American Conservation Film Festival Takes Audiences Around the World

by Jennifer Lee


Three films at this year’s American Conservation Film Festival will make their world premier and four their US premier among the 46 compelling films screening from October 23 to 25 in Shepherdstown.  The Festival brings together the finest conservation films and filmmakers from around the world.  The weekend also features discussions with scientists and educators, professional workshops, family programming, and social events — all with the mission of engaging, informing, and inspiring its audience through the power of film.

This year’s Festival will present films with a wide range of environmental and conservation themes.  The Festival opens on October 23 with a block dedicated to West Virginia and features three films profiling the environmental and economic injustices the state has suffered over the decades.   Filmmaker Mari-Lynn Evans will discuss her film “Blood on the Mountain” about the history and legacy of coal mining in the state.  On the same night in another venue, an exciting block of films featuring wild mustangs (Unbranded) and bison (Silencing the Thunder) will send you to the mountains of the American west. After the films, ACFF invites you to get stirred and shaken at Tito’s night at Domestic restaurant, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.  Discuss the films, mingle with filmmakers, and enjoy specialty cocktails and a late-night dinner.

At five venues in and around Shepherdstown, ACFF invites its audience to explore the world through the stories, images, and people that create this diverse offering of films.  Several filmmakers and subject matter experts will be present during the festival and participating in discussions following the screening of their films. Jacob Steinberg will introduce the world premier of his film Osprey: Marine Sentinel; Amanda Stronza will be visiting from Africa to introduce Pathways to Coexistence about the people and elephants of Botswana; and student filmmaker Sam Sheline will be on hand for his film called Add One Back about oyster farming in the Chesapeake Bay.

ACFF engages its audience in issue-relevant films, some uplifting and some enraging, and encourages festival participants to deepen their understanding of these issues and take action.  The “Action Opps” page of the ACFF website will offer resources that support audience members in turning inspiration into action.   The Conservation Filmmaker Workshop is offered October 24 and 25 at the National Conservation Training Center to aspiring and professional filmmakers who wish to hone their craft, exchange ideas in a creative and collaborative environment, and expand their professional network with colleagues and industry leaders working in a similar genre of film production.

ACFF presents four awards to outstanding festival films: the Green Fire Award for overall excellence in filmmaking; the Broadcast Award for a film previously or scheduled to air on a national television network; the Student Filmmaker Award, a $500 cash prize awarded to an emerging student filmmaker; and the Audience Choice Award.  All of the award-winning films will be shown at an encore event on November 1 at the Shepherdstown Opera House.

Full festival passes, allowing entrance to all films and events over the four days, are $40, day passes are $20, and tickets for a specific block of films are $12.  Discounts offered for seniors, students, and members of the military.

Join ACFF and some community partners for two free pre-festival events.  On Thursday, October 1st, ACFF offers a special screening of Trash Dance, the 2014 ACFF Green Fire Award-winning film, at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.  Then, on Friday, October 9th, ACFF teams with the Shepherdstown Film Society for a screening of DamNation, the 2014 ACFF Audience Choice Award-winning film.  This event will be held at Reynolds Hall on the campus of Shepherd University and will also feature a series of trailers from films for this year’s festival.

Get a sense of the Festival here:

Film descriptions, schedule, and ticket info here:

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A Conversation with Dennis Banks

With Amy Mathews Amos

Dennis Banks, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement in 1968, will be a Master of Ceremonies (along with Native American storyteller Dennis Zotigh) at the Harvest Dance of The Gathering, a multicultural thanksgiving celebrating humanity and Native American culture October 30–November 1 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds.

The American Indian Movement (AIM) spearheaded reform of federal policies towards Native Americans through controversial protests such as Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972 and the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973. The Trail of Broken Treaties was the first of several cross-country treks from the West Coast to Washington D.C. led by Banks and other Indian leaders. At the end of the walk, leaders occupied the offices of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and presented a Twenty-Point Position Paper to the Nixon Administration.

At Wounded Knee, Banks joined leaders of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization to occupy the town in opposition to the elected tribal leader, Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption. The occupation drew FBI agents and U.S. Marshalls who surrounded the town. The standoff lasted for 71 days and led to the death or injury of several federal agents and Indian protesters. For some, decades later, that conflict shrouds opinions on Banks; for others, regardless of their perspective on Wounded Knee, Banks is one of America’s great civil rights leaders.


The Observer’s Amy Mathews Amos had an opportunity to meet with Banks and organizers of The Gathering: René Locklear White, Chris (Comeswithclouds) White, Curt Hansen, and Dennis’ son Tatanka Banks to hear his thoughts on progress made since the start of the modern American Indian Movement, and his goals for native self-determination going forward. We share some of his comments from that conversation below.

On the movement’s top priority

“I think the most important part of the movement right now is to continue the emphasis on the treaty that exists between native people and the U.S. government. … That probably always will be our priority.”

“States are always trying to chip away at our sovereignty and our relationship with the U.S. government. They would like to have control over our lands and over our property and over whatever we’re doing. … But it’s not written that way and never will be. Our umbrella protection is those treaties.”

The role of the U.S. courts

“We’ve relied on (the courts) to interpret some of the real close language of those treaties. And usually in a struggle like that the balance will be usually weighed in favor of the tribes. So we rely on that.”


What’s changed since the Trail of Broken Treaties and Wounded Knee

“There’s been a lot of improvement with the federal point of view [towards native people]. There’s been tremendous change. Not 100 percent change. There are still pockets of racism in the states that we still have to deal with. The states are always saying ‘we stole this land from them fair and square.’ But that’s not the attitude with the federal people.”


The best U.S. President for Native Americans

“Ironically, the best sitting U.S. President has been Richard Nixon. He was the only president that gave land back to the Indian people and reinstated what is called the trust relationship between the tribe and Congress. … He put back trust status to Menominees in Wisconsin, and the Puyallups and Nisqually in Washington State. Gave land back to the Klamaths in Oregon. Gave the whole Taos Blue Lake back to the Pueblos. He is never shown to be Indian friendly—he never showed that at all. Even when the crisis was going on at Wounded Knee, when we were surrounded by 300 FBI agents and 90 U.S. Marshalls, and all those GOON [Guardians of the Olgala Nation] squads.”

“But [Nixon counsel John] Ehrlichman met with [actor and activist) Marlon Brando and I after Ehrlichman and [Nixon Chief of Staff] Haldeman were released from Nixon’s advisory group. We wanted to find out what position Nixon had been developing at Wounded Knee, and both Haldeman and Ehrlichman said he never had a pro position either way.”

“But at one point the Justice Department came to the White House and said they had a plan to end the stand-off at Wounded Knee, and they would blanket the whole area with gas, and they would use civilian FBI and U.S. Marshalls and also military men to come in there. Nixon exploded. He stood up and said ‘No, hell no,’ he says. ‘You mean to tell me a bunch of rag tag Indians you guys can’t get under control? You can’t end it in a peaceful way? Not on my watch you’re not gonna go do that.’”


The role of health in Indian self-determination going forward

“I was struck down with diabetes nine years ago … and to me that was like a kiss of death. Because all of the people that I knew had been going to the grave at a very early age and usually with their legs being cut off, and also fingers, and they were going blind [from diabetes]. So I immediately began to learn about what diabetes was and what I could do. My pancreas was the main target in my system. I had to protect that.”

“But how could I protect it and how could I strengthen it? With a lot of vegetables. So I went to a [clinic] in Arizona to reverse my diabetes. When I checked in there my glucose was 405—that’s the sugar reading. And after the very first week that I was in there, I was on a juice fast of nine vegetables. And my glucose went from 405 to 95. … I think if I checked [my glucose] right now it would be around 120. Anything below 140 for me is a safe zone.”

“We had two walks and a motorcycle run [to educate Indian communities about diabetes]. A lot of old timers now, they’re taking their medication but they’re also drinking beer. And that’s the worst thing that can happen. Even if you drink one beer you negate what the insulin supposed to do for you. A lot of them are dying with amputations … it’s a pandemic. So I emphasize changing the diet and exercise. I‘ve walked across this country seven times.”

“Next year I’m going to do a walk against drugs. When I walk, especially in the Montana area and North Dakota, my friends say ‘Dennis there’s another issue that’s much stronger than diabetes. There’s a lot of drugs up here’. … Drugs cause suicide and depression.”

“I would like to see us develop the food too. Visiting Rene’s [Locklear White] house a couple years ago I was amazed at their corn. I was standing in their cornfield and I was raising my hand, and [the corn] was still higher. I estimated it to be like 15 feet. I’m not lying. And that’s when I thought, ‘Wow, that’s what we should all do, is have this kind of program. Growing our own food.’”

