F U R N I T U R E M AG I C • LO C A L T E D L A SSO • B AT T L E O F T H E B U R N
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THE HUNT FOR THE LOST CLIPPER
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FROM THE PUBLISHER GLORY ON THE GRIDIRON
’ll never forget my one shot at football glory. I was in sixth grade, ending my third and final season of playing in a local YMCA league for elementary schools. Most of our games were on recreation fields, which may or may not have had lines, before a smattering of parents standing along the sidelines. But at the end of the season, all the sixth-graders in the league were split into two teams to play in what was called the “Gra-Y Bowl.” This game came complete with tickets and a program with pictures of all the players and would be played on the local high school field, with real yard markers, grandstands, a scoreboard and a public-address system. Even though I loved football, I wasn’t good enough to even think about trying out for the middle school team, so this would be my Super Bowl. Alas, I went to one practice for the game, then promptly caught the flu and spent the next week in bed. My name and photo were still in the program – which I have kept to this day – but I would never experience playing football on a real high school field. Those memories came flooding back on a beautiful Saturday night in early October as we sat behind the end zone at Segra Field and watched the players from Broad Run and Stone Bridge high schools warm up for the “Battle of the Burn.” The stands were filling up quickly with the sellout crowd of over 5,500 people, and the excitement was palpable. While a handful of players from both teams will go on to play college football – and one or two might even play in the NFL – for most, this game would be the highlight of their football careers. Sadly, the Broad Run players may not have many fond memories of the night, but that shouldn’t diminish the spirit and the passion on both sides that evening – and, equally as important, it was great to see the Ashburn community come out in support of the two schools.
Helping to build that sense of community is what this magazine is all about, so that’s why – even though we don’t really “cover” local sports – we are featuring some of the best photos from the game and related festivities on Pages 12-14 of this month’s issue. Our cover story this issue is a little different as well – although it didn’t happen here in Ashburn, it’s about an 83-year-old mystery that several local residents think they might be close to solving. Editor Chris Wadsworth chronicles their efforts in “The Hunt for the Lost Clipper,” which will keep you engaged from beginning to end – and if it sounds like it’s made for television, that’s because it may well be one day. Speaking of TV shows, if you’re a fan of the hit Apple series “Ted Lasso,” you’ll be fascinated to meet Stone Bridge grad Mike Mattingly, who for the past few years has been coaching football (the American kind) in … Finland. Read how he wound up there beginning on Page 34. Elsewhere in the magazine, we celebrate the successes of some other young Ashburn residents: the two Rock Ridge High School seniors who’ve published a book about – of all things – economics (Amazing Kids, Page 8); 20-year-old Ethan Del Hierro, who has taken over ownership of the Grooming Store on Ashburn Road (Business Boom, Page 16), and the two high school students who won our Winter Short Story contest – their work is featured starting on Page 46. And as the weather gets colder and days get shorter, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season – and we’ll see you in 2022!
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contents 08 amazing kids DOLLARS AND SENSE Two Ashburn highschoolers write a kids book about economics BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
12 battle of the burn Photos from the big game
16 business boom A CUT ABOVE Young Ashburn barber takes over the business BY JILL DEVINE
28 cover story THE SEARCH FOR THE LOST CLIPPER Local group of adventurers hopes to solve enduring aviation mystery BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
34 our neighbors feature OUR OWN ‘TED LASSO’ Stone Bridge grad finds success coaching football overseas BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
40 home sweet home feature FINISHED FOR GOOD Broadlands resident gives well-worn furniture new life — for charity BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
22 more business boom Updates from the Ashburn business community
46 winter story contest Two local high-schoolers share top honors in our creative writing contest
real estate round-up The latest facts and figures about home sales in Ashburn
54 time of our lives LEADER OF THE BANDS Ashburn personal trainer works with local kids and international celebrities BY RICK HORNER
58 wine & dine ‘LIKE HOMECOOKED FOOD’ Afghan kabob restaurants abound in Ashburn BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
ON THE COVER
Photo illustration. Lost Clipper team photo by Astri Wee of Astri Wee Photography.
the burn The latest restaurant, retail, and other cool news
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS In the September/October issue of Ashburn Magazine, in our story “Brewing up a Name” about local breweries, we mis-identified Rolando Rivera. He is the owner and president of House 6 Brewing Co. Eric Peterson is the head brewer. In our July/August issue, we referred to Ashburn resident and veteran Col. Carl Johnson as the “Last Tuskegee Airman.” Johnson was apparently the last pilot to complete his training at the famed Tuskegee Army Air Field, officially graduating in October 1946, several months after his classmates due to an illness. However, there were a small handful of other pilots in the pipeline who completed their training at other air fields and graduated in 1948. They are also officially listed as Tuskegee Airmen. In the same article, we referred to Col. Johnson’s Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal on display in his home. A single Congressional Gold Medal was awarded collectively to all Tuskegee Airmen and is part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The medal on display in Johnson’s home is a replica that was given to each honoree at a special ceremony. 6 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
amazing kids Dheemanth Munipalli (left) and Abhishek Krishnan (right), authors of “Eddy’s Intro to Economics.”
Dollars and Sense Two Ashburn high-schoolers write a kids book about economics BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
ots of young people dream about writing a book, but few actually pull it off. And in those dreams, it’s probably a book with dragons or spaceships or at least some romance or mystery. But not Abhishek Krishnan, 17, and Dheemanth Munipalli, 18. They wanted to write a book, set to it, and succeeded — with a very down-to-earth look at economics aimed at middle-schoolers and high-schoolers. The book they produced and published is called “Eddy’s Intro to Economics.” The two seniors at Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn — who also attend the Academies of Loudoun — published the book when they were juniors. Ashburn Magazine interviewed them about how they did it and what drove this unique interest.
AMAZING KIDS Where does your interest in economics come from? What spurred it? Abhishek Krishnan: “In [my] junior year, I decided to take AP Economics to learn more about the world around me. I thought that it would just be another class where I would memorize content purely for the purpose of quizzes and tests. To my surprise, though, it was a transformative class that opened my eyes to the interconnected relationship between human behavior and the free market. I instantly became fascinated by the field, and how every lesson we learned was applicable to our lives.”
Where did the idea of writing a book come from?
S EDDY' S ECONOMIC INTRO TO CREATED BY ABHISHEK KRISHNAN DHEEMANTH MUNIPALLI
Abhishek: “We live in a society where a new ideal is emerging: If you don’t pursue a career in STEM, then you won’t be ‘successful.’ Challenging humanities courses, however, aren’t even available in most school districts. Dheemanth and I decided to write an introductory economics book that could be understood by all ages [middle school and up].”
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AMAZING KIDS Why do you think a simple, straightforward book aimed at students is needed? Dheemanth Munipalli: “When you write a book, there are millions of ways to articulate one economic concept. Due to this, we were able to get our perspectives and economic teachings across in a method that is fun to learn. We understand that economics might not be the most fun for children to learn. But through a straightforward, interactive book, we can instill passion within young economists.”
Is there a lack of knowledge about economics among younger people, in your opinion? Dheemanth: “There is a major gap in economics education among young people. From the first day of preschool, we learn English, math and science. Yet we never learn economics. This is something I find heavily concerning as economics is arguably one of the most pivotal topics to learn. Every economic policy, market shift, cryptocurrency, etc., has a direct effect on the well-being of every individual in society.”
What was the writing process like? What were some of the challenges? Abhishek: “Because ‘Eddy’s Intro to Economics’ is an educational book, we had to brainstorm how to make it simultaneously engaging and challenging. We came to the decision that we would use a myriad of graphics/elements, content display methods and stories to contextualize what concepts look like in the real world. For example, after a chapter on supply and demand, where we explain the idea of shortages, we had a story that explained how COVID caused a shortage of toilet paper and applied the economic concepts of that chapter to the situation.”
Who helped you with proofing? Did you have an econ expert review the material? And how did you publish it? Abhishek: “We submitted it for review from economics professors across different universities [University of Virginia, Pennsylvania, California-Berkeley] to verify that the content was all represented well and not interpreted wrong. We self-published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.”
What has the response been like to your book? Abhishek: “We are incredibly surprised by the reactions to our book. Since our publication, we have already been approved by over 300 public schools across 12 states [on] the East Coast to be in the school library.” A
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 11
‘BATTLE OF THE BURN’ A look back at the big game
PH OTOS BY B ILL K AMENJAR
As the sun set over Segra Field, Broad Run quarterback Brett Griffis warms up with his teammates.
road Run and Stone Bridge high schools are only about 2½ miles apart, and as a result their annual football game has developed into a heated neighborhood rivalry. But in its 14th year, that rivalry, called the “Battle of the Burn,” reached new heights when the annual game was played Oct. 2 at a neutral site — Segra Field in Leesburg, home of the Loudoun United soccer team. The game was sold out, with over 5,500 fans — many of whom arrived hours before the game to tailgate — packing the professional stadium. The student sections exchanged cheers and chants, and the roars as the teams were introduced were deafening. The game became one-sided quickly, however, as Stone Bridge, the defending Class 5 state champions, dominated early play, forced several turnovers, and rolled to a 64-7 victory. The loss was the first of the year for Broad Run, which plays in Class 4, and both teams will qualify for this season’s playoffs at or near the top of their respective classes, so they will have more big games this fall. Here’s a look back at some of the night’s festivities and highlights — and for more than 60 additional photos from InsideNoVa, just scan this QR code.
12 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson (photo above) stands in front of his team’s tunnel before the game. The student sections -- Stone Bridge in white and Broad Run in black -- cheered loudly as their teams entered the stadium, and a Stone Bridge fan was excited by his team’s early success.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 13
Left: Stone Bridge ball carrier Eli Mason powers his way to a touchdown; above: Broad Run lineman Alex Birchmeier shows the effects of the hard-fought game.
