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

H.S. performance of Ghost the Musical draws notice

A special guest was watching Jan. 27 as students from Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn gave a spirited performance of “Ghost the Musical.”

Jim Hoare, an executive with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, traveled from New York to view the students’ interpretation of a version of the Broadway musical that was adapted for use by high school theater groups. He wanted to observe several innovations the students made in set design and stagecraft, to see whether other schools could also use them.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2017

Car Seat Headrest in the news – Feb. 2017

“In less than a year, the album Teens of Denial made it to the top of countless best-of-2016 playlists, the band have been booked by high-profile mainstream TV shows such as The Tonight Show and the 24-year-old Toledo ­regularly faces huge crowds who roar his lyrics back at him in packed venues.”

–James Belfield in The Listener (New Zealand), Feb. 16, 2017

“Even without checking production credits, the imprint that Car Seat Headrest and lead singer Will Toledo has on Gold Connections is unmistakable.”

–Jared McNett in Paste Magazine, Feb. 13, 2017

“Gold Connections is something like the Silver Jews to Car Seat’s Pavement: rich and wandering, hazy and pensive with the sort of thoughtful lyrics and explosive choruses we’ve come to expect from a Toledo production.”

–Rob Arcand in Spin, Feb. 13, 2017

Review of “Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales”

–Erika Kooda in Atwood Magazine, Feb. 2, 2017

“It was certainly an experience we all needed.”

–Danielle Hansen on Howl & Echoes, Feb. 2, 2017

1986 peace walkers reunite for Women’s March

From left: Thom Unger, KD Kidder, Karen Doherty and Don Cunning

In 1986, about 500 people marched across the United States for almost nine months, from Los Angeles to New York to Washington, in a demonstration against nuclear weapons. The trek became known as the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament.

Last week, a dozen of those peace marchers reunited and laced up their walking shoes once again to take part in the Women’s March on Washington. For KD Kidder, 65, of Leesburg, it was an opportunity to rekindle old friendships and express her concerns about the political direction she thinks the country is taking.

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The Washington Post, Jan. 29, 2017

More than 1,000 march on MLK Day

The mood was one of optimism and steely determination, as a diverse group of townspeople, civic organizations and faith communities united Monday to take part in Leesburg’s 25th annual march commemorating the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Town officials estimated that 1,200 people marched through downtown Leesburg from the courthouse to the Douglass Community Center, some pushing strollers and others carrying flags, banners and signs highlighting excerpts from King’s speeches. Many of the marchers stayed at the community center after the march for a program of speeches, readings and musical performances honoring the vision of the civil rights leader.

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Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2017

Forsythe appointed after closed session

The Leesburg Town Council on Monday appointed retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Hugh “Bugs” Forsythe to fill a vacant seat, but not before discussing the nomination behind closed doors.

The appointment came after several rounds of nominations, in which each of five finalists for the position failed to get at least four votes from the six council members. The council then retreated into closed session before emerging 20 minutes later and unanimously approving the nomination of Forsythe.

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Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2017

Dancing for fun

Adam King demonstrates the tango

As the holidays were winding down, about a dozen people showed up at Dance King Studios in downtown Leesburg on Monday evening to socialize and learn some new moves.

They stood along the mango-colored walls as owner Adam King demonstrated the Argentine tango. Then they moved hesitantly onto the dance floor, some staring at their feet as they practiced the steps.

As the evening wore on, the dancers grew more relaxed, buoyed by King’s infectious smile and words of encouragement. Before long, they were laughing and moving more confidently to the music’s rhythms.

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The Washington Post, Jan. 8, 2017