“We have land. … I said every native family in America could be sitting down right now to our own food that we’ve grown.”


Similarities with the civil rights movement and incidents in Ferguson and Baltimore

“When AIM was formed in 1968, we had already pinpointed the [top] issues. … The first priority was police brutality. … We marched on the police department [in Minneapolis] that night. … The chief came down, but he defended his police department. He said ‘I know all my men, and I know none of them have a bone of racism in them’… So we took pictures all weekend long, because he wanted some proof of brutality. And Monday morning we came back. We put out probably about 40 volunteers with cameras on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and collected all that information before we went to see him, and we had over 500 photographs. … Pushing and shoving, hitting with night sticks, hitting in the ribs, hitting in the kidneys. [The police chief] suspended six police officers. … [But] it’s still the norm. The community knows that if they’re getting drunk in the bars out there they’re going to run into brutality.”


The Washington Redskins name and mascot

“Racism goes on with professional teams and college teams. Even many years before I formed the American Indian Movement that was an issue that a lot of us talked about.”

“I think the fans are part of the racist picture. You see a lot of fans dressed up really gaudy—they take turkey feathers, and paint their faces in green and gold and other colors to make a mockery of the ceremonies that we have. At a lot of ceremonies, when somebody’s gone to the spirit world [meaning they have passed away], they’ll put paint on the person just to have a good spirit journey and to be identified. … It’s hurtful, to see somebody making a mockery out of our beliefs.”


The importance of cultural and spiritual renewal

“There was a federal policy against [practicing native ceremonies]. Anybody found participating in these so-called ceremonies were punished by withholding of rations. The very first [policies] were in the 1800s—in 1874 came the banishment of the language in the Indian schools. But first came the banishment of the ceremonies. And one of the last acts, when they couldn’t kill us all, then the boarding school was their last campaign. They took kids—over 110,000 kids were taken that first year. I was one of those that were rounded up … I was four and a half years old. I was taken to a boarding school 300 miles away. I didn’t see [my parents] for six years.“

“The total return and recall of our cultures is on the front burner right now. Immersion schools, language schools, art schools. As a matter of fact, there’s a white school in Remer, Minnesota, where they are teaching the Ojibwa language. … So these white kids are learning the language. So I see some dramatic changes coming about in the school systems. I think that’s where we’re going to tackle racism—we need to stay in the school system and do it.”

“I think with the emphasis on drugs I’m going to ask for major changes from whatever program that we start, that it be culturally based. And that it be spiritual. Those two things I believe are so important in recovering some of our children. I want us to go to another level.”

Outstanding Officers Celebrated by The Curve

By Ralph Welliver

 Some one hundred guests of the Horseshoe Curve Benevolent Association gathered at the Blue Ridge Fire Hall on the evening of September 12, in the Association’s eleventh annual recognition and celebration of outstanding efforts shown by our community’s officers in law enforcement.  Following fellowship, with music by Tom Shabla and Blaine Perry, moderator Jim Wink of the Association began the proceedings.  Reverend Canon Dwight Brown of Grace Episcopal offered an invocation, reciting from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, all enjoyed a hearty dinner.

Virginia State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel thanked all officers for their service, and for the exceptional communication that law enforcement in Clarke and Frederick provide with the Virginia Senate, advising our lawmakers on local needs.

Nominations for awards were made by area sheriffs and police chiefs.  In addition to our community’s respect and thanks, each awarded officer received a plaque from the Association, commemorating the occasion, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Virginia House of Delegates, and a letter of commendation from Senator Mark R. Warner.  Tracy Wink of the Association and Virginia Delegate Randy Minchew presented the awards.  This year’s recipients and their remarkable accomplishments are:


Mount Weather Police Department – Officer Dustin Bowers

Officer Bowers serves as field training officer for new police officers, and has developed a system used to accurately track and document training hours and the trainee’s performance levels on the required duties.  In the process, the system identified redundancies in the training program, leading to improved efficiency and effectiveness of training.  Officer Bowers recently attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s course in managing an incident involving an active shooter.  Dustin is currently developing an active shooter training program for employees of Mount Weather’s Emergency Operations Center.


Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center – Officer William McCann

Officer McCann brings to our community a wealth of knowledge and experience, gained in twenty years of service with the Maryland Department of Corrections.  In May, he responded to an attempted suicide, assisting an inmate with a large laceration, and having lost considerable blood.  Officer McCann administered first aid and managed to stop the bleeding while coordinating emergency procedures.  The inmate later made a full recovery.  In August, Officer McCann was on routine rounds when he came upon a cell door with the window covered.  Upon investigation, he found the inmate with a bed sheet tied around his neck, unresponsive, and not breathing.  Officer McCann applied CPR and was able to reestablish a pulse.  At the Winchester Medical Center, doctors attributed the inmate’s survival to the quick and precise actions of McCann.  The inmate has since made a full recovery.



Clarke County Sheriff’s Office – Deputy Shane Jewell

Deputy Jewell joined the office in 2009. He is a respected instructor at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, where he teaches defensive tactics.  Sheriff Roper’s nomination cited Shane’s dedication to perfecting these tactics, working with experts in these matters on his own time, his spirit of willingness, and his hard work and dedication to the citizens of Clarke.


Winchester Sheriff’s Office – Deputy Mackenzie Carter

Deputy Carter has been with the office for only a year.  In that time she has shown her dedication to the office and the community at large.  She serves the community through several local civic groups, having participated in the CCAP food drive, the Evan Home for Children food drive, the Winchester Literacy Foundation summer reading program, Handley Library reading program, Running Strong Youth Offender Program, and Winchester Clean-up Days.  She is the lead advisor for the Office’s Explorer Post.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Office – Deputy Aaron Jeter

In July, Deputy Jeter made a routine stop for a speeding violation.  During the course of the incident, and with the assistance of additional officers, Deputy Jeter recovered a large amount of heroin, leading to an arrest and a suspect being charged with intent to distribute the heroin.  Deputy Jeter has since made two more arrests, stemming from the heroin problem plaguing the community.  One of these subsequent arrests led to an indictment for felony murder.


Berryville Police Department – Laura Patten

Laura Patten serves the Department as the sole civilian employee, and began working here in 1989.  She has seen a lot of change within the law enforcement profession and within our community over her twenty-six year career, which she began as a crossing guard, assisting children walking to and from school.  Laura proceeded into the role of handling the administrative business of the Department, and has seen the changes from hand written reports and typewriters to automated record keeping systems and computers in squad cars; from Polaroid photography of crime scenes to cellular telephone pictures sent electronically to a database.  Chief White’s nomination credited Laura with incorporating these changes with professionalism, and her handling and maintenance of records according to mandated protocol.

Laura maintains the flow of communication between the community and officers in the field.  Laura is indeed the smiling, understanding, and graceful face of the Department.  Next time you visit the Clarke/Berryville Government Center, please congratulate Laura on her retirement, which is planned for 2016.


Winchester Police Department – Corporal Richie Lewis

Last December the Department responded to a call concerning an upper level apartment in which there was a kidnapping in progress and a suspect claiming to have a bomb.  Upon arrival, officers encountered a man holding a knife to the throat of a woman.  The man challenged police, and appeared to be attempting “suicide by cop”.  Though the suspect sought to escalate matters, officers began negotiating with the suspect, and other officers moved to effect a rescue of the woman.  Through the calm, calculated, and coordinated actions of the officers, the incident was ultimately brought to a sudden and effective resolution, as Officer Lewis took advantage of a momentary opening to subdue the suspect, thereby freeing the captive

Off To The Races

By Victoria Kidd

The Observer’s guide to who is running in Clarke County

The Observer of Clarke County asked candidates running in contested elections to provide us a few details about themselves. Candidates were asked to write a short introduction, which we are printing without substantive edits. We have also asked that they provide details concerning their education, past offices held, previous work experience, etc. Those details are included below, although they have been formatted for consistency. For more information about each candidate visit their website.

Who is running in Clarke County?
The List.