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A Cut Above
Young Ashburn barber takes over the business BY JI L L DE V IN E
Ethan Del Hierro
shburn barber Ethan Del Hierro knows the mirror never lies, so it’s the first place he looks when he’s finished with a cut. “I wait for the smile,” said Del Hierro, the new owner of the Grooming Store on Ashburn Road. “When a man gives that sideways glance toward the mirror and flashes a smile, I know I did my job well.” And Del Hierro has generated plenty of those smiles since buying the shop in September. For a young man at the tender age of 20, it’s quite an undertaking.
Located in the heart of Old Ashburn, the Grooming Store has been a one-stop location for men’s luxury grooming services and supplies since it opened in 2018. Del Hierro’s chairs are filled with a steady stream of customers, many seeking his specialty — trendy cuts featuring fades and patterns cut into the canvas that is a head of hair. But fear not — he gives traditional scissor cuts and children’s cuts as well. “The best cut is the one that looks like what the customer asks for,” said Del Hierro. Notable patrons include D.C. United soccer player Kevin Paredes, syndicated comedian and radio personality Chris Paul, and several former and current Washington Football Team players, including Morgan Moses and Jason Hatcher. Del Hierro, who lives in the Brambleton Town Center, admits that his rapid path to proprietorship is not typical. It’s certainly
16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
not something he would have predicted even a few years ago. In June 2019, he was graduating from Rock Ridge High School, excited to forge his path as a soccer recruit and business major at James Madison University. He was about to show the coaches his talents in the spring 2020 season when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Del Hierro’s plans — and his life — turned in a different direction. “I was back at home taking online classes,” Del Hierro said. “My passion for soccer was starting to fade.” When pandemic restrictions eased, he wanted to get out of the house and find a part-time job. That led him to the Grooming Store, then owned by One Loudoun resident Kevin Morris. Morris hired Del Hierro in November 2020 as an apprentice barber. Del Hierro completed requirements for state
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licensure at the shop, but he had already mastered shears and clippers years before. “I wanted the top of my hair to be longer, with a medium-length shadow fade that transitioned into a comb-over on the top, which I would style up with pomade. It was pretty trendy at the time,” Del Hierro said. “But my parents took me to barbers who never listened to what I wanted, and I was never happy with those haircuts.” So, when he was a high school freshman, Del Hierro watched a few YouTube tutorials, borrowed his dad’s clippers, and cut his own hair for the first time. He describes that first cut as “perfect,” because he did it himself, even though it took more than an hour while struggling to see in the mirror. “I’ll never forget how great I felt when the cafeteria lady at school actually stopped what she was doing that day to tell me how sharp my hair looked,” he said. She was not the only one to notice Del Hierro’s talents. Friends started asking for cuts so often that he set up an impromptu shop, first in his garage and then his bedroom, even buying a used barber chair online. That Christmas, the only gifts he asked for were barber shears, clippers and tools. “I was just a kid having fun, but it was starting to become kind of serious 18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
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before I left for college,” Del Hierro said. “I remember going to Homecoming and looking around the room. I had cut almost every guy’s hair.” Good grooming is powerful, he added. “If you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself, you go about your day with positive energy that reflects on everyone you meet.” That outlook caused Morris to take Del Hierro seriously when he offered to buy the store. The young man purchased the store with assistance from his father, who helped with paperwork and financing but isn’t involved in the day-to-day business. Today, Del Hierro has three more barbers working for him at The Grooming Store, as well as a receptionist. “It was a long process, and I’m still learning,” Del Hierro said. Del Hierro’s popularity as a new barber was obvious right away. “All these young guys were coming in and waiting for Ethan’s chair,” Morris said. One of Del Hierro’s most loyal customers is 20-year-old Bo Blacken, who lives in Brambleton. The two have been friends since high school. Blacken currently sports a bleached mid-fade with a zig-zag design created with precision trimmers. But he has experimented with lots of looks over the years.
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“I used to have a mohawk, and then 8-inch dreadlocks that I dyed blonde,” he said. “Ethan is the one who cut those off for me, but he’s also trimmed in lots of designs and fades.” Blacken tries to visit the shop every two to three weeks for a hair or beard trim. “It’s a way of expressing myself. I don’t want to be that guy in the room who doesn’t have a great haircut.” Morris — who has a second Grooming Store in Arlington and is working to franchise the business — created the concept in response to a nationwide demand for upscale men’s grooming services. He says he knows he can trust Del Hierro to represent the nascent brand. While college is temporarily on hold, the young barber plans to eventually finish his degree in hopes of owning multiple Grooming Store locations in the future. So, what’s the latest trend in men’s hairstyles? Del Hierro and Blacken shared a quick glance and laughed. “Let’s just say, the mullet is back,” Del Hierro said. And not just any mullet, but a mohawk mullet that involves multiple fades and designs up the sides. Good thing Ashburn has an expert who can deliver. A Jill Devine is a freelance writer and former magazine editor from Loudoun County who writes for a variety of Virginia publications. IF YOU GO What: The Grooming Store Where: 20915 Ashburn Road, Ashburn When: Tuesdays-Fridays, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Info: (703) 723-3377 or groomingstore.com
Grooming Shop owner Ethan Del Hierro (left) with friend and client, Bo Blacken (right).
ROOFING COMPANY GIVING FREE ROOF TO SOMEONE IN NEED DryHome Roofing & Siding, a Sterling-based company, is back this year with its annual Free Roof for the Holidays program. It’s the 19th year that the company will replace the roof of a deserving individual, family or nonprofit. “We started the ‘Free Roof for the Holidays’ program for homeowners who could use a little help to keep their homes dry and safe,” said DryHome owner Steve Gotschi. Previous recipients have included an animal trainer, a music teacher, a single mom, a Vietnam veteran and several local nonprofits. Nominations will be accepted until Nov. 30 at the company’s website: www.dryhome.com.
FOUR SEASONS SALON AND MED SPA OPENS IN ASHBURN
A new luxury salon and spa has opened in Ashburn at the Ashbrook Marketplace shopping center. It’s called Four Seasons Salon and Med Spa. The 3,500-square-foot location has been designed as a modern, tranquil environment that will offer a prestige salon and spa experience. The salon is decorated with marble, gold accents and European-style art and offers the latest in cuts and styles. There’s also a unique private color bar as well. Further into the facility, the med spa offers a wide variety of treatments, including massages, facial therapies, body treatments, laser hair removal and even a private nail bar. Ashbrook Marketplace is at the intersection of Ashburn Village Boulevard and Russell Branch Parkway. More information about the Four Seasons Salon and Med Spa is available at www.fourseasonssalonandmedspa.com.
SUSAN CARROLL NAMED PRESIDENT OF INOVA LOUDOUN HOSPITAL
Congratulations to longtime Inova Health System leader Susan Carroll, who has been named president of Inova Loudoun Hospital. Carroll began her career at Inova Loudoun in 1996, eventually rising to chief operating officer in 2010. Since then, she has been vice president of the Inova Cancer Service Line, chief operating officer at Inova Alexandria Hospital, regional CEO of Inova Alexandria and Inova Mount Vernon hospitals and interim president of Inova Fairfax Medical Campus. In her new role, Carroll will work with the hospital’s medical staff to pursue business opportunities important to the community. She will also work to establish areas of clinical growth and participate in the recruitment and retention of physicians. Carroll’s new position was effective Aug. 30.
PANDEMIC PUSHES AREA MAN TO MAKE CAREER SWITCH There’s a new flooring business in Ashburn called Footprints Floors. It’s part of a franchise with more than 50 units. The local operation was opened by Tim Buser, an elementary school gym teacher who decided to take a new career path after the pandemic hit. As a kid, Buser would go door to door offering to paint houses, seal driveways and fix gutters. A born handyman, Buser found opening a flooring business was a natural fit for him. “I am incredibly excited to bring Footprints Floors to the Ashburn area, and I’m looking forward to offering a higher level of professionalism and customer service to the community when it comes to flooring needs,” Buser said. The new business will specialize in sanding and refinishing work, hardwood and engineered wood installs, vinyl plank, laminate and tile work. Buser’s goals for Footprints Floors include growing his business, adding more employees and eventually covering all of Northern Virginia. Learn more at www. footprintsfloors.com/ashburn.
NEW CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER COMING TO ASHBURN Ashburn is a fast-growing community with lots of young families, so it’s no surprise that a new business like Celebree School is opening here. With a motto to “Grow People Big and Small,” the early childhood education center will offer a customized program that focuses on the physical, social, emotional and academic needs of children. Ann Camet is the local franchisee bringing the regional brand to our community. The school will be on Clemens Terrace, just off Farmwell Road in Farmwell Hunt. For more information, head to: www.celebree.com/category/ashburn-farm-va. 22 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
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ECHO BARKERY OPENS IN OLD ASHBURN
A new dog treat business held a successful grand opening at its new headquarters along Ashburn Road in Old Ashburn. It’s called ECHO Barkery, and it’s a bakery for handmade dog treats featuring all natural ingredients. The treats are made by persons with disabilities. The business is a project of the ECHO organization, a Loudoun County nonprofit that provides lifelong services, support and education to people with special needs. Having a steady job and learning new skills like the ones used at the bakery helps empower individuals to be active members of the community. The dog treats are available from many area Whole Foods stores under the name “Just Rewards for Dogs” and they can also be ordered online at the ECHO Barkery website: www.echobarkery.org.
