Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Additional boundary scenarios

Four new boundary scenarios have been added to the LCPS site. All of them keep DN36.2 and DN33 at Legacy ES.
So far, all of the plans up for discussion except one keep DN36.2 and DN33 together with DN36.1 at Legacy ES. But the staff recommendation may not follow any one of these plans, so it is still important for Brambletonians to let LCPS know that DN36.2 and DN33 should stay with DN36.1 at Legacy ES. You have until Friday at 4:00 pm to submit your comments or complete scenario to LCPS Planning & Legislative Services (

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boundary meeting recap

BrambleDirt attended the Creighton's Corner ES boundary input meeting last night, along with a few other Brambletonians. But we were far outnumbered by folks from the Broadlands, who were well-organized against Plan 452, which ridiculously takes a small chunk of Broadlands and ships them down to Creighton's Corner. That's even sillier than sending Brambleton Westsiders there. There were also a lot of people from small Ashburn developments (like Carisbrooke) who oppose being moved to the other new school, Steuart W. Weller ES, which is in the One Loudoun subdivision.

Some good issues were raised by the crowd, namely:
  • How long-term are these plans? (They seem like "band-aids")
  • Under Plans 450-452, Weller ES is already overcapacity when it opens
  • Are the growth projections modified to reflect the real estate market downturn?
  • Why don't we expand current schools?
  • How long is the bus ride going to be for kids who will have to be bussed across the nightmare of Waxpool Road to Weller ES?
  • Why aren't trailers ("portables") considered as a short-term fix until neighborhood growth stabilizes?
  • Where's the info on the psychological impact on kids who are moved?
  • Why are buildings cookie-cutter? Why aren't they built to fit the needs of the surrounding communities?
  • Why wasn't this process started earlier in the year so that candidates for School Board elections could weigh in on their positions?
If you've been to any LCPS boundary meetings, you've heard the party line:
  • No one subdivision has any particular claim on any particular school.
  • "Not everybody's a winner." (direct quote from Sam Adamo)
  • Additions are costlier than new construction (by the time you factor in all the things you have to cover, you might as well build a new school)
  • Capacity standards are: elementary - 875 students, middle - 1350, high - 1800
  • Large planned developments shouldn't bully the by-rights, even if they proffered the land for the school
  • Test scores show that kids don't suffer academically from being moved around
  • Planning staff doesn't get involved in politics
Cliff Keirce, president of the Broadlands HOA, is the creator of Plan 454. It fixes the problems with Plan 452 (the Broadlands shift, and the division of Brambleton). So far, I think this is the best of the plans.

You don't have to create a whole new scenario to make your feelings known (although you can if you want). If you support one of these plans, e-mail your input/comments to I encourage all of you to show your support for keeping DN33 (Summerfield) and DN36.2 (West side) at Legacy ES. You have until next Friday, November 2, to weigh in on this round of the process.

One last note: I spoke with Tom Reed, who is the Vice-Chairman of the School Board. He was very encouraging and emphasized that it is important to let them know how we feel and what we want from this process. All e-mails sent to are forwarded on to all School Board members and senior administrative staff.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hump day

Apologies for the lack of updates - BrambleDirt is a little under the weather.

Annual Halloween "booing" has been moving full steam ahead... some residents have been zealously booed more than once (before they could put up their ghosts to let people know they've been booed already). BrambleDirt got booed with a nice package but unfortunately it didn't have a ghost to post, or the poem that should accompany the package. So don't boo me again!

Rumor has it that Annalee's is a bridal shop. Hmm.

Reminder: the Creighton's Corner ES boundary input meeting is 6:30 pm tomorrow night (Thursday) at Legacy ES. (My previous post on the subject.) A fifth scenario has been posted on the LCPS site: Plan 454 (PDF). This scenario has DN33, DN36.1, and DN36.2 (plus some others) going to Legacy ES. Friday, November 2 is the last day to submit alternate scenarios.

