in Figure 1 illustrates the “faint young Sun” paradox, [from Koch, 2008]. Our sun is a G2 star on the main sequence; it was only 70 percent as luminous then as now. This is because the sun was mostly low density hydrogen. As fusion takes place in the solar core, four hydrogen protons combine to form one helium nucleus releasing energy by a complex process of collisions and reactions. As hydrogen is converted to helium, the core density increases as does the temperature and pressure resulting in a higher probability of fusion reactions and more radiation. Yet since about 4 billion years ago the Earth has always had a temperature compatible with liquid surface water and life. Earth’s surface temperature is thought to have varied between about 10 and 25 degrees C throughout its history, except for the Hadean Eon as shown by the grey band in Figure 1.

The lower of the two brown curves in Figure 1 is the Earth’s temperature without an atmosphere and the upper curve shows what the temperature would have been with today’s atmospheric concentrations. We first observe the profound impact of the greenhouse gases on the Earth temperature today, warming our planet from about -18oC to about +15oC.

What mechanism kept the Earth warm before present time? And how did this mechanism constrain the Earth’s temperature to such a narrow window despite the solar luminosity changes? Why didn’t the Earth freeze and what would have happened if it did?

Possible excursions below this range are thought to have occurred in the Proterozoic about 2.25 billion years ago and again between 750 and 590 million years ago. These snowball Earth events are shown by the two grey arrows in this figure. Earth’s temperature plummeted and the oceans froze to the equator. These events are contemporaneous with the two step-wise increases in atmospheric oxygen, the first from practically no oxygen to about 2 percent of the atmosphere by volume and the second to the present level of about 20 percent of the atmosphere by volume.

Figure 2 shows the atmospheric carbon dioxide partial pressure needed to maintain a temperate climate throughout Earth’s history. Since atmospheric oxygen was low during the Archean Eon, before 2.35 billion years ago, both methane and carbon dioxide could have been dominant greenhouse gases. A possible moderating feedback mechanism, involving both these gases is described by [Kastings, 2000]. However, during the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic Eons, carbon dioxide alone would have had to keep the Earth warm and balance the increasing solar radiation. This feedback process is described by [Berner, 2004]. It is called the carbonate-silicate cycle or the long term carbon cycle. Briefly, when the Earth warms, water evaporates off the oceans increasing rainfall. The water vapor combines with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere creating carbonic acid. These acids rain onto silicate rocks increasing the rate of weathering and carbonate sediment formation, effectively leaching the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. As a result the Earth cools. A cooler Earth results in less evaporation and less rainfall and subsequently less weathering and burial. This negative feedback cycle operates over millions of years.

Figure 2 Solar luminosity and CO2 partial pressure

Berner makes the point that the principle greenhouse gas is CO2. We read that methane as a greenhouse gas is stronger than CO2 by a factor of between 21 and 33 depending on how it is measured but in all cases this only applies for up to one hundred years, a period which is entirely relevant to the current human condition but not important over geologic time. Methane reacts with atmospheric oxygen to become CO2 and water fairly quickly. The residence time of is only about ten years. During the Archean Eon when there was little to no atmospheric oxygen, methane may have been the dominant greenhouse gas. Although CH4 vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas, “it is buffered by evaporation and condensation that is driven by external factors such as solar radiation and the CO2 greenhouse effect.” [Berner, 2004]

Figure 3 [Royer, 2006] shows the combined solar forcing and the carbon dioxide forcing. Hot house climates experienced only 4 to 6 W/m2 radiative forcing above pre-industrial values. In other words, despite solar radiation which was increasing by about 5 percent over the phanerozoic, or about 12 W/m2, reduced levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide maintained the Earth’s temperate climate. This figure also illustrates the correlation between global temperature and ice ages over the entire Phanerozoic. Note that all ice ages occur when the combined solar- forcing is relatively the same as pre-industrial Holocene demonstrating a high correlation between atmospheric and global temperature including the Ordovician-Silurian boundary glaciation as described by [Young, 2009].

