Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks

June 29, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns, News, Your Money 2 comments
Amy Smith-BRL

Meet Amy Smith, our newest columnist who will write here each month on how to plan for an independent financial future. She will give special attention to the needs of pre-retirees and widowed and divorced women.

It’s hard to take up the subject of financial planning these days when so many individuals and families have been hit so hard by the recession. And yet, there’s probably no better time to begin to look ahead than right now.

As J. Pierpont Morgan, a gentleman who knew a fair bit about money, said, “The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” … Continue Reading

Clarke Responds

June 29, 2011 by Contributor Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Clarke Responds

Response: to Blue Ridge Leader & Loudoun Today June 2011 “OPINION” article, that was written by Valerie Joyner, about the Republican Candidate for the Blue Ridge District titled “Is Janet Clarke the Right Choice?”

I appreciate your reaching out through the media to seek feedback and want you to know that I am always happy to sit down and speak with you. I have an open door policy. To address your article, I was not chosen to serve on Town Council. I served on the Purcellville Town Council from July 2006 to June 2008 while initially working for Loudoun County Public Schools in their central office, conducting sub- stance abuse and violence prevention programs throughout the county in the secondary schools. I was one of four who applied for the Council vacancy, in part, to help affect a resolution to the Woodgrove High School issue.The entire Council interviewed all candidates and voted to fill the vacancy, not one member as suggested. During my tenure on Council I served on the Infrastructure, Ways and Means and Public Safety Committees and never voted to raise taxes. Prior to serving on Town Council, I also served a separate three year term on the Loudoun County Community Service Board.

    … Continue Reading

We Remember Janet Clarke

June 29, 2011 by Contributor Columns, View From the Ridge 1 comment

By Nick Pelchar

Janet Clarke voted repeatedly with the Purcellville Town Council to sue Loudoun County to block the construction of Woodgrove High School. The school is now built exactly where the County want- ed it built. What changed things? After the Lazaro Council held the students of Western Loudoun hostage for 3 years Janet Clark spearheaded the effort to extort nearly $6 million dollars from Loudoun County to put in the town’s cof- fers. An effort she is very proud of today. In truth, Janet Clark and the Purcellville Town Council held the children of Western Loudoun hostage. They were ransomed for nearly $6 million dollars. There is no other way to say it. Ms. Clarke admits that her own children were victims of the Purcellville Town Council’s greed which resulted in unnecessarily overcrowded schools for years. What should we infer about a woman who would sacrifice the well-being of her own children to further her political capital?

If there was ever a more twisted com- munity battle in America than the Woodgrove High lawsuits I would like to hear it. Blue Ridge Board of Supervisors candidate Janet Clarke’s reaction to criti- cism that she was part of an extremely liti- gious Purcellville Town Council by claiming credit for affecting a resolution is disingenu- ous. Her notes and study of Purcellville’s recent history are inaccurate and revision- ary. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors purchased the Fields Farm property in 2000 and immediately provided a plan to build an elementary and a high school on the property as agreed to and provided for in the PUGAMP (Purcellville Urban Growth and Management Plan). The anti-school arguments that followed and were supported by Purcellville Town Council Member Janet Clarke were based on fear and ignorance. Now that Woodgrove High School is built none of the “problems” the Lazaro/Clarke Council cited have proven true. Purcellville’s Town Council would not have appointed Ms. Clarke to serve on council if she disagreed with their filing lawsuit after lawsuit against the County in order to fight Woodgrove High School.

Dear Ms. Clarke – THEIR public schools are OUR public schools.

What did the Lazaro Council do with the $6 million they extorted from the Loudoun County taxpayers? They went to court again and have condemned land on Crooked Run Orchard, a farm which has been in the Brown family for 250 years. The Southern “Commercial” Road (Southern Collector Road) is well under- way. The Lazaro/Clarke Council has been successful in trading an apple grove for a strip mall. Stop by Crooked Run and take a look at what the Town of Purcellville is doing to Sam and Uta Brown’s farm. They are destroying a state landmark and a fami- ly’s livelihood. All in a day’s work on the dais at the Purcellville Town Council. For this abhorrent decision I blame you Ms. Clarke. Afterall,youweretheoneto spearhead the effort to extort the money which made this destruction possible.

Janet Clarke, who is eager to point out that she now has a child attending the dreaded Woodgrove High School she fought so hard against would like to be your Blue Ridge Supervisor. I wonder what she thinks about Woodgrove now?

She would like you to vote for her to represent you on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Before you press the lever remember that Janet Clarke sacrificed the children of Western Loudoun to further her own political career. Remember who is paying the bill for the $6 million dollars she is so proud to have extorted from the County. YouandIarepayingthebill. Every resident of Loudoun County is pay- ing the bill.

