Saturday, February 28, 2009

Loudoun's Best Beer and Pizza - Period, End of Story

Another successful family outing to Leesburg's Fireworks Pizza - bar none the best family pizza and beer joint between Rt. 28 and Rt. 81, south of the Potomac and north of Charlottesville. After 4 (between 2 people) unique and amazing beers we'd never heard of before (we're the "double hopped slightly floral triple-bocked very bitter IPA made in the USA type"), and an equally amazing wood-fired pizza with all manner of local, organic or otherwise fresh mozzeralla, goat cheese, salami, pesto sauce, carmelized onions, roasted peppers, smoked gouda, bacon, yada yada's simply an outing that can't be beat. The only other beer destination to compete is Vintage 50 - itself an equally amazing destination in its beer selection and fabulous entrees; if not quite the same "family pizza" atmosphere.

Loudoun beer - served here.


Enrich NOVA - Loudoun|Sterling Community Initiative

Here's a very interesting new community-based initiative unfolding in the Sterling area of Loudoun County, at

"Enrich NOVA is a new community based organization in Sterling, Virginia that is committed to helping unleash generosity in collaboration with residents and non-profit, business, and government leaders while empowering people to serve people.

We are presently in the discovery phase of establishing Enrich NOVA. During this phase, we are conducting a community needs assessment in partnership with Passion for Community, Thrive America, and the Center for Community Impact Research (CCIR). The surveys, interviews, and focus groups that make up this assessment are helping us more fully understand the needs of residents in Sterling so we can mobilize new resources to serve the communty. In November 2008, we provided our first community service initiative and began empowering people to serve people."

Their most recent initiative, "Generosity Can" was recently rolled out as a means for the community to donate and give back through specially-labeled and managed trash cans.

Loudoun seems to be rapidly evolving as a hotbed of innovative, community-driven ideas and efforts to raising funds for nonprofits, charities and community members.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Social Media for Loudoun Businesses - Chamber of Commerce Newsletter

(As also published this month in the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Biz Connect newsletter)


As the Obama administration settles into office this year, what’s described as the “most connected ever” group of leaders are quickly focusing on how to leverage the groundswell of “social media” use and expertise demonstrated by the campaigns. Social media, proven useful in politics, is rapidly being adopted by students and families, and is dramatically changing the landscape of traditional news reporting. But is it good for business, here in Loudoun and Northern Virginia?


Social media may be difficult to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. It’s about talking back to the web, sharing your opinion, and participating in a multimedia dialogue among interested people in public – anonymously or not. There are many styles of online conversation and tools – from those focusing on photos or videos (like “Flickr” and “YouTube”), to reviews (like Yelp”), to those focusing on profiles, expertise or favorite bookmarks (i.e. “Facebook”, “LinkedIn” and “Delicious”). For business owners and employees, the prospect of engaging customers in a public, un-moderated dialogue (that can’t be erased) can be daunting. Local businesses typically aren’t used to this – but it’s already an expectation of most online customers.

Read more at the Loudoun Times...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Caylie Goes to School - Life of a New Paws4People Veteran's Service Dog

Here's a sample from the lives of paws4people - Caylie visits a school, and along with Wyatt, is getting ready for assignment with their Veterans as service dogs...

From Kyria's Blog

Read much more about this wonderful organization (paws4people) and growing collection of canine companions, in their adventures with "clients" and training with inmates...