Figure 3 Combined radiative forcing relative to pre-industrial 280 ppmV carbon dioxide [from Royer, 2006]

According to [NASA, 2009] and [Trenberth, 2009] the total increase in radiative forcing including all factors since 1850 is about 1.8 W/m2. This increase is shown by the red line in Figure 3. We can see that the Earth’s climate is potentially being forced into a hothouse regime from the current ice house climate in a geologically short time. Often, such excursions are associated with extinction events especially when combined with other factors such as in the present case over fishing, deforestation and mountaintop removal mining [Hallam, 2004].


[Hoffman] http://www.snowballearth.org/week8.html

[Young, 2009] Young, Saltzman, Foland, Linder and Kump, “A major drop in seawater 87Sr/86Sr during the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian): Links to volcanism and climate?” Geology, October, 2009.

[Hallam, 2004] Hallam, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities, Oxford University Press.

[Royer, 2006] Royer, “CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic”, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70 (2006) 5665–5675

[Berner, 2004], Robert, The Phanerozoic Carbon Cycle, Oxford University Press, 2004.

[Trenberth, 2009] Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for adapting to climate change: Tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27. DOI 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001.

[NASA, 2009] http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

[Koch, 2008] http://es.ucsc.edu/~pkoch/pages/classes.htm

[Kasting, 2000] Kasting, Pavlov, Brown, Rages, Freedman, “Greenhouse warming in the atmosphere of early Earth,” Journal of Geophysical research, v 105, no. E5, 11,981-11990, May 25, 2000.

Energy Efficiency for Heating and Cooling your Home

February 24, 2010 by Debi Skaggs Public Safety Be the first to comment

As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills – and your comfort.

There are several ways you can cut down on your energy consumption.

A programmable thermostat automatically lowers the temperature when you are away or sleeping. You can save on average $180 per year.

Make sure your filters are clean. Check them once a month and change when needed every three months at the least. Restricted air flow makes your system work harder and can lead to equipment malfunctions.

Have your equipment tuned up yearly. Most HVAC companies can provide you with a service agreement to check your system and make sure it is running efficiently. This usually entails one visit to maintain your heating system and one visit to check on the cooling system. These seasonal tune ups will not only ensure your equipment is running at peak performance but can also spot potential problems and may save you from having costly repairs in the future.

Have a contractor check the seams and connections on your duct work. Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Duct work in unconditioned areas should be wrapped in insulation. Sealing your ducts can improve your heating and cooling efficiency by 20 percent or more.

When it is time to replace your system there are several options available. There are the more exotic systems like radiant heat flooring and geothermal systems. There are the more conventional systems such as furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners.

Now more than ever the increase in homeowners opting for a dual fuel heat pump is on the rise. This is due in part to the energy efficiency of the system without the initial cost of an exotic system like geothermal.

A dual fuel heat pump consists of an electric heat pump and a gas furnace combined. Both heat pumps and gas furnaces have their advantages and disadvantages, combining them will give you best of both.

A heat pump works by drawing outside air across a coil. In the winter, the refrigerant absorbs heat from outdoor air drawn across the outdoor coil. The refrigerant becomes hot but is made even hotter (in excess of 140 degrees F) by going through the compressor and then the warm air is distributed throughout your home.

In the summer, your heat pump simply reverses the flow of refrigerant. Now the refrigerant absorbs heat from room air blown across the indoor coil and the warm air is distributed outside.

In certain weather conditions heat pumps are extremely efficient. Around 37 degrees F many heat pumps reach what is called the balance point. At or near this temperature the heat pump needs to run constantly to produce enough heat to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Most heat pumps have an electric heat strip installed in them to supplement the heat when temperatures fall below this point. A light on your thermostat comes on typically labeled auxiliary or emergency heat. This is normal. It also consumes vast amounts of electricity.

If utilizing a dual fuel system, when the performance of the heat pump begins to drop the gas furnace automatically takes over. This gives you a top performing heating and cooling system. The system is set up such that the electric heat pump is utilized for a greater duration. This helps to keep costs manageable given that gas is more costly. Energy utilization is economical which saves you on energy costs over the long run.

This option costs a little more initially to install but will save you over time, the added comfort of gas heat when the temperature drops…priceless. When it is time to replace your heating and cooling system dual fuel is an option you may want to consider.

Debi Skaggs works for Lou Who Contracting, Inc. which provides conventional and alternative Heating and Air Conditioning solutions for residential and light commercial buildings in Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick County.