Editor’s Note: Janet Clarke was appointed to the Purcellville Town Council in July 2006 to fill the seat left vacant by Bob Lazaro when he was elected Mayor. Nicholas Pelchar served on the Council from July 2002 to June 2006. There was no litigation between the Town of Purcellville and Loudoun County while Mr. Pelchar served on the Council. Contrary to Mrs. Clarke’s statement, litigation against the County regarding Woodgrove High School began and was voted on during her tenure on the Purcellville Town Council.

Flowers As Art…From a Scanner

June 29, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on Flowers As Art…From a Scanner

By Donna Williamson

Well it’s May and has been raining for days and so I ordered more seeds! Baker Seed had all of these strange and beautiful tomatoes and eggplant so I started a whole second series of plants! This made me think about summer and one of the best garden tools I used…my flatbed scanner.

Flatbed scanners are not costly as equipment goes. I bought this one to work on a family history for a friend and it has beautifully scanned many photos and slides over the past few years. This Epson V500 Photo scanner was chosen because many of my friend’s photos were in frames and the top lid adjusts for bulky items and it was affordable. … Continue Reading

Sheriff’s Office Advises Residents of Computer Technician Scam

June 29, 2011 by Contributor Public Safety Comments Off on Sheriff’s Office Advises Residents of Computer Technician Scam

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is advising residents on the latest telephone scam where the caller claims to be a technician for Microsoft and advises the victim their computer has been hacked.

In a recent case in June an Ashburn woman received a call advising that their computer had been infected with a virus causing their programs and files to
become corrupt. The scammer on the phone states that they have called to help fix the program but they would need to remotely access her computer. … Continue Reading

Oh, Go Take a (Local) Hike

June 29, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns 4 comments

By Molly Pinson Simoneau

Now that summer is in full swing, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to stay inside watching the Real Housewives of wherever or playing the latest first-person shooter game. Instead, it’s time to hit the trails, and Loudoun County has plenty of hiking trails nearby. Here are two of my favorite spots that are perfect for getting some exercise, some peace and quiet, and to observe the local wildlife:

The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES), is an excellent place for beginners to take an easy hike. With a diverse landscape which features young forests, meadows, ponds and streams, BRCES is a great area for wildlife spotting, so pack your binoculars. History buffs will love poking around the old homesteads scattered throughout the property. The center boasts 14 trails which add up to 9 miles, of which you can wander as much or as little as you like. There are plenty of picnic spots at BRCES as well. Take route 9 west past Hillsboro and turn right on Harpers Ferry Rd. Keep an eye out for the small sign for BRCES on the left at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road. The Center is open from dawn ‘til dusk and there is parking available by the information kiosk. … Continue Reading

Real Estate Ticker July

June 29, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns Comments Off on Real Estate Ticker July
Heather Elias Photo

By Heather Elias

I’ve been up to my elbows in the spring market since my last column, and I have to say that I’m pleased by how busy and strong our local real estate market is here in Loudoun County.

According to statistics from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), our local multiple listing service, new signed contracts to purchase in LoCo for May were at the highest levels we’ve seen since May 2005. Meanwhile, median sold price across the county has risen 6.5 percent compared to May 2010, and the average sold price is coming in at 96.6 percent of the original list price. So if you are a buyer and you think that you are going to put the squeeze on a seller, think again: our inventory numbers are still low, and sellers for the most part are getting very close to their asking price. Townhome and condo inventory was actually down 30 percent in May, compared to the prior year!. … Continue Reading

“A Little Short of Boats: the Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21-22, 1861,”

June 28, 2011 by Contributor Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on “A Little Short of Boats: the Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21-22, 1861,”

By Jim Morgan

Renowned Civil War author Jim Morgan will present “A Little Short of Boats: the Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry,” October 21-22, 1861,” on Sunday, July 10, as part of the Lovettsville Historical Society’s 2011 Lecture Series. The lecture will be held at 2:00 p.m. at St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville.

Morgan will show that, despite the widespread belief that the Battle of Ball’s Bluff resulted from a deliberate and pre-planned Union attempt to take Leesburg, it was, in fact, a simple accident. A small Union raiding party, on a very limited mission, encountered and engaged a few Confederate pickets, and from this unintended skirmish, a battle evolved. It had nothing whatsoever to do with an attempt on Leesburg, Morgan maintains, although expectations and appearances contributed to that mistaken historical impression. … Continue Reading

Samantha Heaslip of Purcellville Named to the University of New Hampshire’s Dean’s List

June 28, 2011 by Contributor Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Samantha Heaslip of Purcellville Named to the University of New Hampshire’s Dean’s List

Samantha Heaslip of Purcellville has earned Honors for the spring semester of the 2010-2011 academic year at the University of New Hampshire.
Students named to the Dean’s List at the University of New Hampshire are students who have earned recognition through their superior scholastic performance. Highest Honors are awarded to students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.7 or better out of a possible 4.0. Students with a 3.5 to 3.69 average are awarded high honors and students whose grade point average is 3.2 through 3.49 are awarded honors.

