Speaker brings hope for parole reform

April 17th, 2014
Gail Marshall

Gail Marshall

Gail Marshall, a former Virginia deputy attorney general who has provided pro bono legal services to the poor and disenfranchised throughout her career, told LOW Democratis April 17 that there is “a glimmer of hope” that the Commonwealth’s poor record of granting parole to deserving offenders may improve.

Ms. Marshall said Gov. Terry McAuliffe has appointed new members to four of the five positions on the State Parole Board. “There’s reason to believe that our Democratic leaders are trying to make a difference,”

Ms. Marshall said. In 1995, under the administration of a Republican governor parole was abolished in Virginia. The State Parole Board has continued to function since then because about 7,000 offenders had been convicted before that time, but very few paroles have been awarded. The Parole Board has frequently denies petitions for parole with little or no explanation, Ms. Marshall said.

From her platforms as a teacher at the University of Virginia School of Law, as a big-firm lawyer in Washington, D.C., as deputy attorney general under Mary Sue Terry, as town attorney for the Town of Orange, and as a solo practitioner in the Orange County town of Rapidan.

Through the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Ms. Marshall volunteered with a project that is challenging Virginia’s parole system as it applies to offenders who have been convicted of violent crimes, and another project that addresses treatment of inmates in Virginia prisons.

As deputy attorney general, her review of death penalty cases led her to question the guilt of Earl Washington Jr. Her flagging of the case for further investigation led to commutation nine days before his scheduled execution, and eventually led to a pardon. Washington is now a free man.

More information is available at the links below:

Sunday program’s message is “Suicide happens”

March 17th, 2014
Alan Rasmussen addresses a forum on suicide prevention at the LOW Community Center.

Alan Rasmussen addresses a forum on suicide prevention at the LOW Community Center.

“We need to know that suicide happens,” warned Alan C. Rasmussen of the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board at the March 16 community forum sponsored by LOW Democrats. “Life has its twists and turns and sometimes it may seem to be unbearable.”

Rasmussen’s message to about 60 members and guests at the LOW Community Center was to be prepared to step up when someone we know is considering suicide and not to shy away because we are afraid or unsure what to do.

In a program he called “Saving Lives,” Rasmussen advocated an three-step emergency procedure he called QPR:

  • Question the person: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
  • Persaude: “There are other ways to deal with your problems.”
  • Refer: “Let me take you to someone who knows how to help.”

Rasmussen said that 30,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. That’s one person every 15 minutes.

A little empathy from a loved one, a friend or even a stranger can save lives, he said. Being aware of the signs of potential suicide and knowing how to respond is critical.

The risk factors for suicide are:

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Current talk of suicide
  • Preoccupation with death or dying
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorder
  • Suicide or attempted suicide by a friend or relative
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Assault or bullying

In Orange County the number to call for help for someone considering suicide is 540-672-2718.

Suicide prevention is topic of forum

March 6th, 2014

Alan C. Rasmussen, an authority on mental health and suicide prevention, will speak at a community forum on mental health issues from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, at the Lake of the Woods Community Center in Locust Grove.

More than 30,000 suicides occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making suicide the tenth leading cause of death for Americans.

Rasmussen is a suicide-prevention specialist with the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board and a faculty member for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Students program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He graduated from U.Va. in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and earned a master’s degee in counselor education in 1977.

The event is open to the public.

Follow the links below for more information on this important topic:


The club’s leadership for 2014

January 15th, 2014
The club's 2014 officers were introduced at the Christmas luncheon in December. Shown are Gary Sibley, treasurer; Norma Lanier, community projects; Chris Carr, holidays and sunshine,  historian and special events; Shirley Pfile, chair; Lolli Omar, programs; Diane Sibley, issues;  and Angie Turvey, membership. Not shown are Pat Drake, secretary; Jan Moore, community  projects: Mary Berger, membership; Pat Ivey, programs; and Kerry Sipe, publicity.  (Photo by Anne Boyd)

