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Blue Ridge Leader News – Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011 by Tim Jon filed under News, Tim Jon with BRLN No Comments
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Older, if not Wiser

He just may double his age behind bars, and that’s probably all right with everyone close to this case; child sex abuse defendant- Brad Minor- pled ‘no contest’ this past week in connection to charges involving two four-year-old students at a local child care center. He faces up to 25 years in prison for aggravated sexual battery and custodial indecent liberties with children; Minor worked as an assistant at Chesterbrook Academy in Leesburg up until the time of his arrest this past July.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office reported sufficient forensic evidence to put the defendant away for quite a spell; Minor comes in for sentencing in March of 2012.

Chesterbrook Academy performed all the background checks on this guy prior to hiring him; I’m sure the parents of the two children involved in the case would describe the current background checking system as quite inadequate in determining fitness for working with young people.

Bradley Minor will now be a registered sex offender with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Time to say Goodbye

It will close all the same, in my opinion; I’m talking about the Downtown Leesburg Post Office, which remains on a long list of facilities slated for the chopping block under the US Postal Service money-saving plans. As distressing as this may seam to those who enjoy the convenience and culture this iconic little place fulfills, I’m not sure the Powers that Be in the USPS take stuff like that into account.

I’m told that the bulk of the 120,000 jobs about to be lost at the Post Office will be the clerks at those processing plants which will also shut down in an effort to stem a portion of the financial red tide.

The delay in making these cuts- pushed back until May of 2012- at least gives some of those folks a chance to make plans to find another iceberg in a very cold ocean of job-hunting.

Yes, there was a public input session regarding the impending closure of the Downtown Leesburg Post Office, but rest assured- it’s days are numbered after that upcoming May deadline.

I don’t believe that any Congressional action can save even a beloved facility like this when it’s about to be slashed by an organization which relies on facts and figures- not convenience, culture or the emotion of Postal patrons.


Affordability Index

I know some who would say that this is too liberal: using County funds to help a local homeless shelter organization buy another facility to help the destitute; others may push the opposite direction, urging more support to those in dire need of assistance with housing, food, clothing and other necessities. I’m not even sure exactly where the $500,000 came from (the housing trust fund)- whether it was all local tax dollars, or channeled from other sources, but it was forked over to the Good Shepherd Alliance in their plans to purchase a new home for the homeless; the GSA currently maintains five such facilities for men, women and families with children.

The organization assists people for periods of 12 months; whether you’re a liberal, republican or democrat, you’ll understand that a lot of these folks must have a tough time becoming self-sufficient in one year.

Have you looked at apartment rental prices lately?

I don’t have enough money to donate much to causes like this, but I feel for folks who find themselves on the outside looking in.

I hope the County has more money in its housing trust fund, and I hope the Good Shepherd Alliance maintains a good record of really assisting homeless people becoming self-sufficient in those 12-month grace periods.

Grace is a thing we could all use more of right now.

Living in the Coals

And, speaking of making ends meet, one of the more upscale investments in Loudoun County gets some financial clout as plans finalize for an impending opening- if that’s what you can call a projection which extends out until April of the Year 2013. The Salamander Resort and Spa continues to move toward the day when it can open its doors as a premiere hospitality center just outside Middleburg.

They recently struck a deal on some financial investments from Junius Capital- which should help push over the hump in the final stages of construction at the side on the north side of the little Hunt Country community.
Salamander Owner and entrepreneur- Sheila Johnson- broke ground on the upscale facility over eight years back, so I guess you could say this venture will have stood the test of time- even before it opens.

Classical mythology credits the salamander with the ability to live through fire; this namesake project has seen just about everything else in its long, strange timeline.
Look for more on the Salamander Resort and Spa as we approach that opening date- some 16 months or so from now.

Dog Days in December

Home for Christmas: that’s a refrain that’s been kinda knocking around my head for the past few weeks, as I’ve been running from my mail truck to residents’ doorsteps with various-sized parcels- the numbers of which- to quote a well-known scientific authority- are “off the chain.” What this sentiment has to do with the next story is this: the Loudoun County Animal Shelter just received judicial permission to start adopting out over 50 dogs, which were seized from a negligent owner this past summer.

I’m hoping that some of these canines find themselves in a ‘forever home’ sometime during the 2011 holiday season- not that I’m recommending anyone give a dog- or any kind of animal- as a Christmas gift- unless you really know it’s going to work out.

The Animal Shelter cared for these pooches since their discovery back in August- on some property near Purcellville.

Their former owner- Bonita Clark of Annapolis- faces some 20 counts of kennel ordinance violations.

Well, you can bet the Animal Shelter staff breathed a sigh of relief this past week when a local judge awarded the dogs to the County, which means they can be adopted out to new owners, after all the medical and behavior evaluations.

Hope they hurry; dogs love Christmas.

Some Real Green

And, congratulations to a local company- on a hefty contract to provide some high-profile manicuring along a familiar path for many commuters. Those who travel by air and land will enjoy the fruits (perhaps literally) of the labors of Blake Landscaping- who recently learned that they scored a deal to do the work along the Dulles Toll Road- as well as Dulles International Airport.

The Leesburg firm won a five-year contract with MWAA- the Metro Airports Authority- through a competitive bidding process.

The relatively small local company added 20 new employees to beef up their arsenal, in order to meet the demands of the heavy work load under the new deal.

Blake’s been performing landscaping services for local governments and residential communities since 195; good for them.

Maybe they can plant some money trees along the route for the future Dulles Rail System, in an effort to pay for the darn thing.

Moral Support for the Last Lap

On behalf of my co-workers at the Purcellville Post Office- as well as myself- I’m urging you to thank your local Postal Mail Carrier this week. No- that doesn’t mean you have to leave an envelope of cash in your mailbox- even a genuine smile and a heartfelt ‘thanks’ is very welcome at this time of year.

Some of us have been working as late as seven or eight o’clock in the evening- hustling hundreds of holiday packages to your local doorsteps- in addition to serving over 500 mailboxes each day.

No- we don’t ask for anything extra- just a kind word of encouragement as we try to meet the sometimes impossible demands of the system- like attempting to deliver two ‘routes’ a day and returning to the office by five- without accidents or mis-deliveries.

It’s a tough sport that could use some good cheerleaders.

Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader

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