Finally, a request. From last week's Friday Flash:
Children at Play – The Association has had an increase in calls and correspondence with regards to children playing in the streets, both public and private. Residents are reminded that playing in the streets is prohibited by the State, County and the Association. The Declaration states that Common drives and private streets are for the ingress and egress of vehicles to the Affected Lots; and that such access shall not be affected or jeopardized. Please join with us in keeping our children safe.

There are some children on the west side of Brambleton who are going to get themselves seriously hurt - it's just a matter of time. These boys ride their skateboards down and around Cartier Terrace from Magellan Square to Legacy Park. They shoot right out into traffic, without stopping to look for cars. Even more dangerously, they sometimes lie facedown on their boards and ride in the street. There are also children who refuse to move out of the street. This summer, I was driving through Magellan Square (very slowly - those streets, especially on trash days, make me nervous) and I encountered a boy sitting in the middle of the street, with his bike lying next to him. I first looked to see if maybe he'd fallen and was hurt, but he seemed fine. I waved at him, but he just kept looking right at me. There was no way I could go around him. Finally, he got up, picked up his bike, and rode past me in the other direction. On my way out of the square, I saw him ride into an open garage on Coronado Terrace.

Parents, please talk to your children about street safety. BrambleDirt believes that children should have unstructured play as much as possible, but there has to be a middle ground between keeping them locked in the house at all times, and letting them roam free without a basic understanding that car vs. skateboarder is not a match-up they should experience. Yes, cars speed through our neighborhood. It's awful, and I would gladly support speed humps along Legacy Park Drive and other major thoroughfares. But parents are just as much at fault if they do not teach their children how to safely play outside. These aren't toddlers we're talking about - they're older elementary or middle-school aged children.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Fest recap

First, I know you're all dying to know... I did NOT win a prize in the pie contest. Even though my "Pearfection Pie" looked like this:

There were a lot of good pies in the contest:

My friend Patt won second place with a pineapple cream pie. Look at his shiny award!

That meant you had to cough up $3 per slice for his pie, while the losers' slices went for a measly $2. All proceeds from the entry fees, pie sales, and the pie walk (seen below) went to Loudoun Interfaith Relief. The little boy who emceed the pie walk was adorable, BTW.

There were lots of food and crafts vendors:

I had a delicious turkey sandwich from the Spicy Pickle folks. Spicy Pickle is in that restaurant strip on Waxpool Rd.(the one with Five Guys and Moe's), and I'm definitely going to have to go check them out.

Kids enjoyed the train ride, the petting zoo, pony rides, moon bounce, and other rides, including the mechanical bull:

Entertainment was provided by some great bands, including The Groove and Bramble On (seen here):

Some random Brambletonians having a good time, one of whom may be my husband:

Dulles District supervisor candidates Stevens Miller and Steve Snow were present, with tents directly opposite one another on Olympia Drive. At Miller's tent, visitors were presented with a balloon and reasonable discourse on the issues facing our district. At Snow's tent, visitors received a free snow cone and a sticker surreptitiously slapped on their backs. (One local mother was furious because her kid had one on him and didn't know it.) Nothing's truly free, kids... there's a life lesson for you. Snow's camp also had a vintage car, which had zoomed down my street at high speed earlier in the day, passing me as I was walking my pie to the park. If I'd only had my radar gun with me! I like to give you hard data, people.

We had a great time at the Fall Fest, and much thanks goes out to the hard workers on the Activities Committee and the HOA. Even the weather cooperated nicely. This event has come a long way since the first Fall Fest (scene of the infamous "Pizzagate"). Patt and I are going to train hard for next year's contest... the silver has only made him want the gold even more, and I just want to be able to get my pie to the tent with the crust intact.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Verizon FIOS DVR issues - contact info

From the HOA's Friday Flash:
Verizon DVR Malfunctions – We understand that a few residents are experiencing problems with their Verizon DVR set top boxes. If you are having ANY issues with a Verizon set top box, it is imperative that you contact Verizon at 1-888-553-1555 as soon as possible. This will allow Verizon to log the issue and work to remedy it. Verizon has informed us that they have only received 8 complaints from the Brambleton community. Your concerns are important. They are standing by ready to assist you, so please call their Fiber Solutions Center (FSC) to report your issues today: 888-553-1555.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Creighton's Corner ES boundary planning

Sam Adamo's presentation (PDF) from the first Creighton's Corner ES boundary input meeting is available online. The same presentation will be given at the second input meeting at Legacy ES on October 25.

