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Ashburn

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 4 PUBLISHER

Bruce Potter publisher@ashburnmagazine.com 571-333-1538 EDITOR

Chris Wadsworth editor@ashburnmagazine.com

FROM THE PUBLISHER

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Mathew Annis Glenda C. Booth Jill Devine Andrew Sample Salonee Verma PUBLISHED BY

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www.ashburnmagazine.com Facebook and Twitter: @ashburnmagazine Ashburn Magazine is published every other month and distributed to over 13,000 selected addresses. While reasonable care is taken with all material submitted to Ashburn Magazine, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any such material. Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. While ensuring that all published information is accurate, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistakes or omissions. Reproduction in whole or part of any of the text, illustrations or photographs is strictly forbidden. ©2020 Rappahannock Media LLC.

THE CHILLS OF FALL It’s a close race with spring, but fall is my favorite time of year. After the long, hot, hazy, humid days of summer, there’s nothing quite like stepping outside on a crisp fall morning. The grass and trees are still green, the sky seems bluer than ever, and maybe there’s just a hint of a chill in the fresh air. In my mind, fall is also the real “new year.” Schools are reopening, young adults are packing up and heading off to college, and my favorite sports season is about to kick off. (It’s also when political campaigns heat up, but we’ll skip that topic here!) This fall, of course, will be quite different. We won’t see many school buses on the roads, and some of those kids who headed off to college are back home already. Our family will miss the sounds of the Friday night football games at Broad Run High School reverberating through our neighborhood. And who knows what Halloween will look like. So in this issue of Ashburn Magazine we have tried to capture some of the spirit of fall – especially the “chills” part. At the suggestion of editor Chris Wadsworth, we invited local middle and high school students to submit a “spooky” short story for consideration to be published in the magazine. We were pleased with the response and received many stories worthy of publication. But the one we chose – “A Trick of the Light” by Stone Bridge High School 10th-grader Salonee Verma – stood out because of its detailed descriptions and use of Ashburn references and landmarks. And if the ending doesn’t give you chills…. Meanwhile, for a spooky story that’s also true, check out our “Time Travel” feature this month: “Death at the Toll House,” by freelance writer Mathew Annis. Who knew that old building along the Broad Run near the Route 7/Route 28 interchange was the scene of a shooting death 88 years ago? And wait until you find out what happened after the trial. And then there are the “chills” of a different sort – like the kind we think you’ll experience after reading Jill Devine’s cover story on Ashburn Farm resident Heidi Cummings and the service dog she helped train, Auckland. This feature was initially scheduled to run in our July/August issue, but we had to hold it, which turned out to be fortuitous because the ending changed in the meantime. I won’t give it away, but be sure to read the “Epilogue.” Good animal stories of course always tug at our heartstrings, so you also won’t want to miss Glenda Booth’s feature, with some amazing photos, about a couple of peregrine falcons who started a family in the Luck Stone quarry just off the W&OD Trail west of Belmont Ridge Road. We hope these stories, along with the rest of our regular features, will help your fall feel a little more normal in these challenging times. Thank you for spending a small part of it with us!

BRUCE POTTER, PUBLISHER PUBLISHER@ASHBURNMAGAZINE.COM 4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


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18

contents 08 amazing kids SCIENCE SUPERSTAR Eighth-grader is super inventor BY JILL DEVINE

12 more amazing kids Highlighting local kids doing great things

14 business boom ROBOT PALS Local entrepreneur inspired by dog’s wild ride BY JILL DEVINE

18 cover story PUPPY WITH A PURPOSE Local family raises dog to help those with special needs BY JILL DEVINE

22 feature story LUCK-Y BIRDS Falcons make their home in a local quarry BY GLENDA C. BOOTH

26 spooky story A TRICK OF THE LIGHT The winning story from our creative writing contest

36

36 wine & dine THE DINNER DILEMMA A mom on a mission to create delicious meals

BY SALONEE VERMA

BY CHRIS WADSWORTH

30

42

home sweet home

time travel

MASTER MAKEOVER A bedroom goes from blah to beautiful

DEATH AT THE TOLL HOUSE A forgotten shooting at a local landmark

BY CHRIS WADSWORTH

BY MATHEW ANNIS

34

46

real estate round-up The latest facts and figures about home sales in Ashburn

the burn The latest restaurant, retail and other cool news

ON THE COVER: Ashburn Farm resident Heidi Cummings and the dog she raised, Auckland. Photo by Andrew Sample of Andrew Sample Photography 6 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

22


amazing kids

Science Superstar Eighth-grader already making his mark BY J ILL DEV INE

“T

here is no success without hard work.” Those are the words of Samvrit Rao, an eighthgrader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn. But Samvrit isn’t just any eighth-grader. In the world of science, he’s something of a superstar — coming up with ideas and creating inventions that could one day change the world. Here’s a snapshot of his recent resume. An asthma sufferer, Samvrit was annoyed by constant trips to doctors’ offices to assess his condition. He envisioned a telemedicine-based device that could capture a patient’s “breath sounds” using a stethoscope and then relay those sounds, along with symptomatic data, to physicians via a smartphone app. Samvrit named his invention Boreas, after the Greek god of the north wind. “Like air going through the lungs,” he said. 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


AMAZING KIDS The Boreas project impressed the judges enough that Samvrit was named one of 10 finalists in the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge, advancing him to the final in mid-October. If he wins, the grand prize includes $25,000 and the prestigious title of America’s Top Young Scientist. Samvrit also worked with other members of Stone Hill Middle School science teams to become a regional winner and national finalist — not once but twice (2019 and 2020) in the U.S. Army’s eCyberMission competition. In sixth grade, his team developed a plan for a lowcost water filter that can be used during natural disasters. In seventh grade, they crowdsourced a geolocation app to identify sources of mosquito breeding to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Samvrit, who is 13 and lives in Ashburn’s Loudoun Valley II neighborhood, earned his first scientific accolade in kindergarten when he finished second in a science fair in New Jersey. More recently, he won accolades for an all-natural soap that doesn’t

contribute to water pollution. Samvrit has advice for students who are interested in STEM — “Pursue many competitions,” he said. “It’s OK if you don’t win, because the more times you compete, the more experience you gain.” His Boreas prototype already works well enough to be used effectively by physicians, so Samvrit is now focused on improving the app’s functionality. Like any good entrepreneur, he is holding proprietary details close to his chest, in hopes that he can eventually commercialize his product. “That would be amazing, because Boreas can improve telemedicine and save lives,” he said. As a finalist, Samvrit earned the opportunity to work virtually with Kandyce Bohannon, a senior software engineer at 3M’s Corporate Research Systems Lab. She helped guide him as he enhanced his prototype. “The first time I saw Samvrit’s project entry video — where he described analyzing breath sounds in a telemedicine application — I became so excited about the next

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known and I believe science shows the path to discover that something incredible...” — SAMVRIT R AO generation of scientists,” Bohannon said. “His project is extremely relevant in our current situation with COVID-19.” Bohannon also connected Samvrit with colleagues around 3M to gain further insight into how to enhance his innovation. 

