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First Meeting of New Administration Foreshadows Change

August 6, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News Comments Off on First Meeting of New Administration Foreshadows Change
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Town Council Divided, But New Mayor Fights for Fresh Approach

The new Purcellville Town Council and Mayor held their first meeting, a work session, on July 22.

The meeting began with the new administration first discussing and then voting to go into closed-session to conduct interviews of six candidates for two vacancies on the Planning Commission.

The vote for the closed session was 4–3 with council members Lehr, McConville, McCollum, and Packard in favor of the closed session, and with Mayor Fraser, Jimmerson, and Nave voting to keep the interview process open to the public. … Continue Reading

June 17 Swearing In – Purcellville New Mayor And Council – Terms Begin July 1 –

July 3, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News, Our Towns Comments Off on June 17 Swearing In – Purcellville New Mayor And Council – Terms Begin July 1 –
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Gary Clemens, Clerk of the Loudoun County Circuit Court delivered the oath of office to Mayor-Elect Kwasi Fraser, and Council Members-Elect Karen Jimmerson, Doug McCollum and Ben Packard. Father Escalante, from Saint Francis De Sales gave the invocation. Former Purcellville Mayor Eric Zimmerman delivered opening remarks and told the newly elected members that they represent all the citizens of the town.
The swearing in ceremony ended with Clemens telling the attendees that the new council members are “accountable to you.”

… Continue Reading

Proposed Code Changes Delayed

July 3, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Development, Government, News Comments Off on Proposed Code Changes Delayed
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Public Pressure Pushes Decision To New Mayor And Council

The outgoing Purcellville Town Council held sway over a loud and angry crowd in a packed meeting on June 24 as it considered whether to make significant changes to amend town code Section 54-78. In the end, the decision was delayed until the next Town Council meeting, when Mayor-Elect Kwasi Fraser and a new Town Council will have taken office. Section 54-78 controls the expiration dates of what are known as “Certificates of Design Approval” (CDAs) by the town’s Board of Architectural Review related to the demolition of historic structures, site plans, zoning permits, and other construction-related documents.

While the town’s public hearing notice for the proposed code changes did not specify that these changes related to the 100,000 plus square feet mixed use Vineyard Square development, the majority of citizens attending the meeting clearly believed otherwise.

… Continue Reading

Purcellville Town Council Loosens Employees As Candidate Rules

March 4, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News 4 comments
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Many localities require that town employees desiring to run for elected office take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning. They also require that, if elected, the employee resign their original position. Laws such as these prevent potential conflicts of interests. For example, a newly elected member of a town council might serve as a member of law enforcement while at the same time, now voting on budgetary matters related to his/her job as a police officer. Or, an individual who, as a town employee and member of the town council might feel pressured to vote on town matters in a certain way.

At the Purcellville Town Council Worksession on February 25, council members voted unanimously, with Mayor Bob Lazaro absent for the vote, to repeal Purcellville’s Town Code Section 42-41 (Political Activity). This would allow a town employee to serve on town council, for example, without resigning their original job with the town. Earlier in the month the town manual was also changed so that a town employee would not be required to take an unpaid leave of absence while running for political office. Lt. James Rust of the Purcellville police force is running for town council. Under the new rules, Rust is not required to take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning, and if elected, he can still hold positions on both the police force and the town council.

Candidates Announce Bids for Purcellville Town Council

March 4, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Elections, Elections, News Comments Off on Candidates Announce Bids for Purcellville Town Council
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All announced Town of Purcellville candidates who filed as of our deadline have been contacted to send us their press releases. The statements from three of the four candidates for town council are featured below. Kwasi Fraser, who is running for mayor, sent us his press release last month.  We contacted mayoral candidate Keith Melton; however as of press time we have not received anything.

Karen Jimmerson
Karen Jimmerson is pleased to announce her candidacy for Purcellville Town Council in the upcoming May 6 town election.
“Among other reasons, I wish to become a member of the Town Council to protect the small town values that are being undermined by out-of-town developers,” says Jimmerson. Recent votes and annexations make it clear that developers have great representation in Purcellville, and Jimmerson believes that residents deserve to be better represented. … Continue Reading

Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

February 10, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review
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The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and John Chapman’s plans for the destruction of old town Purcellville.