The club’s 2014 officers were introduced at the Christmas luncheon in December. Shown are
Gary Sibley, treasurer; Norma Lanier, community projects; Chris Carr, holidays and sunshine,
historian and special events; Shirley Pfile, chair; Lolli Omar, programs; Diane Sibley, issues;
and Angie Turvey, membership. Not shown are Pat Drake, secretary; Jan Moore, community
projects: Mary Berger, membership; Pat Ivey, programs; and Kerry Sipe, publicity.
(Photo by Anne Boyd)

Join us at our Christmas luncheon

November 22nd, 2013

bonefishgrillThe Lake of the Woods Democratic Club will hold its annual Christmas luncheon at noon on Dec. 3 at the Bonefish Grill in Central Park.

The cost is $28.75 per person, including tax and gratuity. Checks may be sent to Anne Boyd, 710 Gold Valley Road.

Participants will have a choice of oak grilled salmon, chicken marsala or Maryland crab cakes. The choice of entree need not be made until the day of the luncheon.

New officers for next year will be introduced at this meeting.

For a copy of the flyer annoucing this event click here.

LOW embraces Dippert as delegate candidate

September 19th, 2013
Traci Dippert, right, with Shirley Pfile, chair of LOW Democrats

Traci Dippert, right, with Shirley Pfile, chair of LOW Democrats

Traci Dippert, our dynamic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates from the 30th District, was the guest of honor at a meet-and-greet Sept. 19 at the LOW Community Center.

Many of Ms. Dippert’s old friends and some new ones showed up — some with campaign donations in hand — to meet the candidate, ask questions and encourage her in her effort to improve Orange County’s representation in Richmond.

Ms. Dippert said that the current representative of the 30th District had been complicit in the General Assembly’s efforts to erode women’s rights, voter’s rights and civil rights.

“I see a future where Virginia leads in attracting new industries and entrepreneurs and helps existing businesses succeed without sacrificing our environment. A Virginia where farming can again be a sustainable way of life, and a future where there’s a quality job for every Virginian and our families stay strong and independent,” she said.

“I see a future where teachers like myself have all the necessary resources to prepare your children and grandchildren with a well-rounded education to face the challenges of the 21st Century. We must continue to lead the country in the talent pool and we must do so without guns in the classroom.”

Ms. Dippert, who teaches music to elementary school students at Rappahannock Elementary School, said “Every Virginian must have the opportunity to succeed whether a junior citizen in school or a senior citizen in retirement.”

“I need your help to secure that vision for Virginia,” she said. “This region has incredible untapped potential and deserves a representative who has the vision to move District 30 and all of Virginia forward.”

Ms. Dippert appeared on Sept. 25 at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Lake of the Woods Civic Club.

After a social hour with a cash bar and snacks provided by the Civic Club, each candidate for local and state office had a chance to address the group and Ms. Dippert’s remarks were especially well received.


Invite everyone to meet Traci Dippert on Sept. 19

August 29th, 2013

The club will sponsor a meet-and-greet event for Traci Dippert, our terrific candidate for Virginia House of Delegates on Sept. 19.

The event will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the LOW Community Center.

Download the promotional flyer for this event, print it out and distribute it. Every voter needs to get to know Traci.



Club to observe anniversary of 1963 march

August 5th, 2013
The 1963 March on Washington

The 1963 March on Washington

August 28 of this year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, an event that changed the course of the civil rights movement in America.

The Lake of the Woods Democratic Club will observe the occasion at its meeting at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15, in the lower level of the LOW Clubhouse with a program of personal reminisences and an open discussion contrasting the expectations of 1963 with the realities of 2013.

Kerry Sipe, a club member and LOW resident who witnessed the march as a young man, will share his memories of the event and display some personal memorabilia from the march.

Following Sipe’s presentation, there will be an open discussion on the status of race relations in the United States.

Sipe, who was born in Lynchburg and grew up in Salem, Va., is a retired newspaper editor, whose early career as a journalist included coverage of the civil rights movement in the South. He has lived in LOW since 2009.

It was on Aug. 28, 1963, that about 250,000 people marched through Washington to call the nation’s attention to the injustice and inequalities that black Americans faced because of the color of their skin.

