Kids learn about Shakespeare on Saturdays

Loudoun Country Day School students rehearse a scene from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing” in the school library.

In between the usual Saturday activities — soccer, ballet, taekwondo — a group of 9- and 10-year-olds from Loudoun Country Day School are learning to “crack the code” of William Shakespeare.

About a dozen fourth- and fifth-graders attend voluntary Saturday morning classes at the Leesburg-area private school to learn how to understand and perform Shakespeare’s works. The school’s headmaster, Randy Hollister, leads the classes.

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The Washington Post, April 16, 2017

Loudoun Supervisors adopt budget

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $2.5 billion budget for the county government and school system for fiscal 2018.

The spending plan provides funding to open several new facilities, give pay increases of 3 percent or more to county and school employees, and add hundreds of government and school staff positions. By lowering the real property tax rate 2 cents, to $1.125, the supervisors also reduced tax bills for most Loudoun homeowners.

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The Washington Post, April 9, 2017

Purcellville Library observes 60th anniversary of desegregation

In the early 1950s, Reggie Simms mended damaged books so they could remain in circulation at the Purcellville Library. But he was not allowed to check them out for personal use.

For two decades after it opened in 1937, the library was open only to white patrons. Simms and other African Americans were excluded until the library was desegregated on April 9, 1957.

On Saturday, the library will mark the 60th anniversary of that milestone with “Cross the Line,” a day-long program focusing on the desegregation of public facilities in Loudoun County. Simms will join other African Americans from that era in sharing memories of the cultural shifts in Loudoun as segregation died a slow death in the 1950s and ’60s.

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The Washington Post, April 2, 2017

Ceremony honors pilot who died in 1945 crash

Richard Ochoa, the last surviving brother of Capt. Fred Ochoa, is presented with an American flag honoring his brother.

On July 27, 1945, Marine Capt. Fred Ochoa, 26, set out from Patuxent River Naval Air Station on what was a test flight for a new twin-engine aircraft. He never returned. The weather was treacherous, and the plane crashed in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Bluemont. Among the items found with Ochoa’s body were a parachute and a rosary.

The prayer beads were a key link in a chain of events that culminated in a memorial ceremony and celebration of Ochoa’s life March 18, when 20 members of the Ochoa family gathered with a group of neighbors who live near the crash site. The reunion helped provide answers to questions that members of both groups had for decades.

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The Washington Post, March 26, 2017

Mixed-arts celebration in Sterling

“Springtime in Winter” opening in Reston

Local painters, poets and musicians will celebrate the transition from winter to spring in a presentation of original works Saturday on the Sterling campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The event is the culmination of a months-long collaborative process, in which eight pairs of poets and artists created poems and paintings around the theme “Springtime in Winter.”

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The Washington Post, March 19, 2017

Faces of Loudoun campaign starts

 

Faces of Loudoun poster display

Josette Zahinda says that a brochure saved her life.

The Ashburn resident said her doctor had noticed, over the course of several visits, that she didn’t look well. The physician suspected Zahinda was a victim of domestic violence and, when she wasn’t looking, slipped a brochure into her purse. She found it later, at home.

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The Washington Post, March 12, 2017

B. Doughnut is drawing crowds

Pin and Brian Chanthapanya, co-owners of B. Doughnut in downtown Leesburg 

The line outside B. Doughnut is already starting to form at eight o’clock Saturday morning, even though it won’t open for another hour. Some of the customers sit in chairs outside the shop on Loudoun Street in downtown Leesburg, reading a book or swiping at their phones to pass the time.

By 9 a.m., when the door opens, the line has grown to more than 40 people. Greeted by the mingled aromas of roasted coffee and fried dough, the customers begin placing orders for doughnuts with their favorite fillings and toppings — vanilla bean, lemon curd, cinnamon sugar.

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The Washington Post, March 5, 2017

Records document a century of segregation

Carolyn Nicholson and her grandson, Adonis Taylor, 10, of Ashburn, look at some of the records displayed at the open house.

An open house at the Loudoun County Courthouse on Feb. 11 highlighted the century of segregation in Virginia that followed the Civil War and the abolishing of slavery.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office displayed records that document the separate and unequal treatment of African Americans in the county during that time. Documents reveal how segregation pervaded all areas of life, including the education, public services and land transactions.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 26, 2017

Loudoun proposes $2.5 billion budget

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet kicked off the county’s annual budget review process Wednesday by presenting a proposed spending plan for fiscal 2018 that funds almost all of the school system’s request and provides staffing for several new facilities while holding property tax bills steady.

The $2.5 billion budget complies with the Board of Supervisors’ demand for a plan that avoids increasing the average homeowners’ tax bills. It would boost local funding by $61 million for the school system and $27.7 million for the general county government.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2017

Loudoun woman’s memoir tells how a violent crime shook her faith in God

When Ruth Everhart was a senior at a small Christian college, she and four of her roommates were held captive and brutally raped at gunpoint by two masked intruders.

Although she survived the ordeal, she was filled with shame and worried that she had been “ruined” — in the eyes of God, her family and the man she might one day marry. Her devastating experience shook her faith in God, and eventually led her to break with the conservative Protestant denomination in which she had been raised.

Last year, Everhart, 59, of Sterling, published her memoir, “Ruined,” in which she recounts the crime in detail and traces the twists and turns her life took in the months and years that followed. She tells how that journey took her through dark places — a breakup with her boyfriend, an affair with a married man, and conflicts with friends and family.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2017