Brambleton is currently divided into four planning zones: DN33 (Summerfield and the new condos); DN36.2 (the "west side": west of Belmont Ridge, south of Ryan, north of Creighton); DN36.3 (the "east side"; east of BRR, south of Ryan, north of Creighton); and DN36 (east of BRR, south of Creighton).

There are several proposed scenarios (included in the presentation PDF):
  • Plan 450: DN36.2 and DN36.3 go to Legacy; DN33 and DN36 (and the small developments north of Ryan, such as Belle Terra and Forest Run) go to Creighton's Corner
  • Plan 451: DN36.2, DN36.3, and DN33 go to Legacy; DN36 goes to Creighton's Corner
  • Plan 452: DN36.3 (and Belle Terra, Forest Run, etc.) go to Legacy; DN33, DN36.2, and DN36 go to Creighton's Corner
An additional scenario (PDF) has been posted on the LCPS site:
  • Plan 453: same as Plan 451, except some of the non-Brambleton developments north of Ryan are divvied up differently
From last year's Creighton's Corner ES planning meetings (postponed because the school wouldn't be built on time for the 2007-2008 school year, and the opening of Rosa Lee Carter ES reduced overcrowding at Legacy ES), some of you may remember that many Brambletonians were against splitting up the Phase I kids and sending the "west siders" all the way down to Creighton's Corner ES, especially since they would all have to pass by Legacy ES to get there. That's what Plan 452 proposes.

These are NOT the final recommendations. If you have comments, you can submit them to the LCPS Department of Planning and Legislative Services ( LCPS tells you how to submit an alternate scenario:
Utilizing the planning zone map provided at the community input meetings and/or posted on the LCPS web site (follow the ‘Planning & Legislative Services’ quick link), determine which planning zones (DN and/or DS) you believe should be assigned to each elementary school.

Submit your plan in writing (either a list of planning zones to assign to each area school or a colored map with a legend notingwhich color is associated with which school) to the Department of Planning and Legislative Services. Upon receipt, staff will not only map your proposed boundaries, but also provide enrollment projections based on your plan. The plan will then be assigned a number (Plan #) and posted on the LCPS web site for additional public review and comment. A copy of the plan will also be mailed to you for your review. No names will be posted with plans submitted by community members. It will be at your discretion if you wish to have your name associated with a specific plan.

Copies of the plan will also be provided to each School Board member and senior administrative staff.
Boundary scenarios must be submitted by Friday, November 2, at 4:00 p.m. On Tuesday, November 13, the Planning staff will submit their recommendations to the School Board (6:30 p.m.); a public hearing on their recommendations will be held on Monday, November 26, at 6:30 p.m.; and the boundary adoption meeting will be Tuesday, December 11, also at 6:30 p.m. All of these meetings will be at the LCPS Administration Building (behind Clyde's, in Broadlands).

If you live on the "west side" or in Summerfield and you want your kids to stay at Legacy ES, or you live elsewhere in Brambleton but want to preserve the community spirit that has developed over the past 5 years among the earliest residents, now is the time to get involved in this process. Yes, we know (as Sam Adamo admonished us during the last go-round) that all the children in Brambleton will not attend the same school as more phases are built. And sure, some kids in the Ashburn area have been redistricted into different schools every year. But BrambleDirt believes that DN36.2 and DN33 should stay at Legacy ES.

Return from Sin City

I'm back from Las Vegas, and I'm still catching up on this week's news. The Liberace Museum was awesome, BTW.