Now that Mr. Nelis and Mr. Chapman have been given the whip hand to go ahead with their plans without compromising with their fellow citizens, it would behoove them to think twice before they do. They should remember how often and how recently, in government and law, we have seen those who have power force their views, without compromise, down the throats of large numbers of people, sometimes even majorities, opposed to them. They should consider that, by refusing to compromise on a matter solely concerning their financial interest rather than any moral or even legal principle, they contribute further to the ugly winner-take-all attitude too prevalent in our politics and society. … Continue Reading

Chairman York: “It’s Time To Move On”

January 8, 2014 by Mary M. Bathory Vidaver Development, News Comments Off on Chairman York: “It’s Time To Move On”
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Autumn Hill/Mayfair Gets Go Ahead

Saying that it was time to move on, Chairman Scott York (R-At-Large) led the Board of Supervisors in an approval of a boundary line adjustment with the Town of Purcellville. The January 2 vote in conjunction with the town council’s vote on December 10 seemingly ensures the development of at least 257 homes on the Autumn Hill / Mayfair property.

Citizens opposed to the decision were extremely disappointed. Richard Corns, a resident of the Chestnut Hills development adjacent to the Autumn Hill property, highlighted that the board voted on the motion prior to the meeting’s public comment period. “After I spoke, someone informed me that the board had already voted to approve the annex and “It was time to move on. How can I move on when my home has no chance in recovering the lost value? Maybe Scott York can absorb a $700k loss on his home – I cannot.” … Continue Reading

BAR Recommendations Rejected By Town Council

January 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Development, News 2 comments
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By Valerie Cury

Historic Preservation Threatened

The Purcellville Town Council held a special meeting December 17 to hear an appeal by developers John Chapman and Mark Nelis on their Vineyard Square project.
The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) had earlier voted to stop demolition of two historic structures on 21st Street, noting that the existing facades in the town’s Historic Corridor Overlay District had to be maintained and incorporated into the design for the 6-story mixed-use project. In the BAR’s motion to deny the demolition, it noted that the buildings “possess integrity of design, craftsmanship and materials from their early twentieth-century period of significance that cannot be replicated.” “These buildings embody the early twentieth-century development of Purcellville’s business district and incorporate original period features such as brick facades, storefront windows, period appropriate entry doors, sign bands, and steeped parapet walls which are distinctive architectural elements of Purcellville’s downtown and link the design of these buildings with other buildings of the same period on the street which contribute to the historic context of the street.” … Continue Reading

Town of Purcellville Passes Sweeping Public “Conduct” Regulations

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News 2 comments
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By Andrea Gaines

New Town of Purcellville policies put in place seek to control “Public Meeting Conduct” and conduct in public facilities.

The regulations, designed to address what a September 19 Staff Report describes as “formal and informal complaints from citizens, businesses and the public who were impacted by the conduct of a few individuals within our community” were adopted in late September.

While the regulations are very detailed, cover public conduct in both town facilities and at public meetings, and are acknowledged by the town to be of great “magnitude,” the staff report did not present any evidence or documentation of the bad behavior described. … Continue Reading

Citizen Protest Regarding Closed Door Meetings – Denied

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News Comments Off on Citizen Protest Regarding Closed Door Meetings – Denied
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By Valerie Cury

Loudoun District Court judge Deborah C. Welsh – former Purcellville Town attorney – ruled against Purcellville citizen Ben Belrose in his September Freedom of Information Act complaint against the Town of Purcellville. Belrose had filed his complaint on Tuesday, September 10 in an attempt to prevent Purcellville from using select provisions of the Virginia Code to go into “closed session” while conducting discussions regarding future possible annexations of land by the town. Closed sessions enable governmental bodies to preclude public attendance and input in specified proceedings.

