The Experiment Comes to a Close


It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform everyone that the Clarke Daily News is ceasing operations today, September 26, 2012. It has been an honor to provide news for our community and it has been my pleasure to become acquainted with so many wonderful people that I would probably not have met otherwise.

This experiment has always been about community. Sustainable news in a format that is easily accessible is an integral part of every community. It creates the narrative memory that we can all contribute to and share. But, as large media companies continue to contract, creating ever growing areas that see little or no news coverage, that narrative is lost. The Clarke Daily News was an effort to strip news down to the bare bones and see if there was a way to sustain it. For three years Ed Leonard and I wrote about the tragedies and the triumphs in Clarke County and everything in between that makes-up the mosaic of our community. During that time, we published over 4,000 articles. But, what was really amazing was the level of interest people had in participating in the experiment through comments. During our years of work, there were almost 20,000 comments on the site. There was something unique about the level of ownership people felt. Comments on our articles outstripped other news sources 10 to 1. But, therein lay the problem that would ultimately be the demise of the CDN.

Owned by two equal partners with distinctly different editorial perspectives and views of how the comments should be moderated, the middle ground was always an ongoing compromise. The line between free speech and hurtful screed is impossible to define precisely, and ultimately was not acceptable to either one of us. For me, it became hurtful and counter to the whole idea of community. In the end, there was no compromise that was workable. Since Mr. Leonard and I are both tied to the brand, there was no path forward other than to shut-it-down.

So this experiment ends today, but I think there is hope. News can survive in small communities. While there are stories that can bear the full brunt of free speech, the overall approach needs to also protect stories that are simply nice reflections of a beautiful place.

Best regards,



See Comments



Clarke County Firm Part of Business Group that Lands International Green Energy Award

ECU Installation on board the Taiko

A collaboration that includes Shenandoah Control Systems, Inc., a technology firm located in Clarke County, Virginia, has received international recognition for an inspired green energy solution that has a broad range of applications to improve fuel efficiency and emissions in diesel engines and boilers.

On Friday, September 21, 2012, Savannah Ocean Exchange announced the winners of the 2012 Orcelle Grants, which provided $100,000 in funds to two recipients and are aimed at identifying inventions that protect the environment. One of the two grants was awarded for NONOX: Emulsion Combustion Systems submitted by Eric Cottell of NONOX, Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas, Wes Pence of Wholesome Energy and Jerry Boyles of Shenandoah Control Systems Inc. The “Emulsion Combustion System” or ECU, is designed to reduce fossil fuel emissions by improving the combustion process on the inlet side of the diesel engines. The ECU produces an on-demand, water-in-oil emulsion fuel that reduces nitrous oxide, black carbon/soot, and other air pollutants. The system can also be switched back and forth between emulsion and straight fuel at the flick of a switch. The NONOX Fuel Emulsions System is easy to install with little or no down time for the customer, the return on the investment is typically less than a year, and on larger installations less than that. This system is most attractive in today’s market due to ever increasing fuel costs and more stringent emissions regulations.

Wes Pence of Wholesome Energy (middle) and Jerry Boyles (right) prepare to board the Taiko in Long Beach

The process of developing the system began about four years ago when NONOX, Ltd. provided a “proof of concept” oil/water emulsion system for a building boiler heating system at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, VA. Jerry Boyles, owner of Shenandoah Control Systems, Inc., offered his services to NONOX to improve the performance of the system by designing electronic controls to regulate the ratio of water to fuel. After the successful initial installation, the process of emulsion fuels was proposed to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics shipping lines as a means to reduce pollution and fuel consumption for their fleet of ships.

Jerry Boyles said,”Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics agreed to let us design and implement a prototype system on one of their fleet ships, the Taiko, which is a 860 foot long roll on, roll off (RORO) cargo vessel.”

Boyles described the collaboration of the three businesses who worked together to complete the award-winning installation by saying,”To execute the prototype, we formed a collaboration between NONOX, Ltd, the owner of the patented emulsion generation technology, Wholesome Energy, Edinburg, VA, who did the mechanical fabrication and installation of the equipment, and Shenandoah Control Systems. We performed the electrical design and software programming to control the blending of fuel oil and water and fail-safe programming to detect and react to any system faults.”

The prototype was tested on several voyages of the Taiko, including passages from Long Beach, CA to Newport News via the Panama Canal; Melbourne, Australia, around Western Australia to Singapore; and from New York City to Baltimore. The results of the testing showed an average of 4-5% improvement in fuel consumption, a 30% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions and significant reduction in particulate (soot) emissions. Typically, a ship of this size would consume about 65-70 metric tons of oil per day. So, a 5% savings could mean a savings of over  8000 pounds of fuel a day.

