School Bond Not Wasteful

In Sunday's issue of the Loudoun Extra, I read with interest the opinion expressed by Peter Dezendorf ["School Bond Is Wasteful," Letters, Oct. 17].

Rejecting the school bond issue solely based on the intermediate school in the west sounds a bit unjustified, to say the least. As a resident in eastern Loudoun, Mr. Dezendorf is supportive of the schools being built in the east to ease the crowding in the schools there, but to build an intermediate school in western Loudoun is considered "preferential treatment"? For the 23 years that I have been a Loudoun resident, my taxes have gone to build new schools in eastern Loudoun--one new school after another. One new school opened in western Loudoun this year--in Round Hill. How many new schools opened in the east this year and the year before that and so on? Western Loudoun is growing, too. Our one middle school, Blue Ridge, is crowded and the one high school is as well. Building an intermediate school would help alleviate both problems, with one school.

As a parent of a fifth-grader, I am all for that intermediate school for a number of reasons, one of which is the overcrowding at the middle and high schools. Also, I would welcome the chance for my daughter to go to that intermediate school, where she would be with eighth- and ninth-graders instead of high school-aged teenagers. It's not easy for a ninth-grader to be thrown into an environment of sophomores, juniors and seniors. When I was growing up, elementary school was grades K-6, then "junior high" was grades 7-9 and high school was grades 10-12.

Mr. Dezendorf expressed a concern about the children being "bounced around" between schools and missing out on ninth-grade activities. What's the difference between that and the children being bused to a school outside of their community with children they won't be going to high school with later on? Many of our Lovettsville Elementary School students have an hour-long bus ride now. If those same students were bused to Leesburg, they could be on the bus possibly an hour and a half before school even starts, if not more--three hours on a bus for a 6 1/2-hour school day. That doesn't make much sense. As for the expense of converting this new intermediate school to a middle school, well, why can't it be used as is, with just minor changes if needed? It's not like you need special classrooms because you are working with preschoolers and kindergarten-aged children; these are middle school children. Not too much difference there.

If this intermediate school were being built just to pacify a minority of the parents of western Loudoun that don't want their children bused to Leesburg, I wouldn't support it either. But it goes deeper than that, and the needs are there. Schools are being built in eastern Loudoun because of those same needs, so why is this school any different? It isn't.

BONNIE S. TYRRELL

Lovettsville

Cigar Story 'Irresponsible'

Though I normally enjoy reading the Loudoun Extra section of Thursday's Washington Post, the Oct. 14 edition disappointed me to the point of anger and I feel compelled to let you know why.

The article "Resort Tries for an Air of Distinction" was totally unnecessary and featuring pictures (four!) of adults smoking was totally irresponsible. The health hazards associated with smoking tobacco products are very well known today. Heck, even Philip Morris admitted it to the public. And as parents, we have a hard enough time these days steering our children away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco without The Washington Post glamorizing tobacco usage by devoting almost a full page worth of newsprint to this activity!

I'm sure you know that the youth of Loudoun County, particularly those involved in high school sports, read the Loudoun Extra section religiously to see sports scores and possibly a mention of their name or a photograph of their team. What can we expect them to see/read about next week? Color pictures of adults swilling beers and a full-page story about an open house at Dominion Brewery?! If you're so strapped for story ideas each week to fill the pages of this section, give me a call! Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five things (Sterlingfest, fire station open houses, high school homecomings, the Ashburn Fall Festival, MCI's impending move to Ashburn) that have either taken place in Loudoun or are about to take place, that are definitely more newsworthy than cigar smoking.

You guys dropped the ball on this one.

RANDY DE STEUBEN

Ashburn

Let Those Smokers Be

This morning I read the Extra--as I do every Sunday morning. Normally I do not read the letters, but today the letter from Ms. Elwell caught my eye ["Cigar Story: Disgusting!," Oct. 17].

Just what this country needs--more intolerance. Isn't it enough that we ban smoking in most public places (we should do so in all public places)? Why do the Elwells of the world have to attack everything that they don't like--even when it doesn't affect them. If she finds cigar smoke disgusting (as she says--and so do I), just don't go there. These people were doing something that they all enjoy in a private venue. Leave them alone!

(For the record, I am a reformed smoker--they are the worst kind. I hate it.)

JOHN DRAKE

Sterling

More to Building's History

I read with great interest your story about the hair salon on the Loudoun Business page ["A New Look in Old Leesburg," Oct. 14].

The story was very well done, but it did not tell the whole story. The building was used for many years as the Lloyd Slack Furniture Store on the first and second floors, and as the Slack Undertaking business on the third floor. Slack Undertaking, which had started in 1877 in the log cabin that is now the Loudoun Museum, moved to 4 E. Loudoun St. in the early 1920s and was renamed The Colonial Funeral Home. That building is now Blue Ridge Title Co.

Funeral homes were a new thing, just starting to come into towns and cities. Before then, funerals were held at home or church. The embalming was also done at home. Most of what was done on the third floor was putting coffins together or building them from scratch. Mr. Slack ran the furniture store and funeral home until he sold the businesses to J. Lawrence Muse and C. Stanley Reed in the early 1950s. The combined businesses were moved to Market Street/Edwards Ferry Road in 1960. The furniture store was one of the first new style buildings in Loudoun County, with big plate glass windows. The chapel was added on to the house. It was known as Muse & Reed. The plaque at the front door of the funeral home is from the Colonial Funeral Home and was given to us by Mr. Muse. It was his idea to change the name back to Colonial Funeral Home of Leesburg.

GARY TOTMAN

Manager, Colonial

Funeral Home of Leesburg