CBD STORE OPENS IN ASHBURN’S UNIVERSITY COMMERCE CENTER A new shop dedicated to CBD products derived from hemp has opened in Ashburn. It’s called Your CBD Store and it’s in the University Commerce Center off George Washington Boulevard. CBD is all the rage right now, and the wide array of CBD-infused products purport to offer a variety of health benefits. These products, intended to be used as herbal supplements, include edibles, tinctures, soft gels, and topical applications. They even have CBD products for pets. The Ashburn location has been opened by Becky Nadora. The brand’s website is: www.cbdrx4u.com. A
24 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
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THE HUNT FOR THE LOST CLIPPER
Local group of adventurers hopes to solve enduring aviation mystery BY C HRIS WADSWORTH
n October 2021, a meeting was held in a private dining room at the Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm restaurant in Ashburn. The men who gathered are part of a team that has been slowly and carefully assembled over two decades. They are a band of brothers devoted to solving one of aviation’s most enduring mysteries — a mystery that stretches around the world to the middle of the Pacific Ocean — and the quest has its roots right here in Ashburn. It’s called The Hunt for the Lost Clipper.
PHOTO BY ASTRI WEE/ASTRI WEE PHOTOGRAPHY
(From top) A newspaper headline from the day after the Hawaii Clipper disappeared; a historical photo of the Hawaii Clipper; members of the Lost Clipper team pose for a photo outside Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn. From left to right, Jeff Riegel, Jim Janicki, Guy Noffsinger, Steve Murphy, Stephen Clouse.
THE ORIGIN Over the arc of a long career, Guy Noffsinger has worn a lot of hats. Naval intelligence officer, photographer and videographer, NASA television producer and documentary filmmaker. But his latest endeavor feels like something more out of an Indiana Jones adventure. Back in 2000, Noffsinger — who previously lived in Ashburn and currently lives in Purcellville — was a graduate student at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Maryland. He was working on his thesis, which was going to explore the search for famed missing aviator Amelia Earhart from the perspective of the Navy. During his research, he came across a non-fiction book by author Charles Hill titled, “Fix on the Rising Sun: The Clipper Hi-Jacking of 1938.” “I thought it was an amazing story that I had never heard before,” Noffsinger said. “I started going down a rabbit hole.” Almost immediately, Noffsinger changed the focus of his thesis to explore what turned out to be a mystery stretching back to before World War II — the loss of the Pan Am “Hawaii Clipper” over the Pacific Ocean, with 15 souls on board. Noffsinger started work on his new thesis 20 years ago — and it’s still not complete. “I couldn’t get to the bottom of it. I couldn’t answer the questions,” he said. “I knew that I had to go investigate myself.” And so, he did. Four trips so far to a remote island in the western Pacific. Along the way, he has picked up a team of fellow researchers and adventurers — including several men from Ashburn — who are as determined as Noffsinger to solve the mystery of the Lost Clipper once and for all. THE MYSTERY Here is the basic story of the Lost Clipper and as well as the theory posited by Noffsinger, Hill and others. ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 29
(Clockwise this page) An archival photo of the Hawaii Clipper before its disappearance; team member Bob Perry operates a ground-penetrating radar device; Esther Sauceda, holding up an old newspaper clipping about the Hawaii Clipper. Her father, Jose Maria Sauceda, was one of the pilots on the doomed plane; a photo of famed aviator Amelia Earhart prior to her disappearance in 1937. (Facing page) The Lost Clipper team poses for a photo on Tonowas Island in the Chuuk Lagoon during the fourth expedition to the island in 2018; a glass vial the team found on the site of a former Japanese military dispensary. The Hawaii Clipper was a Martin M-130 flying boat, meaning the plane could land on water. It was part of the fleet of Pan American Airways, generally known as Pan Am and, at the time, the largest international air carrier in the world. In July 1938, the Hawaii Clipper began Trip 229, a regularly scheduled 60-hour flight from San Francisco to Manila in the Philippines. It island-hopped along the way, stopping at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, then Midway, Wake Island and Guam. At 11:39 a.m. local time on July 28, 1938, the Hawaii Clipper took off from Guam for the final leg to Manila. Three hours and 27 minutes later, the plane lost contact with radio operators. It disappeared — somewhere over the vast deep blue waters of the Pacific — with six passengers and nine crew members on board and was never heard from again. A U.S. Army transport ship in the area found an oil slick along the Hawaii Clipper’s path and oil samples were taken, but they were never confirmed to be linked to the lost plane. The official ruling is that the Hawaii Clipper must have crashed — but be it from mechanical failure, rough weather, pilot error, no one knows. Or do they?
THE THEORY Based on more than two decades of research, Guy Noffsinger thinks he knows what happened to the missing plane — and believe it or not, it ties to the famous mystery of Amelia Earhart, who disappeared almost exactly a year earlier, in July 1937. Noffsinger and others believe that at least some of the passengers and crew on the Hawaii Clipper were working for the U.S. government — that they had been told they were on a secret mission to transport $3 million in gold-backed banknotes to organized criminals within the Japanese Navy who were allegedly holding Earhart ransom. Only it was a ruse, and the Japanese were actually after the new, long-distance engines on the Hawaii Clipper. They feared their own airplanes were less advanced and the new high-tech engines on the Clipper would give the United States an advantage in the run-up to World War II, which was already brewing. The theory goes that two Japanese hijackers disguised as mechanics crept on board in Guam and hid in a cargo hold. This is based on FBI interviews at the time with Marine sentries who said they gave two mechanics access to the plane in the
30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
overnight hours. Once the plane was over the ocean, the Japanese agents took over the plane, forced it to land and took the passengers and crew prisoner. The prisoners were allegedly taken to Tonowas Island, in the Truk Lagoon, part of what today is called Chuuk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia. There, they were executed and buried in a cement slab, and the Hawaii Clipper disappeared into the mists of the growing Japanese war machine. THE TRIPS The theory may sound far-fetched, but there is evidence to support nearly every aspect of it, says Noffsinger. In 2002 and 2004, he traveled alone to Tonowas Island, using the money he raised selling his collection of vintage military helmets. On the island, he interviewed family members of eyewitnesses who relayed stories about the prisoners decades before. Along the way, he teamed up with longtime friend and Broadlands resident Jeff Riegel, a filmmaker. “Usually history doesn’t intrigue me, but the way this guy told the story — it was contagious,” Riegel said. “I kind of forced
GUY NOFFSINGER Purcellville (lived seven years in Ashburn previously) Founder, Chief Historian
myself on him and said, ‘Hey, do you need some help with this?’” Help indeed. The two men traveled around the United States — Massachusetts, Florida, New Hampshire, Texas — and to Canada as well, interviewing people with connections to the story. Then, Riegel accompanied Noffsinger on his third trip to Tonowas in 2014. “My first impressions were that it was like a third-world country,’ Riegel said. “They hadn’t paved a road since we blew [the Japanese military] up in ’44.” Based on accounts from locals, the men were looking for that concrete slab. They knew it was roughly 30 feet by 60 feet and oriented so it was pointing north. But there were at least 1,100 concrete slabs scattered around Tonowas — where to start? Back in Loudoun County, Noffsinger and Riegel were joined by Ashburn Farm resident and political consultant Stephen Clouse, who became fascinated with the story after hearing about it at a backyard barbecue. “There are two types of history. The
history that is known and the history that is not known,” Clouse said. “The more insidious is the history that is omitted. I think [omitting the true story of the Lost Clipper] is intentional and the question is, ‘Why?’” Clouse soon looped in his friend, a trained law enforcement officer whose name you might recognize: Steve Murphy. Murphy, a longtime Broadlands resident, is a retired agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. He was part of the team that hunted and brought down drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. His story was turned into the hit Netflix television show “Narcos.” (Murphy was profiled in the July 2020 cover story of Ashburn Magazine.) “Going to Miami as a DEA agent in the 1980s was an adventure,” Murphy said. “Going to South America pursuing Pablo Escobar was an adventure. When I retired, the adventures were kind of over. So, this was the start of a whole new adventure.” Murphy’s DEA partner, Javier Peña, also joined the team. He helped Noffsinger conduct a key set of interviews with the children of one of the lost Pan Am pilots, which confirmed many of the critical details. Murphy, Clouse and Riegel joined Noffsinger on a fourth trip to Tonowas in 2018. Each trip — coupled with copious amounts of research and interviews conducted in the United States — had helped the team finally narrow down its focus to a specific parcel of land. It was the spot where they believed the bodies of the murdered passengers and crew had been hidden. The site was a former Japanese military medical dispensary recorded in old photos
JEFF RIEGEL Broadlands Communications
STEPHEN CLOUSE Ashburn Farm Strategic Researcher
JIM JANICKI Phoenix, Md. Engineer, Technical Advisor
BOB PERRY Boston, Mass. Ground Penetrating Radar Expert
OLLIE DALE Auckland, New Zealand Cinematographer
STEVE MURPHY Broadlands (recently moved to Orlando, Fla., area) Lead Investigator
BILL STINNETT Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia Local Subject Matter Expert, Local Government Liaison
JAVIER PEÑA San Antonio, Texas Lead Investigator
MYRON HASHIGUCHI Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia Local Cultural Expert
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 31
PHOTO BY ASTRI WEE/ASTRI WEE PHOTOGRAPHY
The Lost Clipper team at a lunch meeting at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in October 2021.