Christopher Connor, Deputy CEO and CCO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, congratulated the winner saying, “The NONOX Emulsion Combustion System is an innovative solution that can decrease emissions of harmful substances to the air considerably, both at sea and on land. The team has done an impressive job in developing this promising technology. We hope that the Orcelle Grant will make it possible for them to bring this product to market, and look forward to supporting the laureate on this journey.”

The journey could take the product into many markets. The flexible and  convenient approach can translate to almost any industry. Mr. Boyles said,  “I think what decided the award in our favor is that this technology is applicable to any form of combustion of oil products, whether it be ships, trucks, trains, or stationary boilers.”

See You at the Pole 2012 Tomorrow at JWMS and CCHS

Last year students at JWMS gathered indoors due to rain.

See You at the Pole, the annual student-led prayer event held at schools across America, is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Students will gather before the day’s classes around the school flagpole to pray for their school, classmates, teachers and their communities. The 2012 See You at the Pole™ theme is Awaken and the Scripture is Ephesians 3:14–21—“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father… I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts…And I pray that you… grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…’”

Events in Clarke County will include gatherings at Johnson-William Middle School and the Clarke County High School. Students will meet at 7:15 AM at JWMS and 7:30 AM at CCHS.

See You at the Pole™, the global day of student prayer, began in 1990 as a grass roots movement with ten students praying at their school. More than two decades later, millions around the world pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September. These gatherings are simple prayer rallies where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God.

McKesson Corporation Plans Distribution Center in Frederick County Creating 205 New Jobs

Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that McKesson Corporation, a leading healthcare services and information technology company, will invest $36.9 million to establish a new distribution operation in Frederick County. The company will distribute medical and surgical supplies to physician offices, surgery centers, long-term care facilities and home care businesses in a regional service area that includes New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and northern North Carolina. The project will create 205 new jobs.

McDonnell said, “McKesson’s new distribution facility in Frederick County represents this FORTUNE 500 company’s third operation in Virginia. Not only does McKesson have a significant presence here, the Commonwealth is one of the company’s largest employee bases in the U.S. It is gratifying to see this continued growth in Virginia due to the pro-business climate and success McKesson has experienced. We value the company’s strong corporate partnership and ongoing investment in the Commonwealth.”

“McKesson Corporation’s significant investment and creation of 205 new jobs will enrich the Frederick County community and region,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The company continues to choose Virginia, as the Commonwealth provides convenient access to its East Coast customer base due to our strategic location and solid transportation infrastructure. I am confident that McKesson will experience the same growth and success with its third operation in Frederick County.”

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 14th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. McKesson’s Medical-Surgical business unit, which is locating its facility in Frederick County, delivers a comprehensive offering of more than 150,000 healthcare products, equipment and technology solutions to physician offices, surgery centers, long-term care facilities, home medical equipment suppliers and home care agencies. McKesson partners with more than 300,000 customers to provide them with solutions and supplies with a primary goal of helping to improve the health of their business, allowing them to focus on what matters most: delivering quality care for patients.

“We’re pleased to expand our operations in Virginia, the home of our Medical-Surgical business headquarters,” said Stanton McComb, President, McKesson Medical-Surgical. “It’s another great opportunity to match the strength of Virginia’s infrastructure and labor force with our strong growth.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Frederick County and the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved a $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Frederick County with the project. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.

“We are pleased to welcome another Fortune 500 company, McKesson Corporation, to Frederick County,” said Richard Shickle, Chairman of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors. “McKesson’s significant investment is indicative of the pro-business climate in Frederick County and Frederick County’s strategic location.”

Lady Eagle Digs Deep to Play at High Point

Courtney Butterfass in High Point game against Elon. Photo credit Phill Butterfass

Clarke County soccer teams have grown to represent a powerful force in the Bull Run District and beyond. Both boys and girls teams consistently make it to post season action and last season the Lady Eagles made it all the way to the state semifinals. However, when our finest leave Clarke County they find themselves competing against student athletes from much larger schools. While that challenge can often mean the end of a student’s school soccer career, other times it forces exceptional athletes to step-up their game and rise to the occasion.

Such was the case with local midfielder, Courtney Butterfass.

Courtney graduated from Clarke County High School last year after amassing three varsity letters, three All-District,  two All-Region and two All-State selections. She was also named to the All-Area team as a senior on the the Clarke County team that advanced to the state semi-finals.

