News of interest to Loudoun and Fauquier counties that appeared in the daily Post Aug. 15-21. Sunday 15

Feeling at Home on the Range

It's a cloudy Saturday in August. What's a woman to do? The answer for 45 women: Leave the men at home, head for the hills of Loudoun County and learn to shoot. They came from across the Washington area to gather in the lush woodlands south of Leesburg for a full-day course in skeet shooting, rifle marksmanship, shotguns basics and other outdoor activities. And except for a few instructors, no men were in sight. The women, most of them middle-aged, had come to take part in a workshop called "Women in the Outdoors," a program offered across the country by the National Wild Turkey Federation, a conservation group based in South Carolina that advocates hunting for the purpose of wildlife management. The goal, organizers said, is to show women that the outdoors -- and shooting -- is not just for dads, husbands and brothers.

Wednesday 18

Foundry Fashions U.S. Symbols

In a small, cluttered workshop down a Leesburg alleyway and behind an unmarked set of brown doors, the symbols of America are born. Quite literally. For more than 20 years, Alex Bigler and his wife, Ila, have operated a small artisan foundry in the tiny space. With just a handful of workers, they turn 2,000-degree rivers of molten bronze into some of the country's most enduring images. Recently, the couple cast the 36-inch U.S. emblem that will hang in the embassy in Luxembourg. And they also were to pour a similar image for the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Wednesday 18

Dreams of the Big Leagues

As a minor league catcher, William L. Collins III loved crouching at the rough and dusty hub of the game. Three decades later, the pugnacious and politically minded Collins, who played for the Shreveport Captains and the San Antonio Brewers, is relying on the same instinct in his bid to bring Major League Baseball to Northern Virginia. The partnership Collins leads has spent more than a decade and $13 million trying to buy a baseball team. After a succession of long shots and near misses, and a run of refinements and reinventions, Collins says his Virginia Baseball Club is nearing the end of its quest, now focused on acquiring the ailing Montreal Expos. Collins, a former tech executive and political director of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, has put himself at the center of a loyal network of old friends, investment bankers, technology entrepreneurs, builders, restaurant owners, doctors and political hands in a sprawling ownership group that embodies the deal-making culture and go-go capitalism that spurred Northern Virginia's dramatic growth over the past 30 years. Twenty-one individuals, groups and institutions have invested in Collins's latest effort. Many were tapped for their expertise or contacts, in addition to their wallets. Others worked or played with Collins.


Girl, 11, Pulls Boy From Pool

Elizabeth Dapper, 11, was prowling beneath the splashy blue surface of the Algonkian Regional Park pool Wednesday when she saw a 6-year-old boy curled up on the bottom in 41/2 feet of water. She dived down to grab the boy's arm, lifted his limp body to the surface and saw that he was unconscious. She put him over her shoulder and headed to the side. A lifeguard rushed over, grabbed the boy from her and started performing lifesaving techniques. The boy started coming back.