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Votes

Week in Loudoun

Paying for Park Admittance?

<bt>At least one good idea has emerged out of preliminary talks for next year's budget: saving taxpayers $1.6 million or more by charging non-residents a fee for visiting a Loudoun County park. Currently, $16 million of taxpayer money goes to parks each year; supervisors hope to cut at least 10 percent of that by charging a nominal fee. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of visitors to Loudoun parks are non-residents.

<sh>Truth in Taxes

<bt>Starting next year, residents will get a little education with their personal property tax bill. "Truth in Taxes," sponsored by supervisors Scott York (I-at large) and Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) means taxpayers can now know exactly how much of their taxes is going to schools or the county. For fiscal year 2005, for example, for the $1.1075 tax rate, 82.4 cents went to schools and 28.35 cents to the county. The numbers will be provided by County Administrator Kirby Bowers on a yearly basis.

<sh>Two More Rezonings

<bt>On Nov. 1, the Board of Supervisors approved rezonings for two Dulles district applications. Gum Spring Village Center, located on 12.87 acre tract just east of Stone Ridge on Route 50 and owned by Kim and MacPherson LLC of Springfield, will become the site of retail and office buildings. A 41.09 acre lot owned by Kline Operations LLC of McLean will become the site of up to 149 dwelling units at a density of 3.4 dwellings per acre. The property is located at 23527 Belmont Ridge Road.

<sh>Commission to Review Most CPAMs

<bt>In two separate meetings, the Planning Commission heard presentations on the 20 developer-initiated comprehensive plan amendments. Despite the recommendation of the planning staff that all but 17 be rejected for failing to meet requirements, the commission has decided to take 12 of the 20 CPAMs under further consideration. The 12 are: Crosstrail, Creekside, Victoria Station, Erickson Retirement Communities, Diamond Lakes, One Loudoun Center, Shockey Family, Middle Goose/Criswell, Stone Ridge West, Westport, Rouse, Braddock Village and Greenvest. The Stonegate application will be heard on Nov. 8. Visit the Planning Commission Web site at www.loudoun.gov/planning/pcomm.htm.

<sh>Fight Leads to Stabbing

<bt>A fight that erupted outside a party early Sunday, Oct. 31, in Sterling, left one man with stab wounds and has Loudoun County Sheriff's Investigators searching for the suspects.

The victim in the case, a 21-year-old Herndon man, was found driving a car away from the scene when he was stopped by a Loudoun County deputy who was responding to the incident. The deputy noticed the man had wounds on his hands and discovered he had been stabbed, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim told authorities that a dispute inside the party may have led to the fight in the parking lot.

Just after 1 a.m., deputies were called to the 1700 block of

Greenthorn Avenue where a third-party caller reported a fight had broken out in the parking lot of a clubhouse maintained by a local home owners association. Deputies canvassed the area as several cars were reported to have left the scene.

The victim was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was treated and released on Sunday.

The suspect in the case is described as a Hispanic male with black hair and is said to be 5 feet 5 inches in height.

Those with information regarding this incident are asked to contact Investigator Colantonio of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact Loudoun County Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. If the tip leads to an arrest and indictment in this case the caller could receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.

<sh>Teen Hit with BB

<bt>A 14-year-old Sterling girl was injured Halloween night after someone began shooting a BB gun at her and a group

of friends, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The teen was standing with the group near a residence on Kentwell Place near Woodmere Court in Sterling shortly before 8:30 p.m. when several unknown individuals allegedly began discharging an air rifle towards them.

Several members of the group were struck by the BBs including the 14-year-old who suffered minor injuries to her face in the incident. She was taken to the emergency room at Loudoun Hospital.

The incident comes just one day before the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new technical report stating non-powder guns such as ball-bearing (BB) guns, pellet guns, air rifles, and paint-ball guns, are extremely powerful and can cause serious injury, disability and even

death to children and adolescents.

The study, entitled "Injury Risk of Non powder Guns,"

www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/novgunpowder.htm, says while non-powder guns use compressed air instead of gunpowder to launch projectiles, they are often nearly as powerful as traditional firearms.

Non-powder guns, according to the report, are weapons and should never be characterized as toys.

Sheriff's Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Loudoun County Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. If the tip leads to an arrest and indictment in this case the caller could receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.

<sh>Former Officer Sentenced

<bt>A former police officer with the Washington D.C.

Metropolitan Police Department was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria Friday, Oct. 29, to 130 months imprisonment on drug charges that stemmed from a Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and Alexandria Police Department narcotics investigation.

Shawn Verbeke, 30, of Cleveland, Ohio, was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and methamphetamine and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. Verbeke was a member of a drug-trafficking organization that distributed ecstasy and methamphetamine in Washington,

D.C., and Northern Virginia, including Loudoun County.

In July of 2001 sources of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office

Narcotics Unit and the Alexandria Police Department led the agencies to Verbeke and the drug-trafficking organization. An investigation was then conducted on the group by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Northern Virginia task forces and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

Verbeke is one of 12 people who have been arrested to date from the organization, many of these subjects dealt drugs in Loudoun and in the metropolitan area.

Verbeke had distributed ecstasy and methamphetamine at an apartment in Ashburn and in other locations in Northern Virginia. He also used his position as a police officer to distribute drugs in Washington, D.C. night clubs, "shake down" rival dealers, and is known to have used his police cruiser when distributing drugs by way of phony traffic stops.

The case remains under investigation and more arrests are expected.

Verbeke was a former U.S. Capitol Police officer and joined the D.C. police in 1999 and left in June of 2002.

<sh>County Receives Grants

<bt>Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation

and Community Services has been awarded a total of $211,000 in TEA-21 funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation under the federal Transportation Enhancement Program. This award will help fund needed restoration on two county-owned historic properties. The VDOT board approved $111,000 for preservation of Mount Zion Church and $100,000 for rehabilitation of the Stone House at Harper Park.ÊÊ

Mounts Zion Church, built in 1851, served as a field hospital for both forces during the Civil War and is located at 40309 John Mosby Highway, east of Route 15.

The Stone House, constructed by Elias Jenkins in 1822 along the heavily-traveled Ox Road (Route 7), has served as an ordinary or tavern, a personal residence and gift shop. The house was moved in 1996 to make way for development and the site is now located on the north side of Route 7, just east of Leesburg.ÊÊ

The Mount Zion Church Preservation Association and Friends of the Stone House at Harper Park are local nonprofit organizations that work closely with PRCS in preservation efforts for these two properties.

PRCS annually partners with nonprofit groups to seek funding through this reimbursement program, which helps offset the costs of historic preservation.

For more information, contact the PRCS Facilities Planning and Development Division at 703-777-0343.