Loudoun Insider from Too Conservative has informed me that video of the Steve Snow - Stevens Miller exchange at the Easterner forum is now available on YouTube. Watch and enjoy.

Tomorrow is Brambleton's Fall Fest. From 2:00 - 7:00 pm, you can enjoy a variety of fun activities, including live music, magic, pie contest and walk, Halloween egg scramble (???), food vendors, and carnival fun (kiddie rides, face painting, moon bounce, scarecrow building, mechanical bull, etc.) Events take place in Legacy Park and the BTC plaza; admission is $5 for ages 3-18, and free for everyone else. And yes, there will be a beer wagon. Good thing we can walk to this shindig.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Go west...

As previously mentioned, BrambleDirt is heading to Vegas for a few days. Unfortunately I'm going to miss the Creighton's Corner ES boundary meeting at Mill Run ES on Monday night... I'd love to hear from any Brambletonians who attend. I definitely hope to make it to the second input meeting at Legacy ES on October 25. See you later this week!

P.S.: I did eventually get a couple of test slices from one of my competitors. His pie was AMAZING.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Loudoun Easterner Candidates' Forum

BrambleDirt attended the Loudoun Easterner's candidates' forum this evening, and it did not disappoint (although I was hoping for more crazy). Readers were invited to submit questions to be asked of their specific district's candidates, and some of the questions showed that people either (a) don't know what district they live in, and/or (b) don't understand the role of a county supervisor.

The first panel had candidates from the Potomac District (Bruce Tulloch-R, Andrea McGimsey-D, Ken Mikeman-I), Sugarland Run District (Mick Staton-R, Susan Buckley-D), and Sterling District (Eugene Delgaudio-R, Jeanne West-D). Ken Mikeman thinks that every question is a great one. At least that's what he said. Questions predictably revolved around GROWTH, housing, future budgets (particularly in the face of falling property values), traffic, ethics, and the "slumlike decay" of Sterling Park (seriously, from the way people were talking, you'd think it was the South Bronx circa 1980).

Eugene Delgaudio was his usual laugh riot. In response to a question about the need for more walking pathways to connect Sterling Park residential areas to Sugarland Crossing Shopping Center, he said that walking in general will be safer if we can reduce the number of illegal aliens driving without licenses. Seriously. He also made lots of jokes about his signature orange hat, signs, and other campaign materials. When asked about the numerous "dark spots" in Sterling Park resulting from lack of street lights, he responded that Juniper Street is pretty well lit at Christmastime (probably even viewable from space!) and that he encouraged more Sterling residents to put up Christmas lights and leave them up longer, and that he fought against the "light pollution" ordinance a few years ago. I honestly expected him to blame the "dark spots" on illegal aliens, but he didn't go that route.

After a brief break, the second panel filed in. Scott York-I, current Chairman, sat alone (Mike Firetti-R had the flu); the panel also included candidates from Broad Run District (Lori Waters-R and Phyllis Randall-D; Jack Ryan-I had a family commitment in Ohio) and our very own Dulles District (Steve Snow-R, Stevens Miller-D). This panel was asked about traffic/roads, hospitals, budget, Dillon Rule, developers, and zoning enforcement. The Dulles District questions/answers were:

(1) HCA / Broadlands hospital

Snow: Thinks there should be an equal distribution of medical care throughout the county. In analyzing the population, determined (using a "Zen diagram"; I confess, I snickered) that Broadlands and Lansdowne have too much overlap. Figured out that (surprise) a hospital on Route 50 could cover everyone from Ryan Road south.

Miller: County needs hospitals, but placement should involve residents and corporations (including both HCA and Inova).

(2) Direct ties to developers

Miller: No donations from developers, not employed by developers, no deals with developers. Doesn't hate developers; believes that developer input is necessary to plan balanced growth.

Snow: Employed by Dietze (construction company). Accepts donations from development community. Developers bring jobs to Loudoun. "Slowing down" growth means stopping jobs. Affordable housing will come from increased density.

