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Amy & Dan Smith’s Planning For Life: Planning For The Unexpected

April 1, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy & Dan Smith’s Planning For Life: Planning For The Unexpected
Amy Smith-BRL

– By Amy and Dan Smith

Life-changing medical events of the past week have reminded me to not only review my plans but perhaps serve as a messenger for a “call to action” to any of you who think financial and estate planning is for the well-heeled or something you cannot afford or don’t need.
The situation happened quickly. I had visited my parents last month and, while chronic issues were evident, crisis did not seem imminent. Then one of my elderly parents began falling at home repeatedly. My other parent, also physically impaired, did not register the gravity of this matter and did nothing. My sister, arriving a few days later, immediately called 911, taking my parent to the hospital emergency room.

… Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013

June 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on 13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013
Amy Smith-BRL

Part three of a series
By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012(ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

Charitable giving can reduce your tax burden and also provide a sense of satisfaction by benefiting your favorite causes. Generally, donations to qualified charities count as an itemized deduction for that tax year. This includes cash, real estate, or other assets. The deductibility of charitable gifts is based on several factors, such as the donor’s income, the nature of the donation, and the charity receiving the donation. A sound plan can help offset an increase in taxes in 2013 due to higher taxes. … Continue Reading

The “Fiscal Cliff”

September 5, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on The “Fiscal Cliff”
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

What is the “fiscal cliff”? It’s the term being used by many to describe the unique combination of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. The ominous term reflects the belief by some that taken together, higher taxes and decreased spending at the levels prescribed have the potential to derail the economy. Whether we do indeed step off the cliff at the end of the year, and what exactly that will mean for the economy depends on several factors.

Will expiring tax breaks be extended?

With the “Bush tax cuts” set to sunset at the end of 2012, federal tax rates will jump up in 2013. We’ll go from six federal tax brackets (10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 35 percent) to five (15 percent, 28 percent, 31 percent, 36 percent, and 39.6 percent). The maximum rate that applies to long-term capital gains will generally increase from 15 percent to 20 percent. … 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

Asset Allocation in Retirement

June 6, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Asset Allocation in Retirement
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Asset Allocation in Retirement
Your asset allocation should be dynamic and flexible-adjusting with you as you move through life. Finding your unique formula for the many years you hope to spend in retirement is an important consideration as you transition your lifestyle into your non-income producing years.

The asset allocation formula that worked for you as you were building your nest egg will need to change to a more conservative approach, perhaps allocating a greater percentage of your overall portfolio to income-generating investments as you grow older. Simply put, you don’t want to assume the same level of risk since your capacity and investing time horizon to recover from losses is no longer as great. Your focus should now be on preserving capital and generating a predictable income stream to supplement other income sources.

Allowing For Inflation
Although it’s not a problem right now, many observers believe we will be facing higher inflation down the road. That can be a very real problem in retirement. For example, at a three percent inflation rate, $100,000 worth of purchasing power declines to $54,379 in 20 years. Most people also assume that their healthcare costs are going to increase in their later years, so you will want to allow for that, too. These two factors, plus the possibility of other unexpected expenses, mean that you are likely to still need some percentage of growth-oriented assets in your portfolio.

As the market gyrations of the past few years demonstrated quite convincingly, one of the big risks of investing is having to sell at the wrong time. For this reason, you also need to keep a certain percentage of your assets liquid, in cash or equivalent, so you can access that money quickly if needed. Although everyone’s situation is different, keeping six to 24 months’ or more worth of expenses in cash is a good goal. To visualize the benefit of this, think about the difference between an investor who had to raise money by selling stocks during the market crash of 2009 versus another who could wait until a few months later.

How Long Should You Plan For?
While you can’t know for certain how many years you’ll spend in retirement, we do know that because life spans in general are increasing, the years people spend in retirement are also increasing. For example, actuaries say that for a couple who are both 65 when they retire, there’s an 85% probability that at least one of them will live past 85. This means that your assets may have to last you quite a long time.

