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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 Friday, 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.

In honor of Spay Day USA, Loudoun County Department of Animal Care and Control will provide free spay/neuter surgery to 100 pets in Loudoun County.

The 100 pets to be spayed/neutered in this program will be chosen from entries received online at www.loudoun.gov/animals or in person at the Loudoun County Animal Shelter. Registration is open Feb. 6-27, and winners will be chosen on Spay Day, Feb. 28.

The program is open only to Loudoun County residents. Only one entry per animal.

Animals selected will be given vouchers for free spay/neuter surgery redeemable at one of several participating local veterinarians. Other fees may apply, depending on the veterinarian chosen.

For more information, or to register to win a free spay/neuter voucher, visit www.loudoun.gov/animals or call the Loudoun County Animal Shelter at 703-777-0406.

The Loudoun Arts Council is seeking interior designers/decorators who have interest in participating in its third Designer Showhouse, to be held at the historic Rust Manor House in Leesburg and is scheduled to open September 2006. The Arts Council is working in partnership with the Audubon Naturalist Society, which accepted trusteeship of the Rust property in 2000. Both are nonprofit organizations.

The theme of the 2006 Showhouse is ÔTimeless Elegance.Õ Two floors of the Manor House and several garden areas and outbuildings will be included in the Showhouse.

The Manor House will be open for designers to walk through Feb.13-24, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Arts Council is also seeking volunteers who want to be involved in the project. Visit www.loudounarts.org or contact 703-777-7838 or info@loudounarts.org.

Loudoun MADD is holding its annual poster/essay contest with the theme ÒDrunk Driving Destroys Dreams.Ó

All entries must appropriately communicate the contest theme although the actual theme does not have to be written on the entry. Attractiveness, use of color, expression, are items to consider with posters. Spelling, grammar, emotional appeal, are things to remember when writing an essay.

Clarity and visual impact are important in any black-and-white photograph, as well as in a video PSA. PSAs may be submitted on either VHS or DVD formats. Radio ÒspotsÓ may be submitted on compact disc.

There are four categories with individual divisions based on age groups: poster, grades first-third, fourth-fifth, sixth-eighth and ninth-12th; essay, grades fourth-fifth, sixth-eighth and ninth-12th; PSA video, grades sixth-eighth and ninth-12th; and black-and-white photograph, grades sixth-eighth and ninth-12th. Deadline is Feb. 28.

Mail entries to MADD Loudoun County, P.O. Box 4252, Leesburg, VA 20177.

Questions may be written to maddloudoun@aol.com or leave voice mail message at 703-771-8127.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the MADD Loudoun County Web site at www.maddloudouva.org.

Contest is open to all public, private and home-schooled Loudoun County students.

Last year, Loudoun MADD $2,500. worth of savings bonds were awarded to the winning students. The 2006 winners will be announced at the award ceremony in April.

The Loudoun Senior Interest Network will host its 9th Annual Senior Expo Thursday, May 11, at The Community Church, 19790 Ashburn Road, Ashburn. The vendor registration deadline for new vendors will be March 1.

The Senior Expo "Showcasing Aging Resources in Loudoun County" is designed to be the primary showcase for senior services available in Loudoun County. Businesses, community organizations, volunteer groups and government services all participate annually. Attendees will be able to gather information, comparison shop and talk directly to representatives in the areas of independent living services, home health and medical resources, specialists, facilities and residential communities and travel and leisure with senior sports groups, clubs and trips and tours.

Prior year vendors will be eligible to register for this year expo anytime before March 4. New vendors interested in obtaining a registration form, e-mail or call Debra Bressler at the Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), dbressle@loudoun.gov or 703-777-0505. There is a registration fee based on the type of organization or business.

Plant-A-Memory is a countywide program that provides a living, growing, memorial to a person's loved one or special event, offered by the county's Parks, Recreation & Community Services. All donated trees will be marked with Plant-A-Memory plaques with the loved one's name.

Trees will be planted in the park of your choice. Tree selection and planting location will be administered by the staff. Available locations are Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, Claude Moore Park, Franklin Park, or Potomack Lakes Sportsplex.

Prices range from $150-$300, based on plaque and tree size. The next round of trees will be planted in April, orders must be received by March 1. If needed, a special gift certificate noting the Plant-A-Memory donation can be provided.

Contact Claude Moore Park at 703-444-1275.

Loudoun Volunteer Services (LVS) is seeking nominations for the 2006 Loudoun Volunteer Services Outstanding Volunteer Awards. This annual program honors citizens and organizations throughout Loudoun County who donate time and service to their community.

Nomination forms are available in the Loudoun Volunteer Services office at 1 Harrison St., S.E., Leesburg, or on the Web at www.loudoun.gov/pio/volunteer.htm and must be returned by March 3 for consideration.

Those eligible for nomination include individuals or groups whose volunteer services have directly benefited the Loudoun County community. Nominations may be submitted for a single individual or a team of volunteers to be honored.

For more information, call Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator, at

703-777-0113.

The Loudoun Arts Council (LAC) invites sophomore, junior and senior students in Loudoun County public and private schools to participate in its upcoming annual ÒExcellence in the ArtsÓ program.

Information and entry forms can be obtained from high school art, drama, English and dance teachers, or guidance counselors, in the private and public schools, or from the LAC office. Students may submit entries in up to three of eight categories: theater, dance, vocal performance, instrumental performance, piano, visual arts, literary arts and film. Entry forms must be completed and mailed, or faxed, to the LAC office by March 10, along with a $5 entry fee. Professional panels will jury the work of students and cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners in each category.

Submissions for the literary, visual and film are due at the Arts Council, 15 North King St., second floor, no later than 1 p.m., March 22. The office will be open on Monday and Tuesday, March 20 and 21, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., for early submissions.

