Here are some of the big stories in Loudoun from 2014. What do you think were the most memorable events in the county?
With Republicans in Virginia still smarting from the government shutdown and ongoing sequestration cuts, Democrats pulled ahead on Election Day with Terry McAuliffe winning the governorship, Ralph Northam the lieutenant governor post and Loudoun’s Mark Herring elected attorney general.
Loudoun County maintained its swing county status, supporting Democrats for state office but electing seven Republican delegates – mostly incumbents – to the General Assembly. Dave LaRock was the sole new face elected, having defeated Del. Joe May in the June Republican primary.
Herring goes to Richmond
After serving as Loudoun’s representative to the Virginia Senate since 2006, Mark Herring was elected the state's attorney general in November. Herring won by a razor-thin margin against opponent Mark Obenshain.
Gabriella Miller, 10, captured hearts in Loudoun County this year as she pressed to make her dreams come true in the months before her Oct. 26 death from cancer.
Attending college classes and publishing a book, Miller inspired others through her Smashing Walnuts pediatric cancer foundation.
In December, the House of Representatives passed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.
New kid in class
After months of debate, the Loudoun County School Board rejected a charter school application from the Loudoun County Math and IT Academy in March, citing concerns over management and curriculum.
Charter schools remain viable options locally as a group of Middleburg parents now explore that possibility to assume responsibility for under-enrolled Middleburg Elementary.
Loudoun opened two new schools in 2013, Discovery Elementary School and Moorefield Station Elementary School, both located in Ashburn. Wezi Thindwa and Becky Upchurch welcomed students on the first day of school at Discovery. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
New look for Leesburg
Leesburg Restaurant closed its doors after 148 years following the departure of manager Robin Peacemaker. Currently under renovation and with its menu being offered at nearby Palio of Leesburg, the plan is for the restaurant to reopen under new management.
Leesburg’s old time movie theater has seen multiple changes over the past several years without quite catching on. In 2013, owner Don Devine refurbished the Tally Ho and established it as a live music venue.
Leesburg also voted in favor of improvements on King Street and the large mixed-use project, Crescent Place.
Murder and mistrial
Accused of causing her daughter’s 2005 death, Vanessa Cruz spent more time than expected in court. December saw a second mistrial with jurors unable to reach a verdict.
Dae Hwang, of Leesburg, is facing charges stemming from the alleged murder of her husband in March.
Rosangela Spradling, of Sterling, is accused with the May 17 death of her husband.
No charges were filed in the March 20 shooting of Park View student Caleb Gordley. The 16-year-old was shot by a neighbor after entering the wrong house after a night of drinking.
>No identity has been established for the infant girl found dead April 7 in a Sterling lake. The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/John Geddie
While most of the attention has been focused on the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act and problems with sign-up, Loudoun saw some big improvements in the accessibility to medical services.
Loudoun’s second hospital broke ground on Route 50 in October – although the StoneSpring Emergency Center opened its doors for patients Sept. 9.
Inova Loudoun Hospital dedicated resources in Leesburg with a $36 million dollar renovation of the emergency center and the child advocacy center. Inova is also planning a 50,000-square-foot Healthplex facility in Ashburn.
Changing of the guard
The year saw the retirement announcement of several Loudoun institutions. First sent to Congress in 1980, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.-10th) announced in December that he would not be seeking re-election in 2014.
Circuit Court judge Thomas Horne left the bench in December, having served since 1982.
Loudoun County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ed Hatrick announced his retirement in June. Currently serving out the last school year, Hatrick has worked as superintendent for 23 years.
Other notable departures included Loudoun Water General Manager Dale Hammes, Director of Economic Development Tom Flynn and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Sharon Ackerman.
Ethics on trial
Calls for major ethics reform escalated after a gift scandal resulted in a public apology from Gov. Bob McDonnell (left). Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) received a censure from his colleagues on the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors for his alleged misuse of county resources. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Trevor Baratko
Shortly after opening her lavish Salamander Resort and Spa, entrepreneur Sheila Johnson presided over the inaugural Middleburg Film Festival. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Relief on the roads?
The General Assembly passed the first transportation overhaul in nearly three decades, opening the purse strings for new projects in the Northern Virginia region. Support for the bill split party loyalties, not unlike the ongoing disagreement over the bi-county parkway.
The proposed bi-county project would provide a direct link from Prince William County to Loudoun and the Dulles airport.
Rural improvement remained controversial with protestors coming out to oppose the opening of the Southern Collector Road in Purcellville.
Comforting the veterans
The brainchild of Ken Falke, Boulder Crest Wounded Warrior Retreat opened Sept. 6 in Bluemont. The facility is designed for wounded veterans and their families. Stirling Rasmussen watched skydivers at the opening. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Ben Hancock
Loudoun racks up state championships
Loudoun County High School's volleyball team and Woodgrove's girls soccer team each won state championships in 2013. Loudoun County claimed its sixth state title since 2006 and will carry a 49-match winning streak into 2014. Woodgrove repeated as soccer champions in just its third season as a program.
Loudoun Valley sophomore Andrew Hunter became the first runner in Loudoun history to win a state cross-country title Nov. 16 at Great Meadow in The Plains. Hunter claimed the 3A boys title in a blazing time of 15 minutes, 37 seconds.
Patrick Joseph of Loudoun County and Brandon Polk of Briar Woods both won two state title at the Virginia AA track and field meet, contested May 31 and June 1 in Harrisonburg. Along with Joseph (800 run, 1,600 run) and Polk (100 dash, 200 dash), Loudoun County's Steven Graham (400 dash) also struck state gold.
Other state individual champions in 2013 were Dominion's Erik Dulik (golf), Loudoun Valley's Ian Hildebrand (golf), Heritage's Kaleigh Rosenburg (swimming) and Briar Woods' Michael Hulcher (wrestling).
World Series greatest
The Greater Loudoun Lions youth baseball team made history late in the summer of 2013. Greater Loudoun won the the 13-15-year-old Babe Ruth World Series as the host team, defeating Westchester (Calif.) 8-3 in the championship Aug. 24 at Fireman's Field in Purcellville.
The Lions defeated teams from three baseball powerhouse states - Florida, Texas and California - en route to the championship. Greater Loudoun is the first Loudoun team to win a Babe Ruth World Series title, and also are the first host team to win a World Series championship in the ages 13-15 division.
"This is a once in a lifetime experience," said Kaleb Bowman, who pitched three scoreless in relief to close out the championship. "No one expected us to do anything as a host team. We were a strong team and we knew we were going to go far."
Ballad of the Hounds
Sports fans watched closely as the Board of Supervisors approved plans for a ballpark at One Loudoun April 3; later the park was named Edelman Financial Field.
However, the first pitch of the independent league Loudoun Hounds was delayed – yet again – by construction issues.
Bob Farren, president and CEO of VIP Sports and Entertainment, stepped down Nov. 27, and Mark Stavish is filling in until a permanent replacement is hired.
VIP’s soccer team received its name and logo in February, but, like the Hounds, saw its in-game action delayed until 2015.