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Blue Ridge Leader News – Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 8, 2012 by Tim Jon filed under Loudoun County, News, Tim Jon with BRLN No Comments
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Liquor-fied Lessons

Well, some middle-schoolers down in Southeast Loudoun could be in hot water, after- evidently- having a liquid breakfast the other morning before classes. Authorities at J Michael Lunsford removed the six students after a quick medical exam indicated they’d imbibed a quantity of alcohol; this came after one of the youngsters complained of sickness- no doubt caused by their shenanigans.

The students probably weren’t laughing when the Sheriff’s School Resource Officer got called in, and then Administrators notified the kids’ parents.

I’m sure the Moms and Dads weren’t too happy, either.

Not the kind of headline to put on your fridge, or write about to Granny.

However- the good news here- yeah, you heard me: no one was hurt or hospitalized.

The students were age 12-14, so nobody was driving under the influence.

And- it sounds like at least one of these ‘little nippers’ got sick, so (coupled with the interaction with authorities and parents) maybe this’ll change their taste buds a bit when it comes to pulling pranks involving adult beverages.

Hopefully, they’ll learn that it’s not a real picnic to go through the questioning and punishment from such an event.

Not to mention the hangover.

I hope it was a doozy, for their sake.

Better Supervised

I’m not sure if it’s a good, or a bad thing that I no longer have the opportunity to monitor the movements of our everlovin’ County Board, but I certainly have mixed emotions about not knowing exactly what they’re saying and doing these days- with a new slate of Loudoun Supervisors in charge of the local Government. I see this past week’s meeting saw the election of the new Blue Ridge Representative- Janet Clarke- as Vice Chairman.

The Board also voted on Committee assignments- with four of these ‘spin-off’ groups.

For those who just turned the game on, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize ourselves with your County leaders’ names, Districts and so on.

Ashburn Supervisor Ralph Buona heads up Finance, Operations and Government Services, augmented by Chairman Scott York, Broad Run Leader Shawn Williams, Leesburg Supervisor Ken Reid and Sterling’s Eugene Delgaudio.

Algonkian Supervisor Suzanne Volpe chairs the Transportation and Land Use Committee, with help from Delgaudio, Clarke, Geary Higgins of Catoctin, and Dulles Leader Matt Letourneau.

The Board brought back the Economic Development Committee, headed up by Letourneau, with assistance from York, Buona, Volpe and Williams.

They also delegated Ken Reid as Co-Chair on the Joint Committee for the County Board and School Board, with additional membership for Clarke and Higgins.

For those who have the time and inclination to witness the spectacle of the Loudoun Supervisors in action, they plan to convene the first Wednesday of each month at nine in the morning; they reserve the third Tuesday of the month for extra innings, as needed.

The Supervisors reserve the night before each regular business meeting for Public Input- starting at six o’clock.

Public Hearings, for those who haven’t switched the channel yet, come around the second Tuesday of each month- again, at six in the evening.

Loudoun Delegate (and science whiz extraordinaire) Joe May will bear out my argument that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle teaches us that your presence in the Board Room makes a difference; just by showing up, you may just influence your local leaders for the better.

School Board… of Hard Knocks?

And, with that, it’s going to be interesting to sit on the sidelines (much less participate in) this year’s budget deliberations within the School Board- since it’s also made up of so many new members- many of whom campaigned on a cost-cutting approach to local education. The Superintendent found out as much after he asked them for an 11 and a half percent increase in the operating budget for the coming year.

Flies on the wall at that meeting would have noted some pretty pointed questions aimed at the proposal, from a few of the Freshman members on the School Board.

It may not be business as usual for Superintendent Edgar Hatrick getting his budget request over to the County Board more or less intact.

The question remains: can the new School Board cut costs in the local educational system, and still maintain quality schools?

If they can put the bell on that tom-cat, then they’ll have something.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it takes more resources to teach more students in more new facilities each year.

That’s pretty simple.