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AMAZING KIDS

An image from Samvrit’s video presentation “Working with such for his Boreas distinguished scientists app which has been a surreal can be used in experience,” Samvrit said. telemedicine. Heather Jackson is the teacher in charge of preparing Stone Hill students for the eCyberMission event. Jackson describes Samvrit as bright and motivated. “He is able to talk on-level with both adults and peers seamlessly,” she said. “If someone in the group says something he does not agree with, Samvrit diplomatically listens to that point of view before steering the discussion to where he thinks it should be … his personality makes him a great leader.” Samvrit’s father, Vasudev Rao, is a physician, so he has grown up around medicine and science. Even before COVID-19, Samvrit admired the work of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has inspired him to pursue a career in immunology. And even at 13, Samvrit has it all planned out. He hopes to attend Thomas Jefferson High School or the Academies of Loudoun, followed by

medical school and then a career in medical practice or research. Studying and preparing for competitions occupies much of Samvrit’s time, but he said he still enjoys sports and video games like other kids his age. Samvrit likes to study with music on — EDM (electronic dance music) or classical violin music are his favorites — because it helps him concentrate. He shared a few study tips for other budding scientists.

“Stay focused and think before you blurt something out. Take frequent breaks. Double check your work and develop good collaboration skills. And, in today’s virtual world, always click ‘Save’ before you exit a file,” Samvrit said with a laugh. A Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools.

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more

amazing kids

OK, we know all kids are amazing, but if you know of a kid who’s so amazing that he or she should be featured on this page, please email information to editor@ashburnmagazine.com.

In the article on the preceding pages, we introduced you to this issue’s featured Amazing Kid — Samvrit Rao. But Samvrit has many amazing fellow inventors and teammates at Stone Hill Middle School. Two Stone Hill STEM teams made Loudoun County shine at the 18th Annual eCyberMission, a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Army and administered by the National Science Teaching Association. Team JANS (sixth grade) and Team Marvelous Mosquito Marauders (seventh grade) each took double honors — winning first place at both the state and Northeast Region competitions. Each team also received a $5,000 STEM-In-Action grant for presenting a project that judges deemed capable of having the greatest possible impact within their community. Team JANS members created Stack-O-Filter — an affordable, portable, eco-friendly canister-based filter that could help millions turn dirty or polluted water into clean drinking water. From left to right in the first photo are the team members: • Aneesh Josyula • Siddha Bambardekar

• Neeraj Dandamudi • Jimmy-Quoc Anh Do Team Marvelous Mosquito Marauders members designed ArboTrack — a crowdsourced geo-location based app that identifies sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed, along with a real-time reporting tool for physicians to report mosquito-borne disease patient clusters. Team members are: • Avni Garg • Amulya Gottipati • Ajay Penugonda • Samvrit Rao Both teams were coached by Stone Hill Middle School Spectrum teacher Heather Jackson. “These teams were highly engaged in a difficult competition when the rest of the school was out for summer, and they persevered regardless of the troubles that are going on in our world,” Jackson said. “I am so incredibly proud of them.”

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business boom

Robot Pals

Dog’s wild ride inspires new business BY JI L L D EVI NE

F

rancesca Maniff was relaxing on her living room sofa in early 2019 when she had a “lightbulb” moment that changed her life. Her pup, Chewey, a Maltese-Yorkshire terrier mix, had climbed on her Roomba vacuum cleaner and accidentally turned it on. Chewey sat down on it and hung on for dear life, and his little body covered the whole top of the device. Maniff could not stop laughing while the furry vacuum made its way across the room. That’s when inspiration struck. Maniff and her husband, Jonathan, were

living in Los Angeles at the time, and they were big fans of the television show “Shark Tank.” “We were always thinking of fun ways to create a ‘this’ to do ‘that,’” said Maniff, but then they would learn the product they were imagining already existed. But after seeing Chewey’s big ride, she thought — “What if I make fabric animal covers for Roombas?” Maniff and her husband discussed it, and within a year, she had made a career shift from part-time television actress, tutor and dog walker to full-time entrepreneur as founder and owner of Robo Rascals,

14 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

a company that makes and sells Roomba covers designed to make vacuuming more fun. She and her husband also moved to Ashburn during that time. After searching online, Maniff found no mention of Roomba covers. “I couldn’t believe no one else was already doing this,” she said. “I saw decals and stickers that make Roombas look like robots and that sort of thing, but no actual covers.” She had to act quickly. Working with the round shape of the Roomba, her first idea was to create a turtle cover. Cutting apart stuffed animals she bought at Goodwill, Maniff fashioned her first prototype, taping fabric parts of a toy alligator to a Roomba and wedging a small football under the fur to give it height. She quickly realized that extra appendages or stuffing would interfere with the vacuum’s functionality, so she adjusted her model and initial sketches to design trim, sleek covers. Maniff officially founded Robo Rascals in May 2019 and secured a utility patent to fully protect the functionality of her product. The covers aren’t just cute — they help protect walls and furniture from damage by the robot vacuums and even dull the sound of the motor. “I then jumped down the Google rabbit hole and searched online for stuffed animal manufacturers,” Maniff said. After a few challenging experiences and valuable lessons learned, she teamed up with a company based in the New England area that could make the quantity of items she needed. The result of Maniff ’s efforts is a line of soft, adjustable, ventilated covers designed to fit every series of iRobot’s round Roomba vacuum cleaners. Buyers can choose from Tidy the Turtle, Hector the Hedgehog, Betsy the Bee, and Lucy the Ladybug. The newest release for holiday purchases is a reindeer with a red nose that lights up. “I would love to expand the line for other holidays, such as a ghost for Halloween or a bunny for Easter, or maybe work with companies like Disney or universities to include characters or mascots,” Maniff said. “I took a mundane activity, and turned it into something fun,” added Maniff, who noted that Chewey no longer barks at the vacuum and is no longer afraid of it. “A Robo Rascal becomes a friend to everyone,” she said. Maniff ’s neighbor, Joyce Santiago, said she loves the ladybug cover and plans to


BUSINESS BOOM

(left) Maniff experiments with an early Robo Rascal prototype in her garage; (above) An early sketch of her Robo Rascal concept.

