Friday, August 21, 2009

Dulles Toll Road Rate Increase Public Meetings - Aug 24 (Ashburn), Sept. 3 and 9

Dulles Toll Road Rate Increase Public Meetings

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) will hold three public meetings in open house format to inform and solicit comments from the community regarding proposed toll rate increases in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to support the Dulles Metrorail Project and other Dulles Corridor transportation improvements.

MWAA's proposal is to raise the rate at the Main Toll Plaza from $.75 to $1.00 in January 2010, to $1.25 in 2011 and to $1.50 in 2012. Ramp rates will be increased from $.50 to $.75 in 2010, and remain at $.75 through 2012. Any toll increases in 2013 and beyond will depend upon many factors, including the actual capital cost of Phase II and receipt of additional federal, state or local funds.

Based on the current estimated $5.25 billion cost for Phases I and II, the sources and projected funding amounts are as follows:

Dulles Toll Road User Fees: $2,761,500,000 (52.6%)
Federal: $900,000,000 (17.1%)
Fairfax County: $845,250,000 (16.1%)
Virginia: $273,000,000 (5.2%)
Loudoun County: $252,000,000 (4.8%)
MWAA: $215,250,000 (4.1%)

The three meeting dates are as follows:

Monday, August 24 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Ashburn Elementary School
44062 Fincastle Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147

Thursday, September 3 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
McLean High School
1633 Davidson Road
McLean, Virginia 22101

Wednesday, September 9 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
South Lakes High School
11400 South Lakes Drive
Reston, VA 20191

Each session will include exhibits on the scope, cost and financing of the Dulles Rail extension; potential future Toll Road improvements; revenue anticipated to be raised from the toll increases and how it will be spent.

Persons attending can record their views by filling out a comment sheet or talking to a court reporter. There will be no microphone or formal public speaking opportunities.

The official comment period is open from August 14 through September 14, 2009.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance is the only organization focused solely on making better transportation a reality for Northern Virginia citizens and businesses.


Free Business Press Releases - Loudoun County and Northern Virginia

Do you have a business/commercial press release you'd like to get out in this area, and have the information ripple through social media channels as well as show up well in the search engines?

Your information will show up here in our blog, plus in all the places around DC and elsewhere this blog is syndicated to and more - with optimization applied for SEO!

Send us your info - we'll try to get it up as soon as possible, no charge. Priority will be given to Dulles South/Loudoun area businesses, and for press releases that truly reflect a positive benefit to our community and business environment.

Contact us here: .

Note - the press release should be no more than 3 paragraphs; pictures are OK, links are OK.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Loudoun Insurance - Don't Float Your Boat - Until You Know It's Protected

Here's a great and timely summertime article about boat insurance from your South Riding/Loudoun Insurance agent over at Allstate, Khalid Umerani...probably not relevant for our "fleet" of pathetic canoes and rowboats; but certainly applicable to all those Northern Virginians who keep their "real" boats over in Annapolis, Solomons Island/PAX River, Ocean City or more locally near Alexandria, Occoquan or Lake Anna.

Americans love to take to the water because it provides a feeling of freedom and a sense of adventure (and perhaps a crab or two!). But boating can have a dark side, too. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 5,191 boating accidents reported in 2007 and Fairfax & Loudoun County boat owners aren't immune. However, this is probably only the tip of the iceberg. The Coast Guard believes that more than 80 percent of all boating accidents go unreported.

Given this level of risk for accidents, it would make sense that boat owners would look for a way to protect themselves, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A study conducted by Progressive Insurance revealed that 29 percent of U.S. boat owners don’t own a separate watercraft policy. That’s probably because boat owners assume that their craft is covered by their personal auto policy or their homeowner’s policy. This is a mistake that can cost them big time. (Contact NOVA Loudoun Insurance at or for more details on boat insurance).

The standard auto policy covers the boat trailer for liability with the option to add coverage for physical damage. The boat itself, however, is not covered for liability or damage.

Some homeowner's policies offer coverage for physical damage for boats, but only for smaller vessels. The typical homeowner’s policy in the Chantilly / South Riding areas contains a special property limit of $1,500 on watercraft, which doesn't begin to equal the dollar value of most boats (except perhaps some aging canoes, kayaks or sunfish!). In addition, the covered perils specific to the boat are also greatly restricted.

There is also liability coverage available for boats under the majority of homeowner’s policies, but once again, it is only applicable to smaller watercraft. The only exception is a boat with an outboard motor. That means that any type of boat you own that is powered by an inboard or inboard-outboard motor is excluded from liability coverage under the homeowner's policy.

Because most boat owners are unaware how large a property and liability loss they expose themselves to without proper insurance, the Institutional Risk Management Institute (IRMI) has created a list of loss scenarios that demonstrate the need for specialized boat owners coverage:

· Your cruiser collides with a speedboat whose operator fails to yield the right of way, causing extensive damage to your boat. The owner of the speedboat does not have any insurance coverage.

· An expensive bass boat you just purchased is stolen from your home.

· Your 27-foot-long sailboat is damaged by a major hailstorm while docked at the marina.

· Your sport fishing boat is struck by lightning, incapacitating its electrical system.

· Your son's friend is water skiing behind your boat and he falls into the lake, injuring himself, due to the excessive speed of the boat.

· You negligently cause another boat to overturn to avoid a collision.

· Your outboard motor explodes, seriously injuring your next-door neighbor.