VA Senate, 27th: Jill Holtzman Vogel (R)

VA House of Delegates, 10th: Peter C. Rush (D) and J. Randy Minchew (R)

VA House of Delegates, 33rd: D. Chuck Hedges (D), Dave A. LaRock (R), and Mark D. Anderson (L)

Clerk of Court: Helen V. Butts (D) and Maral S. Kalbian (I)

Commonwealth’s Attorney: Suzanne L. “Suni” Mackall (D)

Sheriff: Anthony W. “Tony” Roper (D)

Commissioner of Revenue: Donna Mathews Peake (R)

Treasurer: Sharon E. Keeler (D)

Soil and Water Conservation Director, Lord Fairfax: Justin Mackay-Smith (I) and Wayne E. Webb (I)

Board of Supervisors, Berryville District: Mary Costello Daniel (D) and Thomas W. McFillen (R)

Board of Supervisors, Buckmarsh District: David S. Weiss (R)

Board of Supervisors, Millwood District: Terri Trimble Catlett (R)

Board of Supervisors, Russell District: Barbara J. Byrd (I)

Board of Supervisors, White Post District: Beverly B. “Bev” McKay (R)

School Board, Berryville District: Chuyen B. Kochinsky (I)

School Board, Buckmarsh District: Monica H. Singh-Smith (I)

School Board, Millwood District: Dennis M. Graham (I)

School Board, White Post District: Charles H. “Chip” Schitte (I)

School Board, Russell District: Tom Parker, Jr. (Write-In Candidate)

Mayor, Boyce: Franklin S. Roberts (I)

Town Council, Boyce: Laurel W. Greene (I) and Ruth A. Hayes (I)

Introducing the

Candidates for VA House of Delegates, 10th: Peter C. Rush (D) and J. Randy Minchew (R)

Peter C. Rush (D)

Education: BA, Swarthmore College; MA, Univ. of Michigan, History

Past Offices Held: Board Member, Loudoun County Soil and Water Conservation District, 2007-2015 (currently still serving)

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held:  Journalist, Information Technology Contractor

Recent Volunteer Experience: N/A

Honors/Awards Received: N/A

About me

I am running because politics in this state (and nation) is broken because too many Republicans have made politics about ideology and political warfare, rather than about good governance and compromise to do the people’s business. We have multiple areas in great need of government action:

increasing funding for teacher salaries, universal pre-K and smaller class sizes;

acceptance of Medicaid expansion to save lives and money, and improve the health of 400,000 Virginians;

jump starting job creation by implementing the Governor’s “New Virginia Initiative” and similar measures;

creating a Virginia minimum wage that people can actually live on, well above the starvation Federal level;

promoting high-tech R&D with government-university-private sector partnerships to develop and commercialize new technologies in health, energy generation and efficiency, information technology, and above all manufacturing;

increasing funding for greatly expanded mental health services;

launching a major effort to provide evidence-based treatment options for opioid addicts (both heroin and prescription drug) to address the current raging addiction epidemic, while shifting from law enforcement to treatment as the preferred option for petty drug possession crimes;

addressing the incarceration crisis by finding ways to release non-violent offenders early and helping them readjust to civilian life;

disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by timely interventions in schools and redressing the overly severe punishments in some schools;

enhancing the safety net for our poorest residents who have inadequate incomes for food and shelter.

And climate change and our environment are further critical issues that require government-sponsored efforts to shift away from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, which will also create thousands of jobs. Fracking should be avoided indefinitely, until its safety can be determined based on many years of experience elsewhere.

By contrast, my opponent believes that Richmond should limit its concerns to just education and transportation infrastructure, according to his website. He offers nothing to address the issues of those without health insurance, of increasing education funding, or pro-active job creation. He believes that lowering taxes is all that the government can do, or needs to do, to help create jobs. He claims to favor moving to renewable energy, but proposes increased use of natural gas, which is not renewable and puts carbon in the air.

Finally, I am running because I have been a progressive Democrat my entire life, concerned with how to help our economy work for all our citizens, how to help those in poverty lift themselves up, how to better train and educate everyone to be good citizens and productive workers, and how to “unrig” the system that now favors the rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of us. In sum, I believe in ideas, not ideology, and policies, not politics.


J. Randy Minchew (R)


Education:  Duke University, A.B. degree in  Public Policy & Economics, magna cum laude

Washington & Lee University School of Law, Juris Doctor degree. Law Review

Virginia Theological Seminary, Diploma in Theology

Past Offices Held

Co-founding member and two-term Chairman of the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission

Founding member and Chairman of the Rural Economic Development Task Force

Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Loudoun County Finance Board

Citizens’ Tax Equity Committee

Loudoun Judicial Center Task Force

Previous Work Experience Held

District Attorney’s Office, Durham North Carolina: Police Liaison Officer and Investigative Assistant (1980-1981)

Law Clerk for Virginia Supreme Court Justice A. Christian Compton (1984-1985)

Private Sector Attorney (1985-Present), now Managing Shareholder of Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, Emrich & Walsh, P.C., Leesburg Office

Deputy Counselor and Policy Advisor to Governor Bob McDonnell (2010-2011)

Virginia General Assembly, House of Delegates, 10th District (2011-Present)

Courts of Justice Committee

Ethics Sub-committee Chairman

Transportation Committee

Privileges & Elections Committee

Northern Virginia Transportation Authority

Northern Virginia Transportation Commission

Virginia Indigent Defense Commission

Virginia Broadband Advisory Counsel

Recent Volunteer Experience

Lay Eucharistic Minister at St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Virginia

Boy Scouts of America, Scoutmaster, two-term District Chairman of Loudoun County Scouting, Silver Beaver Award recipient

General Counsel for the Potomac Appalachian Trial Club and awarded Life Membership

PADI Certified Rescue Diver and trained Wilderness First Aid Responder

It has been my honor to serve the citizens of the 10th District in the Virginia House of Delegates for the past four years, and I welcome the opportunity to continue my advocacy of sound, fiscally responsible policies which create jobs, preserve a favorable business climate, and lead to meaningful transportation improvements in our region.  I am committed to strengthening the economic base of our rural regions while preserving scenic and historic areas which are a distinct and valued aspect of the 10th District.

During my past four years in the House of Delegates, I have patroned and secured passage of important bills improving our regional and rural roads, fostering cost-effective, transparent, and ethical government operations, and strengthening our local schools. While I am proud of the progress that has been made, the work needs to continue.  I am exploring opportunities that will enhance the availability to alternative energy sources for consumers while encouraging the development of an industry that has tremendous growth potential.  Another need I plan to address is the expanded and improved broadband services and connectivity in underserved rural and low density areas of Virginia.

As delegate, I consider myself as a servant-leader duty bound to follow the admonition in Article I, Section 2 of our Virginia Constitution:

Article I. Bill of Rights, Section 2. People the source of power: All power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people, that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.


Candidates for VA House of Delegates, 33rd: D. Chuck Hedges (D), Dave A. LaRock (R), and Mark D. Anderson (L)


D. Chuck Hedges (D)

Education: B.S. University of Maryland, Transportation and Economics; Graduate work, McGill University, Montreal; Aviation Transportation—MIT, Executive School (through the Federal Government); Northwestern University—Kellogg School of Management (through the Federal Government); Numerous Management and Executive Training Courses (through the Federal Government)

Past Offices Held: N/A

Current/Previous Work Experience/Positions Held: Deputy Assistant Administrator for System Safety, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Executive Director, FAA’s Center for Early Dispute Resolution; Technical Officer, International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal; Member of the United States Delegations for more than 20 bilateral civil aviation negotiations; Senior Transportation Analyst, Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

Recent Volunteer Experience: Volunteer work with a therapeutic horse riding program; Service to the Sons of the American Revolution, the Lovettsville-Waterford Ruritan Club, the United States Trail Ride Association, the Religious Society of Friends (Lincoln, VA), the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

Honors/Awards Received: Numerous honors and awards received throughout federal career.

About Me

As 15-year residents of Lovettsville in Loudoun County, my wife Betty and I share a deep concern about the future of our beautiful, historic and fast-growing area.

Building on a longstanding record of community service, I am committed to serving all the people of the 33rd District in the House of Delegates, in contrast to our one-term incumbent, who serves only the extreme fringe of his own political party. To ensure good quality of life and economic prosperity now and for those who follow us, we must take practical actions to adequately fund public education, to improve transportation, and to care for the health of all our citizens.

In the past, Republicans and Democrats traditionally cooperated to improve people’s lives, the prosperity of businesses, and the justice of our laws and regulations. This willingness to serve the common good has been lost in Richmond, as in Washington.  I will use knowledge gained through my international and national negotiation and conflict resolution experience to work across the aisle and restore public education funding; improve transportation; attract investment and jobs; and enhance the health of our citizens. Furthermore, to respond to the critical needs of the 33rd District, I will pursue policies that build on our agricultural heritage and promote value-added farming and agritourism as well as farmland preservation.

I will help older citizens to stay in their homes as long as possible, by ensuring that our elders receive tax credits to help make their homes safe and secure and access to the services they need.

We must increase state public education expenditures. It defies common sense for state public education expenditure to have decreased 17% since 2008, while our school-age population is growing by 10% per decade. The state’s projected budget surplus should be invested first and foremost in public education. I will work with state and local officials to provide teachers the pay they are due, because they have been ignored in the recent economic downturn.