give some as holiday gifts this year. “They add a little bit of fun and enjoyment to your home, and they simply make me smile.” Eric Kissinger, who lives in Gerrardstown, W.Va., says he bought a hedgehog Robo Rascal to keep his daughter entertained during the COVID crisis. “It’s fun to watch it clean compared to a boring disk moving across the floor,” he said. For now, Maniff runs the company from her One Loudoun townhouse. She already has an inventory of a few thousand units, which she personally inspects, packages, and ships from her home. Her brother’s friend helped her launch the Robo Rascals’ website in June, and then taught her how to edit and maintain it. Using her musical theater degree and professional acting experience, Maniff spent $39 for a video editing program and produced her own short commercial for her website. In just a few short 

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months, she’s had orders from around the United States and even Europe. Robo Rascals are currently for purchase directly on her website, as well as on Amazon. Maniff is also interested in selling through retailers and local shops. Building a company prompted Maniff to stretch in other ways. She recently was accepted into Georgetown University’s Flex MBA program, and she began her studies with an accounting prep course over the summer. “It’s a new adventure,” Maniff said. “Acting was a career that I worked hard to build, and now I’m doing it again as a business owner. You never know what’s next.” A Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools.

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our neighbors

puppy feature

Purpose with a

Local woman raises a young dog to help those in need BY JI L L DE V IN E

T

he handful of dog treats in her coat pocket made Heidi Cummings’ heart crumble on Valentine’s Day this year. She scooped some beefflavored nuggets out with her car keys as she prepared to drive home to Virginia, and the tears started to fall. “I cried all the way home,” Cummings said. The Ashburn Farm resident had just left a part of her heart in Medford, N.Y., in the form of a playful Labrador/golden retriever mix named Auckland. Cummings had loved and nurtured Auckland for 20 months in her

Ashburn home — knowing that the bond was only temporary. That’s because Cummings, 58, was a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, an organization devoted to breeding and training service dogs to aid children, adults and veterans with disabilities. “I knew from the start that this day would come, but I was able to snap out of it when I remembered my primary objective — to help Auckland bring mobility, independence and joy to a person with a disability,” she said. Since 1975, Canine Companions, the largest nonprofit provider of assistance dogs in the United States, has provided service dogs free of charge to recipients. The organization’s professional trainers teach dogs to respond to more than 40 advanced commands, such as opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs, retrieving items, toggling light switches, and alerting to important sounds or names. Dogs that master this training are matched

18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

with a recipient, who then spends two weeks at the center to participate in team training. Canine Companions retains ownership of the dogs, and recipients are thereafter referred to as graduates. One such graduate is Ashburn Farm resident Mike Royer, who was teamed with a Canine Companions service dog named Karen in 2014. Karen helps Royer, who has hearing issues, navigate through his days as a husband and father of three children as well as an employee with the Department of Homeland Security. “Karen is trained to alert me to specific sounds, such as a timer, my name, a knock on the front door and my phone alarm,” Royer said. “When my tinnitus is at its worst, I rely on Karen to determine whether there is an actual sound or event in my surroundings that needs my immediate attention.” For Cummings, raising a puppy for the organization was a lifelong dream. She grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif., where Canine Companions is based, and remembers 


(Top clockwise) Heidi Cummings with Auckland, the service dog she helped raise; Cummings and Auckland outside the Canine Companions campus in New York; Ashburn Farm resident Mike Royer with his service dog, Karen. ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 19


(clockwise from left) Cummings with Auckland shortly after getting him; Auckland with the Cummings family; Auckland wearing his service dog vest while attending a swim meet.

epilogue

seeing graduates of the program interacting with their dogs. “I’ve always valued my own fitness and mobility, so I held on to the idea that one day I would help someone gain mobility by raising a service dog,” said Cummings, who applied to the program after retiring from the FBI. Puppy raisers devote considerable time to socializing the puppies, including taking them on public transportation or to work, sports events, restaurants, shopping, and anywhere they are exposed to a variety of people, situations, sights, and sounds. Raisers attend puppy classes twice a month, where they practice basic commands. Puppies must remain on leash when away from home, and when in the yellow “work” vest they must obey commands, show restraint and not interact with people or other dogs unless commanded. Puppies are also crated when they sleep at night. “Wild from the start,” is how Cummings described Auckland. “Everything he did had an exclamation point at the end, from eating fast to exploring, licking, and tasting everything in his path – you never knew

what to expect from him in puppy class.” Raising and training Auckland was a family affair. Cummings’ husband, Terry, and grown children, Colin and Erin, did their part. Knowing that the lovable dog wasn’t really theirs and had a higher purpose took some getting used to, Erin said. “I knew I couldn’t think of Auckland as a pet,” added Erin, who sometimes took Auckland with her to classes at Georgetown as part of his training. “He was always perfect while he worked.” John Bentzinger, a spokesperson for Canine Companions, said only about half the dogs make it through the program successfully. Those that don’t pass are available for adoption, with the puppy raiser given first option. “Volunteer puppy raisers are really the backbone of our organization, and we couldn’t serve without them,” he added. “The ones that graduate really are the cream of the crop.” The Cummings’ house seemed quiet without Auckland. After returning from New York in February, Cummings rounded up Auckland’s small toys, bittersweet reminders found tucked away in corners and hidden under furniture. She found herself thinking about Auckland often, especially when she received occasional photos and updates. She hopes to raise another puppy for the program and was looking forward to attending Auckland’s graduation ceremony to witness the joy he would bring to his recipient. And if Auckland didn’t graduate for some reason? Don’t worry — he would always have a forever home with Cummings. “I haven’t put the crate away yet,” she said. “Just in case.” Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools.

20 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

One day in early June, the phone rang. Heidi Cummings answered. The news she got was the very definition of bittersweet — Auckland had been released from the training program. The reason: his “low emotional control” — basically he just gets too excited and loves to run and play. “I was kind of devastated,” Cummings said. “I just wanted so badly to see him paired with someone … that would be his new forever person. The way these dogs change their lives. That’s what I was hoping to do for someone, and I was hoping Auckland would be the guy.” But it wasn’t to be. Auckland was up for adoption and he was hers if she wanted. And of course she did. She loves him. Auckland arrived home in Ashburn on June 15. “He just went out of his mind when he saw me,” Cummings said. “He was excited beyond description. Talk about no emotional control. He was racing and darting all over the place — hugging and kissing.” Auckland is now nicely settled back into the Cummings’ family routine. And she still thinks that although his first career didn’t work out as planned, Auckland has a role to play. She plans to have him certified as a therapy dog who can visit with senior citizens. And she plans to try raising a Canine Companions puppy again and thinks Auckland will be a good role model — despite his energy. “He will be very, very beneficial to a new puppy coming into the house,” she said. “He’s very well behaved and a very good dog. It will give him another opportunity to wear a different hat in life.” A


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22 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


