Saturday, January 27, 2007

New ratings game for Loudoun Papers....

It's time to rate the rags, giving you an even more efficient tool with which to plan your reading time...We'll rate 'em using the USRII scale (the "unscientific scale of relative interest and information"), which goes 1 to 10 in the context of the news and information we like - that is, news about business, politics, economics, technology, development, growth, interesting people and organizations; in short, all those things that really matter to ORB's (online resident businesses). 10 is anything published by of course, and a 9 might typically be the WAPO Loudoun County coverage paired with Metro (they cover it better than anyone, it appears). We'll likely find a 1 before too long, among the blogs and newsletters attempting to inform Dulles South residents and businesses too late about events, and too little about what we want to know.

USRII results for last week:

WAPO - 9 (opened pandora's box with the Loudoun investigation)
Leesburg Today - 6 (decent, unique tidbits - but too much of nothing else)
Easterner - 4 - maybe 1 good story
Independent - 3 - not much in it
Connection - 2 - not worth the trip to the mailbox

Guest Entry - the Arlington Connection, gets a 4 as well - mainly because if was actually refreshingly-free of any issues or banter about developer greed and growth pains, just a bunch of good news and discourse on the new school board elections.

Late Entry - The Middleburg Eccentric shows us that Virginia culture can and does exist nearby, a little west of us, and it can be represented in very attractive, advertising-slim and well-written style. There's a little bit of everything, including some good politics and the ever-present power line issue, so we give this volume (Jan 25 - Feb 21) a 6! (Perhaps because this paper takes its darn time to churn out the content, is why it appears much more polished than the others).

(These are also now the first cumulative scores.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Loudoun papers this week....

...weren't worth much effort (looking for juicy local business, economics, development, transportation, politics news), so all you get is a quick summary. The Easterner had a decent overview of One Loudoun, and the large number of proffers that came along. That's it. The Loudoun Connection and Independent had nothing, no need for you to read this week. A good article in the Leesburg Today about the BOS Transportation/Land Use Committee rebuffing the proposed retail development near the corner of Rt. 50 and Loudoun County parkway - not enough proffers are offered, especially with respect to improving the interchange and access from Rt. 50 (Go Lori and Eugene!). Lori was also active this week asking the Republican Party of virginia to "help restore public confidence" lost after last week's WAPO articles.

That's it; aren't you glad we read it all, and you didn't?!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

ORB - Online Resident Business voters for Nov. 2007

...a new "present-in-large-but-hidden-numbers" breed of the November 2007 voter emerges from the Loudoun County/Dulles South area gowth tumult, as expressed in this Dulles South Online bulletin board post.....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

WRSYDHT - slow week, except for today!

Leafing through the rags (so you don't have to) wasn't especially helpful or entertaining this week, except, of course, for this morning's WAPO article on greedy developers, nepotism-laced lobbying, up-for-sale supervisors, the FBI and a holistic disregard for selflessness in the course of public service - we're talking of course about Loudoun County (according to the Washington Post). More to come on that, be assured...

The Easterner was especially disappointing - old and non-interesting news, a "Real Estate" section with no actual real estate news (as opposed to the Independent), a few very local tidbits from our busy community liaisons (including a plug for South Riding Inn under the guise of some anti-smoking news, and duplicate news between Suzanne and Elena), a decent discussion (under Tim's Sterling section) of a new "impact fee" policy proposed by Mick Staton, and, well, that's it after a brief 55 pages.

The Loudoun Connection was slimmer by half (23 pages!), and good only for three items; first, the excellent coverage of our new Gum Spring Library to be opened in 2008 (with Karen Montgomery, chair of the Friends of the Gum Spring Library board, prominently appearing on the front cover). Second, an overview of the School Board's proposed operating budget and apparent reluctance to decrease class sizes and/or increase teacher salaries significantly. Third, the gloves are off for the 2007 election season, with Dick Black (former delegate) quite pointedly blaming the Democrats for bringing transportation to a "screeching halt", and for being "an unmitigated disaster for traffic-clogged regions of Virginia". Nice.