Transportation is a severe problem throughout the 33rd district, but my opponent has done nothing to address congestion on routes 7, 9 and 37. I will use my 37 years of transportation experience to achieve practical measures to reduce costly congestion.

We also have an obligation to provide quality health care to all our people. I have seen my wife go from zero to stage III breast cancer between mammograms in less than one year, and we understand the costs and stresses such a diagnosis creates.  Among the 400,000 Virginians without health insurance that the current House of Delegates turns its back on, some 25,000 women will get breast cancer and not receive timely treatment.  The women and families of Virginia deserve better.

Peter M. LaRock (R)

Education: High School graduate; completed college courses in business management, accounting, and marketing at State University of New York, Agricultural and Technical College at Canton

Past Offices Held: N/A

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held: Worked as a carpenter; grew a general contracting company into a family-run, multi-million/year (gross revenue) custom home-building business; director of The 1789 Project; director of Loudoun Opt Out; director of No Toll

Recent Volunteer Experience: Blue Ridge District Chairman, Loudoun County Republican party; supporter of 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, Leesburg; Romania Reborn, Purcellville; New Eve Ministries, Winchester; Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg; support team for missions trips to Belize, Ghana, and Brazil

Honors/Awards Received: Winner of a Kitchen design award; Virginia Chamber of Commerce 2014 “Distinguished Advocate for Virginia Business”

About Me

Over the last months and years, I’ve had the privilege of representing the good people of the 33rd District in Virginia’s General Assembly. One of the most enjoyable parts of this job for me and my family is going door-to-door across the district and getting to know the thousands of neighbors that live nearby. I’ve been able to meet many of you personally, and if we haven’t met yet, I hope to soon!

I’m passionate about making Virginia a better place to live, work, raise a family and do business. If you hire me again as your delegate, some of my top priorities for the next session are:

Helping Virginia on the road to economic recovery. Many people are still struggling to find work and make ends meet, and I believe the legislature can take careful steps to grow the availability of good jobs. Expanding rural broadband access is one such step that I’m excited to help advance, as branching high speed internet access out to rural communities makes it easier for businesses to branch out and entrepreneurs to get started. I’m also working with local businesses and fellow legislators to tap into Northern Virginia’s enormous potential as a leader in cybersecurity, an industry that holds vast employment potential.  Along with fellow delegates, I’m pushing back against the crushing EPA regulations that threaten to drive up heating bills and business costs all over Virginia in the near future.

I want to see our road problems fixed. Northern Virginians have to deal with some of the worst traffic in the nation, and that’s why I passed legislation last session to improve our transportation spending by requiring rating of ALL transportation projects. We still have more work to do to make sure our transportation spending aligns with practical goals like easing congestion. I’m also working to get the word out about the Governor’s plan to stick it to commuters by enacting an outrageous $17 toll for I-66 users. This is a horrible plan, as it bilks our citizens for an outrageous sum and will do nothing to help our traffic woes.

Virginia’s education system needs improvement. Last session I led the effort to protect our schools from a Federal Common Core takeover and to expand educational options for special needs children. It’s my intention to make sure that the promise of a good education is open to every child in our Commonwealth.

These are just some of the issues that I’ll focus on if you honor me with the opportunity to serve again as your delegate. If you have any suggestions or would like my assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (540) 751-8364 or visit

Mark D. Anderson (L)

Education: Currently enrolled at Lord Fairfax Community College; studying Business Administration. Future educational goals include enrollment at George Mason University where I hope to study Economics.

Past Offices Held:  None

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held: I have worked at O’Sullivan Films Corp. for over 11 years.  My current position is Quality Lab Technician.

Recent Volunteer Experience:  2014 Robert Sarvis for Senate and Bill Redpath for Congress Winchester/Frederick County Campaign Coordinator.

Current Chairman of Frederick County Libertarians.

Honors/Awards Received: N/A

About Me:

I am running for Virginia’s House of Delegates in the 33rd District because the size and scope of the government far exceeds our founders’ intent. Spending and taxes are at heights that cannot be supported by the economy. There needs to be drastic cuts to both if we are to reverse the direction our state is headed. The founders of this Nation knew that Liberty is the vital component if a nation is to succeed. This is what I aim to bring to the House of Delegates, a consistent vote in favor of individual liberty and fiscal responsibility. Governments cannot legislate their way to prosperity; they can only back off and let each individual make the best choices for themselves. As each individual thrives, so does the state in which they live. A state and nation founded in Liberty is the only way to ensure this success. In recent years there has been a focus placed on our carbon footprint, it is time we started focusing on our Government’s Footprint.

Among the issues I want to address is the War on Drugs in Virginia.  Our nation has 5% of the world’s total population, yet we house 25% of the world’s prison population, and three-quarters of all incarcerated people in America are there for non-violent drug offenses.  We need to start treating addiction as a health crisis, not a criminal one.  We will not end addiction by arresting people, pulling them away from their families and their jobs and throwing them in prisons.  The War on Drugs has brought us nothing but bloated budgets, a loss of liberty, and devastated communities.  I will strongly push to legalize cannabis and decriminalize harder drugs in Virginia.

I am a strong proponent of the free market and I believe it should replace government in education, healthcare, and transportation.  The free market is truly better equipped at offering affordable and higher quality alternatives than government subsidized programs.  We need to deregulate education and healthcare to allow the market to open creative alternatives that meet the demands of parents and consumers.  In transportation we should get the government out of the road-building business, let the market handle road maintenance, public transportation, and all other government functions.  The government methodology of tax and spend to provide these programs has proven to be inefficient and ineffective, I would seek all opportunities to privatize education, healthcare, and transportation.

Virginia is one of only three states that in 2014 did not have a growing GDP, this is a result of our reliance on government jobs and dollars.  Virginia employs government workers at twice the national average.  It is time for deregulation and a free market to handle business in Virginia.

Candidates for Clerk of Court: Helen V. Butts (D) and Maral S.
Kalbian (I)


Helen V. Butts (D)

Education:  Graduate of James Wood High School, Training in Case Management and Financial Management Systems (This training is updated with Webinars throughout the year), Training with Logan Systems Inc.  (To keep updated with scanning and on-line processing)

Past Offices Held: Clerk of the Clarke County Circuit Court

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held:  Have 52 years experience in Clarke County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office (33 years as deputy and 19 years as clerk)

Recent Volunteer Experience: N/A

Honors/Awards Received: Have received awards from County for years of work completion.

About Me:

I am Helen Butts, Clerk of the Clarke County Circuit Court.  I moved here from Frederick County, Virginia, in 1963 together with my late husband, Eugene Butts, and our three children.

In March, 1963, I began in the Clerk’s Office as deputy clerk.  The Judges of the Circuit Court appointed me Clerk in 1996 upon the retirement of J. H. Wood, Jr.  I was elected to fill his unexpired term in 1997; re-elected in 1999 and 2007.

The reason I am seeking another term as Clerk is to continue to serve the many individuals who use the services of the office and the services of the Court.

There are many duties of the Clerk as mandated by the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Code of Virginia.  Many changes to improve and modernize the office have taken place during my tenure. The Supreme Court mandated that all Circuit Courts place their land records on-line.  Our land records, wills and estates are computerized back to the forming of Clarke County in 1836.  We have also scanned our judgments, UCC books and other Misc. Order Books.  We have terminals for use by the public coming into the office as well as a fee based web-access system for working from the home or office.  (This is paid for by the users of the web-access system with no cost to the County).  This has been accomplished with two deputies; the chief deputy with 19 years experience and the second deputy with over 10 years experience.  This is an ongoing process that is worked on almost daily.

The Clerk’s duties include filing of all criminal and civil cases and following them through the process until ended. This includes assisting the Judges with all courtroom proceedings.

Also the Clerk’s duties include financial management of the office, trust funds, numerous handgun permits and other duties too numerous to mention.

Clarke County deserves a competent, courteous, up-to-date Clerk’s Office and if re-elected I will continue to keep the office as efficient and modernized as possible for the benefit of our citizens.


