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The Week in Loudoun

<sh>Bomb Scare at Court

<bt>A bomb scare struck the Loudoun County Circuit Courthouse last Friday. Shortly before 10 a.m. on Dec. 12, a call was received by the Clerk of the Circuit Courts Office from an unknown person who claimed he had overheard two subjects planning to set off a bomb at 10 a.m.

Sheriff's deputies and a canine unit found no suspicious items in or around the building during an immediate search of the court complex.

The bomb scare does not appear to be related to a series of threatening phone calls received by authorities in Washington, D.C. earlier today.

The incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division. Anyone who may have information regarding the bomb threat is asked to contact Investigator Grau at 703-777-0475.

<sh>Flooding on Roadways

<bt>Heavy rains last week, compounded with the melting snow, saturated the ground causing creek beds to flood. Swelling streams caused a number of county roads to be shut down. As of 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, nine roads remained closed in Loudoun including John Mosby Highway (Route 50) at Meetinghouse Lane, Route 50 at Snickersville Turnpike (Route 734), Route 50 at Cobb House Road, Charles Town Pike (Route 9) at Heskett Lane, Berlin Turnpike at Bolington Road, the 23070 block of Tail Race Road, Appalachian Trail Road, Short Hill Road on the Wood Grove Road side, Oatlands Road between Route 734 and Route 15, and Oatlands Mill Lane at Route 15.

The Sheriff's Office reminds motorists not to drive through standing water on a roadway. Water may be much deeper than it looks and cars could stall or get stuck in hidden debris.

<sh>Woman Killed in Accident

<bt>A 56-year-old Paeonian Springs woman was killed Friday night after a single vehicle accident near Waterford.

The woman, Susan Phillips, who was driving a 1996 Toyota Camry, was heading southbound on Clarkes Gap Road just north of Deer Trail Lane when she lost control of her vehicle on a curve, overcorrected and struck a tree.

It was determined Phillips was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident although both front airbags deployed in the accident.

The roadway was closed for approximately 1.5 hours while the accident scene was investigated.

Members of the Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit were called to the scene around 11 p.m. Friday night.

<sh>Fire Displaces Hamilton Family

<bt>A Sunday afternoon fire that displaced a Hamilton family was ruled accidental by the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office. The fire, which resulted in $300,000 in damage to the home, started when combustibles that were left too close to a woodstove ignited. Damages to the home were extensive.

Around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 14, Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Services received a 911 call for a structure fire at 39000 Paynes Lane. Fire and rescue personnel from Hamilton, Purcellville, Leesburg and Round Hill responded to the scene. First arriving units reported that the fire had already broken through the roof and that the house was well involved. Damages were so severe that crews were forced into defensive operations, fighting the fire from outside.

One firefighter was treated and released at the Cornwall Campus of Loudoun Hospital Center for the treatment of a minor injury sustained in the fire. The family of three, who have been displaced as a result of the fire, are staying with family and friends pending repairs to their home. Three additional family members, who reside at the home on a part-time basis, were also displaced.

<sh>LINK Holiday Program

<bt>LINK is asking for donations of non-perishable food items, $10-$25 grocery store gift certificates and new toys and gifts for children of all ages for needy families in the Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn areas. An estimated 350 families (1,500 people) are projected to receive Christmas Baskets this year.

LINK's annual Christmas Basket program kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 20 with events taking place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Christ the Redeemer Catholic in Sterling (groceries) and Herndon United Methodist in Herndon (toys and gifts).

Volunteers can register and families can qualify for groceries, food certificates and toys by calling the LINK Hot Line at 703-437-1776.

<sh>Library Public Charette

<bt>A public charette will be held on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road, Leesburg. The meeting will offer an opportunity for public input concerning the forthcoming Rust Library expansion and renovation. Call 703-777-0541.

<sh>Broadlands Makes Donation

<bt>The Broadlands Regional Medical Center (BRMC) has made a $5,000 donation to Loudoun Interfaith Relief, Inc., a non-profit food pantry in Leesburg, and offers a friendly challenge to the Loudoun business community.

If businesses raise $5,000, BRMC will donate another $5,000 to Loudoun Interfaith Relief. The non-profit delivers groceries six days a week, providing a three-day supply of groceries twice a month to Loudoun residents. This year, the non-profit served 8,500 residents.

Questions about the challenge proposal or other opportunities to help can be directed to Dawn Miller, executive director of the non-profit, at 703-777-5911.