(3) Improving traffic on Route 50

Snow: Route 50 Task Force used "best minds" working together to plan improvement. Miller called this and the Waxpool Task Force "fake" in the League of Women Voters debate; he owes an apology to all the hardworking people who volunteered their time to make these improvements happen

Miller: Snow is the one who owes an apology to all the people who were frozen out of the Route 50 Task Force. He didn't follow the implementation program anyway.

[This was a pretty heated exchange.]

The budget questions were interesting. The next budget cycle is going to be nasty because of falling home values, and while schools and public safety seem to be the highest priorities, some of the candidates seem to think that the school board and the sheriff's department are not separating their needs from their wants -- and the BoS is going to do that for them.

Finally, I would like to say that Mick Staton briefly sat in front of me during the second panel and I found him to be rude. He was loudly whispering to some woman. Then, he started humming the "Jeopardy!" theme song when Scott York kept talking past the red card (York hadn't been there during the first half, when it was explained that the time limit for responses was being marked by a series of colored cards). I don't know if anyone else heard him but me, and I was relieved when he left soon after.

Gettin' naughty at Nick's

Word of multiple police cars at Nick's Corner Grill began to spread late last night. Was it a bar fight? Apparently, Washington Redskins practice squad lineman Kili Lefotu was arrested for public drunkenness and assault. Although the location of the incident isn't named, the story matches rumors about the events at Nick's. So very klassy. (In the interest of full disclosure, BrambleDirt's pic used to be in Nick's online photo gallery, but it seems to have been replaced by shots of our local cougars.)

ETA: Darcy Spencer from NBC4 was just reporting on this story from Nick's. OMG!

ETA: Mug shot on Channel 9's site!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Homecoming Weekend kicks off today at Briar Woods High School. The Homecoming parade starts at 6:00 p.m. at Legacy Elementary, following a route north on Ashton Woods, continuing onto Highcrest Circle, east on Regal Wood Dr., and south on Legacy Park Dr. back to the starting point. These streets will be closed to traffic. If you're hungry before or after the parade, the BWHS Music Boosters are throwing a BBQ from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the BWHS Cafeteria. Admission is $7 at the door, and includes a BBQ sandwich, two sides, and a drink. After you stuff your face, go watch the football game, which starts at 7:30. The Falcons (4-1) take on the winless Loudoun County High School. Final Homecoming note: the dance is Saturday night from 8:00 - 11:30 p.m. Residents who face Legacy Park should be on the lookout for, um, "loitering." Time to dig out your night-vision goggles!

There's other stuff going on this weekend in the 'hood. The Animal Medical Centers of Loudoun (the newly opened vet office on the west side of the BTC) is having an open house on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can meet the doctors, tour the clinic, and doggie visitors can try "Bobbing for Bones." Professional pet photographer Candid Paws will be on hand; you can get two 4x6 prints for $5. There'll be a "Best Costume" contest; the winner's photo will be displayed in the lobby.

Finally, don't forget about the political events going on this weekend. Maybe I'll see some of you there!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Judging pie and judging peers

Someone out there feels challenged by my pie supremacy. Yesterday BrambleDirt received a jury duty summons...for the day before the Fall Fest. My prep day. Especially important since I will be in Las Vegas for most of the week. But don't think it's enough to stop the BrambleDirt bake-off juggernaut.

Despite decades of voter registration and having lived in various counties and states, this is the first time BrambleDirt has been called for jury duty. I probably won't get picked for a jury, unless they're really desperate. I'm really excited, though. I'm already planning how to spend my $30.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Change in BTC line-up

A new version of the Brambleton Town Center leasing brochure has appeared this morning. Nando's, a peri-peri chicken chain, has disappeared from the Phase II layout, where it once flanked the movie theatre. And there's a new addition to Phase I... Annalee's, next to A&A Music. No word on what kind of establishment this is.

Voter registration deadline

Loudoun County residents: today is the last day to register to vote in the November 6th elections. If you aren't registered, you have until 5:00 p.m. to do so. The Voter Registration Office is at 801 Sycolin Rd. S.E., Suite 102, in Leesburg.

Stevens Miller will be appearing tomorrow, October 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the Broadlands Nature Center (21907 Claiborne Parkway) for a "Meet the Candidate" forum. This Saturday, October 13, he'll be at a coffee in Brambleton from 1:00-3:00 p.m. (Contact for more info.) And finally, Saturday night, the Loudoun Easterner candidates' forum is sure to be entertaining. Candidates will answer questions submitted by Easterner readers prior to the event. While not a formal debate, it will give us a chance to see Miller and Snow answer the same questions.

In other election news, Eugene Delgaudio wants you to help him choose a theme song for his campaign. Too bad there's no write-in option; I'd suggest Willie Nelson's "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other". Because, you know, Delgaudio hates the gays.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Kickin' the TiFaux to the curb

All Brambleton residents have FIOS; we pay for the basic service in our HOA fees. But any and all extras (like the set-top box to get all the channels) are yours to pay direct to Verizon. Since we got FIOS TV, many Brambletonians have had problems with the service - especially with the HD-DVR (lovingly known in my house as "the TiFaux," since we have also have a Series 2 TiVo with lifetime subscription). When the TiFaux was first deployed, it ran on a Microsoft OS - so if it had problems, Verizon would tell you to turn it off, unplug it, re-plug it, turn it back on. Fine.

But in August, we received a fancy full-color mailing with a screen shot of a TV listings guide, captioned, "Wait til you see what's coming." Verizon had "upgraded" its software (completely homegrown now, because you techies know how well that scales) and it was just around the corner! Great! The fonts look nice! It's shiny and new! About a week later, Brambledirt got a voicemail from Verizon reiterating the fact that I was soon to be blessed with the latest, greatest software EVAR!!1!!! (I don't know anyone else who got the phone call - it was weird.) And then, the next day, when I turned the TV on, golden rays streamed down from heaven and the choir of angels sang, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The software is here!" I played around with it a little bit, and I actually liked the way that the On-Demand section worked better than the old. But we didn't do much with it, since we were still in the dregs of summer reruns and crappy replacement series.

I should mention here that TV is very important chez Brambledirt. My husband starts making plans during the network upfronts in the spring. As the fall schedules are unveiled, they are blocked out in a Google Docs spreadsheet. The household members take turns marking out what they'd like to watch/record. Conflicts and Season Pass hierarchy are negotiated. With the TiVo and the TiFaux (and on rare occasions, the VCR), pretty much everything is covered. We watch almost nothing live; due to various work and social commitments, we have to time-shift our TV viewing.

So, as the fall premieres approached, we were worried when neighbors started reporting problems with the new DVR software. Big problems. Including (but not limited to):
  • DVR randomly powering itself off (and not as a result of an upgrade)
  • DVR freezes (during live TV and/or recorded TV)
  • DVR randomly deletes previously recorded shows
  • DVR claims to set recording, but it doesn't show up in the schedule
  • DVR records, but then playback is messed up (gives "Bad recording" message)
  • DVR status inaccurate (e.g., right now there are no recordings on our TiFaux, but the status says there's 34 minutes of HD recording on the drive)
  • WE ALMOST MISSED THE PREMIERE OF "HEROES" because the Guide information had the wrong time listed
  • and others... many others...
Brambledirt has not had it as bad as some Brambletonians, some of whom have decided to dump the TiFaux, replacing it with the new TiVo HD (or the slightly more expensive TiVo Series 3). Basically, instead of renting the DVR from Verizon, they rent CableCards which are installed into the TiVo (which requires a service call from Verizon techs, but you may not have to pay for the service call if you tell tech support that you are returning the DVR because it doesn't work). For these folks, the math is pretty easy:

TiVo HD ($249 and free shipping from Amazon) + TiVo service fee (from $8.30 - $16.95 per month, depending on plan) + CableCard rental (2 cards @ $2.95 per month = $5.90 per month)


Verizon DVR ($12.95 per month) + having a broken DVR that works only intermittently

As tempting as it sounds, BrambleDirt won't be jumping on this bandwagon just yet, due to some big-ticket outlays elsewhere in the household budget. But I'm hoping that Verizon gets their software issues fixed with the maintenance release that is due after the new software is rolled out to all customers nationwide.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

No Snow in the forecast

By now you've no doubt read about the chicken debate last night over at Living in LoCo. You haven't? Well, run over there and read it. Then come back to me.

It's no secret - BrambleDirt is voting for Stevens Miller on November 6. Some of you are nodding your heads knowingly. Some of you are clicking away from my page in disgust. Some of you are wondering, "What's happening on November 6?" Well, it's time for a change in Loudoun County, and the November 6 elections can help turn us around from the train wreck we're becoming.

I'll let Mr. Miller speak for himself. From his site:
We need a county government that works for the residents, not for the people who build houses here. Further, and maybe even more importantly, we need a board of supervisors composed entirely of individuals who respect and care about what Loudoun's citizens think and say. Right now, our board's majority is under an ethical cloud, one that seems to have grown out of its practice of listening only to developers and what they want, while belittling and insulting honest residents when they come to be heard at the government center. That's not right and I want to change it. We have a right to a Dulles supervisor that works for us, that listens to us, and that is accountable to us, rather than one that works for builders, listens to a few chosen confidants, and has drawn the attention of the FBI.
Steve Snow has got to go, people. If you care about over-development... if you've sat forever on Loudoun County Parkway waiting to turn onto Waxpool... if you want your elected representative to respect the needs of Dulles North as much as he respects the needs of Dulles South... then vote for Stevens Miller on November 6. To vote in this election, you must be registered by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9. Here's more information from the Loudoun County Web site.

And if you're a resident of the Sterling District, I sincerely hope that you are able to vote that bigot Delgaudio out of office.

More interesting information about the incumbents is available from the Loudoun Coalition. (Shield your eyes from the blinding colors, and focus instead on the content within.)

Easy as pie

Brambleton's Fall Fest is coming up on Saturday, October 20. This is the first year that I've actually been in town, and it looks like it's going to be fun. It's nice when the community-wide activities appeal to all ages, not just the short set.

This year, there's a new event: the "Slice of the Sweet Life in Brambleton" pie baking contest. Winners in the Adult and Youth category receive the coveted Golden Pie Plate award. Well, neighbors, prepare to see yours truly sweep the competition. I have been laboring in secret to perfect my very special pie recipe. A test pie made last week wowed 5 out of 5 taste testers (including myself). One of those testers was inspired to make his own pie, and I was promised a slice, but it never materialized. Perhaps he abandoned hope in the face of perfection.

It costs $10 to enter a pie, and proceeds from the entries and from the sale of pie slices go to Loudoun Interfaith Relief. (More information about the rules and judging criteria are available on the Brambleton Intranet.) So go forth, bake pie, and help this worthwhile organization. See if you can snatch the prize away from BrambleDirt.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Digging in the dirt

I was kicking back watching the new show "Gossip Girl," when I thought to myself, "Self? Wouldn't it be fun to blog about the goings-on in Brambleton?" So that's what I'm doing.

For those of you who don't know, Brambleton is a planned community in eastern Loudoun County, Virginia. Brambleton was the first Verizon Enhanced Community; our FIOS Internet and TV comes to us at blazing speeds. We have schools, a town center (with a multiplex theater, grocery store, a variety of shops and restaurants, with more on the way -- including Loudoun County's first Barnes & Noble), parks, trails, a pool... all within walking distance of my house.

I love living here, but as with every place, you take the good, you take the bad, right? I mean, them's the facts of life! So what is BrambleDirt? If you've tried to dig in your yard to plant a tree or some flowers, you've encountered the mix of dense clay and stones (plus the occasional door hinge or empty can) that the builders used to fill up the hole that surrounds your foundation. It's a metaphor for our community's foundation -- solid, with an occasional rocky or rusty surprise.