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Week in Loudoun

Loudoun County Hearing

<bt>Loudoun County's Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear an appeal by Richard Kaufman, attorney for the Town of Herndon, regarding the approved day-labor site at Sterling Road.

Acting on behalf of the town, Kaufman submitted the appeal after receiving a zoning determination by Melinda Artman, Loudoun County Zoning Administrator, that the day-labor site was not allowed at the former Herndon Police Station under Loudoun County's zoning laws.

Because the approved site would operate on Town of Herndon property, Kaufman said her ruling was incorrect. Artman also stated vehicles were not allowed to access the site from Rock Hill Road Ñ which lies in Loudoun County Ñ because the town had not applied for the proper permits to use the driveway onto the site. Currently the town uses the driveway for its public works vehicles and for residents using the recycling station that lies on Loudoun County property.

After hearing this, Town Council member Steven Mitchell researched boundary lines between the town and Loudoun County. Using 10 years of information gathered by Kaufman, Mitchell sent a memorandum to Loudoun and Herndon officials stating the town's boundary line in fact lies in Fairfax County and Loudoun County. The driveway in question off Rock Hill Road, technically is Town of Herndon property, he said in his statement.

Loudoun County's Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear the town's appeal Thursday, Dec. 15. At the hearing the BZA is scheduled to decide whether or not to accept the town's appeal. If the BZA does not, the matter could be taken to court for a judge to make the official ruling.

<sh>Herndon's Day-labor Site to Open

<bt>Herndon's official day-labor site was scheduled to open Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the former Herndon Police Department building.

Members of Project Hope and Harmony, the group selected to run the site, have been waiting on town inspectors to complete the final review before opening. Inspectors were scheduled to sign off on the site Monday, said Bill Threlkeld, day-labor site director. The group planned to use Tuesday to prepare for the transition from the current unofficial site located at the 7-Eleven at Alabama Drive and Elden Street, to the former station at 1481 Sterling Road.

To help with the transition workers have been notified, which routes to walk to the new site, and volunteers will be stationed along the way to ensure there are no complications. Employers using the old site will also be notified of the relocation. At the end of last week, businesses along the Elden Street corridor in Herndon also received a letter from the mayor, indicating the move. Owners and employees have been asked by the town to report any violations of a recently passed anti-solicitation ordinance if workers try to get work away from the regulated site.

<sh>Meetings Canceled

<bt>Standing committees of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors have canceled meetings scheduled for December.

* The Economic Development Committee meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 19, and

* The Human Services Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 21, have been canceled.

More information about the Board's standing committees is available on the Loudoun County Government Web site at www.loudoun.gov/bos/comm.htm.

<sh>Holiday Schedule

<bt>The holiday schedule for the Loudoun County Solid Waste Management Facility is as follows:

* The landfill will be closed all day Saturday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 26, in observance of the Christmas holidays. The facility will re-open with normal business hours Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 8 a.m.

* The landfill will be closed Saturday, Dec. 31 and will re-open with normal business hours Monday Jan. 2, at 8 a.m.

The normal operating hours at the Loudoun County landfill are Monday-Saturday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The landfill is located at 20939 Evergreen Mills Road (Route 621), about four miles south of Leesburg. The disposal fee is $55 per ton with additional charges added for tires and refrigerated appliances. The landfill accepts cash or checks only.

Visit the county government Web site at www.loudoun.gov/oswm/landfill.htm or call the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187.

<sh>Medicare Clinic

<bt>A Medicare Part D Information Clinic will be held

Thursday, Dec. 29, from 2-4 p.m., at the Rust Library,

380 Old Waterford Road, Leesburg.

Includes information session on Medicare Part D; question and answers and representatives will be available to talk with individuals. R.S.V.P. by calling the Loudoun County Farm Bureau office at 703-777-2581 no later than Dec. 28.

This information clinic is provided by Loudoun County Farm Bureau for anyone seeking more information on the new Medicare Part D, prescription benefit.