LUCK-Y BIRDS

PEREGRINE FALCONS CHOOSE ASHBURN QUARRY TO RAISE THEIR YOUNG BY G L E N DA C . BO OT H

A

narrow ledge 75 feet above the ground in a traprock quarry may sound like an inhospitable place to have and raise babies, but if you’re a peregrine falcon, it’s perfect. Last year, for the first time, a pair of falcons chose a ledge in the Luck Stone quarry just off Belmont Ridge Road in Ashburn for their home. There, the female laid four eggs, and the pair successfully raised three males and one female. “They took my breath away” when he spotted them, said John Thompson, Luck’s regional operations manager. Peregrines typically nest on cliffs, ledges, skyscrapers, water towers, bridges and other tall structures, so the sides of a quarry are perfect habitats. “Quarries mimic natural cliff faces,” said Bryan D. Watts, director of the College of William & Mary’s Center for Conservation Biology. DOWN THE QUARRY WALL In May 2019, Watts climbed down the quarry’s wall to see the nest up close and to band the chicks for further study. He and an associate, ecologist Alan Williams, used climbers’ gear and rappelled down the sheer rock walls to the nest — also known as an “aerie.” The scientists put each chick in a pet carrier and hung it on a sling attached to the wall. They banded the birds and

took measurements. Then they returned the birds to the nest and climbed back to the top of the quarry. Job done. Further monitoring of the fledglings at Luck Stone was done from a distance with a long-range camera over several visits. Scientists band birds in hopes there will be re-sightings. This allows them to study the birds’ migration, demographics and other factors. Watts partners with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the National Park Service and other organizations and private companies to help track the banded birds. Having Luck Stone as a partner is a boon to their studies. The quarry’s depth ranges from 50 feet to approximately 250 feet, and Luck mines diabase, a fine-grained rock used in concrete and asphalt. The nest was on a perimeter wall — in an area that will not be mined in the foreseeable future, according to quarry managers. “They will likely play a significant role in future conservation efforts in Virginia and throughout the southern Appalachians,” Watts said. “We are very fortunate to have Luck Stone as a conservation partner for peregrine recovery.” COMEBACK STORY Peregrine populations declined worldwide in the mid-1900s, which experts attribute to the pesticide DDT.

By the early 1960s, peregrines were believed to be done as a breeding species in Virginia due to the population drops. “Egg-shell thinning, egg breakage, and hatching failure have all been attributed to elevated contaminant levels in females,” Watts said. The tide started to turn in 1970, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the birds as endangered and, in 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency restricted the use of DDTs. In 1978, scientists started restoration efforts in the Virginia’s coastal plain and eventually in the mountain regions. Between 1975 and 1993, they released over 430 captive-reared falcons in the Mid-Atlantic and populations have risen steadily since. Over the last three decades, 95 percent of breeding activity in Virginia has occurred in the coastal plain region along the state’s eastern shoreline. Watts’ team counted 30 breeding pairs statewide in 2019, which included two in Northern Virginia — the pair at Luck Stone and a pair in Reston. This was the third highest population recorded. The 61 young produced in 2019 was the most productive in Virginia’s history. This year, the team once again confirmed 30 breeding pairs nesting in the state. “The population size is now around 

(left) A collection of scenes from the Luck Stone quarry in Ashburn, where a mating pair of falcons built a nest in 2019 and hatched a brood of chicks. Photos courtesy of Matt O’Lear, Bryan Watts and Alan Williams ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 23


PEREGRINE FALCON

101

National Park. For 10 to 14 days, staffers feed the captive chicks raw quail twice daily through a 2-inch tall, 14-inch wide opening, like a mail slot. The team hopes the birds will imprint on the park’s cliffs and return as breeding adults in two to three years. When the falcons are ready to fly, at around six weeks of age, managers, hidden from the birds, open the box’s door slowly with a rope. Generally, the young falcons stay in the local area for several weeks. By late July, they begin to take extended flights of over 200 miles. By late August, they leave the area. From 2000 to 2020, the park released 165 peregrines from four hack sites. Out of the 165 released, 155 successfully fledged, or grew big enough and strong enough to fly. At least two previously hacked falcons later returned to the park as a pair and built nests.

Peregrine falcon males are crow size, or roughly the size of a pigeon. The females are bigger — more the size of ravens. They have intense, dark eyes, “a steely, barred look,” according to Cornell University’s “All about Birds” website. They have a dark brown cap or hood and distinctive, dark sideburns. Their plumage is blue-gray above with vertical bars on the breast. The chin and throat are white to tawny buff. The powerful bill has a yellow base that transitions to gray and black at the tip. For nesting, the female makes a shallow depression called a “scrape” by scratching loose soil, sand, gravel, or dead vegetation. There, females lay from two to five creamybrownish eggs. Peregrines mate for life. They also establish territories and usually space their nests seven to 10 miles from the next nearest nest. Peregrine falcons are speedy raptors, going as fast as 200 mph. They catch smaller birds in the air with spectacular dives called “stoops.” They often wait on high perches before making an aerial assault and capture their prey with their sharp talons, favoring slower-moving birds like grackles, blue jays, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Adult peregrines eat the equivalent of two mediumsized birds a day. Peregrine falcons are found in rural and urban environments and on every continent except Antarctica. They have a long history with people who have used them for hunting or falconry, as early as 2000 B.C. in China and Mesopotamia. In World War II, both the U.S. and the German armies had a falcon corps to intercept the enemy’s homing pigeons. Their name comes from the Latin word “peregrinus,” which means “to wander.”

the estimated population size in the preDDT era,” Watts said. Since the DDT ban, Virginia’s coastal populations have recovered more quickly than in other areas. While the falcons were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999, Virginia still lists peregrines as “threatened” at the state level. STATEWIDE EFFORT Since 2000, National Park Service biologists have worked to bring peregrine falcons to Virginia’s mountains, once part of their historic range. Using a method called “hacking,” the park service team brings three- to fourweek-old downy chicks from eastern Virginia bridges to wooden hack boxes on high cliff ledges in the Shenandoah

24 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

Scientists Bryan Watts (white helmet) and Alan Williams (black helmet) weigh and band peregrine falcon chicks on the wall of Ashburn’s Luck Stone quarry.

