Gilbert: Earth Day – Then and Now

Fifty-one years ago, in 1970, the first Earth Day took place on April 22. The issues of that time were quite different than what we face today. In 1970, our nation was awash in pollution. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire due to so much oil and chemicals on the surface. The same year, a large oil rig spill off the coast of California happened. A new report at the time documented the endangered Bald Eagle and the impact of DDT pesticide on the eagle and other species. American cities were choked with high levels of lead smog from cars and trucks, and litter was everywhere.

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Croll: Summer School is Not Just for Remediation Anymore

Summer school is being embraced this year by parents and students across the country as an opportunity to augment K-12 education. Many parents of elementary age students are looking for opportunities to help their children fill in learning gaps, reinforce concepts and stay on pace with state standards. Middle and high school students are taking classes during the summer so they can accelerate their coursework, meet graduation requirements, and expand their options for in-school electives. There are more education programs available this summer for Loudoun students than ever before.

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McNerney: In Search of Family Happiness

Family happiness: It is something we all want, but it can be difficult to acquire. We want to see smiles from each other and create memories of happy times. But so often our best laid plans end up in tears, resentment, and sulking. I believe there is a way to achieve happiness, but it requires doing something that might seem counterintuitive.

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Croll: Confessions of an Extrovert During Quarantine

As the days of the pandemic drag on, and COVID-19 positivity rates continue to be high, some of us are acutely feeling the negative effects of having to quarantine. Extroverts like me who draw energy from being with other people have been stressed for a long time now about the lack of available connections. When a human being experiences stress, no matter what the cause, the body goes into fight or flight mode and the brain responds by releasing cortisol. Chronic activation of this stress response, say over a period of many months during a quarantine, can lead to serious health issues.

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McNerney: 10 Months of COVID: My Observations

For the past 10 months, we have endured an experience that very few of us predicted, much less prepared for. We have experienced the closing of businesses, restaurants, and school buildings. We have been told to stay in our homes and stop spending time with family and friends. We have faced extreme anxiety for the health of ourselves and our loved ones for months at a time.

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