Round Hill United Methodist Church Offers Day Camp

June 28, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Faith, Lifestyle Comments Off on Round Hill United Methodist Church Offers Day Camp

Kid’s That Care Mission Camp at Round Hill United Methodist Church will be held July 18-22 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for rising first graders to rising fifth graders. The goal of this day camp is to create a community of children that uses their time and their talents to serve the Seniors and residents in need of aid and those with special needs. To register, email

Procrastination Is Expensive!

June 28, 2011 by Contributor Columns Comments Off on Procrastination Is Expensive!

By Cat Morris

It’s been raining lately.

I assume that our visibly clogged gutters are at least partly to blame for my sloshy basement since water is draining straight against our foundation. Last year we paid $25 for someone to clean our gutters, saving us having to find and climb—eek–an extension ladder. I have just needed to make this year’s call, but I have been putting it off. Since March.

Every time my husband and I suffer a major upset on the domestic front it can usually be attributed to–or at least exacerbated by–procrastination or negligence by one of us, and “one of us” is usually me. It has taken a long time for me to see this, but it’s true. … Continue Reading

Communty Breakfast and Membership Drive

June 27, 2011 by Contributor Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on Communty Breakfast and Membership Drive

The “Between the Hills” Community will be having a Country Breakfast and membership drive on July 16 from 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.. Country biscuits & sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage patties, home fried potatoes, pancakes and more. 11762 Harpers Ferry Rd., (Rt.671). Free Will Offering will be accepted.

Purcellville Police Department Places Third in State Traffic Safety Challenge

June 27, 2011 by Contributor News, Public Safety Comments Off on Purcellville Police Department Places Third in State Traffic Safety Challenge

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) recently announced the winners of the 2010 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge Award. The Purcellville Police Department placed third in the Municipal 2 Category (agencies with 11-25 sworn law enforcement officers). First place was awarded to the Bedford Police Department and Ashland Police Department received second place. “This is the second time in my five years here in Purcellville that we have placed. In 2007 we tied for first with Vinton Police Department in this Traffic Challenge. Placing requires a very balanced program of enforcement and education. I think last year we really stepped up the education piece, which help us place. For a 14 sworn member agency its very difficult to compete with agencies that have 25 sworn. I am proud of our effort each year. We only want our community of drivers to be safe,” said Chief Smith. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Trusting Science

14 Nov 2015


“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” – Rush Limbaugh [1] I previously reported [2] on …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

13 Nov 2015


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it is also a time to reflect and remember with gratitude. America is a free and democratic nation today, …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Phil Bolen Memorial Park

4 Nov 2015


I never knew Phil Bolen as the Loudoun County Government Administrator; I never even got to know him as Director of Parks and Recreation, and I certainly never knew Phil Bolen the teacher and coach at Loudoun Valley High School. …


Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Willisville

30 Sep 2015


You may never feel the urge to travel to this little, unincorporated community; it’s not exactly a conduit for commuter traffic, and there aren’t really any places to shop, or gas up, or procure much of anything else from a …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

pot of gold

Hello everyone, this is Hokie Cat from Fields of Athenry Farm. Sushi is in big trouble as we speak and is residing in doggy dungeon. I am here to fill you in on what took place. My brother Mountie loves …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015


By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

Choosing To Live in the Present

4 Nov 2015


By Samuel Moore-Sobel I love a good story. I love telling stories and hearing other people’s stories. Our experiences bring meaning to our lives, and help shape us into the people we are today. Yet inherent in storytelling is the …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Trusts

4 Nov 2015


A common estate planning device is the trust. A trust is simply an agreement between two people: the person who establishes the trust, who may be called the Settlor, the Grantor or the Trustor, and the person or institution who …

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Student News

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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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015


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

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November 2015

Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Mrs. Lucketts’ Haunted Garden & Playground


Illuminate: an exhibit by fiber artist Susan Trask and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Notaviva Vineyards Haunted Vineyard Tours

Red, White, & Boo!