Calling All Republicans

February 24, 2010 by Contributor Loudoun County Be the first to comment

Republican Party Canvass will be held on Saturday, March 6 at Belmont Ridge Middle School between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The official call can be found at http://www.loudoungop.com/2010OfficialCall.html

All county Republicans are eligible to vote. One must be a registered Loudoun County voter and sign the following loyalty pledge in order to participate: “I hereby declare that I intend to support all of the nominees of the Republican Party of Virginia for public office in the ensuing elections. I am in accord with the principles of the Republican Party of Virginia and have not participated in Virginia in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party in the past five (5) years, but if I have, I now renounce affiliation with any other political party.”

Belmont Ridge Middle School is located at19045 Upper Belmont Place, Leesburg, VA 20176. This is approximately ½ mile north of route 7 on Belmont Ridge Road, which becomes Upper Belmont Place after passing Riverside Parkway.

Contributed by Ben Belrose

Summer Options for Students

February 24, 2010 by Lauren Pichon Schools Be the first to comment

Missions trips to China or Haiti, attending Pre-College at Brown University, or Governor’s School, are options that high school students have to occupy their summers. With the end of February fast approaching, students are beginning to think about summer plans, and are in the process of filling out applications and attending interviews to turn these choices into reality.

There are a plethora of various summer activities that students can choose to attend, whether it be summer camp, or a college-level class for which the students earn college credit, such as the Pre-College program at Brown University, and the Pre-Collegiate Program at the College of William and Mary, which specializes in early American history and is sponsored by the National Institute of American History and Democracy (NIAHD.) One ultra-competitive program that does not grant college credit is Governor’s School, a month-long summer program for gifted students where they can go to take specialized courses in Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Engineering and Marine Science, Agriculture, Life Sciences and Medicine, and Foreign Language from various teachers and professors in the state. Each of these schools is held on a different college campus, and, though they are not in partnership with the college, Governor’s School students get a good feel for college life and academics. Like the college application process, the application process for programs such as these is both complicated and competitive, often including an essay, a teacher or guidance counselor’s recommendation, and of course, a look at the student’s high school transcript.

While some students choose to apply for competitive summer programs at various colleges and institutions, still others have chosen to give to others and go on a mission trip. This summer, Purcellville Baptist Church (PBC) will be taking a group of approximately twenty-five teenagers to China to teach conversational English to Chinese youth. While the location is still being determined, it is most likely that the team will stay in Jinan, China, with a population of 4.5-5 million people. PBC will also be sending teams to Haiti and Lost Creek, Kentucky. While both of these mission trips are open to youth, the China trip is specifically the “youth mission trip” for the second year in a row. In Haiti, the team will be assisting with reconstruction from the earthquake and will also be providing some medical and dental services, as the team will hopefully consist of people with some medical training including doctors, nurses, and dentists. The Kentucky team will be continuing the restoration of building and grounds that they began last year at Lost Creek’s private Christian school. While an application and interview are required to go on a mission trip, it is a spiritual rather than academic evaluation, and many teens feel ready to accept the challenge.

With so many opportunities to choose from over the summer, students have to carefully weigh how prepared they are, whether it be for a pre-college program, a mission trip, or even a summer job. With all of these options, students sometimes have a hard time identifying what would benefit them the most, both academically and personally, especially in a society where these new programs can help with acceptance into a college.

The Circle of My Influences

February 24, 2010 by Alice Mullen Columns Be the first to comment

Hard as it may be to imagine, my loquaciousness isn’t impervious to fatigue. There are times, when I need a respite from talking. All of it, even my twiddly little fingers on the keyboard, stop. When I come to this point of stillness, the sounds around me flood my senses. To tune out the chaos of three talkative and argumentative kids, I turn on the radio. What I hear disturbs me.

Mr. Sting of the Police has informed me; he is sending out an S.O.S.

I might have been interested in reading his little missive, had he not told me so many times. I think we would all do well to abandon him on his little island lest he torment anyone else with infinite repetition. I think even the sharks should refuse to gobble him. Chewing him would be like going over the same thing again and again, and there’s already been too much of that.

If AC/DC could just choose a current do you think they’d have to be back in black? I mean, it just takes a little planning of your voltage needs, really.

The band Boston says it’s more than a feeling. How much more? A strong hunch? Or is it a physical manifestation of something that was once a feeling but has now matured into something more painful like cramps?

