Parties endorse candidates in “nonpartisan” election

The Nov. 8 election for Leesburg’s mayor and town council is nonpartisan, so voters won’t find the candidates’ party affiliations listed on the official ballots.

But that hasn’t stopped the local Democratic and Republican parties from making endorsements and supplying volunteers to help their favored candidates. Of the three people running for mayor and seven others vying for three seats on the council, all but two have received endorsements from one of the major parties.

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Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2016

Banquet facility in horse country draws fire

A plan for a banquet and events facility in the middle of horse country sparked an outcry from residents of western Loudoun County who attended a public hearing in Leesburg this month to voice their objections.

Nearly 30 people spoke against the proposed business at Catesby Farm, about five miles west of Middleburg, arguing that the noise and traffic it would generate would disturb neighboring farms and overwhelm the narrow roads in the area. Some said that the traffic would also disrupt nearby Willisville, a small village settled by freed slaves after the Civil War.

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Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2016

200 years of criminal records indexed

Although Rachel Steer, John Lambag and Arthur White lived in three different centuries, they have at least one thing in common: At some point in their lives, each ran afoul of the law in Loudoun County.

Records of their offenses have been kept and catalogued by the historic records division of the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which recently completed an index documenting more than 10,000 criminal cases from 1757 to 1955 — a project that took about eight years. Office staff members showcased some of the most interesting criminal records Oct. 7 at an open house in the historic courthouse in Leesburg.

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Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2016

Deputies learning about autism

Drew Gutenson loves to talk about his collection of prescription eyeglasses and his fondness for playgrounds — slides, swings, trampolines and zip lines.

Gutenson, who describes himself as a high-functioning adult with autism, knows that some skills are particularly challenging for him, such as sensing when people don’t want to talk to him. He also understands that his fondness for playgrounds can be a source of concern for those who don’t know him.

“I have a beard,” he said. “If they see an older adult with a beard on a playground, most people think it’s not good at all.”

Gutenson, 25, of Lovettsville spoke to a group of 14 sheriff’s deputies and other criminal justice professionals in Leesburg on Tuesday at the advocacy group the Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs and other services for people with disabilities.

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Car Seat Headrest in the news – Oct. 2016

“At the rate the band’s popularity is swelling, a night to catch it at the intimate venue may be a coveted check-mark some day.”

–Christy Fantz in the Longmont (CO) Times-Call, Oct. 28, 2016

“A Guide to All of Car Seat Headrest’s Pre-Fame Albums (All 11 of Them)”

–Steven Hyden in Uproxxx, Oct. 28, 2016

“Car Seat Headrest announces UK shows for 2017”

DIY Magazine, Oct. 17, 2016

“Car Seat Headrest livens up a sleepy afternoon”

–Heather Ah San in RIFF Magazine, Oct. 17, 2016

“While comparing oneself to Bowie might in most cases be seen as hubris, in Toledo’s case, it makes sense. When you’ve released what amounts to a ‘greatest hits’ album at the age of 23, you’re allowed to dream big.”

–Zack Ruskin in SF Weekly, Oct. 12, 2016

“Will Toledo’s (Car Seat Headrest) Favorite Lyrics of 2016 So Far Are…”

The Talkhouse, Oct. 7, 2016

Turf battle over athletic fields

Turf battles between the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and the county school board are nothing new, but now the boards are tussling over the turf itself, as they debate whether artificial and natural turf athletic fields at high schools should be tested for potentially harmful chemicals.

The supervisors have expressed interest in testing three synthetic turf fields, but the school board has insisted that an equal number of natural turf fields also be examined so as to make a comparison. Supervisors have responded that testing the natural fields is unnecessary and that the additional requirement was concocted by the school board to kill the initiative altogether.

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Washington Post, October 2, 2016

Another mystery solved

In 1981, I recorded a Dixieland jazz piece that was playing on KLON in Long Beach, Calif. I didn’t hear the name of the song or the performers. But if I had to guess, I would have said it was from the ’20s or ’30s, recorded in New Orleans, and entitled ‘Fare Thee Well.'”

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Thirty-five years later, after an internet search on some of the lyrics, I finally found it. I was directed first to a song called “Mama’s Gone, Goodbye,” recorded by Peggy Lee. Right song, but not the recording I was looking for.

I found many different versions of the song on YouTube, some of which dated to the mid-1920s, including one sung by Sippie Wallace and a recording from a piano roll made by the song’s composer.

The recording I was looking for turned out to be from a 1960s-era jazz revival band, Big Bill Bissonnette and the Easy Riders Jazz Band, with Victoria Spivey on vocals.  They were based in Connecticut, of all places, and the recording was made in Wallingford (hometown of my Yale ancestors) on August 9, 1964.

Here it is: