Archives for the ‘Blog Entries.Local’ Category

Severe weather ahead of strong July cold front

Author: Chris White From http://stormsrus.blogspot.com/ • Jul 24th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Although I don't think we chased under any severe watches today there was plenty of action that could (should?) have warranted a watch. After picking my son up in Gretna we wandered around Pittsylvania county for a while awaiting convection. We finally made a move north on U.S 29 to intercept a cell with radar-indicated rotation that was heading east across Bedford county toward the southern suburbs of Lynchburg.

After we rolled north of Altavista I pulled off the road to enable us to peruse the radar more closely. It turned out another cell - again with indicated rotation - was moving northeast from the Rocky Mount vicinity. A quick vector analysis led us to conclude that these two storms were headed for a collision somewhere in southeastern Bedford county. (Insert "Twister" quote here...) Thus we quickly rerouted onto VA Rte 43 west. Even tho' I was pretty certain we would get pinned west of the Smith Mountain ridgeline with little hope of keeping up with the storm I wanted to take a good look at this activity before everything merged into a big rainy messy complex.

After finally passing what appeared to be a sewage transport tanker truck with a very inexperienced driver (it stopped 3 times on the road while the driver repeatedly ground the gears) we reached our target area. Desperately searching for an open area with a vantage point facing the right direction we wound up a couple miles south of Huddleston in a field pointed west. We watched and live streamed for quite a while as this wallcloud on the southern edge of the complex took aim right at us:
It came closer and we still kept snapping photos, albeit staying very close to the chasemobile as the lightning threat grew:

In fact the lightning became such a threat I was unwilling to get far enough away from the vehicle to keep the annoying power pole out of the frame as the wallcloud got even closer:

Finally as the feature overtook us and when the rain began we beat feet southward to find a route by which to get back to the Rte 29 corridor and keep up with this storm. Unfortunately we weren't able to do so as another strong storm popped up to our south, making me nervous about driving along narrow winding roads in heavy rain with rotation overhead. Thus the storm we were chasing escaped to the east even though we tried hard to keep up:
We did eventually make our way back to Rte 29 at Altavista and, amid very heavy rain, motored toward Gretna to drop off my son at home. 

The rain increased in intensity as the storm I had noticed to our south developed a distinct rotational couplet on radar right over town. Thus after dropping off my son I continued east of Gretna in an attempt to catch up with this storm. The interest in doing so increased exponentially when a tornado warning was - finally - issued on this cell and I tried desperately to get into a viewing position. However the blinding rain, poor visibility, and winding roads eventually convinced me I was never going to get into position to see anything. So I pulled off the storm and called it a chase near Chatham, overall satisfied with what we had seen.


Not Many Texting While Driving Tickets

Author: marketing From http://www.andrewflusche.com • Jul 23rd, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local

texting and driving

Last year Virginia law was changed to make texting while driving a primary offense, which means an officer can pull you over solely because thinks you’re texting.

But are tickets being written for texting?

Not really.

According to the Free Lance-Star, a total of 109 people were charged with texting while driving last year in the Fredericksburg / Spotsylvania / Stafford area. Compared with the number of speeding and reckless driving tickets handled in those courts, texting is barely a drop in the bucket.

I suspect there are two big reasons why we don’t see more texting tickets:

1. Texting is hard to prove.

The law specifically exempts calling someone with a cell phone, and it’s pretty difficult for an officer to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was actually texting.

The texting tickets that I’ve seen have been where someone admitted that they were texting or where the officer could testify that he actually saw the texting app being used. Those scenarios are pretty rare.

2. Officers issue other tickets instead.

For some cases, texting while driving isn’t the only possible violation for an officer to write. If there’s an accident, the officer might just charge reckless driving. That gives them a broader target to hit with their evidence.

In Stafford and Fredericksburg, the local police can also charge texting violations under “failure to pay full time and attention.” Even if the officer can’t testify that the driver was for sure texting, any use of a cell phone while driving is arguably failing to pay full attention to driving.

We all see folks using their phones while driving, so we know violations exist. It will be interesting to see if more of these texting tickets come up as the months go by.

If you’re charged with texting while driving, contact me today so we can discuss your case.

Photo by:John.Karakatsanis


Originally published at AndrewFlusche.com. © 2014 Andrew Flusche. Not Many Texting While Driving Tickets



Shooty Car Accoutrements

Author: David From http://www.musingsoverapint.com/ • Jul 23rd, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
These came by way of a Kickstarter project. Figured I'd put them on the car for the drive to last weekend's match.


.40 S&W.  And now my vehicle is illegal in D.C.


Old Ox Brewery

Author: David From http://www.musingsoverapint.com/ • Jul 22nd, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
We headed to Ashburn Sunday afternoon, our targeted destination was Old Ox Brewery. Opened just three weeks now, I've been seeing many references the brewery on various social media and wanted to check them out. We made our way to Ashburn, the "back way," to avoid the interstate. Arriving in an industrial park full of non-descript and similar looking buildings, we drove around for awhile before finding the brewery. Old Ox is located at the end of the street, and is not easily visible until you arrive in front of it.



The Old Ox facilities are quite spacious. There's a large brewing area visible behind the tasting room. Seating is provided both indoors and out. Old Ox is located next to the W&D Trail, and we saw numerous bike riders taking a short break before continuing on their ride.

The brewery offers three serving sizes; 2 ounce toasters, as well as half and full pints. That's a great option I'd like to see at more brewery tasting rooms. Four beers were on tap this day, so Colleen and I both opted to start out with flights of tasters. Our friend "Checkered Flag" made his final beer decision right away and opted for a pint of a Saison.

The first beer in the flight was Alpha Ox, a "session" IPA. This IPA checks in at just 4.5% ABV. At the first sip I struck by the "green" hop bitterness and slightly oily mouthfeel. I asked at the counter and got confirmation that the beer was dry-hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The dry-hopped profile is quite evident. I enjoyed this IPA, though my companions found it too bitter.

Moving on to the next beer, Golden Ox, a Belgian Blonde. At 6.5%, this was the "biggest" beer of the flight. The flavor is mild with a pleasing Belgian yeast and sweet malt profile. Despite a more conservative profile than the previous beer, the crisp flavor refreshed the palate and made itself known even after the bitterness of Alpha Ox.

Black Ox, a Rye Porter was next in the lineup. The 6.0% ABV, the Porter has a slight cereal graininess to it. It's smooth with a mild roasted malt base. We all enjoyed this one very much, and especially after it had warmed it evoked exclamations of "Ooh, that's good" from us and others around us.

Finally I moved on to the Saison d'Ox, which "Checkered Flag" had already been enjoying. He was very enamored with the beer. Colleen had also "tasted ahead" and liked it. When I got to my sample, I was impressed as well. Easily drinkable at 5.7% ABV, it had a wild yeast flavor along with a fresh citrus tang. Despite my affection for IPAs, this one was my favorite of the four.



When all the preliminary tasting was said and done, Colleen and I both opted to enjoy a full glass of Saison d’Ox. A half pint for her, a full pint for me. The tasting room sells snack sized bags of chips and pretzels. No other food is served, though delivery from some local food places is available. I grabbed a couple bags of chips for us to munch on while we all enjoyed the Old Ox Saison. One of those snacks was a very spicy, red pepper flavored chip that the beer cut through nicely and made for a very simple but enjoyable pairing.

We had a great visit at Old Ox Brewery and were impressed with all of the Old Ox beers. I look forward to trying more from them when I get a chance. We also appreciated that the beers were all relatively low in ABV.  Perhaps that's a nod to all the bicyclists stopping in for a refreshment during their ride. :-) Even on a Sunday afternoon, there was a steady flow of folks stopping by for a beer, as well as growler fills. Last call came at 6:00PM and that's when we headed out in search of dinner before beginning the trek home.


Old Ox Brewery

Author: David From http://www.musingsoverapint.com/ • Jul 22nd, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
We headed to Ashburn Sunday afternoon, our targeted destination was Old Ox Brewery. Opened just three weeks now, I've been seeing many references the brewery on various social media and wanted to check them out. We made our way to Ashburn, the "back way," to avoid the interstate. Arriving in an industrial park full of non-descript and similar looking buildings, we drove around for awhile before finding the brewery. Old Ox is located at the end of the street, and is not easily visible until you arrive in front of it.



The Old Ox facilities are quite spacious. There's a large brewing area visible behind the tasting room. Seating is provided both indoors and out. Old Ox is located next to the W&D Trail, and we saw numerous bike riders taking a short break before continuing on their ride.

The brewery offers three serving sizes; 2 ounce toasters, as well as half and full pints. That's a great option I'd like to see at more brewery tasting rooms. Four beers were on tap this day, so Colleen and I both opted to start out with flights of tasters. Our friend "Checkered Flag" made his final beer decision right away and opted for a pint of a Saison.