The Independent was similarly bogged with out-of-date news (at least for those who read about things online, or get a daily newspaper), though they've captured a bit of the Jey Jeyanathan from Gum Spring mystique (is opposing Snow this November) - he purports that Dulles District residents were opposed to last Fall's CPAM change, in contrast to their duly elected representative (Snow). Therefore, where's Snow's representation and support coming from? Jey doesn't come out and say, but today's WAPO sure stirs the pot. We're looking forward to a very carefully-worded political struggle for the Dulles seat.

Leesburg Today - now there's some fuel for the fire (literally, at 80 very heavy pages). Front and center is the new school budget, a hike of $104 million. A bit of material on the developing initiative to move the government offices out of Leesburg, perhaps following the School Board over to Ashburn. We did notice, in the Government File, a note that the BOS initiated a petition to the State Corporation Commission seeking a portion of tolls collected along the Greenway (just like Fairfax gets from the Toll Road). This fairly important to our Dulles traffic situation, because Fairfax county is already opposing the use of money from Dulles Toll Road fares to improve Rt. 606 in Loudoun....after that, our eyes glazed over the very Leesburg-local content, and it's time to root on the Patriots...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Loudoun Rag Review Jan. 14th

We read, so you don't have to...and quite a pile this week it was. Local business appears pretty healthy, judging from the volume of paid advertising interfering with actual news and stories.

We start with The Easterner, which checks in a little late with the rattle about election candidates, but nicely informs us of an upcoming public hearing regarding the Dulles Toll Road proposed toll increase Nice process, but tolls WILL be raised, regardless of citizen advocate efforts. Lori Water's got competition (Phyllis Randall), interestingly, from someone focused very much on the OTHER issues around Loudoun (i.e. NOT transportation, growth and rezonings). Nice review of the transportation bills winding around the General Assembly by the Easterner's Editor - including references to Bob Marshall's impact fee-laced bills...promising news for smart growth-ers, bad news for businesses and by right'ers, but altogether progress. Best quote is from Jey Jeyanathan (Steve Snow's competitor); saying he'd give Republicans an alternative "rooted good government"). Mostly what, therefore? Joe in River Creek gives us the weather and a Daffodil Ball, Cascades Action with Suzanne relays a Recreation Expo at the Dulles Town Center on 1/20-21, Sugarland Running is all about animals this week, the South Riding girls (Stefani and Donna) check in with a call for volunteerism, Inside Countryside is basically empty and Tim of All Around Sterling is very busy repeating Suzanne and reviewing the new Claude Moore Center and a movie.

The Loudoun Connection has a new Principal in Arcola, a great review of Geocaching, with the Crime review up next (page 5, vs. page 48 in the Easterner). The news is all about Mark Herring and Bruce Tulloch, and their respective views on transporation and what's good for the area. Quick read, lots of local events and notices, nice lite paper this week.

The Leesburg Today published the yearly "best of everything" in the "Loudoun Living" section - we're disheartened none of our blogs or websites made the list - this most impressive, awe-inspiring list of great things pulled together by very good-looking editors. (note -save this for next year!). Also news, teleworking and home office use appears to be making gains in 2006 (um, that's why I'm typing this at home already). The main Leesburg Today section illustrates just what can happen when traffic issues spill over into business strategy - it appears the new Janelia Farm (HHMI Research Center in Ashburn) can't attract enough persons to slog through the are traffic to work. Other news includes the full spectrum of hot-button issues including the Power Line, a direct airline route to China from Dulles, and oodles of park and school boundary issues. Six of the top 10 crash sites of 2006 are intersections with Rt. 7, near Ashburn and Sterling. Great reading for a very local audience, but set aside a lot of time to wade through nearly 100 pages!.

