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    COMMUNITY VIEW: Sterling rolls out the Barrel

    I must confess that I’m a longtime customer of Cracker Barrel and was delighted to be able to attend the pre-opening of the new Sterling country store last Friday at 8 a.m. I drove down Route 28 and automatically turned to the right onto Old Ox Road and there it was as if the sixth sense had kicked in, my not knowing whether to go left or right off 28. The drive during rush hour coming from east of Leesburg took just under 20 minutes.

    The manager, Ashley Washington, pointed to the tables and said, “We have the usual peg game and lantern on every table. We like pleasing people and have this as a home away from home.”

    The new Cracker Barrel fit the mold. The walls are covered with old signs and sepia photos: Funk’s Hybrid Corn, Post Toasties, etc. A CB spokesman said, “We have photos of presidents since we are close to Washington and ones with airplanes since we are close to Dulles Airport.”

    Typically, the country store has a wide variety of paraphernalia: “toys, games, food items, apparel, accessories and other unique items.” Already preparing for Halloween, one display had images of pumpkins, spiders and a skeleton singing into a microphone. Another store once had a broom stick standing up rolling around the floor cackling. And throughout the year they have seasonal items. In addition, audio books are available for rent. You can lay down a deposit, listen to the CD then turn it in at another Cracker Barrel and get your deposit back.

    This Friday morning the restaurant served for free, along with a background of country music, only one dish that they referred to as the Sunshine in advance of the full menu at their official opening this past Monday. The Sunshine consisted of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, potatoes and biscuits and gravy. 

    Many of the folks attending the pre-opening had learned about it through Cracker Barrel’s press release and were Cracker Barrel people. For instance I asked one what he liked about CB: “Everything!” he said.  Another grinned and said she particularly liked this place because, “It’s close to my home.” And most all commented that their favorite menu item was the pancakes―“because they have crunch.” My favorite is Momma’s Pancakes that includes pancakes, eggs and turkey sausage. A first time experience for one customer, who said, “I like the rocking chairs out front.”  Finally one guy indicated that he always has breakfast no matter what time of day. “Can’t mess up breakfast,” he said.  The term ‘ambience’ came up once and for some reason that sounded too fancy for Cracker Barrel.

    They have two menus, one for breakfast and another for lunch and dinner.  Prices for each dish rarely exceed $10. The breakfast menu has multiple combinations of eggs, pancakes, waffles, fruit, grits, biscuits, gravy, etc. and there is a kid’s menu and is served all day. The lunch and dinner menu contains a palatable extravaganza including country fried steak and catfish as you might expect. Again I saw only two items over $10: sirloin steak at $11.49 and rib eye at $14.49.

    Cracker Barrel Country Store had its inaugural opening in Lebanon, Tenn. in 1969. Since then it has expanded to 628 stores in 42 states.  This one is the 32nd one in Virginia. 

    There was a brief ceremony involving the Cracker Barrel management,  Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors: Scott York and Eugene Delgaudio.  The management indicated that they expect to bring 200 jobs to Loudoun County.

    Joe Motheral

    River Creek

    LoCo Joe spreads the ‘care”

    Businesses large and small support nonprofits in so many ways throughout Loudoun County. And what an honor for all of us involved with Loudoun Cares to be part oft he LoCo Joe One Year Anniversary event in Purcellville on July 20.

    As the event “beneficiary,” we benefited not only from generous contributions, but also the opportunity to interact with dozens of people who are looking for new and creative ways to invest in nonprofits and community-minded businesses like LoCo Joe.

    At Loudoun Cares we pride ourselves on building community.  Clearly Juanita Tool, the owner/operator of LoCo Joe, prides herself on doing the same.  And what a community outpouring it was!   

    Juanita did it up the old fashioned way. There was fresh/locally grown food, live music, ring toss and balloon darts for the kids and corn hole for the bigger kids.  Add in face painting, a pie tasting contest followed by an auction of the pies and campfire smores for kids of all ages and everyone left the event feeling good and part of something bigger – the Loudoun community.

    So, a heartfelt thank you to the LoCo Joe staff, community volunteers, musicians and patrons who contributed to this fun-filled, incredibly tasty LoCo Joe anniversary extravaganza!

    Susan K. Snyder

    Board Chair, Loudoun Cares

    Medicaid hypocrisy?

    The Foust campaign has been attacking Barbara Comstock for her votes against expanding Medicaid in Virginia. Imagine my surprise to read a report that Foust’s wife, Dr. Marilyn Jerome, is an OB/GYN who is in a practice that does not accept Medicaid patients.

    This might not be relevant to Foust’s campaign except for the fact that she is also the head of the Foust campaign’s “Women for Foust” group.

    What is the point in expanding Medicaid when it is so unpopular with doctors that many, even including Foust’s wife, are unwilling to accept Medicaid patients?

    I noted several weeks ago in my letter (published June 4) that Del.  Comstock had been willing to work with her colleagues in the General Assembly to find workable reforms so that Medicaid could be expanded, but no such reforms were adopted, leading to her opposition to its expansion. It certainly appears from this latest news that Del. Comstock’s position is well founded.