MORE QUARRIES, MORE FALCONS Documenting a breeding pair in Luck Stone’s quarry was especially significant, Watts said. “It is great to have pairs beginning to colonize the quarries because Virginia has quite a few both active and inactive quarries. Hopefully, the adaptation to the quarries will lead to more pairs in the state that are stable and productive.” In 2020, devoted peregrine watchers searched all spring for a nest and parenting peregrines. Then in June, avid Ashburn-area bird watchers Theo and Calin Andronescu, who live in the Belmont Greene neighborhood, spotted and photographed four young peregrines flying over the Luck Stone quarry. Tellingly, peregrine falcons born in Virginia in the spring typically fledge in June. So joy erupted among the scientists, local bird watchers and the folks at Luck Stone. “We did not know about the nesting at Luck Stone [this year] until after the birds had fledged,” Watts said. Luck Stone officials have taken to calling the birds “their peregrines.” “We were so thrilled to have this bird in our quarry,” Thompson said. And they hope to see them back again next year. A Glenda Booth is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Northern Virginia and writes about natural resources, historic sites and other topics for local publications.


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Ashburn Magazine is proud to present the winning short story from our first student creative writing contest. Middle and high school students who live in Ashburn or attend an Ashburn school were invited to submit a “Spooky Story” to fit the coming fall season. A big thank you to all the aspiring writers who submitted their tales.

We are proud to announce that Salonee Verma, a 10th grader at Stone Bridge High School, won the top prize: having her story “A Trick of the Light” published in this issue of Ashburn Magazine. “Salonee’s story was a great mix of descriptive writing, a local setting and just the right amount of spookiness,” said Ashburn Magazine editor Chris Wadsworth. “She included a number of literary references and allusions that added a lovely element of sophistication.”

a trick of the light

Congratulations Salonee!

BY SALONEE VERMA

26 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


I

t was 8:55 p.m., and the Rust Library was going to close in five minutes. “Don’t worry, I got the book. ‘Wuthering Heights,’ right? Can’t believe Ashburn Library didn’t have any copies,” Tara said, balancing the phone above her shoulder as she checked out the worn-down novel in her hands. “Yeah, me neither. Thanks for getting it for me,” her daughter said, a poor connection making her voice crack over the phone. “See you at home.” Tara tossed the phone and the book into her purse, waving a goodbye to the librarian at the front desk. The parking lot was surprisingly quiet for a weekday night, and the hills behind the library were even quieter. It looked like midnight already, which only reminded Tara of exactly how much she hated winter nights. Her Prius was waiting for her next to a tree at the edge of the parking lot, but there was something else there too. Someone. An old woman, bent over and looking through her bag as she leaned against Tara’s car. “Hello, can I help you?” Tara asked, ever the polite professional. A shiver ran across her skin, but she figured it was just the cold air. The woman straightened her back, turned toward Tara and smiled. One of her front teeth was missing, but it was still a friendly smile. “Oh, dear, that would be wonderful. My car broke down— it’s this one here— and it’s so late. I don’t know what to do.” “I’m heading home to Ashburn. If you’re going my way, I‘d be happy to give you a ride," Tara blurted out, before she realized what she was doing. “I am, thank you, but I don’t want to be a burden,” said the old woman. “It’s no problem at all. I’m heading home anyways,” said Tara. She opened the passenger door for the old woman, slipping her purse into the back seat. “So, what brings you to the library so late?” “The Death Cafe at Rust today— a grief support group. It’s so nice to talk to other people who have gone through the same thing. Actually, I come this way most afternoons to visit my parents. They’re in Union Cemetery just a few blocks away,” the woman said before pausing to brush her skirt — dark blue with daisies — over her knees. “I’m Catherine, by the way. Cathy.”

“I’m Tara. I’m sorry for your loss.” The radio sputtered to life as soon as Tara turned the car on. They caught the last part of a pop earworm. Cathy laughed, the sound ringing through the car. “It was a long time ago; don’t worry about it.” “So, do you live in Ashburn or Leesburg?” Tara asked, backing out of the parking lot. It was still cloudy, and it would probably rain soon. Tara hoped her daughter had brought the cat inside. “Ashburn,” said Cathy, a smile creeping across her face. She gave a little sigh. “One of my great-grandsons — he went to ‘Cornfield High’ when it first opened.” “Oh?” said Tara with a start. She vaguely remembered her daughter telling her Broad Run High School used to be called “Cornfield High” when it was surrounded by fields. It couldn’t be further from the truth nowadays. Tara suddenly found herself trying to calculate how old Cathy must be if her great-grandson was in the first class at Broad Run — he must be close to 70 now. “My daughter goes to Broad Run, too,” Tara said, still trying to count in her head. "How old is she?" Cathy asked. Tara turned left, passing a church. “16. Already thinks she knows everything, but can't even remember to put a book on hold at the library.” Cathy smiled, finally looking at Tara for the first time since she got in the car. “That’s teenagers for you. Are you married, dear?” “Oh, yes, I am, my husband’s at home with the kids,” Tara said. “We’re both accountants in Reston, actually. We moved to Ashburn a few years ago. It’s a wonderful town.” “It is!” Cathy said excitedly before turning to look out the window. “I remember when we moved there, when my boy was 16 as well. That’s when he enlisted, can you believe it? For the Yankees, too!” “The Yankees?” Tara slowed down, almost imperceptibly. She tried to think back to all those times she’d tested her daughter on Civil War history, and she realized that Cathy was talking about something that happened 160 years ago. She suddenly realized — the old woman was pulling her leg. That must be it. Or maybe she had dementia, or something along those lines, Tara thought. Should she even be out on a night like this? 

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 27


“Then my grandson, oh Lord, he managed to survive the first war in Germany,” Cathy continued, eyes glassy. “The second one was what got him. Died off the coast of France.” Tara didn’t say anything for a while, keeping her attention on the road. By her calculations, this woman’s story would make her nearly 200 years old. Maybe she was dreaming. She surreptitiously pinched her arm. Nope, she wasn’t dreaming. The radio announcer came on, started talking about the movie “Alien,” and made Tara hope her children weren’t watching horror movies with her husband while she was gone. “The coast of France. Really?” Tara finally asked. Cathy nodded, eyes misty. “Died leading his men in the big invasion.” “I’m so sorry,” Tara muttered, her head spinning. ”My grandfather fought in that one too.” The radio sputtered with static. It had started to rain. The thick drops melted into the announcer's voice as Tara tried to turn on her windshield wipers, flipping the switch back and forth, but they wouldn’t work. She slowed down, thankful that she was on an Ashburn street she knew. “Well, I still have my daughters and my other grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, don't I?” Cathy sighed, clasping her hands together. The static abruptly cleared, leaving the announcer’s voice louder than ever. “… Loudoun County Sheriff 's Office is planning a news conference for 1 p.m. tomorrow to update the public on these recent missing person cases. Three abandoned cars. Three missing drivers so far this month.” “Do you have any other children?” Cathy asked so quietly that Tara almost couldn’t hear it over the radio. Her mind was racing — thinking that giving this woman a ride may have been a mistake.