Maral S. Kalbian (I)

Education: Handley High School, B.A. Smith College, M.A., University of Virginia

Past Offices Held: N/A

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held: Historic Preservation Consultant

Recent Volunteer Experience: Clarke County Historical Association (vice-president); Clarke County Library Advisory Council; Mount Hebron Cemetery Board of Managers; past or current member of numerous committees including: Clarke County Public Schools, St. Bridget’s Chapel in the Field, Belle Grove, Berryville Main Street, and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

Honors/Awards: Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia- Candidate Training Program, 2015; Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission, Certificate of Merit, 2015 (Clarke County Historic District Driving and Walking Tour Brochure), 2013 (Images of America: Clarke County); Carroll H. Henkel Award, Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc., 2009 (for Knowledge and Promotion of Historic Tax Credits); Excellence in Preservation Award, Shenandoah Preservation League, 2001, Stewart Bell, Jr. Award, Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, 2000; Ben Belchic Award, Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc., 2000, Artie Award, Shenandoah Arts Council, 1999 (Frederick County, Virginia, History Through Architecture); and Ben Belchic Award, Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc., 1991

About Me:

People have asked me why I am running for Clarke County Circuit Court Clerk. I am doing it because I love Clarke County and I believe deeply in our potential to move forward in ways that preserve our rich heritage while embracing modern technology to advance into the future.

Clarke County has been my home for 28 years. My husband and two children were born and raised here. My professional career has focused on promoting Clarke’s diverse history. By documenting and preserving historic structures and collaborating with my fellow Clarke County residents, I strive to make this community better and stronger.

I know my opponent well, admire her spirit and attitude, and applaud her 52 years of dedicated service. The friendly and helpful atmosphere she has created in the Clerk’s Office will continue when I am elected.  As a historic preservation consultant based in Clarke, I have spent a lot of time working with public records in Clerks’ Offices throughout Virginia.

I have noticed how Clarke County is behind the rest of the State in information technology and techniques.  Most of the modernization my opponent has implemented is mandated by the State of Virginia for all Clerks’ Offices. As we move further into the 21st century, additional progress must be made if we are to keep current with the rest of the Commonwealth. We must also better protect our valuable historic records, while making them accessible. I believe this can be done using innovative, grant-funded, cost-saving techniques.

The Clerk of the Court is one of the most important elected County offices. For this reason we all need to take seriously who we select for the next 8-year term.  I bring to the position a fresh perspective, a deep knowledge of the County, business proficiency, and skill at interfacing with government agencies. I also offer a 5-point plan for modernizing and increasing the efficiency of the Clarke County Clerk’s Office:

Deliver superior customer service and enhanced public document access to all Clarke County residents

Capitalize on available Virginia grants to modernize technology

Streamline communications with other County departments

Implement electronic record storage technology to make all Clarke County public records easily accessible

Preserve and protect Clarke County’s historic records for future generations

Implementing my plan will save Clarke County taxpayers time and money. Many of the upgrades I envision can be funded using available State grants. These enhancements will enable our information, including valuable historic paper records, to be utilized in a faster, safer, and more open manner.

That is good for all of us.

Thank you for your consideration and I ask for your vote on November 3rd.

Candidates for Board of Supervisors,
Berryville District: Mary Costello Daniel(D) and Thomas W.
McFillen (R)

Mary Costello Daniel (D)

Education: James Wood High School (1986); University of Virginia College of Arts & Sciences (Bachelor of Arts, English 1990); University of Richmond, T. C. Williams School of Law, Juris Doctor 1993)

Past Offices Held: Council of the Town of Berryville, Representative of Ward 3 (2007-present) ; Chair, Police & Security Committee (2012-Present); Vice Chair, Budget Committee (2010-Present); Utilities Committee (2007-2010); Clarke County Planning Commission (1999-2007)

Current/Previous Work Experience/Positions Held: President & Managing Attorney, Daniel & Hetzel, Attorneys at Law, PC (formerly known as The Daniel Group); Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Winchester, Virginia; Associate Attorney, Hobert & Kerr, PC

Recent Volunteer Experience: Rotary Club of Frederick County; Clarke County Educational Foundation, Inc., Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc.; DG Cooley Parent Teacher Organization

Honors/Awards Received: Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary International); Presidential Citation (Rotary International); Respect for the Law Award (Winchester Optimists Club); Whos’ Who Among American Law Students; Dean’s List (University of Virginia); Golden Key National Honor Society (University of Virginia)

About Me

As a resident of Berryville and Clarke County since 1996, I appreciate the unique quality of life available to all who live here. As wife, mother, and businesswoman, I believe that it is important to preserve the things that make Clarke County a great place to live and raise a family. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I will use my experience from the County Planning Commission and the Berryville Town Council to address the needs of all Clarke residents and businesses. I will work to keep taxes low while maintaining a high-quality public education system, supporting public safety efforts, and ensuring public services are managed efficiently and effectively.  I am prepared to meet the expectations of the Berryville District as we find solutions that are good for Clarke County.

Clarke County must bring our emergency services and public schools up to the level we need. In order to do this, we must commit to increasing revenue by fostering business growth in Berryville and Clarke County as a whole. My experience as a startup and as a small business owner have proven valuable in assisting clients, friends and others who run their businesses. During my tenure as a Town Councilor, we worked to simplify the business license process. Further, we worked with the Economic Development Authority, the Board of Supervisors, and the Governor of Virginia to make the expansion at Berryville Graphics a reality. Both the Town Council and the Planning Commission provided experience in the importance of home-based businesses and agri-business to maintaining our small town, rural environment.  We are well-poised to move into the next decade as an economically secure, top-tier community with high quality public schools.

My experience serving in local government uniquely qualifies me to promote a strong working relationship between the Town and the County for the benefit of all Clarke citizens.


Thomas W. McFillen (R)

Education: Clarke County High School

Past Offices Held: CC Planning Commission, Clarke Easement Authority, Board of Equalization, Clarke County IDA

Current/Previous Work Experience: Contract Project Manager, Dominion Construction, Kee Construction, International Developers, HT Development; Development Planning Director, Stonebridge Golf & Residential Community; Virginia Class A contractor, Carpe Diem CV Inc.; Tour & Fishing guide, River Hawk Tours, Berryville

Recent Volunteer Experience: Help With Housing, Powhatan School, Grace Episcopal Church, Virginia Hunter Education Program Instructor

Honors/Awards Received: N/A

About Me

As a resident of Berryville, my wife Robin and I are raising four very challenging daughters.  I am proud to call Clarke County home.  People come, people go but communities stay!  We are all just custodians of our time here and measured only by our contribution to the community as a whole.  My goal in this local election is very simple – preserve our character, seek to improve our local government and represent the citizens of the Berryville District fairly amongst a board of my peers.  During my extended service on the Planning Commission, various committee assignments and community boards over the past fifteen years, I have developed a working relationship and gained the respect of our Board of Supervisors, County staff and the management team of the Town of Berryville.  I am confident I can work within the structure of the Board as a voice of reason, not afraid to ask a difficult question and willing to hear all sides of any issue.  There is however one exception, in that I cannot support ideas, policy decisions, text amendments or ordinances that would erode our Comprehensive Plan.  It is the basis of how Clarke County developed the successful land plan of this community thirty five years ago and is the mechanism of how we will be able to maintain our character going forward another thirty five years.

Do we as a community have room for improvement, most certainly so.  I would like to expand the communication and development of ideas that promotes varying and different agricultural practices and agro tourism.  I will endeavor to seek new methods to bring connectivity to the total of our County.  I want a nurturing and positive relationship that supports any and all programs undertaken by our towns and villages that promotes business development, ever how small.  Ten new businesses, each with five employees is no longer small, it’s a movement!

On a personal level, since walking the front lawn of Clarke County High School as a graduate in 1974, forty plus years has been devoted within the construction and development industry. In receiving a Resolution of Appreciation from the Clarke Planning Commission upon the completion of my term last year, I was noted as wanting to be remembered as a “simple carpenter”.  If only that easy.  I currently manage a portfolio of commercial projects as a contract Project Manager, responsible to the budgets and scheduling demands of a diverse market.

I would like this opportunity to represent my home, my community and my County – nothing further – nothing grander.  I am so greatly appreciative of the support shown to my campaign and promise that I will do my level best to represent the total of our Clarke County citizens if elected.


Candidate for School Board, Russell District: Tom Parker, Jr.
(I, Write-In Candidate)
*Tom, as a write-in candidate has been included among the individuals we’ve asked to provide additional details. He is running unopposed. 


Tom Parker, Jr. (I)

Education: Clarke County High School; James Madison University; Northern Virginia Community College

Past Offices Held: N/A

Current/ Previous Work Experience/Positions Held:  Loudoun County Government/Legislative Aide; Currently self-employed Realtor with Re/Max

Recent Volunteer Experience: Technology Chair, DG Cooley PTO; CCPS CTE Committee; CCPS School Climate Committee; Clarke County Youth Soccer Board; BSA Pack 500

Honors/Awards Received: N/A

About Me

I live just north of Berryville with my wife Emily, she is an elementary teacher for a neighboring county. We have 3 children; one at each of the DG Cooley Campuses and the youngest only 6 months old. Clarke County Public Schools will play a large role in my family’s life over the next 18+ years.

