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Envision Loudoun – Bold Action Versus Business-As-Usual

Everyone is talking about it. “Envision Loudoun,” our local government’s effort to reach out to the public for advice on how to rewrite and update the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Officials are to be commended for the huge effort they are putting into bringing citizens into the process, including two months of presentations and workshops which engaged 1,400 participants, generated what the county called “5,000 unique ideas,” and comprehensive, well-written reports on the progress that’s been made.

Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall deserves a lot of credit for her authentically open and inclusive style. People are paying attention. … Continue Reading

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

October 5, 2016 View From the Ridge 1 comment

By Andrea Gaines
On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born Lafayette, inspired by stories of American independence, had sailed here to fight side-by-side with Americans at the young age of 20. Half a century later, he was back to visit old friends and a growing United States, watching former colonists work with their representatives to build a new country. … Continue Reading

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

May 5, 2015 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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 changes are similar to the changes that occurred in 2008 which gave us a six story project on 21st Street. By that we mean the town council at the time, based on developer input changed the height restrictions on 21st Street from 32 feet to 65 feet. … Continue Reading

Correct Course and Review the Comprehensive Plan

Like a ship lost at sea, many residents of Purcellville see the development patterns in and around town as having drifted dangerously off course.

The Autumn Hill/Mayfair development – which resulted in the annexation of previously open land, is one example of this drift. The Vineyard Square development project, which, if built, will in one fell swoop fundamentally and permanently degrade the historic nature of Purcellville’s downtown.

Town-based communities in Loudoun County are required to develop the planning and zoning document known as a Comprehensive Plan – a blueprint that directs both where and how development will occur, and provides protection for the historic and environmental resources communities have identified as essential to how they see themselves today and want to define themselves in the future. … Continue Reading

Debt, Debt and, More Debt … Or, Is There an Alternative?

December 10, 2014 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Debt, Debt and, More Debt … Or, Is There an Alternative?

The entire trajectory of the Town of Purcellville can be summarized in one word. Debt.

The massive debt the town incurred to build the wastewater treatment plant – which currently operates at just 40 percent capacity – stands at $33 million. There was a $6 million mandated upgrade to the facility – which was paid for with a taxpayer funded grant. But, the balance of the $33 million spent was a choice by the town to dramatically increase the capacity of the facility- on the hope that the rapid growth in and around Purcellville would continue. Tap fees – the cost to be hooked up the system – now run about fifty thousand dollars apiece. And, that would keep the debt manageable.

But with the additional extravagant and ill-advised spending by the town (including the $8.5 million for the new town hall) and the housing crash recession, town debt has now ballooned to $61 million in less than a decade …

There is no looking back, but there is a way to look forward. … Continue Reading

I Wanna Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Undo It

There’s a popular country western song that tells the story of a young woman who gets swept up in a night of partying and wakes up to find she has a ring on her finger, a new last name and a new husband. Knowing she had been duped but determined to take her future back, she proclaims “Boy you blew it, you put me through it I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it.”

Many people in Purcellville feel the same way about the 100,000 square foot Vineyard Square mixed-use development project … a project which, once the zoning party got started moved from one excess to another, wedding the citizens and taxpayers of Purcellville to a decidedly unattractive future for their historic downtown. … Continue Reading

There’s a New Gang in Town – And Isn’t It Time?

For many, the recent town-wide elections in Purcellville present all of western Loudoun with a significant opportunity to launch a more citizen-focused future.

On July 1 there will be a new mayor and a decidedly different balance of power on the Purcellville Town Council, as four new members with fresh policy views join the group.

Growth is here and will continue. But, the question of exactly where that growth will occur, whom it will benefit and who will pay for it now has the opportunity to be answered – out in the open. … Continue Reading

Will the Voter’s Changing Mood Express Itself on May 6?

April 30, 2014 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Will the Voter’s Changing Mood Express Itself on May 6?

Interesting …
Businesses and homeowners in Purcellville took up the cause of parents to the east, west, north and south fighting to save their small schools.

If you drove through the village of Hamilton to the east and the village of Lincoln to the south you saw signs of every kind demanding to “Save Lincoln Elementary,” “Vote For Kids,” “Save Hamilton Elementary,” and “Small Schools = No New Debt.” And, then those same signs started popped up in Purcellville proper. And, then there was a very-well attended school board meeting on Monday, April 21, followed by a 6-3 vote on Tuesday, April 22 which settled, for now, whether these small community-based schools would close. And, the answer was, NO. … Continue Reading

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park.
Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts center. A community pool complex. Beautiful natural areas. Walking paths. A frisbee golf course. Tennis courts. Campfire and grill pavilions. Baseball and soccer fields. It, in short, is a really wonderful place, purchased, crafted and planned by a board of supervisors with active community involvement. A community that knew what it wanted and worked, through its government, to get it done. … Continue Reading

Purcellville’s Broken Heart

It is both interesting and so disheartening to read Wikipedia’s description of the place known as Purcellville.

