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Blue Ridge Leader News – Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15, 2012 by Tim Jon filed under Loudoun County, News, Tim Jon with BRLN No Comments
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Martin’s March

Lest we all forget the reason that many of us can sleep in tomorrow morning, here’s a reminder of local observances for Martin Luther King Junior Day. Activities in Loudoun County start with an assembly at 10 o’clock in the morning at the Courthouse Square in Leesburg, followed by a march to the Douglass Community Center- with organized programs starting at noon.

Observances take sponsorship by cooperative efforts by the Douglass Alumni Association, Loudoun NAACP, the Bluemont Concert Series and the Baha’i Community of Loudoun.

Martin Luther King Junior came into the world 83 years ago in Atlanta- the son of a schoolteacher & Baptist Minister.

The Reverend King fought discrimination for over a decade until his assassination in 1968.

The United States began celebrating his birthday just 25 years ago.

We remember the man’s name today as almost synonymous with the words love, equality & non-violence.

Hard to believe that the concept of equality- without regard to race, color, creed, sex, culture, origin of birth, emotional stability or sexual preference- still has a lot of ground to cover.

Tomorrow’s walk is quite short in physical distance, but perhaps some inner measurements would say otherwise.

And, it looks like the weather’s going to me more like March temperatures, so it fits right in with everyone’s plans for a March in honor of MLK.

…and Cannot Be Undone

A young woman from Ashburn may very well wish she could correct the mistakes made one evening last May, when- according to local authorities- she fled the scene of an accident involving a pedestrian. Twenty year old Brittany Harris faces felony charges in the wake of the impact with a 55 year old woman- struck along Gloucester Parkway at Ashby Ponds Boulevard.

The victim survived serious injuries, after medical crews airlifted her to Fairfax Hospital.

Crash Reconstruction Investigators used witness testimony and evidence from the scene to identify the driver of the vehicle.

Harris remains free- for the time being- on a bond from the magistrate; she faces hit-and-run charges- and could serve time as a result of her actions.

My role as a professional driver allows me a bit of editorial license here; having witnessed hundreds of close calls involving pedestrians and vehicles (not to mention motorist versus motorist) I feel I need to remind at least 30 percent of the driving public that: yes, people often cross the road in unexpected places.

And, kids will often act like kids.

Sometimes, adults will even act like kids (or further down on the evolutionary scale).

Other drivers will often do things which may annoy us.

Having said all this, we still need to maintain composure and respect life in all forms- even members of other political parties.

You can feel vastly superior to those whom you must avoid with your vehicle, but you should not strike them.

Maybe the big Pit Boss in the sky didn’t have time to lay that one down on Ol’ Moses on the Mountain.

Dostoeyevskian Supply- and Demand

I guess it’s safe to say that $31,000 would buy a lot of things- nice or otherwise- in Nigeria; that’s the street value of the heroin recently taken from a man arriving- at Dulles Airport- from that country. Let’s also say that 61 year old Adekunle Titus Adetokunbo must have really wanted the money the stuff could have brought him; Customs and Border Protection Officers noticed something ‘funny’ inside the man’s body during initial inspections, and x-rays at a local hospital confirmed their suspicions.

The suspect later produced about a pound of heroin- in what authorities described as pellet form.

We’ll let you figure out how the drugs got into Adetokunbo’s body- and how he got rid of them.

Hope you weren’t having granola for breakfast.

The case- and the suspect- now await further developments under the auspices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Yeah, $31,000 will buy a lot of nice things in Nigeria- or the USA, for that matter- but not nearly enough to tempt me into that kind of profession.

I’ll stick with bee pollen for my kicks.

From Flowers to Big Cats

And, the Bloom has faded, as they say; you won’t see that name any more on local grocery stores, according to their parent company. Delhaize America announced that its closing many of its Bloom locations, and changing others back to a name I could never get used to: Food Lion.

Two Blooms in Loudoun plan to close: the store in Ashburn’s Farmwell Hunt Plaza and the Fort Evans Road location in Leesburg.

The company says those outlets have been ‘under-performing.’

Well, with all the Wegman’s, and Harris Teeters, and Giant’s, and everything else, I’m sort of surprised those stores lasted as long as they did.

Local Blooms making the grade- like the one on South King Street in Leesburg- will switch over to the Food Lion brand, according to Delhaize.

Others include the Purcellville location on Main Street, and the Great Falls Plaza store in Sterling- along Algonkian Parkway.

Part of the company’s new plans include converting the Bottom Dollar stores over to Food Lion as well- as in the case of the Briarcroft Plaza facility in Sterling.

Grrr.

Sorry- I just could never get used to the name, “Food Lion.”

I always picture flies buzzing around a dead wildebeest out on the African plain.

I guess I have to work on my imagery.

Electing to Fall

Well, you can cross the local spring elections off your to-do list in the County Seat. Officials in Leesburg received a preliminary go-ahead on changing the ballot season to November- to coincide with other Town, County, State and National campaign seasons.

The Attorney General’s Office notified the Town that no objections stand in the way of the move; this means that the would-have-been elections this May get pushed back until November- giving those representatives an extra six months on their terms.

The Seats held by Mayor Kristen Umstaddt and Council Members Katie Hammler, Dave Butler and Tom Dunn come to the stump this fall.

The Town also plans a Special Election on April 17th- to select a permanent replacement for former Councilman, now Supervisor Ken Reid.

Council voted to place another Former Councilman- Terry Titus- in that Seat until- at least- that time.

Expensive Lessons

I don’t know how much the Powers that Be pay attention to these things, but it sounds like the first public hearing for the local school budget came in on the wings of supportive voices. The Loudoun School Board heard about 20 speakers the other night, and most were in favor of the proposal for an increase in spending.

Most of these individuals also belonged to the local educational community- made up of parents, teachers, and others who interact with the process of Readin’, Righin’, and Rithmatik.

Superintendent Ed Hatrick shared his recommendations for an 11-plus% increase for the next budget cycle; he listed the challenges in trying to pay for employee retirement and health insurance, as well as more staff to instruct additional students each year (specifically, the 2,500 expected for this coming fall).

We told you last week that some of the new School Board members put some tough questions to the Superintendent’s financial plans, and you can bet that the Loudoun Supervisors will put the screws to the document when it comes time for the County Budget.

If this $831 million monster’s gonna survive, it’ll need all the support it can get from the local education community.

We’re still in the early innings.

I’ll hold my commentary for later in the battle.

Don’t think I’m not ready to jump into this thing.

With a Capital G

There’ve been lots of acts of kindness and generosity lately in these parts, but I guess when you give away almost a million dollars, it definitely makes the news. The Claude Moore Foundation announced its grants for 2012 totaling some $957K.

Recipients include its own Claude Moore Healthcare Academies, taking $350,000. Lesser amounts go to Inova Nursing Scholarships, the Loudoun Literacy Council, the ARC of Loudoun, Loudoun Cares, the Loudoun Education Foundation’s High School Graduation Party Project- as well as their Teachers Endorsement Scholarship Project- and the LEF’s Reality Store, Loudoun Youth Inc, and $200,000 for general distributions in the County.

The late Doctor Claude Moore left quite a legacy for Loudoun; his estate funds the Foundation in his name, which can now look back at over $47 million in grants in the past 25 years.

This includes $14 million to local non-profits.

That’s a pretty good prescription.

Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader

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