Living longer also means that the growth oriented portion of your portfolio has more time to experience the magic of compounding. For example, if you have $100,000 allocated to that portion and are able to achieve annual returns of 6%, after 10 years you’ll have $179,084.77, and after 15 years, you’ll have $239,655.82. This assumes no losses-a good reason to stick with less-risky investments.

Asset allocation in retirement is a critically important element of your overall plan-be sure to get some expert help in deciding what’s best for you. Also, don’t forget to revisit your formula periodically to be sure your asset mix is increasingly conservative as you get older.

Amy V. Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm. Amy is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Ste 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com.

The opinions and recommendations here are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of Raymond James or RJFS. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

The Long-Term Care Dilemma: Insurers Leaving, Premiums Increasing

May 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on The Long-Term Care Dilemma: Insurers Leaving, Premiums Increasing
Amy Smith-BRL

If you’ve planned for long-term care, you’ve done well because there’s a pretty good chance you or your spouse will have a need for care at some point. According to the National Clearinghouse for Long-term Care (www.longtermcare.gov) about 70 percent of people over age 65 will need some type of care during their lifetimes and more than 40 percent will require care in a nursing home.
According to the National clearinghouse, in 2010 it cost an average of $75,000 per year ­for a semiprivate room in a nursing home, while one year of care at home costs about $19,700 per year. … Continue Reading

There’s Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2011

April 4, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on There’s Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2011
Amy Smith-BRL

Good news! There’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2011. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,000 for 2011($6,000 if you were aged 50 by December 31, 2011.) For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2011 is April 17, 2012. Normally, your tax return must be filed by April 15. However, the IRS has extended the deadline to April 17 this year because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is a holiday in Washington, D.C. (Emancipation Day). … Continue Reading

The Power of Dividends in a Portfolio

March 7, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on The Power of Dividends in a Portfolio
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

It wasn’t so long ago that many investors regarded dividends as roughly the financial equivalent of a record turntable at a gathering of MP3 users – a throwback to an earlier era, irrelevant to the real action.

But fast-forward a few years and things look a little different. Since 2003, when the top federal income tax rate on qualified dividends was reduced to 15 percent from a maximum of 38.6 percent, dividends have acquired new respect. Favorable tax treatment isn’t the only reason, either; the ability of dividends to provide income and potentially help mitigate market volatility is also attractive to investors. As baby boomers approach retirement and begin to focus on income-producing investments, the long-term demand for high-quality, reliable dividends is likely to increase. … Continue Reading

Modestly Optimistic in 2012?

February 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Modestly Optimistic in 2012?
Amy Smith-BRL

“We are suffering just now from a bad case of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down; that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead.” — John Maynard Keynes … Continue Reading

7 Steps to Increase Your Wealth

January 5, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on 7 Steps to Increase Your Wealth
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Being rich is not hard. It’s a matter of adopting the right attitude.

After all, the woman convinced by her mother that she’ll always be poor is unlikely to take steps to attain substantial wealth. And the couple who plays it safe to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for the kids won’t take perceived risks to change their financial situation. … Continue Reading

Social Security is Worth the Wait

November 2, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Social Security is Worth the Wait
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy V. Smith

According to the Social Security Administration, more than nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

Anyone considering retirement and drawing Social Security retirement benefits should have an understanding of how this important decision will affect his or her family and themselves. For someone whose full retirement age is 66, drawing benefits at age 62 permanently reduces an individual’s per year base benefit by 25 percent. While it is true that some people needed to retire, or found themselves in situations where the decision was made for them, it is more financially advantageous to wait. “If you wait, you will receive a guaranteed increase each year of seven to eight percent per year until you reach age 70,” says Raymond James Senior Tax and Estate Consultant Susan Hartman. … Continue Reading

Save a Fortune on Herbs and Spices

October 6, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized Comments Off on Save a Fortune on Herbs and Spices

By Cat Morris

We are coming into spice season. Mmmmmm! Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove come to mind as the weather begins to turn and the days get shorter. Now is a great time to clear out your old herbs and spices so you can start the cool weather season on a fresh, flavorful note.

