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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.

Army Pvt. Michael K. Rich has returned to Fort Stewart, Ga., after being deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldier is a member of Task Force 4th-64th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. armed forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq. Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the peoples of Iraq.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military and multinational forces are also assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.

Rich, an infantryman with one year of military service, is the son of Carol L. Rich of Ashburn. He graduated in the year 2000 from Broad Run High School, Ashburn.

Cheryl Hann and Mary Sue Kitchen were recently elected to serve on the board of directors for Oatlands in Leesburg.

Hann is from Leesburg and is a certified management accountant. Kitchen has been the director of the Fairfax County Health Department Laboratory for the past decade.

The new year has also brought in a new establishment of officers to facilitate the Oatlands Board of Directors. Brad Gable of Philomont will now preside as chairman for the 2006 Oatlands Board of Directors, while Joshua Power Stevens of Leesburg will serve as vice chairman. James Parkinson from Washington, D.C., will act as secretary and Hann will preside as treasurer. Anita White and Fred Lininger will continue to serve on the Oatlands Advisory Council.

The SkillSource Group Inc., the nonprofit entity of the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board, has received grant funding totaling $250,000 from the Virginia Employment Commission to serve workers displaced from the closing of Independence Airlines. More than 2,600 workers lost their jobs when Independence Air closed its doors in January 2006.

This grant funding from the state will allow Northern Virginia SkillSource Center staff to offer direct support in addition to offering individual training vouchers for eligible workers. Workforce Investment Board are working closely with the Rapid Response Unit and the Fairfax field office of the Virginia Employment Commission to coordinate the planning and delivery of necessary employment services to former Independence Airlines workers.

Ten people from Inova Health System have been named to the Advisory board Company's Academy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Participants will complete an accelerated leadership-development curriculum. They include Michael Lavery, director, materials management, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital; Rod Williams, COO, Inova Loudoun Medical Center, Inova Loudoun Hospital; Heather Russell, senior director, critical care services; Inova Fairfax Hospital; Dr. Madeline Erario, director, graduate and continuing medical education, Inova Fairfax Hospital; Brenda Jo Simmons, director, pharmacy, Inova Fairfax Hospital; Dr. David Ascher, chairman, pediatrics, Inova Fairfax Hospital; Mary Beth Ireland, program director, rehabilitation services, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital; Andre Bathalon, director, physical medicine, Inova Alexandria Hospital; Robin Adams, senior director, systems and business development, Inova Alexandria Hospital; and Laurie Dalton, AVP, total rewards, Inova Health System.

A number of local students were named to the Coastal Carolina University PresidentÕs and DeanÕs lists for the fall 2005 semester. To qualify for the PresidentÕs List, students must earn a 4.0 grade point average. To qualify for the DeanÕs List, freshmen must earn a 3.25 grade point average and upperclassmen must earn a 3.5 grade point average. To qualify for the PresidentÕs List or the DeanÕs List, students must be enrolled full time. Coastal Carolina University is a public, comprehensive liberal arts institution in Conway, S.C.

The PresidentÕs List includes Lindsay M. Cook, Ashburn; the DeanÕs List includes Wahid H. Quadri, Ashburn; Lindsey A. Facemire, Sterling; Rachel E. Hillard, Leesburg and Kyle T. Smith, Leesburg.

The Loudoun County Rural Economic Development Council (REDC) has elected officers for 2006. Kate Zurschmeide was re-elected chair, and Bill Nelson was elected vice chair.

The REDC, a 19-member board appointed by the Board of Supervisors, represents various industry sectors and promotes the economic growth and vitality of the county's agricultural, horticultural, and equine industries.

Other members of the council for 2006 are 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; and Lori Waters, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

REDC meetings are open to the public and take place on the first Monday of each month.

Thanks to the leadership and generosity of the Schaufeld family, the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute opened the Schaufeld Family Heart Center at Inova Loudoun Hospital in January. There was a grand opening and dedication ceremony Thursday, Feb. 16.

Loudoun County's first and only cardiac catheterization lab is equipped with state-of-the-art Phillips cardiac imaging and GE Centricity patient monitoring technology. A warm color palette adds a soothing tone to the private intake/recovery bays. Individual televisions and modified room service are available to patients.

Utica College in New York has released its dean's list, including April R. Carter, Sterling, for the fall 2005 semester. To make the list, students must achieve a GPA of 3.4 or higher and be full-time students.

4-H members in Loudoun County participated in a public speaking and presentation contest Saturday, Feb. 19. Top honors went to Amber Bryant with her presentation on Osteogenesis, Hayley Potts with her presentation on How to Write an Advertisement, and Samantha Sweitzer with her presentation on Cavies for Fancy.