Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks

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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Steady and NoBull


Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Painted Barrel Auction Saturday, October 8

6 Oct 2016


The Auction for The Painted Barrels around Purcellville will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m at the Bush Tabernacle – 250 S. Nursery Ave. Purcellville. Thirty-Five local Loudoun County artists were given an oak wine barrel to create a Purcellville / Loudoun theme on it. Each barrel was sponsored by a local business and was displayed throughout …

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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 …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana


Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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