And then there are the mysteries to ponder. I think Bob Marley may have in fact shot the deputy. Think about it. He has no qualms with admitting his crime; he gleefully admits he shot the sheriff. I get the sense he simply wants the confusion cleared up. I would posit that the sheriff had been demoted to deputy unbeknownst to Mr. Marley. Does anyone beside me care?

And do you think Paul Simon has a digital camera now or is he still tinkering with his kodachrome? Do you think him and Julio have kept in touch? I’m picturing Julio sitting on an olive green couch, rolling his eyes, waiting for Paul to load the carousel of his slide projector.

If Led Zeppelin tells me more than eight times, light of the love I have found, what does this convert to in wattage? Is that fluorescent? Is there a conversion chart for this? Fortunately, I think any love I have also has a dimmer function.

R.E.M is telling me that was just a dream. This seems a little obvious.

Fleetwood Mac (or is that Macs?) tell me, don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here. What happens if I do stop? Will the world implode?

An advertisement is featuring the claim that their service is unparalleled. Does this mean that none of their competitors can travel in a parallel fashion?

Are we doomed to watch the various industries of our semi-successful capitalism travel in divergent or colliding paths? It seems hard to find a profit angle in that scheme, but maybe I’m just being obtuse.

Yeah, that’s right I’m hitting the geometry humor. You can’t stop me; I’m going to get all tautological with this mother. So, listening to the radio has taught me that being receptive is over-rated.

And. . . .close.

Thank you and goodnight; you’ve been a wonderful audience.

Next show is at 11.

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.

Dave Williams Releases New Book

February 21, 2010 by Dave Williams Behind the Scenes Be the first to comment

Searching for God in the Sixties

This paradigm-breaking book dares to rethink the whole of the ’60s experience, not from a political or sociological but from an historical/theological perspective. Camille Paglia wrote that “the spiritual history of the sixties has yet to be written.” This is that book. For now that the academic theorists have run into an empty ditch, the time has come to reconsider the religion that has long been the principal discourse through which most Americans make sense of reality.

Since the Old Testament was replaced by the New, we have had in Western culture a constant back and forth between the law and the spirit, between the establishment and the awakening, between the rational head and the irrational heart. If the ’50s were all structure, the ’60s were another romantic effort to escape the control of the rational and give full vent to the repressed spirit. Who are we, anyhow, when all the lies are stripped away? As scripture asks: “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” The romantics of the ’60s, like the Transcendentalists, rejecting the very idea of sin, dared to open the cage and let the repressed id come forth, only to find that the light at the end of the long dark tunnel of consciousness was the gleam in Charlie Manson’s eye.

With the election of Barack Obama, the Sixties has finally ended, not because he fulfills the ideals of that decade, but because he, like Jojo, has returned us to where we once belonged. Bush may not be the last hippy, but his approach to life, to governing, purely intuitive and from the gut, a rejection of his father’s rationality, was the last breaking wave of that ocean storm. Paradoxically, Bush was much more like Bill Clinton in being led by his id, his passions, than any true conservative.

The book’s chapters each correspond to a line in Emily Dickinson’s poem “Finding is the first act.” The parallel to Dickinson’s experience in the psychic wilderness demonstrates just how much the experience of the ’60s was part of an ongoing American story and not an aberration. Though it seems contradictory, this book argues for an appreciation of the three ’60s: 1960s, 1860s, 1660s, each a chapter of the religious core of the American story.

The central theme of the decade, a romantic rebellion against neo-orthodox cynicism, may well have been a mistake, but a necessary mistake, a correction that had to be made. Post-modernism’s rejection of the essential romanticism that drove that decade, its emphasis on contingency and absence, is but another signifier for our powerlessness in the hands of an angry God. The enemy turned out to be not them, nor the social structure, but as Pogo said us. Hence the final line of the Dickinson poem: “Jason sham too.”

About the Author

Baby boomer David R. Williams, born in Boston in 1949, experienced the ’60s up close and personal. Taking 1968 off before entering college, he shipped out with the merchant marine, fought against the Vietnam War, worked to elect McCarthy president, rioted in Grant Park, and arrived at Harvard in time for the campus takeover.