As a Clarke County native, it has already played a large role in my life up to this point. If elected, I would focus on improving communication between the school division as a whole and the families that we serve. I also hope to help better inform the community at large of the benefits of a high performing school system. I feel it is incumbent on School Board members to keep those they represent informed on what is happening in the school system.

I would also work to provide more opportunities for our students through expanded career and technical offerings, strategic community/business partnerships, improvements to our gifted and talented programs and focusing on academic success for all students. I would work with school administration to ensure that all of our schools attain and are maintaining full accreditation on the state and federal levels.

I would also like to see STEM education and an expanded use of technology in our instruction at all grades. I would look forward to working with my fellow Board members on fully implementing the newly completed Strategic Plan and putting together a plan that would finally bring the two Cooley campuses under one roof.

Virginia Indian Trail Appearing through Clarke County

By A’lice Myers-Hall

Virginia Indians are presenting a traditional harvest festival Oct. 30 – Nov.1 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, Virginia called “The Gathering.”

Many locals are already catching the spirit of “The Gathering.” Clermont Farm is offering two free preview events Sept. 12 and Sept. 26 and a Tee Pee installation. Kim Ragland at Boyd’s Nest Restaurant actually planted the food (corn, beans and squash), to grow and feed “Three Sisters Stew” to the Indian dancers and elders. Ragland also learned to make Indian fry bread and plans to serve up samples during the Farmers Market on Oct. 17. In addition, on Oct. 17, the Barns of Rose Hill offers a spectacular Native American trio featuring Native American matinee with icon Dennis Banks, Three Sisters Art Challenge artists’ reception and Dark Water Rising live rocky soul concert.

WHO ARE VIRGINIA INDIANS? Virginia Indian history dates back more than 10,000 years with a history rich and written on the hearts and in the minds of their descendants who are now the keepers of the culture and teachers of a way of life. Local couple Chris and Rene’ White with Sanctuary on the Trail™ found a paleo-Indian site in Clarke County with artifacts that dated last used 10,470 years ago. The local Holy Cross Abbey at Cool Springs Farm has Indian artifacts crafted continually between 10,500 to 300 years before present.

Why are corn, beans and squash so significant to Native Americans? Why are sharing, storytelling, dance and song so important? Do Native Americans still hold onto these principles of life? Do they self-identify as Indians? Come to “The Gathering” to learn more. Share in the experience of Native American culture that is alive and flourishing, with a people rich in the knowledge of their ancestral lands and cultural expressions. We are still here!

Meanwhile, in the book titled, “The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail” edited by Karenne Wood, readers will gain insight into life, history and culture as Woods enlightens the readers through her educational and insightful sharing of Virginia’s Indian history.

Before Christopher Columbus and John Smith, tribes were part of the original peoples or inhabitants of what is known today as Virginia. Due to war and forced relocation and diseases, some, once eastern and Virginia tribes, are now located in the Carolinas and as far as Oklahoma and all states in between. These include: Catawba tribe, Cherokee tribe, Croatoan tribe, Powhatan Confederacy, Tuscarora tribe, Tutelo and Saponi tribes and Yuchi tribe. Many are extinct.

In Virginia, despite the Indian Removals of the 1800’s, eugenics of Dr. Walter Plecker that lasted until 1946, and absence of federal recognition, 11 Native Tribes still live and thrive here in Virginia; along with countless other indigenous individuals from across the Americas who call Virginia and Clarke County home. The 11 Virginia Indian Tribes are:


Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Tribe “People at the Fork of the Stream”

Location: Courtland Virginia, Southampton County. The tribe reorganized in 2002 and established their tribal government. In 2009, they purchased 100 acres from their 41,000-acre reservation.

Language: Iroquoian

Population: Enrolled members 272

State Recognition: Recognized, 2010

Chickahominy Tribe (Coarse-Pounded Corn People)

Location: Charles City County, Virginia, midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, near where the tribe lived in 1600 along the Chickahominy River.

Population: 875 members living within a five-mile radius of the the tribal center with several hundred more living in other parts of the United States.

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: March 25, 1983, Virginia Joint Resolution 54

Federal Recognition: Seeking since 1996

Eastern Chickahominy Tribe

Location: 25 miles east of Richmond in New Kent County, Virginia. They shared a history until the early 1900’s when it was decided (due to travel inconvenience to meetings) they would organize their own tribal government. In 2002, the tribe purchased 41 acres of land.

Population: 132 enrolled members, 67 members living in Virginia. They are proud of their 26 veterans with service in the Armed Forces since World War I.

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: March 25, 1983, Virginia Joint Resolution 54

Mattaponi Tribe

Location: Live on a reservation that stretches along the borders of the Mattaponi River in King William County. This reservation historically dates back to 1658.

Population: On roll members are counted as 450, however approximately 75 currently live on the reservation.

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: 1658

Monacan Indian Nation

Location: Amherst County, Virginia. Native habitation in the region dates back more than 10,000 years. The Monacan People are one of the oldest sects of indigenous people who still reside on their ancestral homeland and the only group of Eastern Siouan people in the state.

Population: 1,600 tribal members

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: February 14, 1989

Nansemond Tribe

Location: Nansemond River centered near Chuckatuck which is the current location of Suffolk. Due to the encroaching of the Europeans, the Nansemond lost the last of their known reservation lands in 1793. Today, most members still live in the Suffolk/Chesapeake areas.

Population: Members: 200 enrolled members

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: 1985

Nottoway Tribe

Location: Located in Capron in Southampton County and parts of Surry County. Though the Nottoway and Cheroenhaka share a history, they are different tribes. These tribes became separate tribes in 2002.

Language: Iroquoian

Population: Enrolled members 120

State Recognition: Recognized, 2010

Pamunkey Tribe

Location: Pamunkey Indian Reservation on the Pamunkey River and is adjacent to King William County. Smallest and oldest documented tribe in Virginia

Population: Currently 31 families (200+ members) reside on the reservation with many tribal members living in nearby Richmond and Newport News, and throughout Virginia and other parts of the United States.

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: March 25, 1983, Virginia Joint Resolution 54

Federal Recognition: On July 2, 2015 the Pamunkey Tribe became the 567th federally recognized tribe in the United States and the first tribe to be federally recognized in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Patawomeck Tribe (Potomac)

Location: Stafford County, Virginia.

In 1666 the English declared war and the Patawomeck tribe disappeared from historical records, however the tribe’s history was uncovered in the early 20th century.

Population: 1,500 enrolled members

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: Recognized February 2010

Rappahannock Tribe “Where the Tide Ebbs and flows”

Location: Caroline, Essex and King and Queen Counties within the ancestral territory. The Rappahannock Indian Tribe incorporated in 1921.

Population: 500 enrolled members,

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: Recognized as one of the historic tribes of the Commonwealth of Virginia by an act of the General Assembly on March 25, 1983.

Upper Mattaponi Tribe (Through 18th and 19th centuries, they were known as the Adamstown Band due to many tribal citizens with the surname Adams.)

Location: Tribal grounds consisting of 32 acres in King William County near the upper reaches of the Mattaponi River

Population: Based on 2009, there are 575 enrolled members

Language: Algonquian

State Recognition: March 25, 1983, Virginia Joint Resolution 54

Folks from all over are invited to “The Gathering” to join the Indian harvest dance, 14th annual Virginia Gourd festival, Three Sisters Art challenge and more. “The Gathering” is for everyone.


Join us in this new and elevated spirit of Thanksgiving and humanity in which you participate in new possibilities of community. Visit the rich history and rural beauty of this charming Blue Ridge Mountain and Shenandoah Valley landscape. Clarke County is an oasis for the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia traveler. Just 60 miles west of Washington, DC, 12 miles from Hollywood Casino and Race Track and 16 miles from historic Harpers Ferry, Clarke County is now home to “The Gathering.”

Advance tickets for “The Gathering” are on sale at Fox’s Pizza and Boyd’s Nest on Main Street in Berryville. The official web site is:

The Gathering is Hosted by the non-profit federally recognized Sanctuary on the Trail™ in partnership with the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society with the support of the Red Road Foundation,™ Nowa Cumig Institute™ and Clarke County Parks and Recreation.

Until “The Gathering,” we hear the heartbeat of the drum, calling each of us home to the circle in which we are all one. Each beat echos in our hearts and invokes our spirit. Our ancestors sing out to us, their voices riding on the wind. “Do not forget.” We are still here.

