Author Archives: John Flannery

Lovettsville’s Sun Car?

The Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3

The biggest challenge to the burgeoning population of electric cars is that the energy source be a renewable source, solar or wind, and not some fossil fuel.

We are not there yet but it is becoming more widely possible to fire up an electric car with a renewable energy source, solar or wind.

Here’s the challenge -

You plug your car into your house outlet but the source of energy is, to choose one regional example, a West Virginia fossil fuel source – coal. Continue reading

Justice Delayed

Judicial Forum – Lorrie Sinclair, Esq

Judicial Forum – Lorrie Sinclair, Esq

There are Lovettsville residents with cases in court, complaining that it takes too long to get their day in court.

The relevant jurisdiction is the 20th Judicial Circuit that covers Loudoun, Rappahannock and Fauquier Counties.

This Circuit Court has suffered a succession of judicial vacancies that has caused cases to back up, be delayed, not get heard, or to get heard very slowly; there simply haven’t been enough judges to handle the caseload; those who have to go to court are frustrated.

They live the uncertainty, wonder at the elusive outcome of a case, pay fees, and cost, still waiting for that final answer – the disposition in their cases.

They slowly adopt the view that any justice is a coincidence of the system, not a consequence of it.  That is an unfortunate observation but well justified. Continue reading

The Last Straw

Annee Olden & Maureen Morris

Annee Olden & Maureen Morris

There has been a move in restaurants and retail stores including Starbucks to reconsider using any plastic straws.  Also Marriot Hotels.  And Salamander.  And Mo’s coffee shop in Lovettsville.

Several years ago a marine biologist posted a video of a sea turtle off the Costa Rica’s coast with a plastic straw stuck up its nose.  They used pliers to extract the straw.  31 Million have since seen the painful procedure –  .  The reaction has been outrage and a correlative drive to ban plastic straws. Continue reading

Are Women Equal?

Do you support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for Women?

Equality_silouhette“Yes,” a Lovettsville woman said.

A few moments passed.

“Is that a trick question?,” she asked.

If the Virginia General Assembly supports the Amendment, constitutional experts agree, this ERA Amendment, first introduced in Congress in one earlier version in the 1920s, would finally become part of our U.S. Constitution.

Thirty-Seven states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, one short of the Thirty-Eight states needed for passage.

The Lovettsville woman added, “Virginia should be the State that makes passage possible.”

In Virginia, in the past, the upper House, the Senate, has supported the Amendment, but not the lower house.  There is a push to change that when the legislature convenes in January.

Opposed to the Amendment, the Vice Chairman for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), blocked any consideration of the Amendment, and said, “The General Assembly doesn’t care what we think.”

“If that’s true,” said one ERA supporter, “then why do they send any requests to the legislature.” Continue reading

Resolve to Care

Helping_handsSerenity is an element of every good life but it is not the rule.

In a lifetime, we march through a succession of fiery walls, fighting flaming emotional and physical ordeals.These trials that come upon us, one after another, usually pass, with some modicum of serenity restored.

We often survive the unremitting fires searing our soul and person because others cared to help.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

A young man at a retail store days ago asked a series of discount questions about a purchase I was making.

I said, “No thanks, thanks for asking.”

He appeared hurt.

I asked, “So how is your day going?”

“Okay, I guess,” he said.

After a pause, he said, “I’m bipolar.  I take medication.  I spent Thanksgiving alone.  My family told me they were too busy to see me, but I knew they were home and could have seen me.  But they didn’t want to be with me.  My friends abandoned me as well.  I was alone.  It was hard.” Continue reading

How Narrow the Band in Western Loudoun

In this picture is a broadband source to connect to the Internet

In this picture is a broadband source to connect to the Internet

Out in Western Loudoun, near Lovettsville, there are various ways to get on the Internet.

There is of course by satellite connected to a dish by your house.

There are broadcasting links atop various structures including a silo out by Stevens Road.  What else would you expect in the country?  It had to be on a silo.

Dishes are put outside home windows pointed toward the “broadcasting” structures including the devices affixed atop a silo.

You have to look long and hard to see the connecting devices including atop that old silo.

Connection to the Internet via silo

Connection to the Internet via silo

The County Board has promised it was going to make a difference to broad band in Western Loudoun.

But little or nothing has happened to do so.

Some were surprised by the recent pronouncements by Loudoun’s Economic Development folks  that “Loudoun County Leads Virginia in Broadband Use.”