and maps. It was under construction in 1938. That’s when eyewitnesses had reported the 15 Americans from the Hawaii Clipper were murdered and entombed in concrete as the slab was poured. The dispensary is long gone, and a house stands on the land today. On Trip 3, the team dug up the floor of the house but found nothing. On Trip 4, they used groundpenetrating radar around the site. It recorded something buried under the earth, but that turned out to be large rocks, not bodies. The team was stumped until Clouse — who had experience in the construction industry — noticed some remnants of poured concrete next to the house. The men soon discovered that a slab had been there, but it had been bulldozed in 1970 after a typhoon swept across Tonowas. The team poked around in the overgrown ravine behind the spot and found a set of concrete steps — the same steps that appeared in photos of the old dispensary. They paid a team of locals to spend the night hacking away and removing all the underbrush and vegetation and, when they returned the next day, found a debris field filled with the former concrete slab. If the victims were indeed once in that slab, they were now buried in this field of garbage and old concrete. Using metal detectors, the team found World War II-era medicine bottles that would have been at the Japanese dispensary and — even more critical — they found a vintage tie pin and buttons consistent with the type worn by Pan Am pilots in the 1930s. “We were electrified,” Clouse said. “I said to Guy, ‘You’re probably standing only a couple of inches above where they are.’” THE FUTURE And now comes the harsh reality of conducting an expedition such as this. The
M 96 5,9
CHUUK LAGOON The Federated States of Micronesia is a country spread across more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The country is divided into four states, one of which is Chuuk. The main islands of Chuuk dot a lagoon known as Chuuk Lagoon. (During World War II, it was commonly called Truk Lagoon.) Millions of years ago, the area was an underwater volcano that erupted. The remnants are today’s islands. One of those islands in the Chuuk Lagoon is Tonowas, where the Lost Clipper’s passengers and crew may have been taken. discovery of the tie clip and the steps came on the team’s last day on Tonowas in 2018. When traveling halfway around the world, with schedules and permits and boat rides and flights that happen only on certain days, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Their time on the island was up with no opportunity to follow up on their latest discovery. So now, the team is back in Ashburn and Purcellville and elsewhere as they work toward what they are calling Expedition 5. This will be the return trip to Micronesia, to the Chuuk Lagoon and the island of Tonowas. This will be their chance to finally pull up those chunks of cement and hopefully find the final resting place of 15 Americans who — one way or the other — were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Originally, the team was looking to return to the Pacific in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic quickly put an end to that. Now, they are aiming for 2022. Team member Jim Janicki, who lives in the Baltimore area, came up with a plan to aid in the search. A certified search dog
32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
CHUUK LAGOON TONOWAS
handler himself, he is overseeing the addition of several highly trained cadaver canines to Expedition 5 — dogs trained to sniff out bodies, even after 80-plus years. Hiring the dogs is expensive and transporting them halfway around the world, along with their handlers and a veterinarian, adds to the cost. So, the team is working with investors and raising funds to help support the search for the Lost Clipper. One possible route — strike a deal with television producers to turn the Hunt for the Lost Clipper into a reality TV show. “Everyone wants to hear a good story and there’s nothing new in Hollywood,” Noffsinger said. “Here is a chance to tell a story no one has ever heard.” The Lost Clipper team was close to a deal with one cable network, but a rival channel debuted a series that touched on Amelia Earhart. That was too close in theme, and it squelched the deal. But the Lost Clipper gang is not deterred. “I feel more excited than I have ever been about this project. More alive. More attuned,” Noffsinger said. “We are this close. It’s like running an endurance race for 20 years and now I can see the finish line. And it’s not just me alone anymore. I’ve picked up an entire team and we’re going to cross that line together.” A
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our neighbors feature
OUR OWN TED LASSO
Stone Bridge grad finds success coaching football overseas BY C HRIS WADSWO RTH
ell, what do you know — Ashburn has its very own “Ted Lasso.” The uber-popular TV show is about an American football coach who heads to England to coach a soccer team. In a similar vein, Stone Bridge grad Mike Mattingly took his years of prep, high school and college football experience across the Atlantic where he’s made a name for himself coaching one of Europe’s top American-style football teams. The 29-year-old Mattingly grew up in Ashburn Farm and played outside linebacker for Stone Bridge, graduating in 2010. He attended Upper Iowa University and Tusculum University, but a series of injuries and surgeries kept him on the sidelines most of the time. After college, coaching football became his dream, and an internet search led Mattingly to Finland and a new career with the Vaahteraliiga, or the Maple League, as we would call it. That’s the top league in Finland and one of the tops on the continent. His first seasons in Europe were in 2018 and 2019, when he coached
the Seinäjoki Crocodiles. He coached a season in Germany before returning to Finland and the Helsinki Wolverines — one of the country’s premiere teams. Ashburn Magazine corresponded with Mattingly about his life, his unusual career path and how he has adapted to coaching overseas. ASHBURN MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU WIND UP IN FINLAND? HOW DOES AN AMERICAN FOOTBALL FORMER PLAYER AND COACH WIND UP THERE? MIKE MATTINGLY: “I wound up in Finland by going online and using a website called Europlayers.com. It is basically like Facebook, where each team in every country where American football is played has a profile … you can reach out and message all of them. I eventually got a contract offer and left. It was as simple as that.” WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT MOVING OVERSEAS? EXCITED? HOW DID YOU FEEL BEFORE YOU LEFT FOR THAT FIRST JOB? “At first, I was nervous. I had never left the country before
and went to, of all places, a small town in Finland. At the same time, I was excited to start a new chapter in my life.” HOW LONG HAS AMERICAN-STYLE FOOTBALL BEEN A THING IN FINLAND? AND WHY FINLAND OF ALL PLACES? IS AMERICAN-STYLE FOOTBALL COMMON IN EUROPE OR IS THE FINNISH LEAGUE A RARITY? “American football in Finland has been around for 40 to 50 years at least — maybe a little longer. Football here is played in over 25 countries and is a big thing in Europe. Lots of European players now are going to U.S. colleges, and many international players are appearing on NFL rosters. There are a few with the Washington Football Team actually.” YOU STARTED OUT WITH THE SEINÄJOKI CROCODILES. HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE SEINÄJOKI? “Say-nigh-o-key is the best way I can break it down. Finnish is not an easy language and is arguably regarded as one of the
(left) Mike Mattingly during his days at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn; (above) Mattingly coaching on a chilly Helsinki day 36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
hardest in the world to learn.” SPEAKING OF THAT, HOW ARE YOUR FINNISH LANGUAGE SKILLS COMING ALONG? “I know all of my basic phrases, words, etc. I can also order food in a restaurant, and in social situations, I can understand most of what is being said. But still — the alphabet and full communication is difficult. It will be another few years at least to be fully fluent.” WHAT WAS IT LIKE COACHING THE CROCS? HOW WAS IT SIMILAR TO COACHING IN THE U.S. AND HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT? “It was a great experience. Coaching football is the same regardless of where you are. A few differences are the ages. Players range from 18 to 40, sometimes even older. Practice is only a few days a week, since only a few players are truly paid and treated as pros. For the rest, it’s a hobby and they have fulltime jobs and families, etc. But overall, it’s not much different.” WHAT ARE THE FANS LIKE? ARE THEY ROWDY LIKE SOME AMERICAN FANS CAN BE? DOES IT HAVE A BIG FOLLOWING? “Fans are not quite the same. The dedicated ones are very loud and intense, but the others just enjoy watching the game. We have a fairly big following, but your average games will get something like a normal high school game’s attendance. Not quite our Loudoun and Fairfax games, but an average U.S. high school game. In Finland, our championship games will draw close to what a state championship would, give or take.” HOW DID THE MOVE TO THE HELSINKI WOLVERINES COME
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went to, of all places, a l town in Finland. At the e time, I was excited to start w chapter in my life.”
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Local News. Regional
com • Vol 13, No.
OCTOBER 25-31, 2019
Changes in store for county board
th th June 20 - 26 2019 newspaper in Culpeper.
The most widely
VOL. 7 | NUM. 44
With several open seats and uncontested races, there will already be several new faces on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors after November’s elections. Here are the candidates on the ballot. (i) indicates an incumbent
Pete Candland, Republican (i) Danny Funderburk, Democrat
Ruth Anderson, Republican (i) Kenny Allen Boddye, Democrat
Victor Angry, Democrat (i)
Jeanine Lawson, Republican (i) Maggie Hansford, Democrat
Yesli Vega, Republican Raheel Sheikh, Democrat
Douglas Taggart, Republican Andrea Bailey, Democrat
142nd Year •
Margaret Franklin, Democrat
he Prince William Board of County Supervisors is guaranteed to have at least four new members following the Nov. 5 election. But the decision that voters make at the ballot box will still have major re» Dumfries voters percussions. to weigh region’s They’ll deterfirst gaming parlor mine whether PAGE 20 three incum» NOV. 1: Next week’s bents are able to paper will include a keep their seats. complete election They’ll decide guide whether Democrats flip a 6-2 Republican majority. And the decision at the ballot box could change the gender and racial makeup of the board, potentially ushering in a majority of women supervisors and a majority of minority members for a board that was all white and mostly men just nine months ago. Supervisors serve four-year terms, set
N A DA L D E N E M PA STA R S • G O T E E N R U G BY
➤ Health: June is
HHT Awareness month
2 | Results of Piedmont
KO N M A R I S • C LO S E T
Area Soap Box Derby
➤ SEE STORY
6 | Lions Club honors
Melvin Jones winners
evelopers have plans for a large mixed-use development on U.S. 1 with the $19.1 million purchase of the Station Plaza shopping center at the corner18with Va. 123 in Woodbridge. Martin's goes mobile Earlier this month, Grace Street Properties bought the shopping center on 13 acres anchored by Food Lion and BThrifty and across the busy highway from
BY JEFF SAY ON
PHOTO BY JEFF SAY
M A R C H
the VRE and Amtrak station, said George Boosalis, the president of Boosalis Properties, which represented Grace Street Properties in the purchase. Boosalis said developing the site plan will take anywhere from three to five years with construction starting after that. The development will still have to go through the process of getting permits from the county. The owners want to work with the cur-
rent tenants to see if they want to lease space in the new development or another shopping center the company owns, Boosalis said. Grace Street Properties plans to build 2 million square feet for a mixed-used development, which will include retail space for lease. The developer wants to work with the county to consider a pedestrian bridge from the development to the VRE and Amtrak station across U.S. 1.