Pressing Letters for The Gathering

This year’s Virginia Gourd Festival is going to be special! The Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society partnered with Sanctuary on the Trail™ for The Gathering, a three-day celebration of agri-culture that runs Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2015. Gourd enthusiasts, Native American tribes, and visitors will gather to enjoy gourd culture, gourd art classes, Native American Harvest Dance, a military tribute, a Trading Post, a Twilight Auction of gourd and Native American art and artifacts. [See for classes and auction items or The Gathering at]

For thirteen years, David Lasko has been printing postcards, letterhead, and notecards for the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society (VLGS) on his home letterpress equipment which could be any combination of antique metal and wood typefaces, a Vandercook proofing press, and various other hand and machine-run presses. The unique branding of the VLGS has been shaped not only by the stacked-typeface design developed by Lasko but by the process of pressing letters into paper. [See logotype.]

Lasko began his love of letterpress printing in the mid-1970s at Syracuse University where he happened upon a course and a professor who opened the door to this type of printing. At the time, letterpress printing was still a common way to communicate. Since then, digital printing formats have taken the world by storm and letterpress printing has been relegated to specialty jobs, usually custom high-end printing for wedding invitations or letterhead when the tactile beauty of letters pressed into paper produces a visual statement. Although Lasko works as a printing specialist for a local book manufacturer, he is a sought-after mentor among those rediscovering letterpress as an artform.

An event the size and scope of the Virginia Gourd Festival at The Gathering called for a special piece of letterpress printing. David Lasko used the stacked type style he originally developed for the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society logotype to produce a 19” x 25” promotional poster.

For a poster of this size, the letters and subsequent lines of text were laid directly onto the bed of the Vandercook to make a form. Letter by letter and line by line, the poster began to take shape. Eventually a black and white press proof rolled off the press for proofreading and editing. Once edits were marked on the proof and corrections were made to the form, the final set up was inked with red (there were red hearts) and the whole form was pressed into the paper chosen for the project.  Once dried, and the hearts (dingbats in letterpress terminology) were removed, the form was re-inked to print over the letters on the same papers to give a rich deep color for the type.

The resulting two-color poster is visually interesting, consistent with the VLGS brand, and worthy of an art collection. Although many posters will be hung around the state and shown at surrounding states’ gourd shows, some will be signed, numbered, and sold for $75 as a limited edition art poster with the money contributing to the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society’s public outreach programs.

Let letterpress inspire you to join us at the Clarke County Fairground in Berryville, VA for The Gathering!  Be a part of the friendly fun and hearty laughter gourds can offer. Enjoy learning about Native American culture and heritage. Take home a piece of art or learn to make your own. It will be gourd-tastic – see you there!!

Giving an Old Mill New Life

Story by Victoria L. Kidd, photos by Jennifer Lee

  There is something about old buildings. As demands on our time force us to move faster and faster, we find ourselves rushing between our “point As” and “point Bs.” While cityscapes blur past us without inciting more than a fleeting interest, there’s simply something about old buildings. Their architecture and style are hard to overlook. When we drive past them, they seem to move by us in slow motion. Between breaths we can almost see the spectral presence of those whose lives are forever tied to these buildings of wood and stone. Such is certainly the case when one drives past Aylor’s Mill, the enormous, five-story structure located at 401 East Main Street in Berryville, VA.

The building, which sits on a narrow lot butting up against the tracks used by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, has served a number of tenants since its construction in 1928, but the most recent persons to become stewards of this historic site are Steve Scott and Julie Ashby, owners of an interior design studio named Hip and Humble. The pair are experts in what they call “antique and architectural salvage,” a design and production process that repurposes materials and items in a manner that creates a new—and sometimes unexpected—item.

For example, wooden planks from an old corn crib (a type of granary used to dry and store unhusked ears of corn) may be reshaped and used to make a one-of-a-kind kitchen table. Perhaps the large, rusting blades of a metal windmill may find new life as a chandelier or a nonoperational vending machine transforms into a bookcase. Ashby sometimes refers to the process as being “barn again,” a play on being born again, since the results truly do give an object new life.

“Everything can have a new purpose, a new life,” Ashby asserts. “We never really know what we will find or what will find us, really. We’ll get a call to come take down an old structure or barn and we’ll bring the materials back and let them speak to us. The shop is filled with antiques that really don’t need much repurposing, as well as items we have created from the things that have found their way to us.”

Truly, Scott and Ashby see inspiration in all old things, and this is perhaps the reason they believed Aylor’s Mill was the ideal place for Hip and Humble to call “home.” The mill has been repurposed before, although one could argue that no other business has been as ideally suited for the space as one that makes old things new again. Their story is the latest chapter in a history that starts even before the current building located at the site was erected.

According to local architectural historian Maral Kalbian, the structure stands atop the ashes of an 1893 flour mill that burned down on July 14, 1927. That mill was built by Loudoun County resident Tazwell Lovette. It would eventually come to be owned by Francis L. Aylor of Culpepper, Virginia. Aylor purchased the mill in 1922, subsequently moving his wife, Salina, and daughter, Roberta, to Clarke County.

His family arrived in July of 1922 and lived initially in a Main Street hotel, according to a 1975 article appearing in the Winchester Evening Star. (The article is safely tucked away under the care of Mary Thomason-Morris, an archivist and Clarke County enthusiast with the Clarke County Historical Association.) In September, they were finally able to acquire their family home on Church Street. Things were going well, but the mill was “tinder box,” according to Mrs. Aylor. Its heart was a coal-burning steam engine and wood stoves provided its heat. For a mill that had to remain dry to effectively process the grains, it was one spark away from tragedy.

The dry wood caught fire in the July heat of 1927, and while the firemen saved his papers and records, the building itself was a complete loss. Aylor was devastated, and he spent some time considering endeavors outside of the milling industry. The aforementioned newspaper article goes on to say that the townspeople rallied around the Aylor family, and a petition imploring him to rebuild was circulated among area farmers. Many even offered to help financially in his efforts to reestablish the mill that was so critically important to the county’s economy. Aylor decided he could not leave the people and the community who had shown him such support, and he set out to rebuild his mill—this time leaving behind the technology of the past and powering operations with electricity.

The structure standing today in place of the original mill remains much as it was when it was completed in 1928. Every inch of the building, which is now 87 years old, has a story. Even the wood, which stands underneath the pressed-tin shingling that covers its exterior, has a genesis tale of its own.

In a report titled A Brief History of Aylor’s Mill, Kalbian writes, “According to newspaper and oral accounts, the timber used for the construction of this mill came from Oregon and was shipped through the Panama Canal to Norfolk where it was loaded onto flatbed railcars and transported to Berryville.” A journey of more than 2,700 miles brought this material here to become part of a building that stands as a reminder of the importance of grain milling in Clarke County’s history. Many residents spent their lives working in the mill, and it is easy to visualize their labor when you visit.

You can practically see the women sewing up the tops of canvas bags destined for the passing railcars. The interior, with woods unpainted and exposed, has the feel of a place where thousands of footsteps have worn a path before. There is an unseen current to the space that almost provokes one to mimic the hurried gait of a millworker struggling to keep pace with the flow of work.

The scene of workers laboring at Aylor’s Mill could be appreciated until changes in demand for grains caused Mr. Aylor to close his business in the late 1960s. Grains were no longer the lifeblood of the agriculturally based economy of Clarke County. Orchards were now “king,” and his mill’s profits were greatly reduced from what they once were. He was 87 years old when he finally let the mill fall silent. He died two years after shuttering its doors.

Mrs. Aylor soon after sold the building. After changing hands twice more, it was purchased by Clarke County Roofing and Guttering, a business operated by Jay Hillerson. Ashby is humbled to have been entrusted with the building. “I know the mill is very important to Mr. Hillerson,” she says. “It’s an honor really to be allowed to become part of its story.”

Alongside Scott and Ashby, three young men are also leaving their mark on the structure. Eric Stewart, Kaleb Langley, and David Betz are the three “working rock stars,” as Ashby calls them, who are helping transform the space into the warehouse, workshop, and showroom that will store, inspire, and house the latest Hip and Humble creations. It’s taken a lot of work, but the process has been part of the fun, explains Scott.

“The other day we opened a door that hadn’t been opened in 75 years,” he says. “We are cleaning and repairing and restoring everything we can. It’s work, but it’s a lot of fun.” Much of the building will not be accessible to the general public, but every inch has nonetheless received careful attention that only people completely invested in saving and repurposing that which is old would give.

Ashby relays, “The building deserves to have us there and we are very, very lucky to be able to do the work. Steve and I really believe that if we give to the building it will give back to us. We are very committed to the work, and we are so excited to watch its transition.”

As that transition has taken shape over the last few months, the work that drives their business has simultaneously continued. Objects and materials still inspire them. American painted furniture, country style furniture, general store items, and more come together to create a scene that tells a story, a story either of times long gone or of how modern style can pay homage to the innovation and construction of the past.