“According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau,” according to the County’s Economic Development Crew, “Loudoun has the highest percentage of households with a fixed broadband (not mobile) Internet subscription in Virginia.”

Unfortunately, this is “somewhat” off the mark as they are really only talking about eastern Loudoun.

There was a broadband survey that the County conducted earlier this year.  It was in May and was extended through July 27, 2018 for residents to express their opinion.

There was an online map that showed the reaction.

Only “blue” was “great” and that was dominant in the eastern part of the County; “green” was “hit or miss” online (heavy in the West), and “red” was “terrible” (dominant in the West) and, as a result, the map of Western Loudoun looked like the onslaught of a teenage acne condition.

The survey map that was – and isn’t any longer

The survey map that was – and isn’t any longer

By the way, if you go looking for this map, as it appeared, and found in this article, it’s vanished; one source argued that’s what the County does to “hush” up what they don’t want the community to consider.

The original url was http://loudoungis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=1a995526e50c424896bfa48fdb793d9e .

When you go to that address (url) now, you will find a map and an array of only blue dots and no legend as to what the blue dots represent.  Continue reading

Got a Room at the Inn?

There’s an increase of homeless elderly (sketch by J. Flannery)

There’s an increase of homeless elderly (sketch by J. Flannery)

If you’re looking to make a difference for the less fortunate this Chanukah and Christmas Season, to help the homeless find shelter and the hungry to find food to eat, think about “Mobile Hope” in Leesburg as some Lovettsville folk are doing.

If you need some advice on what to give in the way of food, there’s a “window” into what works best in the winter, on the side of the Lovettsville Historical Society. Continue reading

Save, Don’t Pave, Our Gravel Roads

Feather Bed Bridge on an historic dirt road over Catoctin Creek

Feather Bed Bridge on an historic dirt road over Catoctin Creek

There is a growing effort to save Loudoun County’s old gravel roads from being paved.

By some accounts, Loudoun has more unpaved roads than any other County in the Commonwealth – about 250 miles – down from what some say was once 500 miles.

The County has, especially in the West, resisted attacks to develop and destroy the County’s pastoral setting; but, if something isn’t done, there will be fewer miles of unpaved roads.

Some walk or ride down Lovettsville’s Georges Mill, nearby Axline Road, Picnic Woods Road, or Ash George Road.

Over by Waterford, there’s the Clover Hill Road, and Downey Mill Road.

There are an array of roads south of Lincoln, Virginia.

In every direction near Middleburg, there are unpaved roads to discover worth a walk a run, a trot, or a ride.

Tim Jon, a columnist for the Blue Ridge Leader, has been cataloguing the beauty of the roads of Loudoun County for years.

The effort to save these roads has prompted a partnership by and between America’s Routes and the Mosby Heritage Area Association, hoping to underscore the hundreds of years of history and beauty and country peace that these roads represent. Continue reading

HERE COMES THE SUN – Solar Power

The home that Erin and Brian Palmer built with solar panels on the roof

The home that Erin and Brian Palmer built with solar panels on the roof

We’re not talking about Beatle George Harrison’s twangy tune, “Here comes the sun,” but the true power of the sun, even 93 million miles away, to warm our houses, cook our food, and keep our desktops humming on social media.

The simplest way to describe how solar does its work is that sunlight contains photons, packets of energy, that strike silicon cells, creating a flow of electrons and those electrons (traveling in one direction, a DC current) are harnessed in solar panels, later, usually “inverted,” so the current is AC, alternating, and then used in the domestic (and commercial) activities that are now mostly fossil fueled. Continue reading

Closing Comments on Malcolm Baldwin

Pamela and Malcolm Baldwin

Pamela and Malcolm Baldwin

Malcolm Baldwin last wrote to say “these are astoundingly disturbing times” and he had hoped to get together to talk about them, despite his annoying illness because, Malcolm said, “the head still works.”

By all accounts, until Malcolm wrote his last sentence in a draft op-ed on AR-1, on the day his life’s struggle ended, he was clear of mind and determined not to waste a minute of what was left of this mortal coil.

Seneca wrote that it’s not that life is so short, it is instead that so much of it is wasted.

Not a moment was wasted in Malcolm’s case.

Malcolm wrote Phyllis Randall, the County Chair, to say that “I’m doing fine with not being immortal.” Continue reading