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Sterling Blog: Santa, steaks and peaches

If you still believe strongly in Santa, I’m going to need you to skip the next couple of paragraphs. Just scan down until I talk about Burton’s Grill and read from there. And no peeking.

Middleburg Blog: The Catesby Farm proposal

The family members who own the property at 22282 Catesby Lane in Middleburg have not spoken to the public about their property plans before, but they are now speaking out regarding their property and the issues regarding their special exception permit application. This property, formerly owned by the late Robert E. LaRose and now owned by his heirs, has been in the news lately. The recent news about the property focuses on its use and current restrictions.

The family members who inherited the estate have a message to the community say they want the community -- especially those who live near the property, which is located off Willisville Road -- to know they too love Western Loudoun.

Robert E. LaRose passed away in 2010. The LaRose Family members have a history in the community. They have lived in the area and have been a part of the community since the early 1980s. For example, at one time, the LaRose family owned what was then known as Knollwood just off Zulla Road, and afterward, the family bought Catesby Farm in 2003, the property at the center of the controversy.

Since the father’s death, the LaRose family has maintained this property and used it for family gatherings and family-related activities. In the six years since the father’s death, the family’s use of the property and the activities involved were not commercial in anyway. Now, however, the LaRose family says it is only prudent to make the property pay for itself.

The LaRose Family members’ message is that the adverse publicity regarding their request to change the existing restrictions with plans for the property’s usage does not fairly represent what they, as a family, intend to do with the property. They feel the recent publicity has sensationalized the issue by labeling these proposed changes as being intrusive and destructive, and that that publicity greatly exaggerated the impact on the community, misrepresented their intentions for the use of the property, and did not include or explain their unobtrusive plans for the use of the property.

The heirs to the property wish to convey to the community their deep respect for and love of the area's environmental assets and their commitment to maintain and improve the property. They maintain that, with these commitments, they can make the desired change without disrupting or altering the rural state of the area, that they can continue their stewardship of the property with respect for the area’s history, and that the LaRose family can make the changes proposed to the Loudoun County Planning Commission, yet still respect and honor these cherished assets.

The LaRose family members wish the community to know there will be no additional structures built on the property to accommodate large crowds, that events – like weddings and similar activities – will be housed in temporary tents, that the traffic feeding in and out of Willisville Road will not be an overwhelming problem to the normal flow of traffic and that there will be no huge and sensational changes that will prevent the community from enjoying the many valued assets of western Loudoun.

CountrySide and Cascades Blog: Laughing for a good cause

When you’re a Girl Scout in the D.C. area, you quickly learn about the importance of sharing resources.

Ashburn Blog: ‘One Starry Night’ at Ashburn Presbyterian

For the second year, Ashburn Presbyterian Church invites the community to experience “One Starry Night” in Bethlehem  on Friday  and  Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, between the hours of 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Sterling Blog: Off to college

Usually, when a kid leaves for college, they don’t go off in a school bus and they aren’t back by dinner. However, on Nov. 16, nearly 50 kids from Sterling Middle School headed up to James Madison University (JMU) for the day – accompanied by teachers and chaperones (including your friendly neighborhood columnist, as if I’d miss a chance to visit my alma mater).

Purcellville Blog: Hope Farm to host 2nd Annual Holiday Open House

In 2015, Holly and Evan Chapple expanded their Lucketts-based floral and event designing business and purchased Hope Farm, a 25-acre property at 40905 Stumptown Road in Waterford.

Sterling Blog: Making things better

My mom used to tell me that the important thing was to leave things better than how you found it – whether that meant picking up the piece of trash that you didn’t drop or volunteering when no one else had stepped up. It’s sounded so easy when my mom would say it, but in practice it’s tough. It’s hard to get out of the habit of “not my job” and into the habit of “I can help.”

Ashburn Blog: A ‘campus’ for everyone

Bringing a unique concept that combines academics and youth sports, The Campus is set to open in a few weeks at 100 Powers Court in Sterling. Owned by Ashburn resident Rod Koyne, Milton Thornhill will serve as its director of operations. The Campus stands for Center for Academics and Multi-Purpose Sports.

Lansdowne and River Creek Blog: Thanksgiving celebrations

History has been quarreling about the location of the first Thanksgiving in the Colonies. Pilgrims entering Plymouth Rock were thought to initiate Thanksgiving to celebrate the harvest in 1621. However, Florida, Texas and yes, Virginia, all claim to have started the process. Since our locale is Virginia, we may tend to favor in an unbiased way that the first turkey consumed was in Virginia. And according to historical records, “Thanksgiving services were codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619.”

Purcellville Blog: Artisan gallery to open Nov. 21

Looking for some unique, locally made gift ideas for the holidays? A holiday artisan gallery will open Nov. 21 through Dec. 31 on 21st Street in Purcellville between Re-Love It and Dominion Tea. The gallery will feature the creations of western Loudoun artists, potters, jewelers and more.

Cascades and CountrySide Blog: The most generous time of the year

If you’re looking for ways to help some of your neighbors in eastern Loudoun, LINK – the all-volunteer nonprofit that provides emergency food to those in need in Sterling, Ashburn and Herndon – could use your help. The organization has several projects underway that offers a variety of opportunities for volunteers of all ages.

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