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News Briefs

<sh>Louay Habbal Arraigned

<bt>Louay Habbal's arraignment in U.S. District Court lasted less than five minutes on Wednesday, March 24. Habbal, 45, pled not guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business out of his Vienna residence. From November 2001 to July 2004, Habbal helped transfer more than $23 million to Syria and elsewhere around the world, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty.

Habbal, a naturalized United States citizen from Syria, was arrested at Dulles International Airport after arriving on a flight from Syria on March 15.

According to the indictment, Habbal advertised his business through a Web site called MenaExchange.com. He deposited funds from customers into bank accounts in Virginia and elsewhere, taking a portion of the money as a fee. Habbal then "transferred the remaining funds to other entities for future transfer to individuals overseas who had been designated by his U.S. customers," according to the press release.

"This case does not involve an allegation of terrorism financing, but stopping all improper money transfers may indeed deprive terrorists of financial support," according to McNulty.

Habbal's trial is currently scheduled for July.

<sh>Pet Adoption Days, April 2-3

<bt>As part of PETCO's ongoing mission to find homes for orphaned animals, the 28 stores in the Baltimore-Washington area will participate in the eighth annual National Pet Adoption Days on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Working with more than 1,000 grassroots animal welfare groups across the country, PETCO stores nationwide will host in-store adoptions and raise awareness to the solemn issue of pet overpopulation. For more, visit www.petco.com or www.petfinder.com.

<sh>Women's Voices Forum

<bt>To get the chance to hear from panel experts and participate in discussions about key issues affecting women in the community, come to the 2005 Women's Voices Forum April 6 at the Fairfax County Government Center.

Topics to be discussed include affordable housing, domestic violence, financial independence, nontraditional career paths, nutrition and issues affecting seniors.

Information from the day's discussions will be shared with county policymakers including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The event, scheduled from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., will feature a welcome address by Maxine Baker, president and CEO of Freddie Mac Foundation.

Session One: 10:40-11:40 a.m., Domestic Violence or Affordable Housing forums; Session Two: 11:40 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Senior Issues or Non-traditional Career Paths; Session Three: 1:30-2:20 p.m., Financial Independence or Nutrition.

Registration is free and can be done online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofw or call 703-324-5730.

<sh>Bouie Named to Park Board

<bt>William G. Bouie has recently been named to serve on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board by Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill). Bouie, an active community volunteer and a telecommunications network manager, will fill the vacant Hunter Mill District post.

<sh>Oak Marr Hours Extended

<bt>The Fairfax County Park Authority is expanding hours at the Oak Marr RECenter in order to meet the growing demand for recreational services and an expanding customer base. The new expanded hours are on Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks. Oak Marr RECenter is located at 3200 Jermantown Road, Oakton.

<sh>Town Budget Available

<bt>Copies of the proposed Town of Vienna budget for fiscal year 2005-06 is available beginning Sunday, April 6, in the Administrative Services Offices at Town Hall, 127 Center St., S., and at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave., E., Vienna. A "Budget in Brief" summary may be obtained at Town Hall free of charge, and the entire budget document may be purchased. For more, call 703-255-6360. Town Council budget work sessions are scheduled for Saturday, April 9, at 11 a.m.; Monday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m.; and, if needed, Saturday, April 16, at 9 a.m., at the Town Hall.

<sh>Wayside Trip Set for April 9

<bt>The Vienna Parks and Recreation Department sponsors a trip to Wayside Theatre on Saturday, April 9. A charter bus leaves at 10 a.m., from the Vienna Community Center and returns at 6 p.m. Cost is $50 for Town of Vienna residents and $62.50 for out of town participants. Cost includes transportation, a buffet lunch at the historic Strasburg Inn and a ticket to the matinee performance of "The Complete History of America (Abridged)." For more, call 703-255-6360. The Vienna Community Center is located at 120 Cherry St., S.E., Vienna.

<sh>Volunteer Day April 12

<bt>Mayor Jane Seeman has designated Tuesday, April 12, as Volunteer Recognition Day in Vienna. A special meeting of the mayor's advisory committee is scheduled for 8 p.m., in the Council Chamber at Town Hall, 127 Center St., S., to recognize the individuals and organizations who were nominated as outstanding volunteers for 2005.

<sh>Independence Gala on April 22

<bt>The Northern Virginia Family Service presents the Road to Independence Gala 2005 on Friday, April 22, at 6 p.m., at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, 7920 Jones Branch Drive. The Capitol Steps provides entertainment for the evening. The Road to Independence Gala gives guests the opportunity to mingle with corporate and community leaders, elected officials and local celebrities, as well as to learn about NVFS. For more information and to purchase tickets, R.S.V.P. to Amy Chornyak by Friday, April 15 at 703-219-3986 or achornyak@nvfs.org. For more information, visit www.nvfs.org.

<sh>Women's Center Honored

<bt>The Women's Center was recognized for its work in the Congressional Record on March 10 by U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11) at the 109th session of Congress. Davis presented a commemorative plaque to the center at the 20th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 12. A long-time supporter of the Women’s Center, Davis has been instrumental in lending his support and obtaining funding for the center. The plaque is on permanent display at the Women’s Center at its headquarters at 133 Park St., N.E. in Vienna.

<sh>Town Hall Meeting on Growth

<bt>The Fairfax Citizens for Responsible Growth hosts a "Town Hall" meeting on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m., at the Oakton High School Auditorium, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna. Residents are welcome to attend to share concerns and opinions on the roads and transit system, the educational, recreational and storm water facilities and more. For details and directions visit www.fairgrowth.org/meeting.htm or e-mail FairGrowth@FairGrowth.org.