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

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.

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Washington Post, September 9, 2016

Walking to prevent teen suicide

On Wednesday, Woodgrove students and staff members will take part in a 1.5-mile “We’re All Human” walk to raise awareness of teen suicide. The walk will be co-sponsored by the Ryan Bartel Foundation, which was created by Ryan’s parents to help prevent such deaths. Organizers say they hope the walk will encourage students who are considering taking their lives to reach out for help.

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Washington Post, April 3, 2016

Loudoun aiming for more nightlife

Loudoun County has recently been ranked among the wealthiest, happiest and best places to live in the country. But there is one list it is unlikely to make: places with the best nightlife. And that makes local business leaders unhappy.

The perception that there is little to do in Loudoun when the workday ends is making it hard for businesses to attract and keep qualified young workers, said Tony Howard, chief executive of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

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Washington Post, January 31, 2016

Blankets and coats for refugees in Turkey

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Northern Virginia officials are uniting again this year in an effort to help the growing numbers of those who have fled war-torn Syria and taken refuge in Turkey.

For the past two years, local officials and volunteers have organized drives that collected more than 43,000 blankets for delivery to refugees in Turkey. This year, as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has swelled to more than 2 million, the drive is being expanded to include new and “gently used” winter coats, as well as blankets and cash donations.

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Washington Post, November 22, 2015

Nonprofit helps with school supplies

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Two decades ago, Susan Ungerer was volunteering at a Fairfax County nonprofit group that helps financially strapped families when she noticed a pattern: Parents tended to fall behind with their finances in August and September, just when they had to buy school supplies for their children.

That realization, combined with 23 years of experience as an elementary school teacher, motivated Ungerer to start Kids R First, a nonprofit group that provides basic school supplies to families in need. The organization has been growing ever since. This year, Ungerer anticipates that Kids R First will help 25,000 students in 96 schools across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

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Washington Post, July 29, 2015