The first beer in the flight was Alpha Ox, a "session" IPA. This IPA checks in at just 4.5% ABV. At the first sip I struck by the "green" hop bitterness and slightly oily mouthfeel. I asked at the counter and got confirmation that the beer was dry-hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The dry-hopped profile is quite evident. I enjoyed this IPA, though my companions found it too bitter.

Moving on to the next beer, Golden Ox, a Belgian Blonde. At 6.5%, this was the "biggest" beer of the flight. The flavor is mild with a pleasing Belgian yeast and sweet malt profile. Despite a more conservative profile than the previous beer, the crisp flavor refreshed the palate and made itself known even after the bitterness of Alpha Ox.

Black Ox, a Rye Porter was next in the lineup. The 6.0% ABV, the Porter has a slight cereal graininess to it. It's smooth with a mild roasted malt base. We all enjoyed this one very much, and especially after it had warmed it evoked exclamations of "Ooh, that's good" from us and others around us.

Finally I moved on to the Saison d'Ox, which "Checkered Flag" had already been enjoying. He was very enamored with the beer. Colleen had also "tasted ahead" and liked it. When I got to my sample, I was impressed as well. Easily drinkable at 5.7% ABV, it had a wild yeast flavor along with a fresh citrus tang. Despite my affection for IPAs, this one was my favorite of the four.



When all the preliminary tasting was said and done, Colleen and I both opted to enjoy a full glass of Saison d’Ox. A half pint for her, a full pint for me. The tasting room sells snack sized bags of chips and pretzels. No other food is served, though delivery from some local food places is available. I grabbed a couple bags of chips for us to munch on while we all enjoyed the Old Ox Saison. One of those snacks was a very spicy, red pepper flavored chip that the beer cut through nicely and made for a very simple but enjoyable pairing.

We had a great visit at Old Ox Brewery and were impressed with all of the Old Ox beers. I look forward to trying more from them when I get a chance. We also appreciated that the beers were all relatively low in ABV.  Perhaps that's a nod to all the bicyclists stopping in for a refreshment during their ride. :-) Even on a Sunday afternoon, there was a steady flow of folks stopping by for a beer, as well as growler fills. Last call came at 6:00PM and that's when we headed out in search of dinner before beginning the trek home.


Old Ox Brewery

Author: David From http://www.musingsoverapint.com/ • Jul 22nd, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
We headed to Ashburn Sunday afternoon, our targeted destination was Old Ox Brewery. Opened just three weeks now, I've been seeing many references the brewery on various social media and wanted to check them out. We made our way to Ashburn, the "back way," to avoid the interstate. Arriving in an industrial park full of non-descript and similar looking buildings, we drove around for awhile before finding the brewery. Old Ox is located at the end of the street, and is not easily visible until you arrive in front of it.



The Old Ox facilities are quite spacious. There's a large brewing area visible behind the tasting room. Seating is provided both indoors and out. Old Ox is located next to the W&D Trail, and we saw numerous bike riders taking a short break before continuing on their ride.

The brewery offers three serving sizes; 2 ounce toasters, as well as half and full pints. That's a great option I'd like to see at more brewery tasting rooms. Four beers were on tap this day, so Colleen and I both opted to start out with flights of tasters. Our friend "Checkered Flag" made his final beer decision right away and opted for a pint of a Saison.

The first beer in the flight was Alpha Ox, a "session" IPA. This IPA checks in at just 4.5% ABV. At the first sip I struck by the "green" hop bitterness and slightly oily mouthfeel. I asked at the counter and got confirmation that the beer was dry-hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The dry-hopped profile is quite evident. I enjoyed this IPA, though my companions found it too bitter.

Moving on to the next beer, Golden Ox, a Belgian Blonde. At 6.5%, this was the "biggest" beer of the flight. The flavor is mild with a pleasing Belgian yeast and sweet malt profile. Despite a more conservative profile than the previous beer, the crisp flavor refreshed the palate and made itself known even after the bitterness of Alpha Ox.

Black Ox, a Rye Porter was next in the lineup. The 6.0% ABV, the Porter has a slight cereal graininess to it. It's smooth with a mild roasted malt base. We all enjoyed this one very much, and especially after it had warmed it evoked exclamations of "Ooh, that's good" from us and others around us.

Finally I moved on to the Saison d'Ox, which "Checkered Flag" had already been enjoying. He was very enamored with the beer. Colleen had also "tasted ahead" and liked it. When I got to my sample, I was impressed as well. Easily drinkable at 5.7% ABV, it had a wild yeast flavor along with a fresh citrus tang. Despite my affection for IPAs, this one was my favorite of the four.