Courtney elected to attend High Point University in North Carolina and planned to major in Pharmacy. As the new school year approached Courtney felt the draw of soccer and was compelled to try out for the High Point team during the summer.  Courtney went to the last summer camp and was evaluated during the camp.  Coach Marty Beall explained that there were already 32 girls on the roster, but he would like her to be on the team as well.  The coach provided Courtney with a training booklet for running and ball skills that she would be expected to perform. With only 5 weeks between being accepted to the team and the first day of training, Courtney gave it all she had.  Due to the excessive heat this past summer, Courtney and her mom were up at 6am every morning traveling to Handley High school  to use the turf football field for the running drills.  After dinner, the family would go over to the Clarke County recreation center to work on ball skills training.  It was truly a family affair.

It paid off,  Courtney was excited to be selected as a member of a Division 1 NCAA soccer team and was one of only 9 teammates to pass all the running tests on the first try.

Courtney knew that she would have limited playing time going into her first year, but has already amassed 96 minutes of playing time in the first 11 games of the season.

Courtney is the daughter of Berryville residents Philip and Carlene Butterfass.

Heartbreak at The Felt as Eagles Lose to Rams in Final Seconds

#1 Kasey Lake makes the interception late in the first half. Photo credit Pam Lettie

Payback was on the minds of coaches and players as the Eagles faced the Strasburg Rams Friday night at the Felt. Two losses to the Rams last season, the second of which ended the Eagles playoff hopes, gave the team an added incentive in their first district game of the 2012 season.

The Rams had their own ideas.

The tightly matched game saw entire quarters eaten by single possessions on each side of the ball as offensive sides fought for yardage. In the end two 4th quarter breakout scores pushed the momentum to Strasburg handing them the victory over Clarke County 20-13.

Going into the game Clarke County knew their defense would have to stop Strasburg running back #23 Rakwon White. Last season White amassed over 500 yards rushing in their two match-ups and remains a force to be reckoned with this season. While the Eagles rose to the occasion in the first half, the relentless running attack wore them down in the second half as White amassed 174 yards rushing and scored the winning touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game.

Clarke County jumped ahead early in the game and both teams traded series in a closely fought game. The  lead that the Eagles carried into the half held until mid 4th quarter when the momentum shifted as Strasburg Quarterback #7 Troy Gordon broke around the outside and ran 36 yards for the tying score.

The next drive for Clarke County would be pivotal as they moved the ball towards breaking the tie.  A steady drive was knocked back by a holding call backing them up to 1-20. Driving forward to 4th and 1 the Eagles went for the first down and were stopped.

The Rams took possession on their own 46 and put together a 3 minute drive capped off by the Rakwon White’s TD with 30 seconds left to play.

Strasburg remains undefeated at 5-0, while the Eagles drop to 3-2 and are now 0-1 in the Bull Run District.

Next week Clarke County is not the road against the new school in Loudoun John Champe H S. Kickoff is at 7:00 PM


The Clarke Weekender – 9/21/2012

I love this time of year. The crisp clear air, the colors, great apples, and here in Clarke County another weekend packed with great activities. From music to steeple chases there is an abundance of fun for the whole family.

However the beautiful weather we have enjoyed may not make it into the weekend as summer makes a last gasp at the Autumnal Equinox. Highs on Saturday will be around 84° with a chance of showers so make sure you bring your umbrellas for outdoor activities.

So here’s my list of things to do in Clarke County this weekend. Welcome fall and enjoy what Clarke County has to offer.

Friday September 21

Watermelon Park Fest 2012” – The three day Americana Roots Music Festival started Thursday night and will continue through Saturday. The festival includes artists like The Del McCoury Band, Tim O’Brien, Larry Keel, Furnace Mountain, and 20+ other bands. There are also contests workshops, camping, kids activities and more. Located alongside the Shenandoah river at Watermelon Park. Tickets are $40 a day. Kids under 12 are FREE. For more details visit:

Enjoy a free evening of fine acoustic music in town as Local Flavor Featuring folk singer Bill Johnston performs at 6:30 pm. at the Barns of Rose Hill.  Free Admission.

Clarke County vs. Strasburg. The Clarke County Varsity Football  Team takes on arch-rivals Strasburg in their first district game of the season at The Felt. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM.

The “Calcutta Dinner, Dance & Auction” will be held at 6:00 PM at Woodley Farm in Berryville. Enjoy the sunset over the rolling hills of Woodley Farm, sipping cocktails, enjoying fine dining and live music from Soul Expressions, a 7-piece band playing funk, rock, jazz and today’s hits. To find out more or to reserve your seats, visit: or call: 540-536-2387. This year’s beneficiaries of the Blue Ridge Fall Races are the Youth Development Center and the Winchester Medical Center Foundation Angel Fund.