The annexation discussions have special bearing on a series of 2012 actions taken by the town and the county to repeal PUGAMP – the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan. PUGAMP provided for a process wherein Purcellville’s growth – via annexation or other actions – would be timed to ensure the town had the ability to provide public utilities and other required services to, for example, new residential developments. PUGAMP also provided for extensive public input on how and where Purcellville might grow. At the time that PUGAMP was repealed, Mayor Bob Lazaro commented that the town had no intention of expanding its borders and was not interested in growing. … Continue Reading

Catoctin Creek Apartments Inching Closer To Vote

April 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News, Our Towns Comments Off on Catoctin Creek Apartments Inching Closer To Vote
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By Karen Jimmerson

Purcellville’s Hirst Road and Maple Avenue corridor is on the cusp of major changes. Developers have put in an application to build a large apartment complex (Catoctin Creek Apartments), and have future plans to build retail/office space. S.L. Nasbaum wants to develop the western 13.72 acres of a 20-acre parcel with 176 (and up to 205) apartment units. At the same time, Renauld Consulting is advertising for sale/lease thousands of square feet retail/office space within the same 20-acre parcel.

The application for the Catoctin Creek Apartments would require an amendment to Purcellville’s Comprehensive Plan, and a rezoning amendment to PDH-15 (high density). The property was annexed into the town in December of 2008 by the Purcellville Town Council, and was designated as Transition X and CM-1. The Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan (PUGAMP) ultimate land use map depicts the planned land use for the subject property as local service-light industrial, not residential. According to county staff comments, “rezoning the subject property for residential use as proposed would not be in conformance with the PUGAMP land use map.” … Continue Reading

Catoctin Corner Up for Approval

April 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Government, News Comments Off on Catoctin Corner Up for Approval
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Catoctin Corner, a 6.53 acre property on Main Street and Rt.287 in Purcellville, is going through the approval process at the staff level. The majority of the property was annexed by the Purcellville Town Council in 2008. The property was zoned for low density dwelling units at 1-3 houses per acre. Against the recommendation of the Purcellville Planning Commission, the Purcellville Town Council voted to rezone the property for 50,000 sq. ft. of commercial, which will include a bank, pharmacy, gas station, and several restaurants.

View full-size map of the project

Farewell to PUGAMP

March 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader News, Our Towns Comments Off on Farewell to PUGAMP
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At its February Public Hearing, the Board of Supervisors indicated its intention to terminate the Annexation Agreement between the county and the Town of Purcellville, abolish the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan (PUGAMP), and eliminate a planned urban growth area around the Town of Purcellville. The Purcellville Town Council is expected to take a similar vote in the near future. Thus ends the almost eighteen-year experiment with joint planning for growth between the town and the county.

Public opinion differs as to whether the decision will lead to a positive or a negative outcome, will make it easier or harder for Purcellville to adjust its corporate limits in the future. The future, as always, is uncertain. Sometimes, however, a study of the past provides insights into what the future may hold. With that thought, The Blue Ridge Leader offers its readers a PUGAMP timeline.

PUGAMP is more than just a planning story, though. It also includes the Town’s search for sufficient water and the County’s search for sufficient land on which to build facilities. Thus, the timeline includes some mention of these issues as well. Politics and personalities played roles as well, but don’t lend themselves well to timeline formats. Due to space considerations, not every relevant event can be included. More than likely, everyone will likely feel that some important date is missing or some important issue unaddressed. We leave it to historians and professors of planning to undertake the complete evaluation.

Click here to view more

Click here to view the lawsuit over out of phase annexation by the Town of Purcellville

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015

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NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with …

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Ask Dr. Mike

At Wits End

7 Aug 2015

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Dr. Mike, My sister’s son is autistic, but she is in complete denial. I’ve done my research and he fits a diagnosis of autism. He is three years old and doesn’t talk or socialize. He has meltdowns that are out …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015

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I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining. I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of …

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Mount Zion Church

1 Jul 2015

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– By Tim Jon So: You’ve never given the American Civil War a great deal of thought, much less walked the grounds of Gettysburg or some of the other, major battleground sites located in our region; you may not be …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

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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

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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

What It Means To Be a Man

7 Aug 2015

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel As I have gotten older I have noticed that there are more and more young men who ask me for advice. To me it seems silly – I am often not much older than the person asking, …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

A Social Security Strategy Could Enhance Your Retirement Income Plan

7 Aug 2015

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By Amy & Dan Smith What do you think of when someone mentions Social Security? Many people consider Social Security and retirement as one and the same. More than 90 percent of working Americans plan for Social Security to replace …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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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

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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

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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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Events

September 2015
M T W T F S S
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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards Monthly Bluegrass Jam is BACK w/Short Hill Mountain Boys

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

COFFEEHOUSE: J.RILEY STEWART

COFFEEHOUSE: LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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KAYDEE PUPPETS: SHEEP DOG DETECTIVES

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

September Fourth Friday at Breaux

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Rally for the Cure

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

BUSH BROTHERS LIVE!

