Of Lilies … Toads … & Gardening Friends

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Virginia Gardening Comments Off on Of Lilies … Toads … & Gardening Friends

By Donna Williamson

August is an interesting time in the garden. Fall veggies can be planted, taking advantage of the warm, sunny days to get young plants going. Kale, spinach, lettuces (leaf lettuces withstand frosts better than head lettuce varieties), cabbage, pansies for winter color (unless you have deer), and peas will all enjoy a warm start and the cool temps that follow.

It’s also a time of ripening – tomatoes, peppers, figs, and raspberries are all delicious. Fruit on dogwoods and viburnums is ready for the birds. Some perennials and woody plants can get moved around as the nights cool. … Continue Reading

It’s Hot Out There! … But Cool Things Are a Happening!

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on It’s Hot Out There! … But Cool Things Are a Happening!
ice cream cone

Franklin Park Arts Center Welcomes New Crop of Home Grown Musicians

By Andrea Gaines

The way music instructor Frank Keims effuses about the musicians known as “The Immortals” … you’d think he was doing an introduction for the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Immortals are a rotating group of young musicians drawn from Keims’ Loudoun Music Instruction business in Lovettsville.

In 2006, Keim began calling the parents of his most gifted students to push the idea of offering these young musicians the opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level music instruction and the chance to join with a real live band. This group of young men and women would be pushed hard. They would need to maintain certain grade levels at school. They would be tested like undergrads and be given the opportunity to write music, and jam with and exchange ideas with others as talented as themselves. His most promising students loved it. And, not because it was some kind of teenage indulgence. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun – American Kestrel

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun – American Kestrel
kestrel grey

By Andrea Gaines

With dramatic coloring – and a body almost like an oversized parakeet – the American Kestrel is one of the most exotic birds you will see in Loudoun County.
That perfectly shaped aviator you see on a passing telephone wire just might be a kestrel … so slow down, pull over to the side and take a good look. Is it relatively small? Does it have a distinctively small curved beak? Does it have dark markings and dots on its head and breast area and a pretty grayish head? Does it have short cropped wings? Does it look like it is about to take off like a rocket after something?

Kestrels are small, open-land falcons – perhaps the most common diurnal (daytime) raptors (hawks, owls, falcons, etc.) in North America. … Continue Reading

It’s Back to School Time

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Feature, Schools Comments Off on It’s Back to School Time

Putting a Little Nutrition in Back-to-School

Butterfly Gourmet – a cool little culinary spot that opened in Old Town Purcellville recently – is here to rescue departing college students from what owner Debra Randazzo sees as “artificial mac & cheese and overly salty ramen noodles.”

Butterfly Gourmet is offering a cooking class geared toward college students – or any beginning cook – entitled, “Beyond Ramen Noodles!”.

The class, planned for Thursday, August 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. will be held at Butterfly Gourmet shop at 148 North 21st Street in Purcellville.

It will be led by chef Victoria Cortes and cover basic food preparation skills – giving students three or four easy, affordable, healthful meals they can add to their repertoire as they hit their college dorms. … Continue Reading

The Monster That’s Eating Your Roof

July 31, 2012 by Valerie Cury Lifestyle Comments Off on The Monster That’s Eating Your Roof

If you look at the north facing roof any single family house built with asphalt shingles in the past ten to fifteen years, you will most likely see black stains flowing down the shingles. In some cases there are additional colors in the stains like reds, greens or gray. What is growing on your roof is a complex set of living organisms that is adapting to a new food supply, your roof. These roofs can be seen in Purcellville and adjoining areas. Depending upon conditions of humidity, shading, adjacent trees or vegetation, color, age and slope of the roof, the stains may be minor or major in nature. … Continue Reading

A Town Out of Control

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on A Town Out of Control

I am still trying wrap my head around the picture in the paper a few months ago showing two roundabouts. But, it is true that the current one lane roundabout at the corner of Rt. 287 and Main St. is going to be torn out, and a new two lane roundabout will be built in mid-September approximately 90 ft. away paid for by the residents and businesses of Purcellville. Further investigation confirmed that the decision to wait until the middle of September to begin construction is the Town’s decision alone as this is the town’s project. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) can only make suggestions, and comments, but the ultimate decision on the time frame is made by the town officials.

Over the past five years while attending town meetings I have constantly heard empty promises from Mayor Bob Lazaro and most Council Members about how the building of the Southern Collector Road (SCR) would not hurt the Crooked Run Orchard Farm operations. … Continue Reading

Committees at a Glance – July

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Committees at a Glance, Government, News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Committees at a Glance – July

(Committees at a Glance is a feature of the Blue Ridge Leader informing our readers about the inner workings of local government and how actions and decisions impact our everyday lives – from our tax rates to that new development we see going in down the road. For this 3rd Edition we discuss recent actions and discussions at the Loudoun County Government Reform Commission (GRC) and various committees and actions of the Purcellville Town Council. (Note: The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors established the GRC and appointed its thirteen members on January 3, 2012. Chairman Scott York, who sponsored the initiative, laid out four goals: (1) identify efficiency opportunities; (2) explore innovative ways to lower costs; (3) consider privatization and outsourcing opportunities; and (4) identify ways to enhance government transparency, accountability, and customer service.) … Continue Reading

Developer Proffers and the Public Good: Part II

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Development, News 2 comments

By Mary M. Bathory Vidaver

Last month, the Blue Ridge Leader examined of the use of tax credits and other public funds to meet the affordable housing requirements proffered by private developers to offset the costs of residential development to taxpayers. We began this series with an overview of the county’s use of proffers as they relate to affordable housing; we continue with a closer examination of one example involving the non-profit Windy Hill Foundation, its for-profit subsidiary, the Windy Hill Development Company, and the developers of the Brambleton community.