Saturday September 22

Start your morning at the Clarke County Farmers Market and pick up some of the great apples and fall vegetables that are in season. The market runs from 8:00 AM though 12:00 noon in the municipal parking lot on South Church Street.

After the market stroll on over to the  Fire House Gallery on East Main Street for the “Art of Making Art — Watercolor Demonstration with Julie Read” 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.Berryville. for more information call 540-955-4001 or visit:

Blue Ridge Fall Races”. The annual running of the Blue Ridge Fall Races will take place at Woodley Farm in Berryville, VA on Saturday.  Enjoy a relaxing day in the countryside with excellent views of the scenic race course. There is also a great schedule full of family friendly activities including a children’s area with pony rides, face painting and moon bounce plus great shopping in vendors row. Gates Open 11 a.m. — Post Time 1 P.M. For more information visit: or call: 540-536-2387

HOOT for WILDLIFE!”  5:00 – 10:00 PM. Enjoy great food, drink, and dance music under the big tent after the Blue Ridge Fall races at Woodley Farm.  Proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.  Tickets are $40 at the gate. For more information, call 540-539-6150, visit

Enjoy free “Music for a September Evening”  Saturday at 7:30PM at the Barns of Rose Hill
Featuring: Francis Lapp Averitt, Flute, Elizabeth Temple. Piano, Melissa Chavez. Soprano, David Chavez , Piano. Jeff Luksik. Baritone
Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

Exploring the Night Sky by Telescope” 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. at Blandy Experimental Farm. Members of the Shenandoah Astronomical Society will guide participants in a search of stars, constellations, planets, and more.  Bring binoculars if you have them. FOSA members $8, nonmembers $10, families $20. For more information or to register for this event, call 540-837-1758 ext 224.

Sunday September 23

Worship at Christ Church” Millwood at 8:30 AM & 10:30 AM; Christian Education at 9:00 a.m.  Christ Church is located at 809 Bishop Meade Road.  Please call 540-837-1112 for more information.

Saint Luke Baptist Church will observe its Annual Women’s Day” 11:00AM at 17 Liberty Street, Berryville, VA. Minister Daniesha White, from Angels Ministries, will be the guest preacher at the 11:00 AM worship service. Please call 540-955-1883 for more information.




Bistro to Open on Day Off to Support Family with Fundraiser

A Berryville eatery is rallying support for a local family that is coping with the tragic loss of two children. The two boys, Braydon and Landon, were the sons of husband and wife James C. Jenkins and Shannon Berg. The children lost their lives in a house fire that occurred on Summit Ave in Winchester on the morning of  August 23. James Jenkins suffered severe burns to his hands in his effort to rescue the children, but was unable to save them from the terrible fire.

Locals are banding together to help the family because James (Jamie) has deep ties to Clarke County. He was raised in Berryville and went to Clarke County schools where he also participated in local agricultural organizations. Hope Cather who operates the Valley Bistro said, “Our staff and owners were blessed to watch Jamie grow up here in Clarke County and we would like to show him how much we still care.”

So, in an effort to help Jamie and his wife, The Valley Bistro is holding a fundraiser Tuesday to support the family. “God took two beautiful little boys and we would like to help their parents in their time of need.”

The Bistro is typically closed on Tuesdays, but this week they will open their doors from 5:00 PM till 9:30 PM to offer Homemade Spaghetti & Meatball Dinners with salad and bread for $12.50, eat-in or carryout.

“The staff will be volunteering their time and the Bistro is donating the food so all of the funds raised will go directly to the family.” Hope said.

Valley Bisro is located at 24 West Main Street Berryville, VA. Call 540-955-1538 for more information or to place your order.

The Clarke Weekender – 9/14/2012

Bill Johnston and Mary Knupp are “William and Mary” and they will be performing in Rose Hill Park Friday night.

The beautiful week of weather we have been blessed with will continue throughout the weekend in Clarke County providing the perfect opportunity to get out and have some fun. Here’s a list of some activities in and around Clarke County to get you started. Enjoy.

Friday September 14

Swing by the Bank of Clarke County for the “The Women’s Club of Clarke County Bake Sale”  from 8:00 AM until 12:00 noon.  All proceeds benefit the club’s scholarship fund.

Enjoy Music in the Rose Hill Park as” William & Mary”  perform  Folk, Blues, and Country selections. Music from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. Bring a chair and a friend and kick back for music under the trees in our beautiful downtown park.