If you’re like me, you never remember what you have in the cabinet, and often return from the store with a container of herbs or spices as insurance against being left short on a special recipe. I believe we all have that spice we can never recall seeing recently in the cupboard, and that spice, for me, is cinnamon. No matter that I possess pounds of the stuff: I inevitably find myself staring at grocery shelves, wondering, “Am I out of cinnamon?”

Now is the time to officially take inventory and update my holdings. In addition to lots of cinnamon, I admit to owning ancient jars of stuff I’ve barely touched. It hurts to think of tossing something for which I paid a pretty penny, and just possibly might need someday.

The good news is that since I first bought some of those ancient, pricey jars, I have discovered that quality herbs and spices are not expensive. In fact, if you have been buying your herbs and spices from a mainstream grocery store, as I used to; cease and desist: Supermarkets impose scandalously large mark-ups on spices. That .12 ounce jar of McCormick bay leaves that costs $3.99 at your favorite grocery store? The same quantity from a local health food store will set you back a whole 17 cents. Did that get your attention?

Let’s do some math:

As of this writing, McCormick bay leaves at one major grocery store cost $3.99 for a .12 ounce jar, which comes to $33.25 per ounce, or $532 per pound (not that you’d ever need a whole pound of bay leaves).

By contrast, Frontier brand bay leaves from the bulk section at Natural Mercantile of Hamilton cost about $1.21 per ounce, or $19.30 per pound. Yes, that would be a $512.70 price difference from the grocery store for a pound of the same product.

[Incidentally, if you were to actually need a whole pound of bay leaves, Costco sells a one-pound container for a whopping $6.40.]

Would you like another example? Ground cloves are priced between $6-8 dollars per ounce at one major grocery store right now. I found them elsewhere for $.86 per ounce. In a recent comparison shopping exercise, I found that I could replace one-ounce quantities of fifteen common herbs and spices for less than $14 total by buying them outside a supermarket, versus upwards of $60 at the supermarket.

Another fantastic, and often even less expensive, source for herbs and spices is ethnic food stores. Indian markets, or Mediterranean and Mexican grocers will have large quantities of excellent quality spices for a fraction of the cost at a mainstream grocery store.

Unless it’s a seasoning I use a lot, I prefer to buy herbs and spices from a health food store because I can purchase as little or as much as I like. I am charged only for what I take. If I need a larger quantity, I’ll hit a local ethnic store for high quality spices sold in larger amounts, and store them at home in pint sized mason jars. And of course, if you can use a pound or so of a seasoning (I can’t) warehouse stores such as Costco offer fantastic prices.

How long will your freshly purchased herbs and spices keep? The Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers indicates that dried herbs and ground spices will stay fresh at room temperature for six months, or one to two years in the freezer. Whole spices will last 1-2 years at room temperature and 2-3 years in the freezer. (Interestingly, the shelf life of ground mustard is reduced by chilling it, so always keep mustard at room temperature.) If you keep your spices at room temperature, keep them in a dry, dark location. Avoid storing them above your cook top, where their flavor will suffer from heat.

The best way to check the freshness of herbs and spices is to open the container, put some in your hands, and check for strong aroma, taste and color. Seasonings kept longer than recommended won’t hurt you, so don’t fret if your oregano is five years old. It won’t do harm, but it won’t have much taste, either.
I’d love to hear where you find the best bargains on herbs and spices in the area. Email me at Cat.Morris@earthlink.net or visit us online at brleader.com and leave your comment following my column.
In last month’s column I promised an article on extreme frugality. I spoke too soon. My apologies, but I couldn’t resist writing about getting great deals on herbs and spices first, what with holiday cooking right around the corner!

Market Volatility and Your Emotions

August 31, 2011 by Contributor Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Market Volatility and Your Emotions
Amy Smith-BRL

“Market volatility: period when financial instrument prices fall quickly or go up by an unusual amount.” That’s a dictionary definition. Mine is more like the “I’m going to be sick” feeling that usually accompanies a roller coaster ride at my daughter’s favorite theme park. Unless you’ve not been checking your emails, reading newspapers, or watching television (a.k.a. “vacation”), you know it’s been a bumpy ride the last few weeks, and some financial experts say it might be like this for a while.