Locals acquainted with how that story has been told while Hip and Humble operated out of its Strasburg studio will find the operation’s setup in Aylor’s Mill to be familiar. “We don’t create to keep up with trends,” Ashby explains. “We create for ourselves and our customers. We merge humble furnishings with great, upscale pieces—some of which we have created and others we have simply refurbished. All of these pieces are brought together in a space and staged beautifully, and now they are being brought together in a space that really honors the intent of our work.”

“We love what we do, Ashby says. “The work becomes part of these people’s homes. We become a small part of their stories. We pour ourselves into these objects and well, it works.”

“It works,” Scott agrees. “And we can’t wait to be making it work in the mill.” To learn more about Hip and Humble, or like “Hip and Humble Interiors” on Facebook. Their first big sale is October 2-4 from 10am to 7pm, so be sure to make time to visit the business that is giving an old mill new life.

Solitude, Then and Now

By Wendy Gooditis

Do you have an olfactory memory? Does the smell of almond extract suddenly have you back in your grandmother’s kitchen? How about the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil? Are you at your desk on the first day of third grade, watching the teacher write her name on the board in a beautiful script you never did manage to attain? Most of us come across these scents now and then, and are beamed back in time to a very specific moment or place. I experienced a powerful shift of dimension last week when I entered the dwelling called Solitude on the mountain, just over the border into Loudoun County.

The time shift struck the moment I walked in the side entrance of the old place: it was the fragrance of summer vacations in my Great-Aunt Pat’s house in Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. The smell of a house which has rested in silent contemplation of the bright summer past and anticipation of the sunlit one to come. Solitude, like my aunt’s house, has known the joys of summer vacation, and has also been the cozy refuge from the storms of February. I’m thinking that the huge stone fireplace in the beamed living room is a heart-warming center for Yuletide celebrations, and the lovely glade over which the house has presided for more than a hundred years is a heavenly backdrop for the spring wildflowers and the blazing autumn leaves.

The mountain was and is a place where city dwellers have built getaways for more than a century. In the days before clean city water and air-conditioning, the idea for some was to get out of the heat and possible contagion of the city and out to the cool, healthy mountain air. So families came for summers, rather than weekends. Then there came the trend of building hunting lodges, many of which were quite rustic. In 1900, the Southern Railway, predecessor of the Old Dominion Railroad, extended its railroad four miles from Round Hill to Bluemont. This greatly aided the efforts of those city dwellers who wished to enjoy the great outdoors on our mountain. One of these was Assistant Attorney General James C. McReynolds (under President Theodore Roosevelt), who built this beautiful, spacious, and sturdy hunting lodge, and called it Solitude. McReynolds later became U.S. Attorney General under Woodrow Wilson, who then appointed him to the Supreme Court, where he served until his retirement in 1941.

Once cars and navigable roads were everywhere, these houses were used more and more as weekend retreats. Many of these old retreats now house fortunate occupants year round. The house called Solitude has probably been all of these to a number of different families in its 111 years, and has most recently been a full-time home. But the elements of vacation house are built right in: the thick stone columns that once held up the roof of a deep porch, which now are embedded in the wall of the enclosed sunroom. The flagstone floor in the corner of the kitchen supporting the fascinating old wood-burning cookstove. The unplaned branches and trunks which make up the banister and the paneling, plus five fireplaces. The top-floor rooms with their slanting eves and old floorboards are the perfect setting for bunk beds and deep armchairs for story time.

But the comfort of the old structure will accommodate daily life beautifully as well. The kitchen is shining and convenient, with a large, granite-topped island and lots of room for a big table. Its door leads into the roomy dining room with a wall of windows showing a beguiling aspect of yard and woods. These and the spacious living room with its beamed ceilings and stone hearth, the long sunroom, a full bathroom, and two other rooms, each with stone fireplace, make up the downstairs. I rest my hand on the enchanting branched banister, and climb the stairs to a cozy landing, then on up to the second floor, where there are two large bedrooms and a bathroom. The bedrooms have wooden ceilings, paneling, stone fireplaces, window seats – right out of a story book. More stairs up to the third floor, with its two cozy rooms under the eaves, and I have seen the whole interior of the house. But there are more surprises outside.

The house is on 14 acres, nearly two acres of which are the clearing around the house. From the moment I pull in the driveway and pass between two stone columns, I feel I’m entering a different, possibly enchanted, world. There is a large old shed along the driveway, and tucked back against the trees is a small stone building that looks like a small pavilion, with sliding glass doors and a patio. My imagination instantly conjures ways to enjoy this space: a guest house, an artist’s studio, a space for yoga and meditation, a kids’ lair, or a kennel. On a practical note, the owner enjoys pride of possession of a handsome and fully functional outhouse! And the totally private and serene clearing surrounded by forest ensures that the place was not ill-named. Solitude is on the market now, and happy will be its new owners.

Wendy Gooditis is a real estate agent on the Chip Schutte Real Estate Team with ReMax Roots at 101 East Main St., Berryville, VA 22611, phone (540)955-0911. Wendy would be happy to answer any questions you may have about real estate, and can be reached at or at (540)533-0840.

Boulder Crest Offers Vets Healing Renewal

By Annie Young

We the residents of Clarke County have the honor of having the nation’s first privately funded, rural combat-veteran wellness center. It’s nestled in the mountain that we share with Loudoun County. Tucked in Bluemont is Boulder Crest Retreat Center, which hosts 700 combat veterans and their families each year since 2013. It is a relatively new facility; you may not even know it exists but its mission is mighty, powerful and far reaching. Prepare yourself to be inspired.

Entering the gate, you feel as if you are entering sacred space. The immaculate grounds and pond, newly constructed log lodge and cabins and Heroes Garden are pristine. But serenity isn’t effortless. Every detail is created for comfort, care, and healing. The gated retreat is secure with a world class staff dedicated to creating transformation in the lives of the combat veterans who come to Boulder Crest for two to seven days. Lives change, community bonds are forged, and scars are examined with knowledge and expertise.

Boulder Crest Retreat Center began as a vision of Ken and Julia Falke. As a master chief petty officer and an explosive ordnance disposal technician for the U.S. Navy, Ken Falke was seriously wounded. He saw first hand the needs of the wounded service men and women and their families. Often times they were frustrated with the lack of needed therapies or the inability to have their families close by as they recovered. The Falkes began hosting wounded warriors and their families at their home for short stays and shared meals.

This grew into the wish to have a few cabins on their property. Now Boulder Crest sits on 37 acres of land donated by the Falkes. The retreat includes a lodge, four breathtaking cabins, an archery range, two retired racehorses, a stone labyrinth, tipi, walking trails, pond, playground, chickens, rabbits and Heroes Garden. Everything has been built with private donations-from small checks from families to large corporate donations of linens and appliances. Every combat veteran and family member who comes for a retreat pays nothing.

Boulder Crest’s new executive director Dusty Baxley jumped into his position in July. He and the staff believe that the service men and women make up the Next Greatest Generation. The team of psychologists, therapists and staff has created the Progressive and Alternative Therapies for Healing Heroes or PATHH. The range of therapies offered during a PATHH program ranges from the 4,000-year-old labyrinth walk to archery and meditation.

Baxley wants the Healing Heroes to “form a community of brothers and sisters and go back home and reconnect.” Part of the reconnection is helping to find therapies that the veterans have benefited from, and finding resources where each veteran lives so they can continue to heal. That’s the essential part—22 veterans commit suicide every day.

But Baxley doesn’t just give a list to the veterans and wish them luck. He makes the call to connect and helps pave the path for a continued course of strength and recovery. Baxley urges us all to “step up and make a house a welcome home, make America, home.”

Boulder Crest is entering Phase 2 of its development. Having met the previous goal last December, Phase 2 focuses on raising an additional $10 million dollars to help serve veterans free of charge for the next five years. This would benefit 3,500 service men and women and their families. Boulder Crest also seeks to create the nation’s first non-clinical curriculum for combat related stress. The curriculum would include the variety of therapies offered and use a full time team of therapists. In the first six months of this campaign over a million dollars has been raised.

So how can we help our veterans beyond the platitudes and pats on the back that sometimes feel empty? We can strengthen resources like Boulder Crest Retreat Center that sits next to our county. A local Girl Scout Troop donates cookies so families on retreat can enjoy a treat together. Locals volunteer and help out in the Heroes Garden that has raised beds that are the perfect height for people in wheelchairs. Donations of any size help heal and create a space to welcome home veterans and help them assimilate back to life with family and friends and support from a community that cares about the Next Greatest Generation.

For more information visit or call 540-554-2727. Boulder Crest Retreat is not open to the public, but everyone is welcome to attend special events.