For more information on all your family insurance needs, from boat to homeowner's coverage and long-term care insurance, contact Khalid Umerani, NOVA Insurance Group, right here in Chantilly / South Riding VA.


HCA Abandons Broadlands, Seeks Loudoun Hospital in Dulles South Corridor on Rt. 50

Yesterday, August 19, 2009, HCA announced it is proposing to build a hospital on their Route 50 property! More information available at most local news sources, including WTOP News. In addition, see HCA's website for more information about the Dulles South Hospital and proposed Stonespring Medical Center.

(This note brought to you by Barbara and Lisa at

We will continue to follow along to see if HCA gets to move their COPN from Broadlands to Rt. 50 - OR - if Inova gets their COPN approved (last month Inova announced it had applied for a 80-bed COPN at their Rt. 50 site). We are more hopeful than ever that Dulles South will be the location of the next Loudoun hospital!

Your Dulles South Neighbors,
Lisa Freeman & Barbara Munsey

p.s. We are private citizens and not affiliated with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Loudoun Health care, Inc., Inova Health Systems, or any other healthcare provider. We are not advocating for one healthcare provider over another.

(Dulles South Online comment: This is an extremely positive development for both communities and businesses in the Dulles South region of Loudoun County along Rt. 50. With the additional jobs, vendor contracts and expected build-up of supporting service providers and retail, the much-needed hospital in this fast-growing Dulles Airport suburb should deliver significant economic impact. The current distance to adequate hospital care from communities like Stone Ridge, Middleburg and South Riding is unacceptable, especially during high-traffic time periods (which are many).)


Monday, August 17, 2009

Loudoun Online Advertising Stays Local - Hyperlocal SEO Outpaces Traditional Regional Media?

Over at the sports blog, there's a recent entry concerning the evidently well-founded information that will shortly "take the old horse behind the barn", so to speak.

We've seen this coming for a while....many signs were evident, though of course it's always easier to see these details in hindsight:

1) local, significant advertising took too long to integrate into and across their site

2) the Arlington-centric staff simply didn't "connect", personally, in Loudoun communities

3) the Loudoun blogerati weren't ever really included (except the singular "living in loco blog, but not like the crew at the Loudoun Times) - in fact the blogroll wasn't really maintained at all, with several defunct ones listed with no particular ordering

4) very little to no "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" was enabled for the site (though it may be argued it wasn't so necessary, with the Post's backing and traffic boost - but more on this later)

5) while the site did include lots of decent, local news and great local sports coverage, they simply didn't generate as much commenting/online reaction as stories over at Leesburg Today or the Loudoun Times - due partly the requirement that one has to register with the Post to enable commenting, and again, the lack of local personalities clearly associated to the news entries

One factor related to item #4, that really isn't hindsight at all, is the fact that LoudounExtra seemed to count altogether on its status as a premiere content destination, a known entity, a recognized banner above the Washington Post fortress -but not necessarily a place people, businesses or organizations might find answers and information from, coming through the search engines (either to read, or to advertise).

Search in Google for "Loudoun businesses", "Loudoun County Business", "Loudoun Schools", "Loudoun online advertising", "Loudoun online marketing", "Loudoun Shopping", "Loudoun blog", "Loudoun Social Media", "Loudoun news"'ll find that invariably, either local marketing firms or other local papers and businesses show up far above LoudounExtra in the results. As LoudounExtra implemented its content and advertising strategy, but without tending to its online search rankings - the local competition shored up their own (with the help of local Internet Marketing companies like KME Internet Marketing), and outpaced the Post fairly easily.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Melanie Alnwick - Washington DC WTTG Fox5 TV Financial Reporter and TV Anchor

Melanie Alnwick, Washinton DC's premier broadcast TV financial news reporter and co-anchor (WTTG Fox 5 News) was recently highlighted in Northern Virginia's I Am Modern Magazine for Women and Moms.

Melanie is an award-winning investigative reporter and news co-anchor in Washington DC (one of the world's premier TV news markets) - she's received numerous Emmy awards, the Edward R. Murrow award for Investigative Reporting, a Chesapeake AP award for Specialty Reporting, and numerous others over the years.

From the article - During the week, Melanie walks into the station by 9:30 a.m.; on Sundays, she is up at 4:00 a.m. and in the newsroom by 5:30 a.m. She checks her email and the headlines from the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, etc., then pitches her story at the daily meeting. By 10:30 a.m., back at her desk, she is making phone calls and securing interviews then she is off to cover the story. If it airs that evening, Melanie needs to be back by 2:30 p.m. to write the story, order graphics and shoot the video—all by 4:00 p.m. A typical workday.
The weekends, however, are all about the family. “We go to orchards, farms and the park. We like to play out in the yard and get dirty. I want them to be kids. It’s all about quality not quantity.”

We've followed Melanie's interesting and impeccably-delivered news reporting and on-air investigations for many years and across several markets. Find Washington DC's best on-air personality via special reports and investigations, and co-anchoring Sunday morning's news on WTTG Fox5.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

VA Farmer's Market Week, Aug 2-8

From NOVA Magazine - "As decreed by Gov. Tim Kaine, August 2-8 is officially Farmers Market Week here in the Old Dominion." Read further for information regarding local area farmer's markets, in particular, Loudoun County farmer's markets...VA, by the way, certainly doesn't hold exclusivity in the great farmer's market arena - one of our favorites over in Maryland is the daily great big farmer's market at Charlotte Hall, on Rt. 5, St. Mary's County.