He later earned a Masters in Theology from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in American Civilization from Brown. He wrote Wilderness Lost and Sin Boldly! and won the “Excellence In Teaching” Award at George Mason University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Czechoslovakia in 1991, has two sons, Nathan and Sam, and lives in a former black community, “Swampoodle,” where he writes and brews his own bitter beer.

University of Delaware Press
On the Web at http://www2.lib.udel.edu/udpress

Loudoun Lyric Opera Announces Auditions

February 21, 2010 by Contributor Behind the Scenes Be the first to comment

Loudoun Lyric Opera announces auditions for “Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to be presented June 4, 5 and 6 at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center in Purcellville.

Auditions for principal and chorus roles will be held by appointment at the following times and locations:
Saturday, March 6 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Northern VA Community College in Sterling or Monday and Tuesday, March 8 and 9 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
at Leesburg United Methodist Church.

Applicants should be prepared to sing at least one aria in Italian and one song by Mozart. Please avoid having both in Italian. Accompanist will be available for a $10 fee.

To schedule an audition, email your request to admin@loudounlyricopera.com.

Update from Franklin Arts Center

February 20, 2010 by Contributor Behind the Scenes Be the first to comment

OK, I dreamed of a white Christmas. A white February? Not so much.

Snow, it’s everywhere and all we have thought about for weeks. Daily routines have been flipped on their heads and just when life seems to be returning to normal, we get predictions for even more!

Even the arts, living by the code, ‘the show must go on’, have been forced to postpone and cancel. We rescheduled the new show created by Loudoun Lyric Opera, ‘Romance, From Broadway to Lincoln Center’ to August. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ could not be rescheduled in the Arts Center and has found a new home for a performance February 20; get the details here.

So now that you’re used to the snow, how about a show! We’ve got plenty on the way; check out more details here.

And don’t forget to check out our SPRING classes, registering soon- including spring break camps (I like typing the work ‘spring’, it gives me hope).

A big thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding as we have reworked our schedule for the snowpocaplypse, smowmageddon, snowtastophe, whatever name you want to give it.


-Jeff from the Franklin Arts Center

PS- If you haven’t heard, Maddy Curtis’ benefit concert for Haitian relief, raised nearly $9000. Thanks to all who came out to support Maddy and the relief effort!


February 18, 2010 by Alice Mullen Columns Be the first to comment

Dear Adversity,

Why must you embarrass yourself like this? It’s obvious you keep trying, and yet consistently I laugh in your face. Ha. Like so.

You have made my long, winding, and steep driveway impassable to all but the most impressive of machines. Did you think I would wither away for want of groceries and the companionship of my peers? Aha, ha ha. I think not.

You have taken for granted just how hungry I am for friends. You’re also doing me the favor of shaving inches off my thighs and building muscle tone. As for the groceries, I may be the mother of invention as well as three children, because I have a sled. So there, take that.

I planned ahead for this ridiculous weather of yours. By the way, have you heard of a thing called over–kill? Sheesh, what are you compensating for? But I digress. I planned ahead for these storms.

I stocked up on pellets for the wood pellet stove. It didn’t matter that the drive was already too slick to make it all the way up. These are mere details, inconveniences you throw before me that I easily step around, as I carry ten forty-pound bags of pellets up to my garage.

Power outages? Please. We’ve been through that before. Remember the huge thunderstorm when you broke the gutter above the egress window; when the view from my girl’s room became a murky aquarium? I bailed out shoulder-high water, with a bucket, in the middle of the storm.

Not having any electricity for a shower or a hair dryer afterwards didn’t faze me then, why should losing heat in a blizzard freak me out?

I got all ingenious with my pesky dependence on heat to stay alive in a blizzard. I rigged up a marine boat battery with an inverter so I could run the pellet stove for two days. I splurged on a real generator in case the power went out for longer. I have to admit it, you almost got me with the stove malfunction. That was well played.

Adversity, well played indeed. If I’d been listening to Intuition I could have seen that one coming. It’s unnatural and evil to put too much technology and industry into an affair that is, at its heart, so simple.