Since its inception in 1983, the Windy Hill Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has been a key actor in the effort to provide an adequate supply of affordable housing in Loudoun County. Its five projects on the western edge of Middleburg provide a variety of housing types with monthly rents ranging from $400 for a one-bedroom cottage to $775 for a three-bedroom apartment. Median family income of tenants ranges from $11,300 for seniors living in Levis Hill House to $33,000 for the residents of Virginia Lane. In total, Windy Hill Foundation provides 67 units of rental housing, much of it subsidized, to individuals and families who might not otherwise be able to continue living in Loudoun County, where, according to the foundation’s website, in 2011 market-priced units ranged from $1,289 per month for a one-bedroom unit to $1,885 for a three-bedroom apartment. … Continue Reading

Critical Fire Station Location Being Revisited … Again

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader News, Public Safety Comments Off on Critical Fire Station Location Being Revisited … Again

By Mary M. Bathory Vidaver

In December 2011, Joyce Sowa woke up in time to watch blood spurt from her chest as her estranged husband pulled out the knife with which he had stabbed her. As she turned and reached for the telephone, he stabbed her in the back. Dialing 911, she attempted to escape from her attacker. Before she passed out on the stairwell, with further wounds to her eye and arm, she told the 911 operator, “I’m dying.”

Within minutes of receiving the call for help rescue workers from the Aldie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company arrived at her home in the village of Aldie and arranged for her transport by helicopter to Fairfax Hospital. “The doctor said if the first responders hadn’t made it when they did, I wouldn’t have made it. When my sister arrived at the hospital, she was told I probably wouldn’t make it.” … Continue Reading

Merchants Unite Over Shared Meals

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Business, News Comments Off on Merchants Unite Over Shared Meals

The dinners started in April and have continued on the third Wednesday of each month. The gatherings began as local merchants felt the need to discuss where the town of Purcellville was going with its downtown enhancement project on 21st Street, which includes a major hotel project on land owned by John Chapman and Mark Nelis.

Mary Beth Barbagallo, owner of Above Ground Winery, heard the concerns of her business neighbors and decided to invite them and Mr. Chapman to the dinner. This gave business owners an opportunity to ask Chapman directly about his proposed hotel and what it might mean – good and bad – for their businesses. … Continue Reading

What Does the Supreme Court Ruling on the Health-Care Reform Law Mean for You?

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on What Does the Supreme Court Ruling on the Health-Care Reform Law Mean for You?
Amy Smith-BRL

On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) including the provision that most Americans carry health insurance or pay a penalty, is constitutional.

The ACA, signed into law in 2010, made sweeping reforms to health-care coverage in the United States. Many provisions of the law have already taken effect. A number of other provisions are scheduled to take effect in subsequent years, including the requirement that most Americans and legal residents have qualifying health insurance (exceptions apply) or pay a penalty in the form of a tax. … Continue Reading

Agency law in Virginia has changed… Part II

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, Real Estate Comments Off on Agency law in Virginia has changed… Part II
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

July 1, 2012 has now passed, and the new regulations put in place by the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) and through it’s licensing and oversight arm, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) are now the law of the land.

So from this date forward, when you engage for the first time ANY licensed real estate agent or broker here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, be prepared to declare how you would like him to provide services for you. You have three choices:

  1. As a STANDARD AGENT, who has the normal and usual responsibilities to represent you as in the past. But he may also have additional duties which you and he must agree to, in writing, or
  2. As a LIMITED SERVICE AGENT, (formerly a limited service representative), who acts for or represents a client with respect to real property containing from one to four residential units, pursuant to a brokerage agreement that specifies that he will NOT PROVIDE one or more of the duties set forth in a specific list itemizing such services, or
  3. As an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, whose role in NOT that of an agent, but may be referred to as a “transaction broker”, among other terms. In this capacity, the service you barter for (and agree to) is best characterized as a third-party facilitator whose job it is to seek agreement between the parties so as to achieve the goal of the client (you). The standards and duties of the agent in this capacity is far more limited on your behalf than either of the other two.

… Continue Reading

Coming Home

July 31, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Sushi's Corner Comments Off on Coming Home

Before the school year starts it is my master Mrs. B’s tradition to have a fun family gathering around the grill one last time for the summer.

The cool evening breeze was settling in. Bernie and Laino (farm daughters) where down by the fields near the Beaver Dam Creek putting their ponies away for the night. Mr. B was working the grill and good smells began to fill the air. Mrs. B, family and friends filled the tables with yummy treats to compliment the dinner. Before I knew it, we all gathered round Grandfather under the story tree. I love family times like this because you never know what kind of a whopper of a story Grandfather will come up with! … 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

30 1 2 3 4 5

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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