“A son,” she responded. “He's 7.” “Oh, the younger ones are my favorite,” Cathy said, as a huge grin spread across her face. “Mine used to run out the door whenever the train came into the station.” Tara raised an eyebrow. A Metro train? The Silver Line wasn’t operating in Ashburn yet and the last steam train hadn’t been around for probably half a century. “The station?” “Yes, you know, near the general store— oh, it’s the barbecue place now, isn’t it? We were so excited when it opened.” Cathy looked out the window again. The rain had stopped, but the windshield was still blurry with raindrops and had started to steam up on the inside. Tara opened the window, hoping the air would help clear it up. “So, ah, where am I dropping you off, ma’am?” she asked. “Do you know Ashburn Road?” “Sure. I used to drop my daughter off at a school on Ashburn Road,” said Tara. “My house is there. You must know it. There are these gorgeous red and white polka dot shutters on the windows, dear," Cathy replied. “Oh, I used to drive by that house all the time. It’s the one at the intersection of Hay and Ashburn,” Tara said, before catching her breath. “But that house — it was demolished. It doesn’t exist anymore.” The clouds had parted and, in the moonlight shining into the car, Cathy’s smile suddenly wavered. Her eyes seemed to grow darker as she tilted her head and leaned in uncomfortably close to Tara. “Oh, darling,” Cathy said, reaching over and placing an ice cold hand on Tara’s arm. “Neither do I.” A

THE FINALISTS Congratulations to the other finalists in our Ashburn Magazine Spooky Story contest. Look for their stories to be featured on the Ashburn Magazine website (www.ashburnmagazine.com) in the coming weeks. MAEGEN PEPPE Senior, Broad Run High School | “Halloween” STEPHANIE DING DRAUGHON Senior, Homeschooled | “The Book of Death” VED BHANDARE 7th grade, Trailside Middle School | “The Door” 28 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


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home sweet home

Master Makeover BEFORE

ANGELEE MARQUES

Bedroom transformed into cohesive, soothing space BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H

W

hen the Dalvi family in Ashburn’s Loudoun Valley Estates neighborhood wanted to give their home a makeover, they turned to one of the area’s favorite decorators — Angelee Marques of Nest Interior Décor in Ashburn. The home was redone and refreshed from top to bottom. One of the final rooms to undergo a transformation was the master bedroom. The original master was dark, chopped up and lacked pizazz. So Marques put her thinking cap on and designed a soothing place where the Dalvis could relax and unwind in a calm and cohesive space. Marques shared some before and after

photos, and we interviewed her about the process. Here are portions of that conversation. ASHBURN MAGAZINE: FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FIREPLACE. Angelee Marques: “I am so pleased with the fireplace results. It unexpectedly became the element that tied the rooms together. The original fireplace felt like a big barrier between the sitting room and master bedroom and blocked a lot of the natural light that comes in from the sitting room’s exposure. I wanted to open the wall but keep the fire element. In addition, the original fireplace tile extended to the floor and had to be removed to accommodate the hardwood floor going in, which opened the possibility to reface the fireplace. I wanted the fireplace to feel sculptural and by using the large format, thin porcelain tile, we were able to create the look of a slab wrap without the thickness or cost of buying a slab.”

30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

TELL US ABOUT THE FOUR-POSTER BED. IT’S VERY MODERN, NO CANOPY. WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THAT? “The room has a tall tray ceiling over the bedroom proper, and I wanted to highlight the element. We added shiplap to the tray ceiling for texture, and the clean-lined poster bed was the perfect fit inside the space. The classic four-poster bed done in a modern way sets the tone for the room. We dressed the bed in crisp white linens with velvet shams and coverlet for softness and texture.” THAT’S AN INTERESTING LIGHT FIXTURE OVER THE BED. WHAT CAUGHT YOUR EYE THERE? “Light fixtures and lamps are a room’s jewelry and a great way to introduce color and texture to a room. This fixture by Hudson Valley Lighting is very mid-century modern and adds great shape to all the straight lines in the room. My client was a 


HOME SWEET HOME

BEFORE

BEFORE

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 31


HOME SWEET HOME little unsure of the choice during the design review, but now loves it.” YOU GOT RID OF THE REGULAR WHITE BATHROOM DOOR AND REPLACED IT WITH DARK, ROLLING BARN STYLE DOORS. THAT’S AN INTERESTING CHOICE. “First, I love to paint doors a bold color. Standard doors can look amazing and transform a space once painted. Second, the bathroom wall was plain and needed something. My original thought was to hang an oversized mirror along the wall to provide reflection, function, and décor. I also wanted to clean up all of the doors in the room — there were too many doors. There were double doors to the bathroom, a door to the closet area, doors to each closet, a door to the exercise room. We removed all of the doors to create a ‘dressing foyer’ while at the same time let in more natural

light via the exercise room window. Instead of a single mirror, we added the striking Rustica Hardware double-sided mirrored doors to the bathroom. The doors provide the reflection, function, and décor I was after while reiterating the room’s theme of classic done modern.” LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER DECOR. I SEE LOTS OF NATURE IMAGES — THE PRESSED FLOWERS, THE POTTED PLANTS. EVEN THE ARTWORK NEXT TO THE BED EVOKES NATURE — A POND WITH REEDS AROUND IT. “Yes, I love how you interpret the art. I am really drawn to abstract art as it allows each viewer to interpret it in their own way. The room’s color scheme was set by the art and rugs — blues, corals, and neutral tones. The wall décor reinforced the color scheme and soothing feeling we wanted the room

to invoke. I always try to use real plants to provide color, texture, and life to a room. Do not be scared to use real plants — they really do not need much maintenance. Bluemont Nursery is my go-to for plants and great pottery.” ❖

A

WEAR YOUR

MASK # M a s k U p N O VA 32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 33


real estate roundup

ASHBURN’S

TOP 10

Pictured below are the five highest-priced homes that sold in each of the 20147 and 20148 Zip codes during the 30 days preceding Aug. 21, along with their sales price and other key information. Data from Zillow.com.

19774 WILLOWDALE PL. $1.33 million Sold: July 31 5 bedrooms 6 baths 7,800 square feet

20147

41222 TRAMINETTE CT. $1.52 million Sold: Aug. 3 4 bedrooms 6 baths 6,183 square feet

19960 INTERLACHEN CT. $975,000 Sold: July 24 4 bedrooms 5 baths 5,800 square feet

21862 ENGLESIDE PL. $990,000 Sold: Aug. 4 6 bedrooms 7 baths 6,656 square feet

19755 WILLOWDALE PL. $945,000 Sold: Aug. 18 4 bedrooms 5 baths 4,526 square feet

42932 VAL AOSTA DR. $977,000 Sold: July 24 4 bedrooms 4.5 baths 6,700 square feet

21934 CASTLEHILL CT. $941,420 Sold: Aug. 10 4 bedrooms 4 baths 5,000 square feet

23150 GLENORCHY CT. $870,000 Sold: July 24 6 bedrooms 5 baths 4,521 square feet

20620 HOLYOKE DR. $875,000 Sold: July 31 6 bedrooms 5 baths 5,189 square feet

42586 MUIRWOOD CT. $850,210 Sold: July 29 5 bedrooms 5 baths 4,889 square feet

34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 35


Wine&Dine Yolanda Latimer’s children enjoy one of her sweet creations. From left, Isaiah (the Taste Tester), Azariah (the Dessert King) and Savannah (the Muse).