Wood pellet stoves are stupid, stupid things. The fact that they require electricity to operate an auger to feed store bought pellets into a fire puts two things in between me and my heat. I should have known better. Wood pellet stoves are just a lie from when suburbanites got all warm and fuzzy for alternative heat as gas and oil prices rose. The fact that Businessman Bob can pour a bag of wood into the fire without changing out of his dress pants makes it obvious to whom they were marketing. The allure and magic of burning wood, without the chainsaw outdoorsy thing has your friend Deception’s name all over it. How’s he been lately? Do you guys still have that pick up basketball game on Thursdays?

Anyway, credit where it’s due. The stove was near genius. Especially that part where it seemed I’d figured out the problem, only to go and break it myself irreparably. I’ve learned my lesson. A simple woodstove will do fine in the future. No silly middlemen in between me and what I need. It doesn’t matter that I’m a small weakling with no upper body strength. I can fell a tree, chop, split and stack the wood with the sheer power of my will alone.

I know what all this effort is on your part. It’s so transparent.

You only pay so much attention to me because you like me. Admit it.

Like a little boy tugging the braids of the girl at the desk in front of him, you want me. I know, I’m nearly irresistible on a lot of levels. It might be the crazy curly hair (don’t think I don’t know you tighten these springy boingers each night); it might be the stretch marks and scars. It’s obvious that you and I have had more than a passing association. But that’s over now. I am simply not available and you just have to move on.

I don’t think a restraining order should be necessary. I think it’s clear I can defend myself against your advances. For that matter, you’d best not make me mad. I would recommend that you don’t cancel school again. If you do, the heat of my rage might melt all this snow. Oh, and don’t bother trying to get smart, breaking the rope on my sled. I have shoelaces, and I’m not afraid to use them.

Yours, (in a figurative sense only)

The hot chick with the can-do attitude

P.S. Tell Deception I like what he’s been doing with my mirrors. I’ve never looked so good.

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.

Moving the Show Away from the Snow

February 18, 2010 by Meredith Bean McMath Behind the Scenes Be the first to comment
Meredith Bean McMath

Meredith Bean McMath

When all was said and done, it was a pretty simple decision. The Blizzard of ‘10 would have limited our audience to those brave enough to conquer ice and snow to get to us Valentine’s weekend. Simply too much to ask of anyone — cast, crew or audience —so then it was a matter of finding the next available date on the Franklin Park calendar (this is a Friends of Franklin Park-sponsored production) — one that didn’t conflict with cast members’ commitments.
Click here to read more.

Burton Sets Meetings

February 18, 2010 by Jim Burton Dear Editor Be the first to comment

Dear Neighbors,

I am initiating another series of community meetings throughout the district this winter. My office is still putting the finishing touches on the final schedule and I will be sending out a complete schedule in the near future.

The next scheduled meeting is St. Louis. The meeting will take place on on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Banneker Elementary School Cafeteria. I look forward to seeing you there, updating you on current issues facing the County, and hearing from you about your own concerns and issues. We will also be joined by a representative from VDOT to discuss proposed changes to speed limits along St. Louis Road.

Best regards,
Jim Burton


February 16, 2010 by Tony Noerpel Columns, Sustainable Planet Be the first to comment

“Come wander with me,” she said,
“Into regions yet untrod;
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The woman in Longfellow’s poem is Nature and the man she is addressing is Louis Agassiz, the discoverer of the Ice Ages. And of course God’s manuscripts are the rocks from which we humans have learned the story of our planet’s 4.55 billion year history and our own besides. As a young man Agassiz made a name for himself in the scientific community for having tediously classified and characterized all of the known fossil fish: Placoids, Ganoids, Cycloids and Ctenoids. His discovery of the ice ages, presented in a paper delivered in 1837, was initially greeted with denial and dismay within the scientific community with only a few exceptions such as the remarkable Charles Darwin, who embraced the new theory instantly and enthusiastically.

Solving the riddle of the ice ages, what caused them, became one of the most interesting problems of the nineteenth century. The challenge was taken up by a Scotsman named James Croll. Croll hypothesized in 1864 that the great glaciations were initiated by variations in the Earth’s orbit. On a period of about 100,000 years the Earth’s orbit evolves from a circle with the sun at the center to an ellipse with the sun at one of the foci. On a period of about 41,000 years the Earth’s axis tilt oscillates between 22.1 degrees relative to the plane of its orbit to 24.5 degrees. And on a period of about 26,000 years the Earth wobbles or precesses so that its axis rotates about the perpendicular to the orbital plane. Croll laboriously worked out the Earth’s position estimating the Last Glacial Maxima to have occurred about 80,000 years ago.