"yesterday, CAYLIE had one of her first days out and about with us. she went in chik-fil-a for lunch, then we went on our first school visit in cheat lake. CAYLIE followed CHAENEY's lead and acted as though she'd been going to school for months. she showed off some tricks and cuddled very nicely with the kids. afterwards, she slept through a meeting at panera. although CAYLIE was beyond all expectations for her first day out, she also proved to be a lot like her big brother, COLT. there were a few times she looked right at me and suffered from temporary deafness when i said a command. they are definitely equally stubborn, but also equally lovable...and for all of us who know COLT and thought that was impossible, i promise you it's true! so, although she has a good deal left to learn, i don't think CAYLIE is going to put up too many obstacles to getting ready for jack, but i'll keep you posted : )

most exciting of all, we now have BRADIE's favorite little shadow, WYATT, joining us here at the apartment. he'll be staying with me for a while, likely until we find his veteran. he'll be going out with me to class today for the first time since coming back from karen, so i'll be sure to provide a detailed report card ; ) happy friday!


Read more of these service dog exploits, and support paws4people and other Virginia charities via its charity raffle, win 1 of 1,754 prizes, or win the Grand Prize, $1 Million!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Economic Stimulus for Non-Profits and Charities

Paws4People Founder - Charity Raffles and Non-Profit Fundraising with Internet Social Media

With last night's passage of the country's newest, and probably not last, Economic Stimulus Bill, we can certainly expect a good deal of benefits fallout into the Northern Virginia regional economy, including Loudoun County. However, while money will be funneled into government-run programs, Federal, State and Local, this doesn't necessarily translate into money for new or existing non-profit charitable organizations, who have been pummeled lately by the "perfect storm" of dramatically-reduced giving and smaller donations, quickly rising need and consumption of services, and growing expenses related to attracting and retaining large donors. Plus, local charitable organizations, from PTAs/PTOs to churches to Food Banks are increasingly short of able-bodied volunteers who are needed to work harder than ever to manage the programs that bring in revenue, at very low margins.

However, there are a few very interesting factors together developing into a different kind of "perfect storm" for charitable giving and fundraising. These include the newly-empowered individual philanthropist, emboldened by opportunities and evidence that "making a change" is a real thing, and can be done with just a few dollars and an Internet connection. Today's WAPO article about Radio fundraising includes a statement by WAMU's director of development, that "$50 as a suggested minimum (contribution) out the window...It's going to be "every dollar makes a difference, and any dollar is welcome". Also, the rise of online social media tools and use provide many opportunities for charitable fundraising and giving, without the drag and overhead of bake sales, wrapping paper sales, entertainment events, etc.

A new breed of non-profit has emerged, and is actively beginning to dramatically leverage these factors...though it's not so obvious. A recent news item in Loudoun highlighted the Round Hill-based "paws4People (TM)" foundation, that's been working in many venues training and providing service dogs for all kinds of purposes, from helping school kids to read, to helping comfort and soothe those in need. This local organization is building its fundraising prowess leveraging the power of online social media and Internet marketing, promoting its online charitable raffle fundraising services.

In short, enables, with the core focus being continued support of the paws4People(TM) foundation interests, any other non-profit to act as a referral agent for these online charity raffles, with absolutely no out-of pocket expense for themselves or associated corporate sponsors. All perfectly legal, a non-profit can quickly and continually raise funds as they're donated (monthly payments), by promoting raffle ticket sales under their own campaign. Each raffle ticket sold not only provides the donor many chances to actually win prizes, including a "grand prize" of up to $1 million, but also provides the "host" raffle organizer recurring funds that (1) are of much higher margin than most any other kind of fundraising tact, (2) support not only the host raffle organizer but all other non-profits in the "consortium", and (3) support the paws4People(TM) organization in a way that touches entire communities.

We'll be providing lots more stories and information about this revolutionary charitable fundraising movement and mechanism, along with the fantastic stories and adventures of the paws4People(TM) service dogs, both here in Loudoun County and elsewhere across the country.

For more information as a Non-Profit seeking fundraising options through Charity Raffles, contact the consortium here.

To simply buy a raffle ticket, promote a cause, and enter a contest with many chances to win great prizes, click here for charity raffle ticket purchases.

Click here to read more about paws4People and the adventures of the service dogs, their trainers (including local prisoners!) and "clients".

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Southern Loudoun - Dulles South Youth Sports Offering - Track!