Steve Potter Live at North Gate Vineyard

2 3

Elementary Drama Camp

4 5 6

Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists – painter Karen Hutchison and glass artists David and Dale Barnes


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Kipyn Martin Live at North Gate VIneyard

9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

The Essential Elvis Tribute Show


Christmas Bazaar

23 24 25 26 27

The Capitol Steps


3rd Annual Bluemont (Juried) Holiday Craft Show

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015


Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Good Government Reinforces the Family – Another Perspective

4 Oct 2015


By Malcolm Baldwin Who can disagree with the title to Dave LaRock’s September article in the Blue Ridge Journal – “Good Government Reinforces the Family”? But sadly he largely misunderstands what government has done and ought to do for such reinforcement. Many of his prescriptions would harm families while others would forestall any improvement in family conditions. His conclusions become …



2015 Loudoun 10K Trail Race Raises over $30,000 to Support Boulder Crest Retreat and Our Nation’s Veterans

16 Nov 2015


“I continued to be humbled by our community and all they do to make Boulder Crest Retreat a success. Jim Schatz and his team at Loudoun Road Runners are amazing. This trail run is in alignment with the rural nature of Boulder Crest Retreat and we look forward to the event every year. My personal appreciation goes out to all …

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Purcellville Cross Serves as Beacon of Hope for Highway Travelers

9 Nov 2015

Crux St. Francis de Sales

By Mark Gunderman The Crux Gloria was erected and dedicated by St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in November 1990. If you’re traveling from Leesburg on Highway 7, passing through Purcellville just west of the Berlin Turnpike exit, you can look to your right and see a majestic metal cross sculpture. Within the cross, the shape of Jesus appears to …

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Carver Center November Events

4 Nov 2015


The Carver Center is at 200 Willie Palmer Way in Purcellville. Call 571-258-3400 to sign up for the following programs. November 6, Friday Lunch and movie Still Alice 12-2 p.m. (ages 55 and up).  To sign up call 571-258-3459. November 9, Monday AARP Driver Safety Class 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m (ages 50 and up). Pre-registration required. AARP members $15, …

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Wild Loudoun

Wild Loudoun: of Chipmunks and Chestnuts

4 Nov 2015


Chipmunks are small, beautifully elegant little creatures, with large glossy eyes, a sleek brown body, a short, pointy head, dainty white stripes above and below the eye, and a series of black land white lines down their sturdy little backs. They have a very sweet posture – sitting upright and holding food with their two perfectly formed front feet, while …

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Around Virginia

Comstock Speaks on Syrian Refugees


Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) released the following statement on the current terrorist attacks in Paris: “After September 11, 2001, we tragically learned that al Qaeda was at war with us, but we weren’t at war with them. Again, with the recent murderous terrorist attacks in Paris, we have learned that …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Tourism Revenues Topped $22.4 billion in 2014


Statewide data shows increase of 4.1 percent compared to 2013 Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia’s tourism revenues topped $22.4 billion in 2014, a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. In 2014, tourism in Virginia supported 216,949 jobs, an increase of nearly 700 jobs to the previously reported forecast estimate of …

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Good Government Reinforces the Family


By Delegate Dave LaRock Working as the elected Delegate for the 33rd House District has renewed my understanding of the value of a strong family. After decades of raising my family of mom, dad, and seven children and building my family’s business, which provided countless opportunities for mom, dad and …

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Funding Sought for Scholarship for Loudon Students Participating in Youth Sports

4 Nov 2015


The Don Rose, Sr. Youth Scholarship Fund is seeking financial support to provide scholarships at college, technical or trade school. Applicants from public, private, and home schools are eligible to receive the scholarship, provided they participated in youth sports within Loudoun County. The fund aims to award two $500 scholarships …

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Leesburg Ladies Tennis Team Wins State Tournament

4 Nov 2015


Ida Lee Park Tennis Center’s Ladies Singles 2.5 Team, Simply Smashing, won the USTA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship tournament, held October 16-18, at the Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club. Simply Smashing members include team captain Beth Cioni, Debbie DeLadurantaye, Jennifer Fox, Robin Haast, Holly McMullen and Deja O’Malley. They train …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015


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

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Mary Rose Lunde

Behind Closed Doors

4 Nov 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It’s sad to say that the norm now is to wonder about the next school shooting. For a student it is the most terrifying thing, the next shooter could come at any moment, and any day could be the day that you die. It could be …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015


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

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Thank You for Another Successful Halloween Block Party

4 Nov 2015


The 5th annual Purcellville Halloween Block Party was the best attended to date with an estimated 6,000 descending on 21st street in Old Town this past Friday evening. Costume …

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Ethics in Campaigning and Voting

1 Nov 2015


My Dad used to say it’s what you do when nobody is watching that counts. Over 80 percent of my “zoning permitted” and “land owner …

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$17 Dollar Tolls-Ouch!

27 Oct 2015


Recently Gov. McAuliffe proposed $17 round trip tolls on I-66 inside the beltway with Chuck Hedges the Democrat nominee for the HOD 33rd district being …

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