13318 Occoquan Rd., Woodbridge, VA 22191
Meanwhile, of the students attend who do
when you have to
MYSTERY OF CLOVER HILL Child’s remains
continuously hit rural districts at inequitable proportions. See SCHOOLS,
found in attic
By John McCaslin
is very hard
make cuts enrollment PAGE 3 while the state based on formulas funding
The county’s plan for North Woodbridge calls for increased density in the area near the VRE. The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted 7-0 on Oct. 8 to approve the North Woodbridge plan, which outlines future land use and plans for a town center and urban neighborhoods that will have walkability and access to mass transit, according to
PRINCE WILLIAM TODAY
4143 Dale Blvd., Dale City, VA 22193
O C TOBER 17, 2019
county policies, plan the county’s budget County has nearly in Rappahannock and serve on local and regional boards. to 2019 — from doubled from 2014 34 to 62 students, jump of 82 percent. Here’s a look at each race: a
public schools Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gaines- nock very in Rappahanfew ville, said he doesn’t support the road to new figures.are drop outs, according bond referendum, which will ask voters An estimated 7 percent of the counto approve or deny allowing the county to ty’s student-age population are now borrow up to $355 million for transporta-learning their lessons in a home settion projects, including $200 million forting, according to new statistics the from either a bypass or to widen Va. Route 28. Virginia Department of Education. Given the uniqueness Candland said the process was politicallytion of educain Rappahannock motivated, proposed without analysis ofunlike much County, of Virginia the where which projects would help the most peopopulation is declining, how student a concern is ple and how the real estate property tax it to the school much of which relies district, rate will be affected. heavily that more students on state funds, “I’ve asked several times about what are being chooled? We put that questionhomesthis will mean for tax bills,” Candland cent days to in reDr. Shannon said. superintendent Grimsley, of Rappahannock The Prince William Board of County County Public Schools. Supervisors has a policy to not increase“Am I concerned about declining enrollment? its operating budget more than 3.5% each Of course,” she “We've replied. year while also planning revenue increascome a long way with increases for capital projects, such as the ing $43 services and dents and familiesprograms to our stumillion for the expansion of the Adult and that
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T HUR SDAY ,
By John McCaslin
Elections will result in at least four new supervisors
Homeschooling nearly doubles since 2014
State figures released: Very few RCPS students are drop outs
Station Plaza to become mixed-use development after $19.1M sale
LEADING THE WAY
ttics are like graveyards, where sentimental treasures are placed in boxes and plastic and shoved into bags of parting to be dark corners, allowing the pain postponed for Photo albums another day. and love letters, cowboy boots, comic books and tea forgotten for futuresets and violins — all better the dust and deal generations to brush aside with. Most attic stashes consist of the
‘Your heart rate
of historic home News staff
typical family clutter. Some prove valuable historic. Then if not there are those the rafters and rare finds beneath cobwebs that are downright shocking and creepy. As was the past year in the musty attic of case this Sperryville Pike, Clover Hill on herdsman Rich where Eldon Farms’ longtime Bradley stumbled upon the See
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Founder Paul Reisler has a plan: “We decided we wanted to keep it going past what I can do.” 6
G INTRODUCIN ASHBURN MAGAZINE
COURTHOUSE ROW ................8 EVENTS ....................................1 6 LETTERS ...............................14 MEETINGS & NOTICES ........ 17 SCHOOLS ..............................10
to Winning the War for Talent
JOHNNY MAC SOLDIERS
See the unique features planned for two sites in our backyard.
FUND Honoring the fallen one scholarship at a time
ROADMAP TO RESKILLING
Where everybody knows your name
Chalk It Up
Dusty work of an amazing local artist
Briar Woods grad football talks life outside
E/ G A I N E SV I L L H AY M A R K E T
T A U G U S
2 0 2 1
Meet SVILLE Trace G A I N E McSorley INSIDENOVA
The Ashburn Pub
N O V E M B E R
K / HAYMAR
The time is now
10 great places to explore on a spring weekend
2 0 1 9
WORKERS Retooling educational and training programs to meet the demands of the technology industry
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THE ARTS ARE THRIVING IN FAUQUIER:
Stone Bridge High School urn; (above) Mattingly g on a chilly Helsinki day ER C A R R I E S O N HA C Y FA M I LY ’ S LEETGI C O F AT H L SUCCESS
BACK THEY’RE GOING TO SCHOOL! LOCAL PARENTS HOPES SHARE THEIR FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
A NEW CHILDREN’S A BOOK ABOUT TRUCK LITTLE TRASH BIG IS MAKING A IMPACT. MEET AUTHOR OF SIOBHAN SCOTT BRISTOW
MUSIC: Gloria’s and the Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance
VISUAL ART: Contemporary Colorist Marci Nadler READING AND WRITING: The Open Book Bookstore
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS AND TEAMMATES BACK IN ASHBURN THINK OF YOUR CAREER PATH? ARE THEY SURPRISED? OR IS SOMETHING WILD LIKE THIS PRETTY TYPICAL FOR YOU? “People just wonder how something like this comes about and how does it work, but it’s nothing crazy to them.”
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ABOUT? COACHING IN THE CAPITAL CITY SEEMS LIKE THE BIG LEAGUES. “I was actually in Germany last year for the 2020 season coaching in the German Football League, which is the top league in all of Europe and the fourth best league in the world behind the NFL, CFL and Japanese ‘X’ League. Then the coronavirus hit, which cancelled the German season. So, I got in touch with some old friends and people back in Finland because they were still playing despite the pandemic. That’s how I ended up with the Helsinki Wolverines. During the 2020 season, we were in the first pro football game to be played post-corona in the whole world. It was a really cool experience. As for being the ‘big leagues,’ the Crocodiles and Wolverines are in the same league. It’s like the NBA or NFL where you have your big-market and small-market teams.”
HOW DID THE MOVE TO THE HELSINKI WOLVERINES COME
38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET BACK TO ASHBURN? WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ASHBURN AND HELSINKI? “I have not been home since I last left before the pandemic. March 2020 was the last time I was home. Helsinki and Ashburn are quite similar except, as in most European cities, Helsinki has a lot of old architecture and cobblestone streets. When it comes to daily life, it’s very
similar. Almost everyone in Helsinki speaks English, so it’s very easy to adapt. The one thing that’s hard is getting used to living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.” WHAT ARE WINTERS LIKE THERE? “Winters are something crazy. No one in the states truly understands besides those living in Alaska and maybe some northern Midwest states. Temperatures of minus-15 to minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit and 2 feet of snow are common. It can start snowing in September and not stop until the following May. It’s beautiful during the winters but it’s something you have to be physically and mentally prepared for.” “TED LASSO” IS A HIT SHOW OVER HERE ABOUT AN AMERICAN FOOTBALL COACH COACHING AN ENGLISH SOCCER TEAM. THAT’S NOT QUITE THE SAME AS YOUR STORY, BUT HOW UNUSUAL IS IT FOR AN AMERICAN TO BE COACHING THERE? “I’ve never seen the show, [but] American coaches are normal in the league. There are some every year.” WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR MIKE MATTINGLY? DO YOU THINK YOU’LL COME BACK TO THE STATES EVENTUALLY, OR DO YOU SEE YOURSELF STAYING IN FINLAND OR EUROPE? “I will spend the 2022 season with the Helsinki Wolverines and then go from there. I’ll finally come home for a few months and decide what the next step is. The goal is to coach at the NCAA level, but if something is too good to pass up in Europe — whether in Finland or elsewhere — I will have to consider that as well.” A
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home sweet home feature
FINISHED FOR GOOD Broadlands resident gives well-worn furniture new life — for charity BY C HRIS WADSWORTH
“A friend spotted a Facebook listing for a free dresser. When I went to pick it up, the kind man told me that if someone hadn’t taken it, Thor would have had at it. I looked up in confusion to see him holding his hammer, which he explained was called Thor. (See, I’m not the only one who names inanimate objects.) “So, it wasn’t hard to come up with a name for this piece. Meet Thor. He was in rough shape, but structurally sound. I wanted to keep the wood, but the veneer was extremely thin and, with the various scratches and bumps, it made the most sense to fill, prime and paint him.
imee Taylor is a miracle worker. There’s just no way around it. The Broadlands resident is a marketing consultant by day and a wife, mother and grandmother all the time. But it’s what she does in her free time that is so amazing. In October 2019, she started picking pieces of badly worn or damaged furniture out of people’s trash and then repairing and restoring them in amazing ways. From there, she donates the items to the local ReStore, a shop run by Loudoun Habitat for Humanity that raises funds for the organization. “From the start, I have only taken free furniture — trashed and on the curb, or pieces donated to me,” Taylor said. “I do pay for my own supplies, although sometimes people donate those too.” Taylor dubbed her efforts Finished For Good and started posting about her work and her miraculous makeovers on Facebook. As of this writing, she has refurbished 46 pieces of furniture and décor that otherwise would have wound up in a landfill — and has helped raise money for a good cause to boot. “We love what she’s doing,” said Kristen Wolfe, the manager at the ReStore in Leesburg. “Each piece has its own story behind it, and they sell like hotcakes.” And Taylor is always looking for ways to expand and grow what she’s started. “I'm at the point now where I don't have the room to store things — friends have called me when they see pieces at the curb, and I don’t always have the space to store them so the trash truck gets them,” she said. “There is an opportunity to take this initiative further, but I don’t have the resources, know-how or time to do so. Maybe someone out there does.” The Finished For Good postings on social media are written with such charm that we are sharing some of them here. You can follow Taylor’s furniture adventures at www.facebook.com/finished4good.