It describes how in 1764 the town’s first known settler, James Dillon made his way here from Buck’s County, Pa. How an “early ox cart track” stretching west from Leesburg toward the Blue Ridge Mountains served as “the nucleus” of the town. How the first recorded business – “a combined store and inn” – arrived in 1799, followed by Purcel’s Store and Post Office, the town’s first stagecoach delivery (1841), a blacksmith’s shop (1848), and the first public school (1883). And, how on March 14, 1908, the town was incorporated by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. … Continue Reading

A Citizen-Directed Future for Western Loudoun?– What It Will Take

January 8, 2014 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on A Citizen-Directed Future for Western Loudoun?– What It Will Take

The Blue Ridge Leader’s View From The Ridge feature was introduced in 1984.?This feature is intended to present to the public our big picture assessment of what is going on in our western Loudoun community – an independent and spirited assessment, free of the special interests that seek to control the day. As we begin 2014, we recommit ourselves to being that independent voice for you.

Why Is An Independent Voice So Important To Western Loudoun?

All communities, even small ones, have centers of power. As the people run their businesses and live their lives, it’s up to government, even if it is a small town council or county board of supervisors, to make sure everyone’s getting a fair shake. And, it’s up to the news media to make sure government is doing its job and conducting its business out in the open, while providing citizens a microphone with which to express their views.

This is critical in a fast growing community such as western Loudoun where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake in land deals, residential and commercial development and political favors. And, it is absolutely urgent in a political atmosphere where town councils and boards of supervisors seem more interested in greasing the skids for developers than in serving the public. … Continue Reading

The Last Hardware Store?

In their 2011 documentary The Last Hardware Store, noted portrait photographer and executive producer Sarah Huntington, director and veteran videographer Peter Buck and well-known advertising agency owner and writer/editor Drew Babb tell the nearly 100-year-old story of Nichols Hardware.

Representing, in many ways, the commercial lynchpin of Purcellville’s Historic District, Nichols Hardware is remarkable not only for the fact that it will celebrate it’s 100th anniversary next year, but also for the fact that you and I, old timers and newcomers alike can walk into Nichols today and experience the same thing a customer in the early part of the 20th Century would have experienced. Personal service. Quality products. Problem solving for that pesky household job.

Just as Nichols advertised back in the day, “We have the largest and most compete stock of hardware and furniture in the county … “ so goes the Nichols story today – not withstanding the product selection, size and reach of big box stores such as Home Depot. … Continue Reading

It’s Not “Time For Compromise”

The photo op tents are in place and the state and local government officials, local business leaders and more are lined up – current and former mayors of Purcellville, Virginia Transportation officials, members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, local developers.

The press is here, and a broad white ribbon has been pulled across part of the Southern Collector Road. Bob Lazaro, the Mayor of Purcellville has conducted his ceremonial ribbon cutting signaling that the road is open, and a muted moment of hand-clapping has blown off into the warm June breeze.

Yes, the Southern Collector Road is open and ready for our cars and trucks and commercial vehicles. And, it’s a big, beautiful wide and majestic road. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

Columns

Charles Murray’s Middlebury Melee

“Earthrise”, photo taken from Apollo 8 by Bill Anders on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. By Tony Noerpel On March 2, 2017, the appearance of Charles Murray at Middlebury College in Vermont caused a small riot [1]. The media blamed …

Earth System and Paleoclimate Change

In a new paper Owen Gaffney and Will Steffen [1], present a high order abstraction of the Earth System, E, in the form This is fine as an abstraction and shows the subsystems which impact the Earth System. The authors …

Famous Estate Blunders and How To Avoid Them

These celebrities’ tales are a strong reminder to review your estate plan before it’s too late. There’s a calm comfort that comes with estate planning: a sense that your family will be taken care of after you pass away (hopefully …

Fidget Gear, Good or Bad?

What do you think about the new fidget cubes and fidget spinners, and do they really help kids with ADHD? They’re making their way around our neighborhood, but I couldn’t find any good studies out there on either of the …

A Community Together: The Ten-Year Remembrance of 4/16/2007

Time moves forward, whether we are ready to move on or not. It’s been ten years since the massacre that shocked America. I’m talking about the event that started a standard of condolences from the president, tears and prayers from …

Soul Lost in Translation

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) tells us in the 1987 movie Wall Street. The newly released book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted …

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: North Fork Road

It’s difficult to be in a hurry when all the surrounding geography seems to encourage thoughtful, relaxing contemplation – maybe even a meditative cat nap thrown in for good measure; now – turn your TV off and take the music …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

April 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

CA$H Bingo

CA$H Bingo

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
April 3, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 4, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 5, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 6, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 7, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

