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New Green Initiative: Rubber Mulch in Leesburg

Leesburg, VA is trying out a new “green” approach to median maintenance. Leesburg’s Urban Forester and Public Works Department teamed up to bring 20,000 pounds of rubber mulch, made out of shredded used tires, to the Town of Leesburg. The mulch has been installed in the median of the West Market Street exit ramp off of Route 7.

So how is this initiative green? The 20,000 pounds of rubber took more than 1,300 tires out of waste. The rubber mulch will not need to be replenished like wood mulch, therefore cost effective over time, despite costing three times as much initially. The mulch is expected to do a better job of suppressing weeds and will not float away during heavy rain storms like wood mulch does. If the project goes well, rubber mulch may appear in several medians.

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Plan To Privatize Liquor Stores Revealed

FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has released details of his plan to privatize the liquor industry.
He says the state can raise $500 million by selling the 332 ABC stores Virginia owns.

Then he says the state can pull in $230 million annually by auctioning off 1,000 liquor licenses, the bulk of which will go to grocery and discount stores. Small stores and pharmacies will get the rest. He wants the money raised to go to local highway congestion relief projects.

"I like the idea of privatizing. And if it really does bring back money to the community, then I think it's a good idea," said Ginger Henney of Fairfax.

The plan reserves 600 licenses for large outlets such as grocery and discount stores. It reserves 250 for small mom-and-pop shops and another 150 for small-scale sales in pharmacies.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to reauthorize its policy on religious and non-religious displays.

LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA) --"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!" was the first line of a famous century-old newspaper editorial. Now we can say, "Yes Virginia, there will be Christmas in Leesburg!"

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted eight to one to reauthorize its policy on religious -- and non-religious -- displays at the Leesburg Courthouse. The policy allows the first ten people who apply to get a permit.

This is the issue that just won't seem to go away. Emails flew again this year suggesting the Board would ban religious displays including Christmas trees and nativity scenes from the courthouse grounds here.

But the Board voted overwhelmingly to throw open the doors to everyone. Including perhaps some unwanted guests.

The holidays are a big deal in Leesburg. For decades, on the courthouse grounds there's been a tree and a nativity scene.

Religious Holiday Displays At Issue In Loudoun County

LEESBURG, Va. (AP/ WUSA) -- Loudoun County residents spoke out Tuesday evening against a recommendation from a Loudoun County board subcommittee to ban religious holiday displays on the grounds of the county courthouse.

The board is expected to take action on Wednesday.

"This is one of the most important issues we could ever face," said Leesburg's Mayor Kristen Umstattdt, who wants the board to overule the ban recommendation.

Umstattdt preceded a long list of speakers of all ages Tuesday night.  Outside the crowded board room in the hallway signs championed a "Keep Christmas" cause.  The mayor said the nativity scene has been allowed on the greens of the county courthouse for decades and many of her constituents are remorse at the thought of lost tradition.

"My daughter who is now thirteen remembers when she was a toddler, I would bring her down and she just loved looking at the baby Jesus in his manger."

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Local Golf Tournament Will Help Send DC Kids to College

The DC College Access Program has its annual golf tournament on Friday, September 10 at Lansdowne Conference Center and Golf Resort. The tournament is hosted by Michael Wilbon of the Post and James Brown (JB), NFL Today sportscaster and former member of WUSA's team. This is one of the main fundraisers for the organization that has a mission of helping all DC high school students get into college and graduate.

Race Horses Killed In Charles Town Barn Fire

CHARLES TOWN, WV (WUSA) -- A barn fire killed more than two dozen race horses in Charles Town, West Virginia.

"It was like a towering inferno, you could see the timbers all throughout the stalls, there were still horses kicking in there, described Barn Owner, Ken Grey. 

Grey tried to rescue as many animals has he could around 4:30 am when the blaze started. "I really thought that might catch on fire because the heat was so bad."

All the horses are thoroughbreds. Owners race them across the street at the Charles Town Race Track. Horse Trainer Don Poper, who shares a close bond with the horses, put his life on the line for the animals.

"You talk to them, let them hear your voice, other horses knew that someone was there, leading a horse, and they wanted to be freed also and just that thought of knowing you can't go back in that barn, it eats you," explained Poper. 

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to Hold Public Info Session Regarding Religious Displays

This was sent to us by Ken Reid, member of the Leesburg Town Council:

On Tuesday, September 7, around 6:30 p.m. the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will hold its regular public input session, at which time scores of residents are scheduled to speak out against a recommendation by a Board subcommittee to disallow nativity scenes, Chanukah menorahs and other religious displays during the December holidays. A day later, Sept, 8, the board is expected to take action. The Sept. 8 discussion will start around 9:30 a.m. The Supervisors meet at the County Govt. Center, 1 Harrison Street SE in Leesburg, VA.