Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to 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.

On March 7, Kris Skillman, the owner of the recently-opened Feurtatious Inc., a florist and gift shop in the Ashburn Village Shopping Center, hosted students of the Farmwell Station Middle School, who were exploring job opportunities while creating their own floral designs. Skillman and her staff provided a hands on experience to the students.

The Loudoun County Rural Economic Development Council (REDC) has new officers and members for 2005. The REDC is a 19-member board appointed by the Board of Supervisors, which represents various industry sectors and promotes the economic growth and vitality of the county's agricultural, horticultural and equine industries.

Members of the council for 2005 are chairman, Kate Zurschmeide, at large; vice chairman, Bill Nelson, Banking & Finance; Ava J. Abramowitz, rural business; Robert R. Andros, at large; Nicki Bazaco, wine industry; Floyd Blethen, Loudoun Valley Homegrown Markets

Association; Jeffrey S. Browning, agribusiness; Robert Carr, production agriculture; Jim Cross, Farm Bureau; Marian Czarnecki, Loudoun Soil & Water Conservation District; Jeremy Harvey, Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association; Robert Kline, Agricultural District Advisory

Committee; Robert Lauten, at large; Benjamin D. Leigh, professional; Joseph Paciulli, Loudoun County Economic Development Commission; Donna Rogers, equine; Sandy Rose, at large; Melanie Voght, at large; Lori Waters, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

REDC meetings are open to the public and are held on the first Monday of each month. Contact Louis Nichols, agricultural development officer at 703-777-0426.

The Rotary Club of Dulles International Airport hosted an "Evening of Romance" dinner and fashion show Feb. 12 in honor of its 25th anniversary and to raise funds for its scholarship program, which benefits low-income families in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. The event raised $12,000. The club is a 32-member service organization.

ÒExcellence in the Arts,Ó LoudounÕs arts competition for student artists, was held March 6, at the Sheila Johnson Performing Arts Center in Middleburg. Cash prizes were given to first, second and third place winners in the following eight categories.

Winners included: Theater: first place, Amanda Ellis, Potomac Falls High School; second place, Noel Edwards, Loudoun County High School; third place, Christian Amonson, Loudoun Valley High School; honorable mention, Ben Carnevale, Loudoun County High School. Literary: first place, Christine Merola, Potomac Falls High School; second place, Kathryn Strong, Dominion High School; third place, Rob Cullen, Stone Bridge High School; honorable mention, Andrew McCarthey, Heritage High School. Dance: first place, Laurel Snyder, Loudoun Valley High School; second place, Kristen Graham, Loudoun County High School; third place, Sarah Terry, Stone Bridge High School; honorable mention, Jacqueline Kestler, Notre Dame Academy. Instrumental: first place, Ana Rosario Quigano, Notre Dame Academy; second place, Judy Qiu, Dominion High School; third place (tie), Ashley Porter, Dominion High School and Christian Rippe, Stone Bridge High School. Piano: first place, Lana Bode, Home School; second place, Phillip Roberts, Dominion High School; third place, Mary Boeva, Dominion High School. Visual: first place, Camilla Nusbaum, Loudoun Valley High School; second place, Beth Pieper, Loudoun Valley High School; third place, Lydia Barker, Loudoun Valley High School; honorable mention, Lindsay Jennings, Foxcroft High School. Digital: first place, Steve Gottschling, Stone Bridge High School; second place, Se Won Chung, Dominion High School. Voice: first place, Sarah Davis, Broad Run High School; second place, Johnny Ahn, Loudoun County High School; third place, Adam Rothchild, Loudoun Valley High School; honorable mention (tie), Haley Johnson, Potomac Falls High School and Heather Vereb, Park View High School.

The YMCA Loudoun County gala, Chocolates Galore and More, Feb. 18, raised almost $40,000 for the YMCA's Building Bridge Campaign, which provides financial assistance to families that want to participate in YMCA programs but can not afford to do so.

Also at the gala was the presentation of three outstanding YMCA volunteer awards. Shamar Taylor was recognized with the Outstanding Youth award, Jan Zachariasse was recognized with the Outstanding Adult award and James M. Wordsworth was recognized with the Outstanding Corporate Volunteer award.

Other awards handed out included Best Dessert Presentation to Stratford University; Best Dessert Taste to Market Salamander; Best Hors d'oeuvres Presentation to Carradoc Hall; and Best Hors d'oeuvres Taste to Lansdowne Resort, as judged by the professionals. The guests' selections were Patowmack Farms-Dinner in the Garden, Best Dessert Presentation; JHF Hospitality Specialist, Best Dessert Taste; Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, Best Hors d'oeuvres Presentation; and Tuscarora Mill, Best Hors d'oeuvres.