Here are some things you might want to consider before F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) kicks in:

  1. Don’t Panic: No matter how careful you are, you can neither predict nor control the future. No one has a crystal ball.
  2. Know what you own and why you own it: When the market goes off the tracks, knowing why you originally made a specific investment can help you evaluate whether those reasons still hold and whether a lower price might actually be a buying opportunity. It is individual stocks that determine the market, not vice versa. Buy value, not market trends or the economic outlook. … 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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21st Street... 2012 Election... 2015 Election... Aldie... Aldie Elementary School... Amy V. Smith... Andrea Gaines... Andrew McKnight... Appalachian Trail... Armed robbery... Ashburn... Ask Dr. Mike... Attorney General Cuccinelli... Autumn Hill... Babe Ruth World Series... Ball Property... BAR... Barbara Comstock... Barns of Rose Hill... Behind the Scenes... Benjamin Packard... Berklee College... Bethany Anne Decker... Bill Druhan... Bluemont... Bluemont Concert Series... Bluemont Fair... Blue Ridge Middle School... Blue Ridge Wildlife Center... Bob Lazaro... Bob Ohneiser... Boulder Crest Retreat... BRMS... Business... Butterfly Gourmet... Campaigns... Carl Fischer... Caroline Greer... Carver Center... Catoctin Creek... Catoctin Creek Apartments... Catoctin Creek Distilling Co.... Chairman Scott York... Charlie Clark... Christian Sierra... Christkindlmarkt... Column... Columns... Committees at a Glance... Corcoran Brewing... Crooked Run... Dave LaRock... Dave Williams... David La Rock... Dear Editor... Delegate Joe T. May... Development... Dine With Us... Dominion Power... Donna Williamson... Don Rose... Doug McCollum... Down Syndrome Association... Dulles Greenway... Dulles Rail... Dulles Toll Road... Ebola... Editorial... Environment... Equestrian... Events... Faith... Farm and garden... Fields of Athenry... Fourth of July... Franklin Park... Franklin Park Arts... Frank Wolf... Furnace Mountain Band... Gabriella Miller... Geary Higgins... George Allen... GLBR... Gold Award... Gold Cup... Good Shepherd Alliance... Gov. McDonnell... Governor McAuliffe... GSA... Halloween... Halloween block party... Hamilton... Hamilton Day... Hamilton Elementary School... Hampden-Sydney College... Hannah Hager... Hannah James... Harris Teeter... Hill High Store... Hillsboro... Hillsboro Elementary School... Hillsboro Farmers Market... Hirst Road... HUBZone... Humane Society... Hunt Country Gourmet... Hurricane Sandy... Ida Lee... Inova... James Bonfils... James Madison University... Janet Clarke... Jim Burton... JMU... Joe May... John Chapman... John Flannery... Joshua's Hands... Jr.... Karen Jimmerson... Keith Melton... Kelli Grim... Kitchen Science Kids... Kwasi Fraser... Ladies Board of Inova Loudoun Hospital... Ladies Board Rummage Sale... Lansdowne... Latanger N. Gray... LCHS... LCPL... LCSO... Leadership Loudoun... Leah Enright... Leesburg... Lime Kiln Road... Lincoln... Lincoln Elementary School... LINK... Loudoun BOS... Loudoun Country Day School... Loudoun County... Loudoun County Animal Services... Loudoun County BOS... Loudoun County Fair... Loudoun County Fairgrounds... Loudoun County Fire and Rescue... Loudoun County Government Reform Commission... Loudoun County Master Gardeners... Loudoun County Sheriff... Loudoun County Treasurer... Loudoun Interfaith Relief... Loudoun Lyric Opera... Loudoun Master Gardeners... Loudoun Sketch Club... Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy... Loudoun Youth Volleyball... Lovettsville... Lucketts... LVHS... Lyme Disease... Malcolm Baldwin... Mark Dewey... Mark Gunderman... Mark Nelis... Mark Warner... Mary Baldwin College... Mary Daniel... Mary M. Bathory Vidaver... Mary Rose Lunde... Mayor Kwasi Fraser... Mayor of Purcellville... Meredith McMath... Metro... Middleburg... Middleburg Academy... Middleburg Film Festival... Mitt Romney... monarch butterflies... Morven Park... Mosby Heritage Area Association... Music... MWAA... Nichol's Hardware... Nicholas Reid... NoVa West Lacrosse... Oatlands... Odyssey of the Mind... Old Dominion Valley... Open Burning Ban... Opinion... Patrick Henry College... Phyllis Randall... Police Blotter... Polka Dots... Potomac Falls High School... President Obama... Public Safety... PUGAMP... Purcellville... Purcellville Board of Architectural Review... Purcellville Business Association... Purcellville Crossroads... Purcellville First Friday... Purcellville Library... Purcellville Planning Commission... Purcellville Police... Purcellville Police Blotter... Purcellville Town Council... Question 1... Randolph_Macon Academy... Real estate... Rep. Frank Wolf... Richard Jimmerson... Rob Jones... Round Hill... Round Hill Arts Center... Sadie's Race... Salamander Resort... Sam Brown... Samuel Moore-Sobel... Sarah Nearis... Scenic Virginia... Schools... SCR... Senator Richard H. Black... Shawn M. Williams... Shenandoah University... Sheriff Chapman... Silver Line... Southern Collector Road... South Riding... Sports... St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church... St. James United Church of Christ... Sterling... Sterling Costco shooting... Stoneleigh Golf Club... Stop Hunger Now... Supervisor Delgaudio... Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio... sushi... Sushi's Corner... Sustainable Corner... Sustainable Loudoun... Tally Ho... The Little Mermaid... Thomas Balch Library... Tilley-Kline Entertainment complex... Tim Jon... Tim Kaine... Tony Noerpel... Town Council... Toys for tots... Transportation... Tree of Life... Two Kitchen Cousins... ULLL... University of Mary Washington... Upperville... Veterans... Veterans Day... View... View from the Ridge... Village at Leesburg... Vineyards... Vineyard Square... Virginia Gardening... Virginia Gold Cup... Waterford... Waterford Fair... Watermelon Park... Wild Loudoun... Woodgrove... Woodgrove High School... Wounded Warrior... Your Money... Zoning