He correctly observed that most of the land areas are north of the equator and that most of the southern hemisphere is covered by ocean. This asymmetry led him to the assumption that when the Earth’s orbit was such that the northern hemisphere experiences reduced solar insolation causing a long cold winter that the expansion of the ice sheets would be favored. He was the first to recognize the importance of surface albedo as a feedback mechanism. Albedo is a measure of the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface to incoming short wave solar radiation. Solar radiation which is reflected back into space is not absorbed and therefore does not warm the planet. Ice is much more reflective than water or land.

His hypothesis was a remarkable bit of genius despite being mistaken. The last glacial maximum actually occurred 22,000 years ago.

It is important to note that the sun’s irradiation did not change at all, only the distribution of solar energy. And this could only have an effect on Earth’s climate because of the land mass asymmetry.

Milutan Milankovich in 1941 revisited Croll’s idea, but assumed that warmer winters and colder summers would trigger an ice age rather than colder winters, because warmer winters would have much more snow fall since warmer air holds more moisture than colder air. Colder summers would melt less of the winter snow fall each year allowing it to accumulate. The variation in insolation is too small to trigger an ice age on its own but can be explained when coupled with positive feedbacks such as water vapor, albedo and the carbon cycle.

The lesson for today is that anthropogenic global warming is causing a decrease in ice cover over the Arctic Ocean, and an increase in water vapor and these powerful feedbacks are amplifying the initial warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

The increase in Earth’s temperature coupled with the increase in evaporation from the oceans is leading predictably to the more extreme weather conditions we have been experiencing. Rather than contradicting Arrhenius’ theory of global warming, our record breaking snowfalls this winter confirm the theory. We have the bad luck of experiencing an El Nino while the Earth continues to warm. Each succeeding future El Nino will bring progressively more extreme weather conditions.

In a 2006 paper, Stanley Changnon and coauthors analyzed weather data from 1222 stations throughout the US between 1901 and 2000 and discovered that the United States experienced 61 percent to 80 percent of snow storms in warmer-than-normal years. They concluded:

“Thus, these comparative results reveal that a future with wetter and warmer winters, which is one outcome expected (National Assessment Synthesis Team, 2001), will bring more snowstorms than in 1901-2000. Agee (1991) found that long-term warming trends in the United States were associated with increasing cyclonic activity in North America, further indicating that a warmer future climate will generate more winter storms.”

Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground wrote on February 10, 2010: “As I discussed in my previous post, record-breaking snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. In fact, we can expect there may be more heavy snowstorms in regions where it is cold enough to snow, due to the extra moisture global warming has added to the atmosphere–an extra 4 percent since 1970. Snow is not the same as cold, and we have to look at global temperatures, not snowfall, to evaluate whether global warming is occurring.”

A good description of Snowmageddon can also be found at the CapitalClimate blog.

The histrionics and outright falsehoods promulgated by Fox News, Senator Inhofe, and the Virginia GOP remind me that:

“There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ‘em.” Yogi Berra.

Milankovitch, Milutin (1998) [1941]. Canon of Insolation and the Ice Age Problem. Belgrade: Zavod za Udz?benike i Nastavna Sredstva. ISBN 8617066199. ; see also “Astronomical Theory of Climate Change”. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html.

More information on Milankovich Cycles can be found:

Rial, J. A., “Earth’s orbital eccentricity and the rhythm of the Pleistocene ice ages: the concealed pacemaker,” Global and Planetary Change 41 (2004) 81-93.

Changnon, S., D. Changnon, T. Karl, “Temporal and Spatial characteristics of Snowstorms in the contiguous United States,” Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, August, 2006.

Dr. Master’s Weather Underground link http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1428

CapitalClimate link: http://capitalclimate.blogspot.com/2010/02/welcome-weather-underground-visitors.html

Referenced by Changnon:

Agee, E. M., 1991, Trends in cyclone and anticyclone frequency and comparison with periods of warming and cooling over the Northern Hemisphere, J. Climate, 4, 263-267.

National Assessment Synthesis Team, 2001: Climate change impacts on the United States: The potential consequences of climate variability and change. Cambridge University Press.

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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