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Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will be sponsoring the SoberRide Program, Thursday, March 17, beginning at 4 p.m. until 4 a.m. Area residents celebrating St. Patrick's Day with alcohol can call toll free 1-800-200-TAXI (8294) and be offered a no cost, up to a $50 fare, ride home. Cingular customers can dial #TAXI for the same service. The program is being offered throughout the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland; and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, eastern Loudoun, and Prince William.

The upcoming Arbor Day celebration at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve April 9, offers Loudoun County students and residents a chance to get creative by participating in the annual poster and photo contests, which is open to all Loudoun County students in grades kindergarten-12, including public, private or home-schooled students. This

year's theme, "Root for Big Trees," is about the specific environmental benefits associated with tree roots as well as creative ways of drawing support to the importance of trees.

All posters must be 11 inches by 14 inches and include the student's name, grade, age, school name and teacher's name on the back of the poster. Entries should be submitted to the Loudoun Soil & Water Conservation District at 30 Catoctin Circle, S.E., Suite H, Leesburg, VA 20175. The

deadline to submit a poster is Friday, March 18.

Prizes will be awarded to students who create the top 50

posters. All entries become the property of the sponsors and may be used at their discretion.

In addition, anyone with a camera is encouraged to enter the annual "Favorite Loudoun Tree" photo contest. Entries must be photos of a single tree in its entirety, growing in Loudoun County, no larger than 8 inches x 10 inches, unframed, black and white or color.

Submit photos along with the photographer's name, address, phone number, location of tree and kind of tree, if known, no later than 11 a.m., Monday, March 21, to the Loudoun Soil & Water Conservation District. Certificates will be presented to the top four photographs.

The posters and photographs will be on display at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve during the Arbor Day Celebration, scheduled from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., April 9.

Contact Suzie Brown at the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, suzie.brown@va.nacdnet.net, or 703-777-2075, Ext. 100, or visit the Web site at www.loudoun.gov/general/arbor.htm.

The Loudoun County Commission on Women has extended the nomination deadline for the 2005 Outstanding Women of Loudoun Awards to Wednesday, March 23.

The commission is seeking nominations of women who are Loudoun County residents and who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of leadership; business and career development; cultural affairs; women's health advocacy; education and training; and youth community services.

Nomination packets may be obtained from the commission's Web site, www.lccw.org, or from the Board of Supervisors office on the fifth floor of the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E. in Leesburg. Packets also are available at community centers, branches of the Loudoun County Public Library, and the Loudoun County Public Schools.

Nominations must be postmarked no later than March 23 and sent via first class mail to: Loudoun Commission on Women Nominations, c/o Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177-7000. Call Sally Keefer at 703-771-5034.

The deadline for nonprofit organizations to apply for a local exemption from real or personal property taxes for 2006 is April 1. Under policies adopted by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and allowable under the Code of Virginia, certain nonprofit organizations, such as benevolent, charitable, educational, recreational or religious groups, may be eligible for exemption from real or personal property taxes or both.

Nonprofit groups must file their tax exemption applications with the Office of the Loudoun County Administrator; application forms as well as more information about the program may be found on the Loudoun County Government Web site at

www.loudoun.gov/government/taxes.htm. Information is also available or by calling the Office of the County Administrator at 703-777-0200 or sending an e-mail to coadmin@loudoun.gov.

Arts in the Alley Õ05 on July 16, in the center of the traditional business district of Purcellville, is seeking artists and crafters to participate. Items including painting, photography, sculpture, fiber, mixed media, metal, wood, furniture, clay or glass are welcome. All items must be for sale and must be the original work of the artist. T-shirts and commercial items are not acceptable. No commission on sales. Artists may share a space, but each artist must submit photographs of work to be exhibited. Visit http://www.loudounsbest.com/art or send application form P.O. Box 479, Purcellville, VA 20134-0479, include photos representative of work and a non-refundable $25 fee. Applications will be evaluated as received. Spaces for

fine craft vendors on 21st Street are $150. Spaces for two-dimensional art in the original "Alley" are $50.

The AARP's Northern Virginia Tax-Aide Program, a free, volunteer-run tax preparation service available to taxpayers with middle- and low-income, with special attention to those age 60 and older, will be available at nine locations including Falcon's Landing Senior Residence, 20225 Falcons Landing Circle, Sterling, Thursdays, 2-5 p.m.; Saturdays, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Appointment required, call 703 404-5216 or visit the Web site at www.aarp.org/taxaide.

In recognition of student volunteerism in Loudoun County, the Loudoun Volunteer Services Board has established scholarships for graduating seniors from each Loudoun County public and private high school and from the home-school community.

The scholarships recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the Loudoun County community through their volunteer efforts. Different from traditional scholarships, the Loudoun Volunteer Services' Student

Scholarships place more emphasis on a demonstrated interest in and service to the community than on academic or athletic excellence.