Visual and literary judging will be held March 23 through April 3. Competitions will be held Saturday, April 1, for submissions in theater, dance, piano, vocal and instrumental performances. A professional panel of judges will determine the award winners in each category.

For more information, contact the Loudoun Arts Council at 703-777 7838 or info@loudounarts.org.

The Loudoun County Commission on Women (LLCW) is seeking nominations for the 2006 Outstanding Women of Loudoun award program to recognize the outstanding contributions of the women in the community.

Women will be recognized for their outstanding volunteer or professional work during LCCW's annual awards luncheon May 16. Awardees will be chosen for their outstanding contributions in such areas as leadership, business and career development, arts and cultural affairs, education and training, women's health and community service.

To obtain a nomination form and guidelines, visit the LCCW Web site, www.lccw.org, to download a copy or stop by the Board of Supervisors office at the County Building, 1 Harrison St., S.E., Leesburg, fifth floor. Call Sally Myers, chair of the Loudoun County Commission on Women at 703-430-0681. The deadline for nominations is March 27.

AARP Tax-Aide is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation service available to taxpayers with low and middle income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. AARP Tax-Aide is administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the IRS. All tax preparation volunteers receive training in tax law and must pass an IRS certification examination.

All taxpayers must bring a government issued picture identification and Social Security cards for all persons included on the tax return.

The AARP Tax-Aide program operates through April 17, at Falcons Landing Senior Residence, 20225 Falcons Landing Circle, Sterling. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Appointment required, call 703-404-5216.

Arts in the Alley is seeking entries for the outdoor art fair and music festival to be held June 10 in historic Purcellville.

The show is open to artists working in all media including, but not limited to painting, photography, sculpture, fiber, mixed media, clay, glass or wood. All items must be for sale and must be the original work of the artist. No commission on sales. Artists are responsible for handling their own money and reporting their own sales tax. Insurance is the responsibility of the artist.

Student artists (under age 18) are encouraged to show their work also. Student art will be displayed in a separate area and judged for prizes. Student artists may choose to sell their work if they wish or just display it.

All accepted artists are invited to promote their work on

the show Web site www.ArtsInTheAlley.org. Instructions for

uploading images and contact information will be sent upon

receipt of your booth fee.

To apply, complete the online form at http://www.artsinthealley.org/callforentries-form.php and send three images, which are representative of the artist' current work and a photo of the booth display with a nonrefundable entry fee of $25. Or, request a form by writing

to Show Director, P.O. Box 479, Purcellville, VA 20134-0479.

Applications will be evaluated as received.

Arts in the Alley is presented by local artists and art supporters in association with Main Street Purcellville, Main Street Loudoun, and the town of Purcellville, Va. Call or e-mail Jane Butler, artists@ArtsInTheAlley.org, 540-338-2002.

The Good Shepherd Alliance Thrift Store in Sterling is looking for donations, specifically jewelry. Profits from the Thrift Store go towards operation of the two homeless shelters in Loudoun County, the day/warming center in Leesburg, and a new project in Purcelville. Donations are taken daily Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the back door of the Thrift Store in Sterling. Call 703-444-5956. Tax receipts are available.

The Loudoun Museum is issuing its second call for photos and images to illustrate its upcoming pictorial history book titled "The Lure of Loudoun: Centuries of Change in VirginiaÕs Emerald County." The bookÕs publication, sponsored in part by James Monroe Bank, will coincide with the countyÕs 250th anniversary in 2007.

For the first time, the large-format book will cover both text and photographs the history of Loudoun County from its geographical beginnings to its emergence as one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The book will feature more than 300 black and white and color photographs. Images of little known artifacts from the museumÕs collection will be included, but staff for the book is also soliciting rare or never-before-seen photographs from families and businesses of the county.

Historical content will be mostly based on Charles PolandÕs "From Frontier to Suburbia: Loudoun County Virginia, One of AmericaÕs Fastest Growing Counties." PolandÕs book will be condensed and new material added for the book by former National Geographic staff writer Noel Grove, a resident of Loudoun County for 27 years, currently living near Paris, Va. Images and photographs for the new county history book can be mailed or brought to the Loudoun Museum, 16 Loudoun St., S.W., Leesburg, Virginia 20175.

Call Eric Larson at 703-777-7427 or e-mail elarson@loudounmuseum.org.

Loudoun MADD is selling the red MADD CHOOSE COURAGE community awareness wristbands for $1, which can be mailed for an additional $.50 each. The wristbands can be purchased by sending a check to Loudoun MADD at P.O. Box 4252, Leesburg, VA 20177, with the number of wristbands for purchase. Visit the Loudoun MADD Web site at www.maddloudounva.org to see a picture of the wristbands. For questions send an e-mail to maddloudoun@aol.com.

Residents and businesses using the Loudoun County Recycling Drop-off Centers are reminded that the recycling centers accept only mixed bottles, cans, and paper. Specifically, items that are accepted at the recycling centers include clear- and colored-glass bottles and jars; aluminum and steel cans; plastic bottles and jugs Ñ beverage, detergent and squeeze bottles and jugs only; newspapers; magazines; phone books; catalogs; junk mail; office paper; cardboard; and paperboard such as cereal boxes.

Items that are not accepted at the centers include plastic bags; plastic flower pots; Styrofoam; or any other type of plastic that is not specifically a bottle or jug; window glass; plate-glass; porcelain; wood; yard waste; furniture; needles; nails; construction materials; electronics; hazardous chemicals or chemical containers; and motor oil containers.

If an item is not listed on the sign as acceptable for recycling, do not deposit it in the recycling bin, and instead call the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187. For more information visit www.loudoun.gov/oswm.

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.