“Oops paint from Home Depot ($2) was used for Thor — I love his bright cheery color. I sprayed the knobs gold with paint I already had. Yes, he still has dings and bumps, but that gives him character.” ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 41
“Meet Quattro! This cute (and large!) cedar chest had been in a family for four generations — hence the name I gave him. He had quite a bit of repair needed. His top was split so he could not properly open and close, and he was missing one foot entirely along with parts of others. Thankfully, his owner retained the pieces! “I started out by repairing him — lots of wood glue for his feet, plus glue and braces for his lid. His inside was clean and just needed a bit of cleaning and sanding. “Removing the copper strapping on the top took a very long time but was necessary to repair the top properly. After getting him all fixed, I applied three coats of shellac and shined up the strapping. I was torn as to how much to shine the strapping — I wanted the copper to show, but not look too brand new. “Quattro was a lot of fun to work on.”
42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
“This is Vera. My teen told me she had spotted something that looked wooden on the side of the road the night before trash pick-up. She had no idea what it was. Sorry, kid — this is an old sewing/knitting box. You wouldn’t know as your mother gets hives just thinking about sewing. “Anyway, she found it, so she got naming rights. Vera had been painted a pretty blue over a coat of white paint. I was determined to get all that paint off and see what type of wood was underneath. Vera had other ideas. “Vera’s handle snapped when trying to remove it. Some of the screws simply would not budge, so I could not disassemble and properly strip as I had hoped. Eventually, with chemical stripper, sandpaper, razor blades and even a nail file, I got 99.9% of Vera’s paint off. “I think Vera has some age to her. Maybe some attitude, too. There were times when I had to put Vera aside (and) walk away from her. We were not speaking for some time. She is stubborn but did not have me beat. “When I got to the point that I worried about damaging the wood, I stopped. I re-stained her, fixed her handle and put a few layers of topcoat on her. To give her back some of that color she apparently really wanted, I painted the inside of the flaps a similar blue. And she is ready. Not perfect, but a bit rustic and reflective of her age. Even after our struggles, I’m happy she didn’t end up in a landfill.”
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“Meet Quattro! This cute (and large!) cedar chest had been in a family for four generations — hence the name I gave him. He had quite a bit of repair needed. His top was split so he could not properly open and close, and he was missing one foot entirely along with parts of others. Thankfully, his owner retained the pieces! “I started out by repairing him — lots of wood glue for his feet, plus glue and braces for his lid. His inside was clean and just needed a bit of cleaning and sanding. “Removing the copper strapping on the top took a very long time but was necessary to repair the top properly. After getting him all fixed, I applied three coats of shellac and shined up the strapping. I was torn as to how much to shine the strapping — I wanted the copper to show, but not look too brand new. “Quattro was a lot of fun to work on.”
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“A college friend met me in a parking lot to introduce me to Aunt Faye. This lovely balloon chair came from Pittsburgh and needed some repair. Gluing was tricky, but she held nicely. “I tried to spot clean her upholstery, but not knowing what I was doing, I ended up making some of the spots worse. So, I removed all of the staples and fabric and gently soaked the seat cover several times. (Note: Don’t try this at home — I’m not an upholstery expert!) “Her stuffing was very clean and seemed to be in great shape, so her new owner can easily choose to reupholster her. I personally like the pretty green. “I did not strip and refinish the wood as it was absolutely gorgeous — I just revived it a bit. “A lady never reveals her age and Aunt Faye is no exception. [There were] no marks that I could find, and research has not yielded any matches. She does look very similar to chairs I found that were described as being Victorian. As much as I want to sit on Aunt Faye and take my afternoon tea, she will be going to ReStore.” A
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inspired by winter Two winners share the spotlight in our short story contest
the movie “My story … was actually inspired by a song called ‘Spring 1’ by Max Ritcher [reinterpreting] Vivaldi. I came across this song during an episode of ‘The Crown,’ and it has inspired many of my works since. To me, the story itself is about vulnerability. The movie was a way to get the main character to let her guard down, to open up and truly feel her emotions. I find the ending to be bittersweet, because — while the main character is definitely hurt and regretting her vulnerability — she’s open now. The movie made her a more open person.” — Hannah Chateau
Once a year we gather in this tent, far away from the world outside. We wrap ourselves in blankets and bathe in the glow of the bright fairy lights. Some huddle in groups, and some sit alone, but our attention is always on the white sheet. Each year, amidst the smell of molasses and snowcovered pine trees, we’d get to see a part of the movie. We didn’t know who made it, or where it came from. Only that it was for us. In the first year, I was alone. Isolated. I watched the opening of the movie in my own little blanket fort, impossible for any meddling boy to penetrate through. I watched the ballerina’s actions through the projection, her legs stretching out and her arms gracefully floating through the air. Such beauty, such regal-ness. The way her toes bounced, her eyebrows scrunched. The way her collarbone would shine at that perfect angle against the light. On the way home, I recreated her steps in the snow. It 46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
moved me softly, like a lullaby. It held me in a gentle embrace and even in the December chill, I felt so very warm. The second year, I was once again alone, huddled within my barricade of blankets. I was so excited to see my ballerina, to see her dainty feet move against cool-toned stage lights, her shadows chasing after the bittersweet music. Her arms reach, out, out, out! I found myself reaching, too, though I did not know for what. Warm, soft skin touched my shaking fingertips. I looked to the man beside me, whose arms were stretched out, just like mine. Our pinkies overlapped and I smiled. The ballerina’s arms are caught by a handsome stranger and suddenly this is no longer a ballet, no. It’s a marvelous waltz with long twirling skirts and quick, flighty steps. The third year, I found myself accompanied by the man from the year prior, though now I knew his name to be Victor. My thick fortress of blankets was replaced with a
or the second year in a row, Ashburn Magazine was proud to sponsor a creative writing contest for Ashburn students. This year, we asked students to submit stories relating to the winter season. There were no other restrictions on genre or style. And once again, we were charmed with the submissions we received. So much so that we have two winners this year: Hannah Chateau, a junior at Riverside High School, and Caitlin Laborce, a junior at Broad Run High School. Their submissions were similar in some ways, but very different in others. We hope you enjoy them.
single one, which was draped across both of our still forms. This year, I did not watch the movie. It made me feel as if I had been intruding on something, something not meant for my eyes. So instead, I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of bells a ring-a-ling-a-ring-ring-ring-ring. Victor insisted I wait with him while everyone else left the tent. When we were finally alone, I watched in shock as he went to the projector and pulled the filmstrips from the reel. He moved my arm out of the way and put them in my purse. “I want you to have this forever,” he whispered. “No matter what some group of snobbish filmmakers say.” Now I knew what the ballerina had been reaching for. She had been reaching for love. And hoped she’d never let it go. The fourth (and what was rumored to be the final) year, I walked to the tent, disturbingly alone. The once soft December chill had been replaced with something wicked, something biting my cheeks and whipping my hair. My lips are numb, my toes are numb, everything is numb numb numb. Just a few more steps, I remind myself. Just a few more steps and then we can finish this wretched display.
The beautiful ballerina was alone now. I nodded, feeling satisfied. I wanted her to leap, to twirl, to shriek with glee. But she withered, shrunk like a flower deprived of sunlight. Her limbs did not stretch or float. They stayed painfully close to her body, as if she were a spider being attacked. Her one, excruciating spin caused the petals from her head piece to bleed to the ground. Snarky comments. Fingers intertwined in mine. The reel of film beneath my bed. My feet, slipping on the unreliable forest snow as he catches me. Him ducking as my blue, ugly vase flies in his direction. I looked up at the sheet again, shocked to feel a lump forming in my throat. I wanted to curse the ballerina for making me feel this way, for dictating my emotions all these years. Good God, I hate her so. How she looked at the camera with those sad, lonely eyes. Demanding I see myself within her. Her contagious weakness spread to me, and I feel myself begin to wither, too. Just as the first tear falls from my eye, the ballerina dies on stage. — Hannah Chateau
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 47
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The dim streetlamps cast a gentle glow on the snow blanketing the sidewalk. Around us, snow falls in a blur of glitter and cold kisses on our noses. I hold on tighter to you, stuffing my nose deeper into my scarf. You look down at me, smiling — we’ll be home soon, you say, and we can turn on the fireplace like you said you wanted to. The idea alone warms me from the inside out. I’m assuming hot chocolate, as well? I mumble, relishing in the laugh you let out. But of course! With that thought alone, we trek on, occasionally slipping over hidden ice patches and avoiding some oddly
winter’s walk “I tend to write based off of music. For this story, I believe I wrote to ‘Je Te Laisserai Des Mots’ by Patrick Watson. I like to picture a scene in my mind before writing it, so it was the snowy, street lamp-lit street that got the ball rolling. I just thought a small snippet of a sweet moment would make for a feel-good story.” — Caitlin Laborce
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colored chunks of slush. Despite all of these challenges, I can’t help the fun I’m having; you manage to turn each step into an adventure, blocking out the cold until even my toes bundled deep in my boots are immune — or perhaps, at this point, just numb. A car passes by slowly, turning the snow in front of it into a brilliant light show of white and silver; beautifully blinding. It is with this sudden excess light I can see the deer just ahead of us. Look! I whisper, slowing. Isn’t she pretty? You nod, transfixed, and I can’t help but watch you instead. The corners of your eyes crinkle up with amusement, pointing out her little tracks that were
quickly being covered. I hope she finds somewhere warm to stay for the night, you muse, giving my arm a light tug so we can continue on. Because I’m getting excited just thinking of ours. We turn onto our street, and I can see our home ahead — the lights have been left on and I’ve never seen anything more inviting. It is when we reach our driveway that I turn to you again. Let’s do this again tomorrow. You shake your head. Sure, but I think I need to find a few more layers to put on first. It is a cold night in Ashburn, but your presence manages to keep me warm. — Caitlin Laborce
Firefly Acupuncture and Wellness, led by Rachal Lohr, LAc, seamlessly blends the time-tested science of acupuncture with more innovative, medical solutions in order to achieve measurable, long-lasting results!