    Robert H. Follett


    Border children require our care as decent Americans

    The children appearing on our southern borders are refugees from gang wars. Despite the lay opinions you’ve heard from certain quarters, the vast majority of child migrants are fleeing not poverty, but violence.

    We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands, not an illegal immigration issue, as unaccompanied children flee El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in particular, where gangs use unconscionable violence to control entire populations, unchecked by police or national government.

    Most Americans cannot even imagine this kind of violence, with reports of girls as young as 8 years old being raped and then murdered. Children of 5 and 6 years old are forced to deliver illegal drugs under threat of death. How bad must life be, that loving parents believe sending a young child, alone or with strangers, walking through Mexico in July is their best chance at survival?

    Girls face particular dangers, which is one reason around 40 percent of children who arrived in the United States this year were girls, compared with 27 percent in the past. The dramatic rise in the pregnancy rates for girls aged 10-14 speaks volumes about the fates of these children in these three countries.

    Three years ago, about 6,800 children were detained by United States immigration authorities and placed in federal custody; this year, as many as 90,000 children are expected to be picked up. They are escaping rape and murder, and being forced into lives of crime—the same human trafficking that all of Virginia’s statewide candidates said they opposed in 2013.

    President Obama and some Members of Congress are proposing changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The TVPRA passed both chambers of Congress by unanimous consent in 2008, and was signed into law by President Bush to address our international obligations of not returning vulnerable migrants to danger and to reduce the likelihood that the U.S. would deport children back into the hands of traffickers and others who would exploit them.

    Proposals to “deport children more quickly” advocate using our tax dollars to return unaccompanied children to exploitation and violence.
    I oppose exporting little girls to be raped and murdered.

    All Americans, including Conservative Christians, should oppose spending tax dollars to return women and children to hell, and we should condemn those who want to do it even more efficiently.

    The only things between our complicity in enslavement or murder of these child refugees is our Constitution, and the gut conviction that America must do what is right for the children of a war zone who have come to us for help.

    Learn more by reading articles from investigative journalists like the New York Times‚ s Sonia Nazario, (JULY 11, 2014), research from active organizations like The Interfaith Immigration Coalition ( or volunteer organizations like Kids in Need of Defense.

    Most importantly, contact Frank Wolfe, Sen. Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine today (you can call all three toll free at 866-940-2439) and ask them to provide for the humane care of these children, and oppose efforts to scale back our few protections for such refugees.

    Human decency and our collective soul as America requires it.

    Mary Costello Daniel


    Foust’s claims cross the line

    When National Public Radio notes that a Democrat candidate is engaging in “old-fashioned fear-mongering” in his election it’s pretty clear they’ve crossed a line.

    From the beginning, the Foust campaign has been amateurishly clumsy and negative – first attacking well-respected Congressman Frank Wolf, claiming Wolf had done nothing on transportation. Foust claimed, “On transportation, all you have to do is get in your car and start driving and know that (Wolf) has not done all that he should have done.”

    In recent tributes from Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine, they have directly contradicted Foust’s misguided negative attacks on Wolf.

    Foust now continues to wildly attack Del. Barbara Comstock just about every day in a barrage of fundraising emails from the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Comstock’s past opponent, Kathleen Murphy, who is still clearly bitter about her loss last year.

    Foust has made no case for himself or his experience to be our representative in Washington. Aside from supporting all of the tax increases he’s imposed over the past seven years and now the Obama/Pelosi tax increases he supports, does he have any other ideas?

    He should be laying out his plan including a way to fight to protect our national security and defense, ideas for reforming our tax code, a sound plan to put Americans back to work and a plan for a healthcare system that doesn’t bankrupt us with skyrocketing premiums while removing our choices of doctors and medical treatments.

    Instead of offering solutions, he’d rather spend his time attacking Comstock and align himself with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

    I, for one, don’t want a candidate who is going to be the handmaiden of Nancy Pelosi. I would like an independent voice for our district – and since we have no women representing us in the entire Virginia delegation – and it’s all old white men – I also wouldn’t mind that voice being a woman’s voice for a change. Comstock has a strong record of focusing first on jobs and getting people back to work and getting the economy moving. She’s committed to getting us good, modern, patient centered healthcare – not the disastrous Obamacare nightmare that can’t even figure out how to run a website, much less healthcare. Barbara also has a strong working relationship with our tech, business and defense communities which are essential for our 21st century jobs.

    I am currently proud to call Comstock my representative in our Virginia House of Delegates and I know that she would make our whole 10th District proud to call her our congresswoman.

    Stacie Cayci


    Hobby Lobby lessons
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Heart saving test for babies is now law
    Supervisors lead LEED astray
    Firing range, bond issues warrant scrutiny
    COMMUNITY VOICE: E-cigarettes pose threat to teens
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Tolerance is tricky
    HealthWorks directors appeal for support
    The uneasiness over police shootings
    A name that IS worthy
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Access to Slender Man disconcerting
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