36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

The Dinner Dilemma


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Ashburn Farm woman turns random food into delicious meals BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H

H

ave you ever stared at a pantry or a refrigerator full of random food and thought to yourself — “What am I going to make for dinner?” Other than pro chefs, it’s probably a common challenge. Yolanda Latimer of Ashburn Farm faced this dilemma and came out victorious when she turned assorted grocery items into delicious meals for her family and started a burgeoning business to boot. Latimer admits she has no formal training as a chef — just a life-long love of cooking. But when the coronavirus pandemic started, she knew she had to take action. You see, her daughter, Savannah, was born premature and has a chronic lung disease. This means her immune system is compromised, increasing her risk should she contract the COVID-19 virus. So Latimer promised herself she would cook every single meal at home — no restaurants, no carry-out, no delivery — in order to protect her daughter, who is now 3. 

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WINE&DINE She dived in and started cooking but quickly found she didn’t always have enough recipes or the right ingredients to match. So she started experimenting — using whatever items she found in her kitchen, mixing and testing flavors, creating new dishes or new takes on old favorites. Turns out she had a knack for it. Latimer started documenting her successes on social media and then a blog. As her audience grew, “Londa’s Laboratory” was born. “[My son Isaiah] said to me one day that every time he comes in the kitchen, it looks like I’m in the ‘lab’ making something new,” Latimer said. She hopes to make Londa’s Laboratory into a fullfledged business for foodies, and she’s well on her way. She recently formed a limited liability company and launched a website. Since then, she’s been featured in a variety of media, including the “Good Morning, America” website. Ashburn Magazine asked Latimer to share some of her favorite creations with us. Now you can try letting out your inner food scientist in the kitchen, too.

CAJUN SHRIMP & RICE INGREDIENTS:

1

pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined - Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 1-2 tablespoons of butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter) 2 tablespoons any Cajun seasoning 1 tablespoon minced garlic, or dried garlic 1 teaspoon crushed chili pepper flakes 1 tablespoon of gingerbread spice (or fresh ginger grated) - Limes and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish 1-2 packages of Uncle Ben’s Jasmine Ready Rice DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and Cajun seasoning and toss until coated. 2. In a skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add shrimp to the skillet and sprinkle with garlic, ginger, and chili pepper flakes, to taste. Cook for a few minutes on both sides until pink and cooked through. Add 2 tablespoons water or broth to the pan to deglaze the browned bits and spices to coat the shrimp. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 3. Garnish the shrimp with fresh parsley and more crushed chili pepper flakes if desired. And add the limes. 4. Follow the directions on the rice packages (ready in 90 seconds) and pour shrimp over the rice.

1.

TUNA STUFFED AVOCADO INGREDIENTS:

1

bag of 4 mini avocados (you can also use regular size) 1-2 cans of albacore tuna 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise 1/4 of a red onion (chopped) 1-2 stalks of celery (chopped) 1 small lemon or lime (cut in fourths) 2 tablespoons of Boss Sauce (You can only find this at Wegmans. You can skip this step or use any sweetand-sour sauce) 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt 1/2 teaspoon of pepper DIRECTIONS:

1.

Mix tuna, mayo, red onion, celery, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Squeeze in 1/4 of the lemon (or lime) and add in the Boss Sauce. Mix well. 2. Use a knife to cut through the center of each avocado and around the seed. Open it up and take the seed out. 3. Take another 1/4 of lemon (or lime) and squeeze into each avocado. Next, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then spoon up the tuna and place on top of the avocados. 4. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

See Page 40 for another recipe 38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


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WINE&DINE

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www.gforce-gymnastics.com | 571-933-8300 40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

STRAWBERRY, BLACKBERRY & PINEAPPLE SHORTCAKE INGREDIENTS:

4 8 4 4 -

strawberries blackberries pineapple rings shortcakes (pre-made) Cool Whip or Reddi-wip Strawberry syrup

DIRECTIONS:

1.

Rinse and cut strawberries in half. If you have a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter, press the cutter once in each half of the strawberries. You should end up with 8 mini heart-shaped strawberries. If not, then just slice your strawberries. 2. Plate the shortcakes, take the pineapple rings and place them on top, then take the can of Reddi-wip and press, moving in a circular motion until the whip comes up through the hole in the pineapple. If using Cool Whip, take a spoon and place a couple of dollops in the center of the shortcake, then place the pineapple ring on top. 3. Place the strawberries, and blackberries on top of the pineapple rings, then drizzle strawberry syrup on top. Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!

For more information on Londa’s Laboratory, to see more recipes or to have Yolanda speak to your community group, check out: www.londaslaboratory.com. A


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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 41


LOUDOUN PLANNING COMISSION

time travel

Death at the Toll House Fatal shooting along Broad Run occurred 88 years ago BY M AT H E W AN N I S

E

very day, thousands of commuters speed over the Broad Run creek on Ashburn’s eastern boundary. Traveling down Route 7 from their suburban homes to jobs closer to the city, few of them notice the low, gray roof just visible above the concrete barrier along the side of the road. Fewer still know that 88 years ago, this modest building was the scene of a shocking story that made headlines around the region for weeks. Based on old newspaper accounts, census records and other historical

documents, here is our best accounting of what happened. It was 1932 — more than a decade into Prohibition. Herbert Hoover was in the White House. The Washington Senators were vying for first place in the American League. And Loudoun County was a quiet farming district with a population of just 20,000. The few hundred people who lived in what we consider Ashburn today were mainly focused on dairy farming, transporting milk on the railway to Washington, and hosting the stream of vacationers who came to stay at the area’s boarding houses and enjoy the fishing on Goose Creek.