Whether it’s the numbness and tingling from your NEUROPATHY, the painful burning sensation that accompanies SCIATICA or the unbearable swelling and stiffness of your joints from ARTHRITIS, the staff at Firefly Acupuncture and Wellness is here to help you live a life free from pain.
Rachal's focus is treating chronic pain, including rheumatoid conditions, autoimmune diseases, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.
She also skillfully layers in other non invasive therapies such as ATP Resonance BioTherapy TM, O3 ReBoot TM Therapy and more for amplified and lasting results.
Firefly Acupuncture and Wellness has pioneered non-pharmaceutical, non- Imagine Relief! surgical innovative medical solutions Imagine increased Energy! to actually TREAT your symptoms! Imagine staff and a community of people that not only understand your Our emphasis is difficult to treat condition but can truly Support and Our aim is to provide you with pain conditions! relieving treatments so that you can get Sympathize with You! back to LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST! Firefly is led by Rachal Lohr, LAc, a For residents of Northern VA this is now a renowned authority in the field of reality! Call (703)263-2142 today to set Rachal uses non invasive, non acupuncture and integrative medicine, up a consultation. pharmaceutical, integrative therapies especially when it comes to chronic to relieve her patients of chronic pain Visit www.FIREFLYAcuAndWellness.com to learn and seemingly hopeless cases. symptoms, one of which is Acupuncture. more and to take advantage of our New Patient Offer! 50 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
"SHE SAVED MY LIFE"
Loudoun county resident Dawn R. had been experiencing the painful side effects of Peripheral Neuropathy, “my feet and legs were extremely painful and my doctor told me there was nothing they could do. That I would have to take Gabapentin for the rest of my life.” Then she met Ashburn's very own Rachal Lohr, L.Ac. Peripheral Neuropathy is the pain, discomfort and numbness caused by nerve damage of the peripheral nervous system. Dawn explained that daily tasks like opening doors and using the bathroom were overwhelmingly painful. “How can you live for the next 30 years when you don’t even want to get out of bed to do simple things?” She was experiencing the burning, numbness, tingling and sharp pains that those suffering with neuropathy often describe. “The way that I would describe it, it’s equivalent to walking on glass.” Dawn hadn’t worn socks in five years and was wearing shoes two sizes too big so that nothing would ‘touch’ her feet.
Unfortunately Dawn’s story is all too familiar for the over 3 million people in the U.S. suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy. If you’re unfortunate enough to be facing the same disheartening prognosis you’re not sleeping at night because of the burning in your feet. You have difficulty walking, shopping or doing any activity for more than 30 minutes because of the pain. You’re struggling with balance and living in fear that you might fall. Your doctor told you to ‘just live with the pain’ and you’re taking medications that aren’t working or have uncomfortable side effects.
PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY? Call (703)263-2142 to schedule a consultation!
Fortunately, two months ago Dawn read an article about Rachal and the work she was doing to treat those suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy, without invasive surgeries or medications. Rachal Lohr, founder of Firefly Acupuncture and Wellness, in Ashburn, is using the time tested science of Acupuncture and a technology originally developed by NASA that assists in increasing blood flow and expediting recovery and healing to treat this debilitating disease.
“Now when I go to bed at night I don’t have those shooting pains. I don’t have that burning sensation. I don’t have pain coming up my legs,” Dawn enthusiastically describes life after receiving Rachal Lohr's treatments. “I can wear socks and shoes!”
What was once a missing link in senior healthcare is now easily accessible to the residents of Northern Virginia. If you’ve missed too many tee times because of pain or you’ve passed on walking through the town centers with friends because you’re afraid of falling, it’s time to call Rachal and the staff at Firefly.
It’s time you let your golden years BE GOLDEN! Rachal Lohr, L.Ac. is once again accepting new patients. And for a limited time will be offering Free Consultations so call (703)263-2142 before January 31st to schedule a consultation.
Dawn and her sister now operate a successful dog walking business, sometimes covering up to 5 miles a day.
“It’s life altering. As far as I’m concerned Rachal saved my life!” Rachal has been helping the senior community for over 14 years using the most cutting edge and innovative integrative medicine. Specializing in chronic pain cases, specifically those that have been deemed ‘hopeless’ or ‘untreatable’, she consistently generates unparalleled results.
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real estate roundup
ASHBURN’S TOP 10
hile the real estate market cooled off generally across Loudoun County in late summer, that does not appear to have been the case in Ashburn. Sales countywide in September declined 10.5% from the previous year, according to the Dulles Area Association of Realtors — and that was the second decline in three months. However, in Ashburn’s 20148 Zip code, sales rose 25.9%, and they were up 11.8% in the 20147 Zip code in September. The median sales price continued to increase as well — up 13.9% in 20148 and 4.5% in 20147. In both Ashburn Zip codes, the sales price was an average of 0.9% above the list price, and the average days on market was about two weeks. Highlighted below are the five highest-priced homes that sold in each of Ashburn’s two Zip codes between mid-August and mid-October, along with the sales price and other key information. Data and photos from Realtor.com.
20144 BLACK DIAMOND PLACE
41954 GREENLOOK LANE
$1,650,000 Sold: Sept. 30 5 bedrooms 5½ bathrooms 8,716 square feet
$1,720,000 Sold: Oct. 7 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms 7,498 square feet
43576 PABLO CREEK COURT
23074 WELBOURNE WALK COURT
$1,600,000 Sold: Oct. 15 5 bedrooms 5½ bathrooms 8,118 square feet
$1,655,000 Sold: Sept. 13 4 bedrooms 4½+ bathrooms 6,533 square feet
20344 NORTHPARK COURT
22453 CONSERVANCY DRIVE
$1,549,000 Sold: Aug. 27 4 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 5,195 square feet
$1,550,000 Sold: Sept. 17 6 bedrooms 6 bathrooms 7,228 square feet
20713 ASHBURN VALLEY COURT
42639 TRAPPE ROCK COURT
$1,428,000 Sold: Aug. 31 5 bedrooms 5½ bathrooms 8,034 square feet
$1,500,000 Sold: Sept. 30 6 bedrooms 5½ bathrooms 7,306 square feet
20364 NORTHPARK DRIVE
42018 MILL QUARTER PLACE
$1,306,000 Sold: Sept. 29 5 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 4,326 square feet
$1,350,000 Sold: Sept. 27 4 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 4,262 square feet
52 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 53
time of our lives
Leader of the Bands Ashburn personal trainer works with local kids and international celebrities BY RI C K H O R N E R
(clockwise from above) Coach Kelvin Moore stands with two of his clients — World Boxing Council featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. (left) and Russell’s brother, Gary Antonio Russell (right), who is a professional boxer in the bantamweight class; Moore stands between YouTube stars Logan Paul (left) and Jake Paul (right) at their home near Los Angeles. Moore helped Logan Paul prepare for his recent match against famed boxer Floyd Mayweather; Moore at his BandNation facility in Ashburn with local soccer player Avery Oh (left) and softball player Presley Gatlin (right). Both young women train with Moore at his studio. 54 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
ou wouldn’t think that taking out the garbage would change the direction of your life, but Kelvin Moore could make that case. More than 40 years ago, the Ashburn resident was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He was stationed in Washington, D.C., and served in a variety of prominent roles, including working at Camp David as part of the Honor Guard under President Jimmy Carter. But it was the time he was on garbage detail that left a lasting legacy. “I was fooling around with one of the guys, and I jumped off a dumpster and ended up with a hairline fracture in my left ankle,” Moore said. “When I went to physical therapy, they walked in and they handed me a band and I just kind of said, ‘This is different. And interesting.’” The large rubber band he was given was intended to help strengthen his ankle through resistance training, a method that avoids the use of heavy weights. The novel
TIME OF OUR LIVES
form of exercise intrigued Moore, and once his rehabilitation was complete, Moore dove headfirst into all aspects of physical exercise and cardiovascular training. It soon became his passion. “It just ignited something in me – a desire to help others become athletes and be the best that they could be,” Moore said. “As a kid, I never played any sports and wasn’t an athlete myself, so I wanted to help others do what I hadn’t done myself.” Today, Moore is 61 years old and has been a personal trainer for close to four decades. And he has made a name for himself for the amazing work he has done with local kids in and around Ashburn — helping them excel at sports. Kayla Fekel, 16, says Moore’s passion and ability has helped her be a better softball player. “He pushes me mentally when I'm going through a workout,” said Fekel, an Old Ashburn resident who is a pitcher and shortstop for the Stone Bridge High School
team. “He’s going to want you to finish strong and finish at the best of your ability.” Kayla, whose mother is from Panama, has made the Panama National Team and will soon be competing internationally. “[Coach Moore] has made her powerful and strong, not just physically, but the mindset,” said Kayla’s mother, Carlina Chiru Fekel. “She will be playing with older women. In Panama, she went up against a pitcher who was 50. You have to have a strong mindset to compete at this level at such a young age.” And Moore definitely takes his own
advice. He’s in top physical form — defying many of the expected infirmities that come with age. He has worked out nearly every day since his time in the Marines and he still exercises each day at 5 a.m. According to a 2016 survey by the National Federation of Professional Trainers, just 7% of trainers fall into Moore’s age range of 61 and over. Throughout his long career, Moore says he has helped train athletes in 32 countries, including players in the National Basketball Association and the National Football League. “I’ve known Chris Baker [former NFL defensive tackle] since he was 10 years old,” Moore said. “I came down here to work with Chris when he was with the Redskins, and then I started working with Jordan Reed [former NFL tight end], Junior Galette [former NFL linebacker] and a
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Coach Kelvin Moore poses for a photo with boxing champion Floyd Mayweather at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. Moore was there working with several young boxers who train at the facility.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 55
TIME OF OUR LIVES
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lot of other players.” He says he has trained celebrities like Usher and fighters from the world of mixed martial arts. Earlier this year, Moore worked with YouTube personality Logan Paul as he prepared for his June 2021 fight against professional boxer Floyd Mayweather. “It was a very unique experience,” said Moore, who worked with both Logan Paul and his brother, Jake Paul. “Those two guys don’t get enough credit for their level of desire and the intensity they bring. They work hard. Their passion for the boxing world is genuine.” For several years, Moore was a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Ashburn and director of education and training for new trainers at all three Gold’s locations in the area. He left to start his own company, which he launched in 2020. It’s called BandNation, and we’ll give you one guess as to what it involves. “Bands allow you to do a plethora of different movements,” Moore said. “Unlike machines, which are set up to usually just be used in one way, with bands, I can make drills very multi-functional. Most of the athletes I work with say they have never trained like this before due to the level of creativity.” BandNation — which has a training facility on Waxpool Road in Ashburn — is the culmination of his experience and philosophy when it comes to fitness. And while coaching big-name athletes and celebrities is fun, in the end, working with young people is what really motivates him. “He basically pushes you to do your best,” said Presley Gatlin, 11, of Leesburg, a softball player who trains with Moore. “Coach Kelvin has helped me a lot with my confidence and my mindset, and he's really helped me with my flexibility and strengthened my hips.” Gatlin’s father, Ken, has seen his daughter
Moore seen in his Marines uniform, circa 1979; the interior of Moore’s BandNation training facility on Waxpool Road in Ashburn.