Students should submit scholarship applications to Loudoun

Volunteer Services, 1 Harrison St., S.E., P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177-7000, by the close of business April 4. Applications are available at each school, by visiting www.loudoun.gov/pio/student.htm or by calling Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator, at 703-777-0113.

Scholarship winners are selected by the Loudoun Volunteer Services Student Volunteer Recruitment and Recognition Committee, based on a demonstrated contribution to the community through volunteer service.

To learn more about Loudoun Volunteer Services visit

www.loudoun.gov/pio/volunteer.htm.

The Loudoun County Disability Services Board is seeking applicants for the fiscal year 2006 State Rehabilitative Services Incentive Fund Competitive Grant. This year's grant totals $15,000 and requires a 10 percent local match.

The fund is designed to promote investment in meeting the needs of individuals with physical and sensory disabilities. The Disability Services Board will administer the grant and seeks proposals from area not-for-profit, or for-profit organizations with a community-based, customer-focused service delivery system. An individual organization or a multi-organization partnership may apply.

Applications and guidelines are available at www.loudoun.gov/services/dsb or by calling the Disability Services Board at 703-777-0389.

An original and six copies of the grant application should be submitted to Jan Maday, c/o Housing Services, 102 Heritage Way, N.E., Suite 103, Leesburg, VA 20176 by 4:30 p.m., March 28. Applications should also be submitted electronically to jmaday@loudoun.gov.

The Loudoun County Electoral Board is seeking 600 Officers of Election for the 2005 elections in which Virginia voters will choose a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates.

A Dual Primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, and the General and Special election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Election officers must be United States citizens and registered to vote in Virginia. Officers of Election are required to be at the voting precincts on Election Day from 5 a.m. until the polls close, the results are called in and all equipment is packed and ready to return to the Office of the General Registrar.

Election officers are paid for their time Ñ $100 for the entire day, $50 for a half-day and $15 for the training session that

will be held prior to the election.

More information about the duties of an election officer, including a set of forms to fill out and return to the Electoral Board, is available on the Loudoun County Government Web site at www.loudoun.gov/government/officers.htm or by calling 703-777-0548. Questions can also be directed to Dianna Price, Secretary of the Electoral Board, at dprice@loudoun.gov.

The Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund honors the bravery and dedication exhibited by Americans in our armed forces who have sacrificed life or limb in the defense of our country by providing college scholarships to their children. Freedom Alliance is now accepting applications for the 2005-2006 academic year.

The application deadline is June 30. Freedom Alliance is accepting applications from dependent children of U.S. military personnel who have been killed or permanently disabled (100 percent VA rating) in the line of duty during the War on Terror (Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, etc.). Students must be enrolled (currently or by September 2005) at an accredited college, university or vocational school.

For more information about the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund or to download an application, visit http://www.freedomalliance.org or call 800-475-6620.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Claude More Park will be sponsoring its 1st Annual Autumn Arts & Crafts Show in the Lanesville Historic Area. At this time, Claude Moore Park is searching for arts and craft vendors who may be interested in participating in this yearÕs show.

The show will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and set-up time will begin at 7:30 a.m. For $20, vendors will be provided with a pre-assigned 10x10 area; vendors must provide their own tents, tables, and chairs. Some limited electricity will be available as well for a small fee. Vendors will be able to park at their booth locations and this outdoor event will be held rain or shine. Only severe weather will cancel event.

Contact Claude Moore Park at 703-444-1275 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.loudoun.gov/prcs/park/claude. The deadline to register as a vendor is Friday, Aug. 26. Claude Moore Park is located at 21544 Old Vestals Gap Road in Sterling.

Loudoun Volunteer Services seeks nominations for Student Volunteer of the Month. Loudoun students will be recognized for their volunteer efforts during the 2004-2005 school year. Nominate students, or groups of students, elementary-12th grade, who volunteer their time in a variety of ways in their schools, churches, and towns. A one-page narrative may be sent to the Loudoun Volunteer Services Board at pivs@loudoun.gov or to 1 Harrison St., S.E., P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177.

The one-page narrative should include the student's name, address, telephone number, school and a description, including length of service of the exemplary volunteer efforts of the student. Contact information for the person nominating the student should also be included.

Volunteers will be featured in the Loudoun Volunteer Services Newsletter and on the Loudoun County Government Web site. Contact Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator, at

703-777-0113.

The 2005 Miss Virginia American Coed Scholarship State Pageant is looking for contestants for the pageant taking place Aug. 11-14, in Richmond. This is an "All Natural" scholarship pageant for girls ages 3-22, which emphasizes academic and volunteerism and natural look. The pageant does not allow makeup on contestants under the age of 13. For an application e-mail contact@msvaamericancoed.com or call 804-305-4239. Visit our Web site www.msvaamericancoed.com.