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Week in Loudoun

Correction

<bt>The story, "Former Firefighter Gets Probation" in the Loudoun Connection July 6-12, should have said Michael Morisi was given two concurrent 12-month probation periods.

<sh>Comments Sought

<bt>The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is seeking public comment on draft goals for the new Rail Enhancement Fund Ñ the dedicated source of funding for rail.

The fund was advanced by Gov. Mark Warner with bipartisan support and passed the 2005 General Assembly to provide $23 million in annual, dedicated funding for passenger or freight rail improvements in Virginia.

The draft goals document under review will help to define the overall focus that will drive decisions and help prioritize projects funded through the Rail Enhancement Fund.

A copy of the draft Rail Enhancement Fund Goals and the comment form can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/drptRailEnhancementFund.asp.

Online comments will be accepted until July 22.

<sh>Campaign Kickoff

<bt>The campaign kickoff of Chuck Caputo, 67th District candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, is slated for Saturday, July 23, 2-4 p.m., Greenbriar Community Center,

4615 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly. For more information, or to RSVP, call Mary Lee Cerillo at 703-830-3435. Refreshments will be served.

<sh>Woman Charged

<bt>A Stafford woman was charged Friday, July 8, after she is alleged to have placed her children in the trunk of her car during a trip from Alabama to Loudoun County.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Cheryl Ann Schoonmaker, 38, was charged July 8 with abuse and neglect of children, and cruelty and injuries to children, both class 6 felonies. During the more than eight-hour trip the woman is accused of rotating two children in and out of the trunk of the car because there was not enough space in the four-door passenger vehicle. There were a total of five children in the car who range in age from an infant to 12-years-old. None of the children were harmed in the incident.

Schoonmaker was bringing the children back to the Aldie area July 1 to drop them off at their father's house. The father contacted authorities after he found out about the incident.

A Stafford County magistrate released Schoonmaker on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Loudoun Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Friday, July 22, at 8:30 a.m.

<sh>Bank Robbery

<bt>On July 8, at 8:57 a.m., Sheriff's deputies received a call for a bank robbery in progress at the Corporate America Family Credit Union located in the 45200 block of Business Court in Sterling. According to the report, bank employees said that a black male suspect entered the bank wearing a ski mask, armed with a black handgun. The suspect demanded money from more than one teller and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. A die pack was not taken. The suspect is described as having a stocky build, wearing blue jeans and a red hooded sweatshirt and blue/gray tennis shoes. An independent witness also reports seeing the suspect flee in a red four-door General Motors vehicle with unknown tags.

The FBI has been notified.

<sh>Robbery Reported

<bt>On July 4, at 10 p.m., Sheriff's deputies responded to a reported robbery. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies met with a juvenile victim who reported that at approximately 9:45 p.m. the victim was walking on a bike path near the 7-Eleven store in Sugarland Run; and was approached by three Hispanic males. According to the report, one suspect punched the victim in the head and then he was tackled to the ground by another. The suspects removed the wallet from the victim's person and fled the scene. The victim refused medical treatment.

Anyone with information about this robbery can call the Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

<sh>Tractor Accident Fatality

<bt>On July 2, at 6:45 p.m., Sheriff's deputies responded to the 14400 block of Purcellville Road for a farm accident, according to the SheriffÕs Office. Deputies from the Sheriff's Accident Reconstruction Unit determined James J. Katsos, 62, of Purcellville, was operating a John Deere tractor, mowing on an incline. As the tractor was traveling down the incline the front wheel struck a hole in the ground and caused Katsos to be ejected from the tractor, according to the report. The tractor then rolled over Katsos. Shortly after the arrival of Fire & Rescue services Katsos went into cardiac arrest, he was transported to Inova Loudoun Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

<sh>Program Honored

<bt>The Prevention & Community Outreach Services After-School Program, operated by the Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, has won a National Association of Counties (NACo) 2005 Achievement Award for innovative programming.

The After-School Program, located at Evans Ridge and Fields of Leesburg apartment complexes, provides elementary-, middle- and high-school youth with year-round prevention programming. The program focuses on substance abuse prevention, violence/gang prevention, tutoring and case management. Parents of the participants are also served through parenting classes taught by prevention staff.

In the summer, staff members provide the two sites with summer camp activities, which include team building challenges, field trips and reviews of the lessons taught throughout the school year. In addition, students receive scholarships allowing them to participate in county sports programs as well as other summer camps in the community.

The program to support at-risk youth is made possible through partnerships with housing complexes, the Northeast Coalition, Loudoun Interfaith Relief, the Loudoun County Department of Social Services, Loudoun County Library Services, the Leesburg Police Department, Leesburg Parks and Recreation, Girl Scouts and volunteer tutors. Next year, a new site is scheduled to open and will offer youth from the Heritage Square neighborhood the same comprehensive services available at the other two sites.

The NACo award program recognizes counties' work to promote responsible, responsive and effective county government. NACo's membership totals more than 2,000 counties, representing more than 80 percent of the nation's population.