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.

Read more

The Washington Post, March 26, 2017

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.

Read more…

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.

Read full story…

Loudoun towns remember 9/11

Three Loudoun County towns are commemorating the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, with ceremonies that will honor those who died in the terrorist attacks that day, including the first responders who sacrificed their lives trying to save others.

Leesburg, Lovettsville and Purcellville have scheduled events Sunday marking the anniversary.

Read more…

Washington Post, September 9, 2016

Help for domestic violence victims

Derek Summers Jr. wants victims of domestic violence to know there are people who can help them. They just need to know where to go for assistance.

Shortly after the violent death of Christina Fisher of Leesburg in April, Summers joined with friends and family members to form the Citizens Committee Against Domestic Violence. The group had a community meet-and-greet expo Aug. 27 in Leesburg, for people to learn about resources available for domestic violence victims. The plan is to make the expo an annual event.

More…

Washington Post, Sept. 4, 2016

Q & A with Leesburg’s New Police Chief

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Capt. Gregory Brown at the Eastern Loudoun Sheriff’s Station

Leesburg officials announced last month that Gregory Brown will become the town’s new chief of police, effective Oct. 3. He will replace Joseph R. Price, who retired as police chief in March after 16 years.

Read more…

Washington Post, August 7, 2016

Loudoun supervisors adopt budget

Torn between the competing goals of fully funding the school board’s budget request and avoiding a tax increase, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors settled on a compromise spending plan Tuesday for fiscal 2017.

Three Republican supervisors joined three Democrats to approve a $2.46 billion budget that slightly raises the real property tax rate but falls about $16.9 million short of the school board’s request. The school board is now considering options for closing the gap.

Read more…

Washington Post, April 10, 2016

 

Heavy hauls have ended

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A transformer positioned on a Goldhofer transporter. Photo by Jim Barnes

The heavy hauls along Route 15 have ended.

While most of us were sleeping, hundreds of tons of heavy machinery have been rumbling slowly through Prince William and Loudoun counties and across the southern edge of Leesburg. The hauls — 36 in all over the past five months — have been delivering bulky components for the Panda Stonewall power plant that is being constructed off Sycolin Road at Goose Creek.

More…

Washington Post, March 27, 2016

Photos below taken at Gilberts Corner,
courtesy of Brad Brown

Blog2

Blog1

Reentry groups invest in ex-inmates

Marsha Martin will never forget the day she was released from a military correctional facility in 2011, after serving a 15-month sentence for theft. One thought kept running through her mind: “How do I start my life over?”

“It took me about six months to break down my pride and go to the system and say, ‘I need help,’ ” Martin, 41, said. The Alexandria resident went to OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources) of Fairfax County, one of a handful of nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia that help offenders reenter society. She received assistance with her résumé there, and she eventually landed a job in veterans services.

Despite two promotions in her first year, she was forced to resign, she said, because her felony record kept her from obtaining accreditation through an affiliate organization. She eventually returned to OAR to seek further help.

Full story…

Washington Post, March 3, 2016

Loudoun incumbents lead in $$$$

Candidates seeking reelection to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and other local offices have gotten off to a strong start raising campaign funds for the Nov. 3 election.

The board incumbents — all of whom are Republicans — had received more contributions than their opponents as of June 30, when the last reporting period ended. Some had gained an advantage by amassing sizable campaign funds during their years in office…

Full story…