Saturday September 15

Start your Saturday at the Clarke County Farmers Market. The selection of late summer fruits and vegetables is amazing along with a wealth of locally made products. Market runs from 8:00 AM through 12:00 Noon at the municipal parking lot on South Church Street.

The New Beginning choir of St. Luke Baptist Church is sponsoring a Fish Fry at 11:00 AM.  The cost is $7.00.  Please call 540-955-1883 to place an order. Saint Luke Baptist Church is located at 17 Liberty Street in Berryville, VA.

Shenandoah Farms Fire and Rescue is hosting a Classic Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Show Saturday September 15, from 10AM to 2PM. Admission is free and the event will be held behind Jim’s Country Store. For more information call 540-837-1290

Just over the county line to our east enjoy an old fashioned village festival for the 43rd annual Bluemont Fair, September 15th & 16th. The fair is open from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $5 for Adults and  children under 10 are free. Both days of the fair feature food, crafts, music and lots of activities for all ages throughout the historic village. On the Old Schoolhouse grounds will be nearly 100 juried crafters displaying their wares, with many also providing demonstrations.

To our north in nearby Martinsburg West Virginia the 167th Airlift Wing is once again hosting the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show 2012. This year’s open house and air show is  scheduled for Sepetmber 15-16, 2012, and will feature a variety of military and civilian aerial performances as well as static ground displays. Gates open at 9:00 a.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

Get some good eats at the annual Boyce Volunteer Fire Company Chicken Barbecue and Pig Roast Saturday September 15th 4.30-7.00 at the Boyce Fire Hall. Adults $10. Kids 12 and under $5. There will also be a bake sale held during the dinner.

Need a dose of power sports? The Interstate Truck Pull returns to Clarke County at 5:00 PM Saturday night. The event is sponsored by the Clarke County Young Farmers and will be held at the  Ruritan Fairgrounds, 890 W Main St (Rt 7) Berryville, Va. Adults $10.00 — 12 & Under Free. Gates Open 2:30.  Monies raised go toward scholarships and other local charities.

Sunday September 16

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9760 will Host an Open House starting at 11:00 AM celebrating the 65th birthday of the United States Air Force. At 4:00 PM a program will begin featuring a formal welcome, cake cutting ceremony, comments by members followed by a question/answer period. Memorabilia will be set out for viewing, recorded music will be provided by Oscar Brand & Dick Jonas, & aircraft performance & WW II films will also be shown via Television monitor.  A light buffet will be served during and after this program. Post 9760 is located just south of Berryville on US Highway 340 at 425 S. Buckmarsh Street.

The Deaconesses of St. Luke Baptist Church will have The Spiritual Harmonizers in Concert at 3:00 PM.  Saint Luke Baptist Church, 17 Liberty Street, Berryville, VA. Please call 540-955-1883 for more information.




New Pharmacy in Berryville Moves Closer to Reality

The saga of Main Street economic decline hit home last May when the pharmacy in Berryville announced it was closing its doors. The loss to the town meant there would be no pharmacy in the entire county and would burden residents with longer trips to have prescriptions filled.

So, when news of a new pharmacy opening on Crow Street broke there was much excitement and enthusiasm. Reed’s Pharmacy, which currently has two locations in West Virginia and one in Maryland, had signed a lease to open their fourth location in Berryville. However, with no sign of progress months later, people began to wonder if it was really going to happen. Rumors of the “deal falling through” started to pop up in conversations in town as the months wore on so we contacted the owners to get the facts.

Tally Reed told us, “Those rumors are definitely not true. We have had some delays but we are looking forward to opening in Berryville and serving the community there.”

Kenneth and Tally Reed are the owners of Reed’s Pharmacies and they say their plans have not changed. They said they have acquired all the necessary permits and hope to get the build-out of the new space underway soon.

As work continues towards opening their fourth location, the Reeds will be counting on their proven approach in small communities to make the Berryville store a success. With stores in Berkley Springs WV, Hedgesville WV, and Hancock MD, the business seems to have carved out  a sustainable approach to operating in small communities. When asked about their success Tally said, “I believe we have been successful with our pharmacies because each one has been customized to meet the needs of the community it serves.  Every store has it’s own ‘feel.’  Unlike the big chains we do not try and ‘copy’ one store to the next.  We also try and keep things very simple and provide our customers with knowledgeable, friendly, and efficient service.”

Tally also said the new Berryville location will help them compete in an already difficult marketplace that is dominated by large corporate stores, “By continuing to expand we have more ‘buying power’ and can increase our profitability from the buying end.”

She added, “I guess there are no BIG secrets to our success.  We work hard, hire good people, and do our best to make customers happy!”

The Reeds have no firm date for the store opening, but say it will be soon.