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View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015

blueridge2

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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Editorial

Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

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Three Virginia laws address openness in government: the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), The Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) and The Virginia State & Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (VCOIA). VFOIA guides how public bodies conduct their meetings and regulates access to government records. VPRA establishes basic rules about what constitutes a public record and what the government’s …

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Lifestyle

Loudoun Health Officials Remind Septic System Owners of Need to Pump Out

28 Aug 2015

Loudoun County Seal Color

The Loudoun County Health Department reminds owners of septic systems that routine pumping out of their systems can extend the system’s life and reduce the risk of untreated sewage surfacing or backing up into a house. Loudoun County requires owners of conventional onsite septic systems to have their tanks pumped out at least every five years. Tanks must be pumped …

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Historic Village Prepares for 46th Annual Bluemont Fair

25 Aug 2015

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The sleepy Blue Ridge village of Bluemont in western-most Loudoun County, Virginia, is bustling with activity as it prepares for the 46th ANNUAL BLUEMONT FAIR, September 19 & 20, 2015 from 10AM to 5PM both days, rain or shine. Admission is still only $5/adults, under 10 free, with free parking available. One-way traffic and crosswalks will be enforced in the …

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Register for Rally for the Cure™

24 Aug 2015

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Want to participate in a fun tournament for a great cause? Then sign up to participate in the Stoneleigh Women’s Golf Association’s annual Rally for the Cure ™ golf tournament in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! This is a great opportunity to play at the golf course recently cited as being the Prettiest Golf Course in Northern Virginia by …

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015

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Shadow Darner. Unicorn Clubtail. Black Shouldered Spinyleg. Blue Dasher. Ebony Jewelwing. Calico Pennant. Sanddragon. Their names conger up some magical place inhabited by devils and demons, elegant queens, daring lovers – creatures you would need to see with your own eyes to believe really existed. But, each of these, including the Calico Pennant, is actually one of the most common …

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Around Virginia

Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers

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By Delegate Dave LaRock It’s no secret that population growth and business development have left Loudoun County, especially busy areas to the east, with some pretty challenging traffic. The process of expanding the local network of roads and transit always seems to be playing catch-up, usually tied to availability of …

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Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

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On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Sports

Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015

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Loudoun Valley’s Drew Hunter placed second in the United States Track and Field 1500-meter run Junior National Championship. That earned him a spot on the United States Junior Team going to the Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada in late July. Drew lost to college freshman Blake Haney of the …

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American Legion Post 34 Hosting Mid-Atlantic Regional Baseball Tournament

5 Aug 2015

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Batter up! Chartered in 1919 by an act of Congress, the American Legion is one of our country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious veteran’s organizations – dedicated to mentoring youth, sponsoring community programs, promoting national security and supporting veterans and members of the armed forces. Specific programs include scholarships, scouting, …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

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– 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

More Than a GPA

7 Aug 2015

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By Mary Rose Lunde In school we are measured in every way based on a number system from a point scale resulting in grades then translated into a GPA that can’t be easily fixed in just one semester. Students are forced to think that all they have to achieve is …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

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– 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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Letters

Thank You Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

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I want to express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support by the local business owners and residents in relationship to my challenge to …

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

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With graduations behind us and summer vacations ahead, we have much to look forward to. My summer will be full of events and opportunities to …

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Reflections for Father’s Day, a Child’s Constitutional Rights

15 Jun 2015

Bob Ohneiser

I’ve been a licensed attorney and a father since the late 80’s. Yet, I wonder about how many of our country’s legal theories – theories …

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