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

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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

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16 17 18 19 20

The Essential Elvis Tribute Show


Christmas Bazaar

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The Capitol Steps


3rd Annual Bluemont (Juried) Holiday Craft Show

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Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Eighth Annual Lovettsville Christkindlmarkt

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event


Good Cheer – an exhibit by the artists of Arts in the Village Gallery

Eighth Annual Lovettsville Christkindlmarkt

Christmas Concert

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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 …



Mosby Heritage Area Association Recognizes Three Heritage Heroes

28 Nov 2015


The Mosby Heritage Area Association, the Northern Virginia Piedmont preservation and education organization, has selected three individuals to receive the organization’s annual Heritage Hero Award. The Heritage Hero award is given to individuals or groups in the Mosby Heritage Area who have demonstrated stewardship responsibility over many years. The awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 …

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Breakfast with Santa

28 Nov 2015


Bring the kids and enjoy breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 12 from 8:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Between the Hills Community Center at 11762 Harpers Ferry Rd, Purcellville (Neersville). A delicious menu of eggs, sausage, home fries, sausage gravy and biscuits, pancakes,a special french toast dish, coffee cake, fruit, and more. Free will offering. Call 540-668-6504 for more …

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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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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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Middleburg Wins State Championship

28 Nov 2015

Middleburg Academy volleyball

Middleburg Academy’s Girls’ Volleyball team won the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division 2 state championship at November 11th’s finals. The 3-0 victory over Peninsula Catholic (#2) capped a season for the Dragons who finished with an impressive 30-2 record. Key wins in their season were home and away victories …

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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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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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