Grab your sneakers! Track is coming to Dulles South

Dulles South Youth Sports (DSYS) is offering something new for this year - Running/Track for grades 3-8, Coed.

DSYS will be running an instructional program in Track beginning this Spring that emphasizes basic running skills development and promotes physical fitness and well-being. DSYS Track will emphasize fundamental running techniques, endurance, speed, agility and power training.

DSYS Track is also looking for volunteer Coaches and Team Leaders.

For more information, please contact Julie Jasper or Missy Hillenbrand at

Registration begins February 2009.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Loudoun Hospital at BRMC Denied - Next Stop, Dulles South and Rt. 50

Per this Leesburg Today report, "A sharply divided board of supervisors Tuesday denied the applications required to build the 164-bed Broadlands Regional Medical Center in Ashburn.

A motion by Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) to approve the project failed on a 5-4 vote, with supervisors Susan Klimek Buckley (D-Sugarland Run), Kelly Burk (D-Leesburg), Sally R. Kurtz (D-Catoctin), Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) voting against it."

Dulles South Loudoun Hospital from South Riding on Rt. 50

The drumbeat is growing louder - from the perspective of residents and economic revitalization interests of the Dulles South region, i.e. the Gateway to Loudoun area south of the airport - this is a positive development. It's absolutely clear to suburban and rural residents and business owners in this fast-growing "Dulles Regional" area of Loudoun, western Fairfax and western Prince William that full-service medical care is needed in the Rt. 50 corridor. It's also abundantly clear that the area is a promising and attractive target for significant economic and community development activity, ranging from a University Campus, to a Medical Center and community sports venues. It's time to shift strategic perspective to the Dulles Crossroads of Rt. 50 and the Loudoun County Parkway.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Emergency Services are NOT Guaranteed for Dulles South

This just in from the "" folks...

"At 5:30pm on Sunday, Feb 1, Supervisor Miller issued a constituent email in which he states: "If the board does not approve BRMC on Tuesday, it is also passing up a guaranteed emergency room on Route 50 at the same time."

Based on the BRMC proffer language, there is NO guarantee of an emergency room. On page 5 of the BRMC Proffer, (A-15 of the Loudoun County Staff Report) it reads:

In an effort to expand healthcare services for residents in the southern portion of the County, the Developer shall use commercially reasonable efforts to establish and open a freestanding emergency department or other healthcare facility on or near the Route 50 corridor (the "Route 50 Facility") no later than twelve (12) months following the date of the issuance of the first occupancy permit for the hospital building to be constructed as part of the Medical Campus pursuant to SPEX 2008-0028. In the event an occupancy permit for the Route 50 Facility has not been issued within the timeframe set forth in this Proffer, then the Applicant shall be required to pay to the County the sum of $250,000.00 to be used for regional transportation improvements along Route 659 between the Dulles Greenway and Route 50. If applicable, such payment shall be made within sixty (60) days of the date on which it becomes due under the terms of this Proffer. Once an occupancy permit for the Route 50 Facility has been issued or, alternatively, the required payment made, the Developer shall have no further obligations under this Proffer.

The option of paying $250,000 seems to make this an unguaranteed commitment. It would be cheaper to pay the lump sum than develop an emergency room & populate it with equipment & staff. Also, there is no mention of a helipad. We don't believe Dulles South should "settle" for a possible emergency facility.

The BRMC application should be denied based on the many problems associated with it as outlined here at our website. The denial is appropriate per the County's Comprehensive Plan. A denial is not the end of the world and will open up the very real possibility that the county will still get a new hospital (with the inherent tax revenue and new jobs) in a much more desirable, underserved, location like Dulles South via one of the following scenarios"...(read more at )

We agree - there are no guarantees whatsoever, especially from commercial entities impacted like we all are by worsening economic conditions, making the rapid construction of such facilities not "commercially reasonable" under many circumstances.

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