The Loudoun Independent, another quick and easy read, provides similar overview of the growing Loudoun ticket plus a few digs at the transportation mess in Richmond. Jennifer and Heather in Ashburn give us a toy store and library event update, and Karen and Elaine of Countryside and Cascades respectively, offer some more fun civic and library activies. (We really need to keep track of overlapping community updates between these papers - note that aggregates all regional business, transportation and development news!) Kari in Lansdowne has a Belmont Ridge Middle School Talent Show (watch out, American Idol!), and Stephanie Smith in South Riding truly wins the battle of community reviews, with a plug for residential involvement, upcoming 2007 issues and events, new assessment info and a Dulles South Community Meeting with Steve Snow on 1/18. Another quick 'n easy read - hopefully LoudounI gets more advertising, or it'll fold into the Connection!

Washington Post Loudoun Extra - well, subscribe and read....the view from DC on what's going on out here tends to be a bit dry for my reading taste, and definitely not as entertaining!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Loudoun County: This is the Year for Businesses!

At yesterday's Dulles South Business Alliance meeting, Snow remarked that this is truly the year businesses in Northern Virginia and especially the Dulles South region needed to come together and apply pressure in Richmond for development and transportation solutions. Read more at Dulles South Online news.

Monday, January 08, 2007

1/8 - We read, so you didn't have to

Regardless of how you've absorbed and interpreted the Loudoun rags in the past week, we're here to set you straight regarding the valuable time you may have thus wasted. Or not.

Leesburg Today - pet peeve, will somebody get the "it" apostrophe "s" thing straight? (page 3)...moving on, New Year's news is a bit slight, with a few pretty pictures, a non-hostile approval of the BOS's continuing vice chairman (Tulloch), and miscellaneous local tidbits - including the dropping of 100 homes from the Peterson Crosstrail development project. This was ostensibly to meet concerns of being too near the airport (umm..they mean the Leesburg Excutive Airport, not the actual regional airport). LCSA wants to change their name, because folks can't remember them - we suggest "Loudoun County Garbage People", i.e the "garbage people". Andrews (a developer) and Poisson (incumbent) have launched their 2007 campaigns here in this first week of the year, only about 45 fun-filled weeks to go! The most important coverage, of course, within the very phat advertising listings (business appears to be good around Loudoun), is Tuscaraora Mill's Austrian Beer Dinner on 1/18! OK - if you're looking for the meat, 2 fairly detailed musings of the upcoming year in transportation and impact of the downzoning actions from last week - we'll recommend actually reading these - good summaries. Love the "Buffoonery" challenge in the Editorial, i.e. "don't tread on us!". Eugene checks in with his Route 28 support letter, same one as went to all the papers (quite an advertising budget, or time to spare). Oh - HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUDOUN COUNTY!

Meanwhile, the eccentricity in Middleburg continue unabated, though the folks are slowing down to poke at the power line issue (every single one of them, in their letters) - is basically the only news and op/ed fit to print in this rag for a while.

Down at the Easterner, nice story on who's responsible for those big, orange "Supersize Loudoun!" stickers ("don't", obviously) - lesson, start a movement, get funded, create bumperstickers, get in the news; that's how your name gets on our blog! (McGimsey). There's a new publisher on board, to whom we'll offer our editing and commentary services - no doubt she'll accept, having come from a purely advertising background. Maybe that's why it's so hard to get through the ads to the grist of the paper, i.e. the action in Ashburn, Cascades and Countryside. Um - no news there, just a pancake breakfast, pot luck and bingo. At least Herring deigned to visit Sugarland, and the topic of education officially makes its debut for the new year in Loudoun!

The independent tells me there's a University in our neighborhood (Old Dominion, NOVA ctr., in Sterling) - not looking for any competition from the upcoming George Mason campus, we're sure. Hey, we've got some are residents on the state Transportation Accountability Commission - definitely need to post their email addresses in upcoming notes. Rt. 15 safety hits the Op/Ed - reflecting the same topic out of the BOS public hearing last week - this definitely needs fixin'. Quarter page devoted to "Fantasy Football" - LoudounI needs to spring for a sports reporter, obviously. (By the way, the accompanying new website for LoudounI is quite a tome, if you can actually get it opened and finagle your way through it - definitely not "Section 508" compliant.

That's it for now - will be more thorough, witty and Dulles-centric as this election year wears on.