Vance: Building Bandwidth

As I sit in Hillsboro’s Town office in the Old Stone School to write this column, I’m marveling at the lightning-fast internet access speeds we are now getting within the landmark’s 143-year-old stone walls. And, I’m feeling confident this level of service will soon be available to all of our residents in town and in the surrounding area. A long time coming and—as with many of the challenges in this small and historic town—the internet solution has arrived with a quixotic twist, helped along by a widening bandwidth of community activism that is driving a series of exciting initiatives about to bear fruit in the New Year.

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Vance: Unburying Our Past

History’s hard reality has a habit of intruding uncomfortably to disrupt our present. Sometimes the disruption is driven intentionally as a means to incite and divide, other times as an effort to educate and reconcile. The events in Charlottesville last month were a horrific example of the former. I recently had the great honor to participate in an event in Purcellville that exemplifies the latter.

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Vance: Context Matters

Those of us living in Loudoun County in the past two decades have been witnesses to and participants in unprecedented change shaped by massive growth in population and wealth. In the face of rapid urbanization and suburban sprawl, we continue to make heroic efforts to preserve Loudoun’s rich history, conserve important landmarks and landscapes and retain a semblance of its heritage. But landmarks and landscapes are merely old buildings or places, or pretty views easily dismissed, torn down or flattened unless succeeding generations have awareness of their significance, contextual meaning and influence on their present.

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Vance: Coordination or Consequences

Water naturally flows along a path of least impedance. Even a mighty river begins as a small trickle that builds volume fed by many tributaries. As gravity compels the water to move, a river’s bed is cut, its banks containing and determining its course—that is until they no longer can. To skirt obstacles or bottlenecks, the water seeps or spills over its banks to form new rivulets to follow until it can rejoin the main flow in a deeper, or wider, smooth flowing stream.

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A View From the Gap: Sharing the Way

Despite the growth in residential development across much of western Loudoun in the past two decades, vast swaths of the landscape retain their bucolic beauty of rolling farmland and verdant wooded mountainsides, laced with hundreds of miles of country roads. Through the efforts of staunch advocates for conservation and innovative thinking among old-line farm families and young rural entrepreneurs, the banal tide of sprawl has, at least momentarily, receded, replaced by a refreshing revival of a sharing communitarian spirit.

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