Is there a way they can get around some of the skyrocketing insurance and retirement costs?

We’ll see.

One of the Superintendent’s pet projects right now is a proposal for an all-day kindergarten program in Loudoun County.

Will initiatives like this become the victims of campaign promises of some of the new School Board Members?

That’ll be the kind of thing I’d watch out for in the coming weeks.

And, maybe they’ll be able to judiciously cut out the chaff and leave just the healthy wheat kernels, who knows?

One thing’s sure, it’s not going to be business as usual for the Superintendent in working with the School Board.

At least not yet, anyway.

Takes One to Be One

Well, they picked a Councilman to fill a Councilman’s position; that’s what happened the other night as leaders in the County Seat voted to fill a vacancy at the Dais in Town Hall. The Leesburg Council selected Terry Titus to fill the void left by newly-elected Supervisor Ken Reid; Titus served on the Town Council in Leesburg for the first seven years of the 1970′s decade.

And, remember all those names that were listed as candidates to fit that spot- including former Councilwoman Kelly Burk and Councilmen Bob Zoldos and Dave Schmidt, and former School Board Member Tom Marshall?

They were all nominated the other night, but lost out on 3-3 tie votes among the current Council.

In any case,Terry Titus holds the seat until at least April 17, when a special election comes up to pick a permanent replacement for Supervisor Reid.

That term on Council runs through the Year 2014.

Judging from the interest in this past appointment, I’d say it’ll attract a lot of attention.

Woodchucks, and other Stuff

Hey- you all know what’s coming up at the beginning of February, right? Yeah, I know groundhog day is the second of that month- but an even more important date to get your ‘house’ in order by is the First.

That’s the deadline for correcting your information on vehicle registration with the County.

The Commissioner of Revenue’s Office issued a reminder that any new data concerning your personal property tax (for cars, trucks and other vehicles) needs to be done now- by the end of this month.

So- who does this concern?

Well, anyone who’s just bought a new car, changed their address, or sold a car, or even if you just put on an unusually high number of miles within the past year.

It may make a difference in the amount of ‘car tax’ you need to pay for this period of time.

I actually just purchased a new Subaru Forester (even though it was hard to give up my 2004 model) and the County Commissioner’s Office took care of me in short order; the staff at the Town of Leesburg also got me a new window sticker for a buck.

You can also do this stuff online- at the Commissioner’s webpage- at ppdcor@loudoun.gov.

I have no idea what those first three letters stand for, either.

A Good Man

I don’t pretend to know a lot about the business affairs of Fort Bacon Farm, along Snickersville Turnpike- just west of Colchester Road, except that they produced milk and had a great-looking garden; I do know that I hope they continue operations after the loss of the man responsible for much of the activities there. Lifelong farmer, Charlie Cockerill died suddenly- on Tuesday of this past week- at the family homestead.

He was 61.

Charlie represented the fourth generation of his family to live and work on that same land; he served as Deacon at the Purcellville Baptist Church, graduated among the Class of 1970 from Loudoun Valley High School, and was a Loudoun County 4-H All-Star in his youth.

His survivors include wife Barbara, brother Will, sister Anne, daughter Rebecca, and sons Joshua, Jonathan, Mark and Andrew.

The Cockerill name’s quite familiar to me- as well as the landmark of the family farm- since I delivered their mail- periodically- for the past three years or so.

I recall packets of seeds in early spring and other agriculture-related paraphernalia.

But, what I really remember was one of the Cockerill’s dogs- a black and white spaniel-looking affair- who reminded me of one of my own- long-gone- family pets.

I know that Charlie Cockerill was a good man, because he had one of the nicest dogs I ever met.

It came and plopped its front paws on my open window one day, as I went through the various deliveries for the box at their address.

The friendly canine said, “Hi’ in its own words, then went about its other daily chores.

I don’t drink a lot of milk, but I’ll think of Mr Cockerill every time I use a dairy product.

Condolences to family and friends.

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