<sh>Bond Rating Upgrade

<bt>Loudoun County has achieved full AAA status with the nation's three major bond rating agencies, becoming part of a select group of cities and counties that have achieved the top rating from all three agencies.

County Administrator Kirby M. Bowers announced Dec. 7, that Standard and Poor's has assigned Loudoun a bond rating of AAA, the agency's highest rating. S&P joins Fitch Ratings, which upgraded Loudoun to AAA earlier this year and Moody's, which awarded Loudoun its first Triple-A bond

rating in 2004.

In upgrading Loudoun's bond rating from AA+ to AAA, Standard and Poor's stated that the ratings were raised "in recognition of strong tax-base growth, high and rising wealth levels and completion of a financial forecasting model that provides the county with another financial tool as it copes with ongoing development," according to a county press release.

Standard and Poor's also said "the county's historically low unemployment rate speaks to its economic strength" and the agency anticipates that "the county will continue to manage growth pressures, while maintaining its strong financial position," according to the release.

Bowers credited the latest bond rating upgrade to the Board of Supervisors' commitment to sound fiscal policy and the hard work and expertise of county staff.

<sh>Pet Safety

<bt>The holidays can bring hazards to pets. The county Animal Shelter offers the following tips to keeping pets safe this holiday season.

* Many holiday plants are toxic to pets. Keep holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, lilies out of reach.

* Snow globes can contain antifreeze, which is toxic to pets. Keep these in a place where your pet can't reach.

* Rambunctious dogs and curious cats can knock over Christmas trees. Anchor trees to the ceiling with string to keep them stable.

* Extra cords from holiday lights might look like chew toys to pets. Cover or tape them down to avoid shocks and burns. Unplug lights when you are not home.

* Pets, especially cats, are often tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines and cause serious problems. Keep tinsel out of reach or don't use it at all, try popcorn.

* Don't let pets drink the water under the Christmas tree. It can contain fertilizers or bacteria from being stagnant. Use a screen around the tree to block access.

* Keep candles on high shelves and be sure to use a screen for your fireplace.

* Keep pets away from wrapped gifts and gift wrapping items. Pets can eat ribbon, bows or paper, causing intestinal problems.

* Keep glass ornaments up high and out of reach. They can look like toys to pets and can be easily broken. Broken glass can injure paws, mouths and other body parts.

* Keep holiday treats away from pets. Chocolate is toxic to pets. Turkey and chicken bones can splinter and cause choking or serious intestinal problems. Give your pup or kitty a safe treat of his very own.

<sh>Targeting Underage Alcohol Sales

<bt>The third operation of 2005 targeting underage alcohol sales in Loudoun saw only one out of 23 stores sell to a person less than 21 years of age; down from 45 percent and 50 percent during the two previous operations, according to the Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, Dec. 2, members of the SheriffÕs Office Community Policing Section with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control visited 23 stores throughout the county, 17 of those stores were violators from the two previous operations. The only store to sell to an underage buyer was the Deli-O Mart on Route 50 in South Riding, according to the Sheriff's Office. The store was a repeat offender. One summons was issued to the store clerk for selling alcohol to an underage buyer.

In the two previous operations the failure rate was 45 percent in August and 50 percent in June with the statewide levels at 35 percent.

The SheriffÕs Office will continue to send a clear message to area stores that the sale of alcohol to those under the legal age will not be tolerated. The agency says they will conduct more operations in 2006.

<sh>Event Planning Help

<bt>The Loudoun County Government Web site has expanded the information available online to help people who are planning upcoming special events in the county.

The expanded information at www.loudoun.gov/events offers an online request form for event planning information and answers many frequently asked questions, such as "Do I need a permit for a tent?" and "Are event organizers required to obtain food permits?" and more. The Web page also provides links to necessary forms and other relevant information for event planners.

More information about planning a special event is available on the Loudoun County Web site at www.loudoun.gov/events or by calling Will Flagler Jr., special events coordinator in the Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency

Management at 703-737-8919.