TIME OF OUR LIVES get mentally tougher as well as physically stronger since she started working with Moore. “The drills he puts together are all very unique,” Ken Gatlin said. “They’re never the same and it's a lot about problem solving. [He puts] them in stressful situations where they have to figure it out as they go to master the routine.” And despite approaching retirement age, Moore says many Ashburn parents who are fans of his style and especially his results are hoping he sticks around for a long time to come. “As long as I can make this train run, I’m gonna do it — because it’s all about the kids,” he said. “I love working with the kids. So, if my three-year lease turns into 10 years, so be it.” A Rick Horner is a freelance reporter based in Northern Virginia. He also co-hosts a music podcast called “The Cats and Chords Duo.” MORE INFORMATION If you would like more information on BandNation and Coach Kelvin Moore, he can be reached at BandNation, 44200 Waxpool Road, No. 132, or (860) 250-9314.
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 57
‘Like Home-Cooked Food’
Afghan kabob restaurants abound in Ashburn BY CH RI S WADSWO RT H
58 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
he immigrant story is as old as time. People uprooted by turmoil at home or seeking better opportunities elsewhere leave their homeland and start anew. In America, it’s a tale told by the Pilgrims, the Germans, the Italians, the Poles, the Mexicans and dozens of other groups. Ali Akhtari’s story isn’t much different from those of generations of past settlers coming to America. He’s originally from Ghazni, a city high on a plateau in southeastern Afghanistan.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 59
WINE&DINE “I left home, lived in Pakistan … worked in restaurants. Then I came here in 2013 and started over again from scratch. I had $100 in my pocket,” Akhtari said. “Now I own two businesses and have nine people working for me.” Like many immigrants before him, Akhtari found success running a restaurant specializing in the food of his homeland. He took over the original VA Kabob House in Springfield from an uncle and this summer opened a second location in the Ashburn Farm Market Center. “Afghan restaurants make dishes that everyone likes,” said Akhtari, who says his customers come from every ethnic background and walk of life. “We make fresh bread, fresh rice, fresh kabobs. We cook to order, and we cook everything from scratch. People like that.” The cuisine of Afghanistan is based, in large part, on the major crops the country produces, including barley, corn, rice and wheat. Dairy products such as milk, whey and yogurt are key ingredients, as are fruits such as grapes, melons and pomegranates.
One of the staples of Afghan cuisine is the kabuli pulaw, a lamb dish served with seasoned rice, carrots and raisins. In Afghanistan, it’s served at weddings, parties and other big events. And it’s a popular seller at Ashburn’s Afghan restaurants. “It’s the most traditional dish and the most popular,” said Tariq Arif, who came to the United States from Kabul, the Afghan capital, in 2001 when he was about 10
60 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
Brothers Reza Hyderi (left) and Tariq Arif (right), owners of Ashburn Kabob.
Ali Akhtari, owner of VA Kabob House in Ashburn.
years old. He and his brother own Ashburn Kabob on Truro Parish Drive. Besides the kabuli pulaw, two other popular dishes on the Ashburn Kabob menu are ashuak and mantoo. Both are boiled dumplings — the former stuffed with leeks, the latter with ground beef and onions. They’re served with a homemade garlic yogurt sauce and dry mint. Arif says these simple ingredients are the secret to the popularity of Afghan food. “Afghan food is more like home-cooked food,” he said. “We use simple home spices like cumin and coriander. It’s not spicy — as in spicy heat — just more flavorful.” Steve Chambers is an Ashburn Village resident who has been dining at Ashburn Kabob about twice a month for three years now. “I’m a regular here,” Chambers said. “I
usually go with different salads — a kabob salad, a gyro salad. They are consistent and it’s always good.” Of course, these restaurants have kabob in the name, and kabobs are big sellers too. The skewers of meat and veggies can include beef, chicken, ground beef and ground chicken (which is known as kobidah) as well as lamb, chicken shawarma and other ingredients. When you sit down to an Afghan meal, you’re also likely to have naan bread, spinach, potatoes, chickpeas and salad. Like most area restaurants, the Afghan kabob eateries in Ashburn — which also include Loudoun Kabob in Ashburn Village — had a tough go of it during the worst of the pandemic. But they have survived and even thrived as dining out has resumed. For Ali Akhtari and the others, it’s the realization of the American dream. “I work hard, like crazy hard. Non-stop,” Akhtari said. “But this is one of the best things about America. If you work hard, you’re going to reach your goals.” A
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021 • 61
the burn A ROUND-UP OF THE LATEST RESTAURANT, RETAIL AND OTHER COOL NEWS FROM ASHBURN AND BEYOND. CHECK OUT THE BURN AT THEBURN.COM AND FOLLOW IT ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM.
E BLV D . L AG
5 SULLIVAN’S COVE TO
OPEN IN ONE LOUDOUN
WA XP O OL
The former World of Beer location at One Loudoun is undergoing another rebranding, as well as a makeover to the space. WOB switched to the Jefferson Ale House brand in 2019. But now the owners are re-imagining the space with new patio doors, new interior décor and paint and a new focus on fresh food, which will be prepared in the restaurant’s scratch kitchen. Sullivan’s Cove,
which should debut this fall, will be keeping the popular lineup of more than 50 beers and wines on tap at the bar. 6 COLD STONE CREAMERY PLANNING BELMONT STORE The ice cream shop brand Cold Stone Creamery is preparing to open a new location in Ashburn. The sweet shop is coming to the Belmont Chase shopping center off Claiborne Parkway at Russell Branch Parkway. Cold Stone, which sells
Y ARKWA O UN COUNT Y P
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ASH BU RN
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62 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
A Fairfax-based fast-casual restaurant called Bebop KoreanMexican Grill is adding an Ashburn location. It’s
MEXICAN GRILL EXPANDING TO ASHBURN
4 BEBOP KOREAN-
A new carryout and delivery Japanese hibachi restaurant is in the works for the Old Ashburn neighborhood along Ashburn Road. Yum Yum will be part of a small retail complex at the corner of Ashburn
The popular Ahso Restaurant in the Brambleton Town Center has started work on its planned addition of a separate storefront called Ahso Cellars. The new wine and beer shop, a few doors down from the restaurant, will feature wine and beer for sale but also have an onsite tasting bar. There will also be a gourmet cheese display and a charcuterie room. The space will also be used for special events.
COMING TO OLD ASHBURN
UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN BRAMBLETON
going into a spot in the Old Ashburn Square shopping plaza along Ashburn Road. The restaurant will feature a menu of burgers, as well as Mexican favorites, such as burritos, quesadillas and tacos, but also offer them with popular Korean flavors and sides such as bulgogi beef and kimchi.
2 YUM YUM HIBACHI
3 AHSO CELLARS
RUS SE LL
The fast-growing Kung Fu Tea brand is bringing not one, but two new locations to Ashburn. One is in the works for the Ashburn Village Shopping Center, and the other is coming to Loudoun Station near the future Ashburn Metro stop. Kung Fu Tea specializes in iced boba teas, which feature tapioca balls in the bottom of every cup. A variety of other beverages are on the menu as well.
PLANNING TWO ASHBURN LOCATIONS
Road and Hay Road called Weller’s Corner Square. We’re told the restaurant will be immediately next door to A New View, a home décor shop that recently relocated to a historic white house on the corner.
BELMO NT RID GE R
1 KUNG FU TEA
ice cream cones and bowls mixed with a variety of toppings, is reportedly taking a spot near Chipotle. A
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