First Friday at the Winery

First Friday at the Winery
April 8, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Cherry Blossom Celebration

Cherry Blossom Celebration

Come Paint with Us! Cherry Blossom

Come Paint with Us! Cherry Blossom

Meet the Artist - Robert Merhaut

Meet the Artist - Robert Merhaut

Healing Service

Healing Service

North Gate Vineyard presents a Vertical Tasting

North Gate Vineyard presents a Vertical Tasting
April 9, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

SPRING AWAKENS: DECORATED EGG AUCTION

SPRING AWAKENS: DECORATED EGG AUCTION

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Writers’ Night Out

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Writers’ Night Out
April 10, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 11, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 12, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 13, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 14, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

CA$H Bingo

CA$H Bingo

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
April 15, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

CA$H Bingo

CA$H Bingo

Easter at the Park

Easter at the Park

Easter Extravaganza

Easter Extravaganza
April 16, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service
April 17, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 18, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 19, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 20, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 21, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Jules & The Hammer Band with Teddy Chipouras

Jules & The Hammer Band with Teddy Chipouras
April 22, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

20th Anniversary Celebration & Grand Re-Opening

20th Anniversary Celebration & Grand Re-Opening

Celebrate Earth Day at North Gate Vineyard

Celebrate Earth Day at North Gate Vineyard

Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders

Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders
April 23, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Franklin Park Big Band is Coming to Franklin Park Arts Center

Franklin Park Big Band is Coming to Franklin Park Arts Center

Jammin' at James

Jammin' at James
April 24, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 25, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 26, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 27, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
April 28, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

April Fourth Friday

April Fourth Friday

CA$H Bingo

CA$H Bingo
April 29, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

2017 Virginia Touch-A-Truck

2017 Virginia Touch-A-Truck

Live Music: Dear Creek

Live Music: Dear Creek

Music With a Cause - The Loudoun Chorale

Music With a Cause - The Loudoun Chorale
April 30, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”
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Lifestyle

Welcome Home to this Colonial in Lovettsville

6 Apr 2017

By Hannah Hager All of us seek to put down roots in ?a pleasant, safe and prosperous area, and you’ll find as much within this home in the Dutchman’s Creek neighborhood in Lovettsville. Today, Lovettsville has all the trappings of an all-American hometown – a pizzeria downtown, excellent schools and busy streets that settle into quiet nights. Its claim to …

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Keep Loudoun Beautiful

5 Apr 2017

Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.  Contact Lovettsville area leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to coordinate pick-up  locations:  laura.long.lieberman@gmail.com.

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Take Me To the Garden Show

5 Apr 2017

The 27th Annual Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival comes to town Saturday, April 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The award-winning event, estimated to attract 40,000 visitors over the two days, gets better and better every year. And, that’s not just the vendors and organizers talking; that’s the truth, …

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Editorial

Priscilla Nabs Plum Planning Commission Post

Appointment Shocks Many On January 3 Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) nominated Tom Priscilla for the Loudoun County Planning Commission to represent the Blue Ridge District. Priscilla was …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Why Williams Gap Road Should Not Be Paved

Today, most residents of Loudoun County know nothing about Williams Gap, even those living on Williams Gap Road (Route 711). Knowing who “Williams” was, why a gap in the Blue …

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

View From the Ridge

Envision Loudoun – Bold Action Versus Business-As-Usual

Everyone is talking about it. “Envision Loudoun,” our local government’s effort to reach out to the public for advice on how to rewrite and update the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Officials …

Around Virginia

Rep. Comstock Returns from Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon

Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement after returning from a bipartisan Congressional Delegation visit to Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon: “As believers around the world observed Holy Week, I appreciated the opportunity to visit and hear from those who serve our fellow man – our military men and women …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Growth in Solar Industry-Related Jobs

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia is one of the fastest growing solar job markets in the country. In the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016, Virginia is 2nd in the Southeast and tied with Utah for 9th in the U.S. for year-over-year solar job growth. The Commonwealth is ranked …

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McAuliffe Vetoes LaRock’s Public Assistance Eligibility Legislation  

On March 28, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed Del. Dave LaRock’s (R-33) House Bill 2092, which would have required any applicant for public assistance to undergo a full review of death records, incarceration status, employment status, lottery winnings, and all income. Recently, an Arlington woman was arrested on four counts of welfare fraud for …

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Sports

Woodgrove Training for Spring Track

9 Apr 2017

Woodgrove students get ready for the upcoming Spring track season. Photos courtesy of Robert Nelson

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Western Loudoun Volleyball Summer Camp Launched

6 Apr 2017

Western Loudoun Volleyball Club will be hosting its first ever summer camp June 26-29 at Foxcroft School in Middleburg.  The coed, four-day camp will run from 9-5 each day and feature advanced skills training, game strategy and mental approaches to the game.  The program will be managed by WLVBC’s Technical …

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