In support of civil rights for all Americans, the demonstrators made their way from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his memorable and stirring “I Have A Dream” speech.

Despite the assurance in The Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” nearly a century after the end of the Civil War people of color found themselves treated unfairly. They weren’t allowed in many public schools, they had to eat at separate restaurants and use separate bathrooms, and they had to pay taxes and pass literacy tests to vote. The idea was to keep blacks “separate but equal.”

By the late 1950s a movement had started. People were demanding laws to protect their civil rights — rights that all free Americans are guaranteed as citizens of this country.

In late 1962, civil rights activists started to organize what would become the largest civil rights demonstration in the history of the United States. It took a while, but by June 1963, they had put together an impressive group of leaders and speakers to help them.

The organizers of the march had to make sure people had a way of getting into the city. They had to make sure marchers knew where to go and what to do once they got there. They had to have doctors and nurses in case anyone needed first aid. They had to provide water, security, and be ready for any emergency. And they needed some way to pay for all of it. It was going to take fund raising, planning and lots of work.

On that hot, August day, the city swelled with marchers. They drove in. They bussed in. They took trains. Three student marchers walked and hitchhiked 700 miles to get there. A quarter million people waved signs and cheered and listened to speakers address the civil rights problems challenging America. The last speaker was Dr. King.

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” King began. His ensuing speech is remembered as one of the corner stones of the civil rights movement.

A year later, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made segregation in public places illegal, required employers to provide equal employment opportunities, and protected the right to vote of every American, regardless of the color of their skin.

LOW general manager visits club

July 18th, 2013
Phil Rodenberg

Phil Rodenberg

Phil Rodenberg, who spoke to club members at their July meeting, listed a number of improvements to the neighborhood since he became general manager in September 2011 and promised that more are on the way.

“I’m hope you’ll agree with me that the new front entrance is a great improvement,” he said. “It’s important because it’s your doorstep. It’s the first impressions we give visitors when they enter.”

Rodenberg also cited improvements to the small marina, fencing along Flat Run Road and paving and ditching of LOW roads as recent accomplishments.

Coming up soon, he said, is a renovation of the Holcomb Building to allow member to do business there on the ground floor, rather than having to climb stairs to the upper level. He said that project will get under way within a few days and is expected to be complete by the association’s annual meeting Sept. 2.

The general manager said a new, more efficient and less costly system to irrigate the golf course will be undertaken in the next year.

Rodenberg said it is important, as the largest residential area along Route 3, that LOW be involved in the county’s long-range planning for the Route 3 corridor.

“Anything that is done in that area should compliment who we are as a community,” he said. “We have a strong interest in whatever is planned for that area.”

Rodenberg, 52, was city manager of Fredericksburg before being hired by LOW two years ago. He was previously deputy town manager of Leesburg.

Fresh air, sunshine and progressive politics

June 12th, 2013
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

Democrats of all ages enjoyed good food and good fellowship at the club’s annual Flag Day Picnic at Sweetbriar Park on June 12.

Traci Dippert, our party’s choice for the 30th District seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates, told a supportive crowd that she intends to lead the way to a Democratic majority in Richmond.

The Demettes, songstresses and political satirists, entertained picnic goers with a rousing number to the tune of “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog.”

It was a beautiful day at the Lake, as the club served up burgers and hot dogs and club members provided a table full of other picnic favorites. There were red, white and blue cupcakes for dessert, each with a tiny paper U.S. flag on top.

A lovely wine basket was the prize in this year’s raffle, and participants snatched up tickets. Democratic pins, cups and other memorabilia were on sale.

Chris Carr and Lois Powell, special events chairs, and their hard-working committee are to be congratulated for their work in organizing another successful picnic.

To view a slide show of the fun at this year’s picnic, click this link.

Calendar of events
April 2014
Flag Day Picnic 2013
A highlight of the summer is the annual Flag Day Picnic. This year it featured Traci Dippert, our candidate for the House of Delegates.
Interact with us!