42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

On the early morning of August 29, there would have been little to hear but the ever-present cicadas and frogs and the occasional lowing of cows in the fields bordering the Leesburg Pike, as Route 7 was then commonly known. Suddenly, there came the sound of voices raised in anger, emanating from the stone toll house next to the 1820 stone bridge where the turnpike crossed over the Broad Run. This was followed by two gunshots ringing out through the still morning air. People sleeping in the farms and cottages nearby would surely have been woken by the sounds, though many might have


TIME TRAVEL

(clockwise from left) A circa 1953 photo of the Toll House and the Broad Run Stone Bridge; another photo of the Stone Bridge, which collapsed during a hurricane in 1972; a 1932 newspaper article about the shooting; a photo of Lerty Holsinger, one of the men involved in the deadly confrontation at the Broad Run Toll House.

assumed they were nothing more than someone hunting in the early hours before dawn. It wouldn’t be until hours later that the Ashburn community heard the news — a neighbor had been shot dead. The victim, who authorities found lying outside the toll house as the sun came up, was 78-year-old Amos Jenkins, the former proprietor of the Ashburn House Hotel. (Ashburn residents today know this structure as the purple-tinted building that still stands on Jenkins Lane in Old Ashburn). The chief suspect, one Lerty Holsinger, age 38, was taken into custody by Sheriff Eugene Adrian. Holsinger was also a local man who had been staying with Jenkins and a housekeeper at the toll house since becoming estranged from his wife. Local historians say the two men were reputed to be involved in the bootlegging trade, passing pints of moonshine — what one

VIRG INIA DEPART MEN T OF HISTORI C RESOURCES

local at the time called “real hot stuff ” — through car windows outside the toll house in exchange for $2. And indeed, both the shooter and the victim had a history of run-ins with the law. The Evening Star newspaper reported that in 1931, Holsinger was shot three times, including one bullet that shattered his ankle, while scuffling with two police officers on Chain Bridge Hill in Alexandria. He was reportedly found with illegal liquor in his car. And if there is any doubt that this was a wild era in Loudoun, the Richmond TimesDispatch reported that Jenkins had been arrested in 1928 for shooting and wounding a young man who had turned up at his doorstep asking for food. During the trial for the toll house shooting, Holsinger claimed he was awakened by sounds outside and looked out the window to see Jenkins taking the ax from a woodpile while muttering threats against ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 43


TIME TRAVEL

(left) The death certificate for Amos Jenkins who died in a shooting at the Broad Run Toll House; (above) the Broad Run Toll House today.

him. Jenkins allegedly made his way upstairs to Holsinger’s room, pushed his way inside, and brushed aside an attempt at self-defense Holsinger made with a crutch he used (due to being shot in the ankle the year before). At this point Holsinger said he snatched his gun — a .22 pistol — from the bedside drawer and shot Jenkins twice. Jenkins stumbled from the house to the side of the turnpike, where he collapsed to the ground. Holsinger was arrested and held at the

county jail in Leesburg before being released on bond pending his trial. As the trial began, the Washington Post reported, “the only eyewitness to the shooting was Mrs. Janie Shugars, the housekeeper for the two men.” According to the paper, her testimony substantiated Holsinger’s story. The jury duly found Holsinger innocent of murder. At this point, the trial was over, the newspaper coverage was finished, and the Holsinger-Jenkins case faded from memory.

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KEEPING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE THIS FALL 44 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

But the story doesn’t quite end there. According to records in historic archives, Holsinger subsequently divorced his wife and married Janie Shugars, the very same housekeeper whose testimony had exonerated him. Shugars passed away in 1942 from an accidental gunshot wound, at the age of 43. Holsinger remarried three months later to a local teenager named Minnie Snider, and moved to Maryland, where he died in 1969 at the age of 75. Reconstructing what exactly happened on that deadly night in August 1932 is impossible. Almost certainly those involved — from neighbors to sheriff ’s deputies to the judge and jurors — have now passed away. Newspapers and court records give only brief details of the witnesses’ testimony. The fields and woods that flanked the Leesburg Pike are mostly gone, built over with houses, shopping malls, and office buildings. Even the Leesburg Pike itself has shifted, now flying high above the shallow waters of the Broad Run. Only the old toll house remains, its cold stone walls a silent witness to that fateful night nearly nine decades ago. A Mathew Annis is a freelance writer who lives in Ashburn.

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Dial M for Monsters – Oct 12 – Nov 8 in-person at StageCoach Theatre Ashburn Oct 31 and Nov 1 via livestream StageCoach Bandits Improv Troupe Third Fridays of the Month Monthly Virtual Murder Mysteries – check our website for details and help us solve whodunnit! Plus after-school theatre classes and private lessons

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 • 45


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.

659

L E VA R D U

6 LLA G E

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AS

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5 NEW BURGER KING PLANNED FOR ASHBURN 2

The developers of Ashburn’s Riverside Square shopping plaza have announced that they have signed a new Burger King to open in the center. It’s the latest tenant in a line-up that includes the recently opened Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Riverside Square is under construction on the north side of Route 7, east of Ashburn Village Boulevard. 6 ASHBURN REC

CENTER MAKING PROGRESS The new county recreation center coming to Ashburn is making slow, but steady,

décor. This year, Loudoun County has three locations, including one in the former Bloom grocery store space in the Village Center at Belmont progress. The center will feature a fitness center, a swimming pool, and public classrooms and meeting rooms. It will be built near Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm off Broadlands Boulevard. The county hopes to break ground in early 2021; construction will take roughly 24-30 months. 7 POP-UP HALLOWEEN

STORES OPEN FOR BUSINESS Each year, the pop-up Spirit Halloween stores open around the country offering crazy costumes and all types of spooky

Greene. There are also Spirit stores in Leesburg and Sterling. A

28

46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

R O A

Y

New parking ramps and new apartments are under construction at One Loudoun in Ashburn and with them will come new retail and restaurant space. The apartments are called

OL

A

The developers of the Brambleton community unveiled plans for a large retail center at Loudoun County Parkway and Evergreen Mill Road (the portion of roadway formerly known as Shreveport Drive). The first phase of the project includes an estimated 24,000 square feet of retail

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4 RENDERING SHOWS

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QUARTER UNVEILED

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2 PLANS FOR BRAM

A new gas station and convenience store has opened at the busy intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Russell Branch Parkway. It’s a Sunoco station accompanied by an A-Plus store. The new station is across the street from One Loudoun and next to the growing Commonwealth Center development, which includes Topgolf and iFLY.

4 ES

WA

The first McAlister’s Deli location in Loudoun County has opened in Ashburn. The popular restaurant chain chose a space in the new Ashbrook Marketplace shopping center, in a corner unit next to Planet Fitness. McAlister’s is known for its stuffed baked potatoes, sandwiches and southern sweet tea.

G L OU C

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CONVENIENCE STORE OPENS IN ASHBURN

7

D

3 NEW GAS STATION/

Vyne and lie along an extension of Exchange Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the center. Interestingly, the new portion of Exchange Street will split in two with a large “island” in the center of the street. Two new retail buildings will be built here, as well as outdoor patios.

A R P

CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING

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