<sh>Probate Information Online

<bt>The Loudoun Circuit Court Clerk's Office has expanded the online information available about probate, allowing citizens to easily obtain information about the probate of wills and estates in Loudoun County. The information is available at www.loudoun.gov/clerk. It includes procedures, frequently asked questions, probate forms, a probate glossary and guardianship/conservator procedures.

<sh>Think Green for the Holidays

<bt>The Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management reminds residents to "think green" this holiday season when it comes to gift giving and hosting holiday parties.

The 2003 Green Holiday Guide makes green gift giving easy. The guide, released by the California Department of Conservation, is designed to be a one-stop catalog for easy-to-find, yet unique, environmentally-friendly gifts in a variety of price ranges. This nationally circulated holiday guide contains ideas for gifts and holiday materials that can be found at a number of stores, as well as a variety of online shops.

In addition to gift ideas, the guide includes simple hints, tips, and suggestions on how to buy recycled products, shop for creative, eco-friendly products, conserve natural resources and save energy.

A link to the guide and other holiday recycling information is available on the Loudoun County Government Web site at http://www.loudoun.gov/oswm/recycle/tips.htm.

More information is also available through the Loudoun County Recycling Hotline at 703-771-5318 or by calling the Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187.

<sh>County Web Site Updated

<bt>The Loudoun County Government Web site now features expanded information about the Department of Building and Development's environmental and water resource initiatives. Clicking on http://www.loudoun.gov/b&d/water.htm will bring up information about the department's efforts to monitor and protect Loudoun County's natural resources, as well as links to additional information.

The environmental initiatives include stream and groundwater monitoring conducted through the Water Resource Monitoring Program, wetlands mapping and inventory, forest resource evaluation, maintenance of the county's soil survey and creation of an Environmental Review Team to evaluate land development applications in regard to the county's environmental standards and conservation design techniques.

The new Web pages also include a look at plans for future environmental initiatives, including stream assessments and a comprehensive watershed management plan.

For more information about the environmental initiatives, contact Kelly Baty in the Department of Building and Development at 703-777-0397.

<sh>Applications for TEA-21 Funds

<bt>Loudoun County is accepting requests from individuals or organizations for 2004 funding from federal Transportation Act in 21st Century (TEA-21) program funds. Proposed projects must be directly related to transportation and fall under one or more of the following categories:

* Provision of facilities for bicycles and pedestrians;

* Provision of safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists;

* Acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites;

* Scenic or historic highway programs;

* Landscaping and other scenic beautification;

* Historic preservation;

* Rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities, including historic railroad facilities and canals;

* Preservation of abandoned railway corridors including the conversion and use of corridors for pedestrian and bicycle trails;

* Control and removal of outdoor advertising;

* Archaeological planning and research;

* Environmental mitigation to address water pollution due to highway runoff or reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality which maintaining habitat connectivity; and

* Establishment of transportation museums.

County staff will review requests for TEA-21 funds in January with a public hearing on project submissions expected in February 2004, followed by Board of Supervisors approval of the recommended projects. The county will submit the final grant applications to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in March 2004.

Anyone interested in submitting a new project request for TEA-21 funds must complete an application form, which may be obtained from Paul Brown in the Department of Management Services at 703-777-0539.

The requests for funding should be sent to Paul Brown, Loudoun County Department of Management Services, P.O. Box 7000, 1 Harrison St., S.E. Leesburg, VA, 20177. The deadline for new applicant submissions is Dec. 31, 2003.

Prior year applicants and grant recipients are not required to participate in the application process for funding consideration. Separate instructions for prior year applicants and grant recipients will be mailed directly to the organization or individual contact person.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded TEA-21 funds to several Loudoun County projects in 2003, including a multi-use trail from Purcellville to Round Hill, the Goose Creek Bridge and Waterford scenic easement projects.

<sh>Special Olympics Cheerleading Program

<bt>Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) is offering a new cheerleading program designed for Special Olympics. "Legends," the area's first Special Olympics cheerleading program, is open to all individuals with disabilities who are at least 8 years old. Participants will be grouped according to age and the ability to acquire the basic skills of competitive cheerleading. Each athlete will learn basic stunt, tumble, motion, jump, and dance skills in a team environment with the goal of exhibiting at regional competitions.

Practices are tentatively planned for Friday evenings, beginning in January and running through May 2004 at Legacy Gym, 1501 Moran Road in Sterling. For more details and registration information, contact Legacy coach, Trisha Hart, at 571-283-1001, or Shannon Poe, Special Olympics athletic coordinator with PRCS, at 703-777-0438.