When all the preliminary tasting was said and done, Colleen and I both opted to enjoy a full glass of Saison d’Ox. A half pint for her, a full pint for me. The tasting room sells snack sized bags of chips and pretzels. No other food is served, though delivery from some local food places is available. I grabbed a couple bags of chips for us to munch on while we all enjoyed the Old Ox Saison. One of those snacks was a very spicy, red pepper flavored chip that the beer cut through nicely and made for a very simple but enjoyable pairing.

We had a great visit at Old Ox Brewery and were impressed with all of the Old Ox beers. I look forward to trying more from them when I get a chance. We also appreciated that the beers were all relatively low in ABV.  Perhaps that's a nod to all the bicyclists stopping in for a refreshment during their ride. :-) Even on a Sunday afternoon, there was a steady flow of folks stopping by for a beer, as well as growler fills. Last call came at 6:00PM and that's when we headed out in search of dinner before beginning the trek home.


Cadets PT in tent city in Jacks Valley during Basic Cadet Training at the US Air Force Academy

Author: Mike From http://blog.mikemorones.com • Jul 21st, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Photography.Local

Cadets PT in tent city in Jacks Valley during Basic Cadet Training at the US Air Force Academy



Basic Cadet Training at the US Air Force Academy

Author: Mike From http://blog.mikemorones.com • Jul 21st, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Photography.Local

Basic Cadet Training at the US Air Force Academy



Cavalier USPSA Match

Author: David From http://www.musingsoverapint.com/ • Jul 21st, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
For the second weekend in a row, I headed off to a new (to me) USPSA match. On Saturday I shot the monthly match put on by the Greater Richmond Blasters, at the Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in Montpelier, VA. The trip to the range took just over an hour, with most of the drive being on tree-lined country roads. I attended an IDPA match at Cavalier a couple years ago and don't recall the drive being as easy. I'm guessing I had better directions this time.

The first stage we shot consisted of a short winding path past groups of targets, many of which partially covered by white no-shoots. At the end of the path was a Texas Star that was partially obstructed by a wall.

And No-Shoots

Another fun stage started with the shooter's hands on a barrel in the center of the free fire zone, and required moving to both sides of the course at the start to engage targets while leaning around walls. A Y-split in the course tempted the shooter into a corner to engage falling steel. In what was a common theme at the match, even on shorter courses of fire, there were many options on how to engage the targets.

And No-Shoots

The next stage was a long L-shaped course with target arrays strategically placed behind vision barriers. On this course too, the theme of copious no-shoots continued. I succumbed to the allure of the "hoser stage" and ran the course a little too fast. Although I avoided all the penalty targets, I dropped too many shots into C zones.

And No-Shoots

Next up was a fun stage that began with hands on a wall on either side of the course. The stage finished with the shooter taking a knee or squatting to engage the final targets under a wall.

The final bay held both a "speed shoot" and a Classifier. The former consisted of three steel poppers, one of which activated a drop turner and a popup target. Both were disappearing targets, so any misses meant points not earned, but there was no added penalty for the miss. I was first up on this stage, and even though I had seen the action of the targets once during the walkthrough, I was surprised just how much time one had to make the shots once I was behind the gun. I rushed my shots on the first target and found myself waiting for the second target to appear. If I had it to do over, I would have shot the targets in a different order and taken more time for better hits.

The last stage was the Classifier CM 13-02, "Down the Middle." Shooting last this time, I saw lots of folks get hits on the black, so I prepared myself to make carefully aimed shots. And I got decent hits on this one, but a light primer strike on the first shot cost me time for remedial action. Still, this stage saw my best stage finish of the match, placing 4th out of 18. Yet, as in the last match, the high stage finish on the Classifier was still not good enough to help my overall classification. And, that's misfires on the last two Classifiers I've attempted. As of this posting, my gun is in the hands of my friendly neighborhood gunsmith for a long overdue refurbishing.

This was a very fun match. Despite the generous use of no-shoots by the course designers, I walked away from the match with no penalties or misses, and a 9th place finish. I've been hoping to get to the Cavalier USPSA match since they started up last year. I'm glad I finally made it. The match is well-run, fairly close by, and held on a Saturday. A Saturday match is a plus in my book. The (hopefully) temporary suspension of events at Walnut Ridge, a match I enjoyed very much, has left a gap in the calendar. Another Saturday match, even closer to home, is a welcome addition. Next month's match is loaded into my calendar. I look forward to going back to Cavalier soon.


Pike’s Peak

Author: Mike From http://blog.mikemorones.com • Jul 20th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Photography.Local

Pike's Peak