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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.

Drivers arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport will soon have a new option when waiting to pick-up passengers. A Cell Phone Waiting Area located on the airport will give drivers an alternative to circling the Main Terminal. Beginning Dec. 21, this free waiting area will provide a place to park until the phone rings.

This new Cell Phone Waiting Area is located about one and a half miles from the Main Terminal and about three minutes away. Signage on airport roadways will direct motorists to

and from the waiting area and the terminal. The lot will be open only to noncommercial vehicles, which must be attended at all times. The maximum allowed waiting time is one hour.

Drivers wishing to wait longer are reminded that the airport has paid parking lots and garages within walking distance of the terminal. The first 20 minutes of parking is free in these facilities.

Space for the Cell Phone Waiting Area was created by improving a vacant parking lot at the corner of Rudder Road and Autopilot Drive.

The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce has the following upcoming events:

* Chamber Holiday Open House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2-5 p.m. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, 101 Blue Seal Drive, Suite 100, Leesburg. This event is free and open to all members.

* Virginia Legislative Issues Breakfast, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 8-10:00 a.m. Learn about key issues that will be considered during the 2006 Legislative session, including transportation investment, growth and development. Sen. Russell H. Potts (R-27), Sen. Bill Mims (R-33), Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-13), Del. Joe T. May (R-33), Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-86), Delegate-elect David Poisson (D-32) and Delegate-elect Chuck Caputo (D-67) has been invited. Old Dominion University Northern Virginia Center, 21335 Signal Hill Plaza, Suite 300, Sterling. Free to chamber members, $20 for nonmembers. Preregister online at www.loudounchamber.org, call 703-777-2176 or RSVP to crichardson@loudounchamber.org.

* Business Showcase Breakfast, Thursday, Jan. 12, 7:30-9 a.m., Belmont Country Club, 19961 Belmont Manor Lane,

Ashburn. Tickets: $15 for members in advance; $20 for members at the door; $25 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required no later than Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m. RSVP to crichardson@loudounchamber.org or call 703-777-2176.

* Federal Contracting Strategy Session, Thursday, Jan. 19, 8 a.m. The chamber will be holding a strategy session to decide how to best support its federal contractor/subcontractor members and provide information to those interested in learning more about the opportunities available in the federal sector. Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, 101 Blue Seal Drive, Suite 100, Leesburg. Free, however, preregistration required. RSVP to crichardson@loudounchamber.org

* Chamber Day in Richmond, Tuesday, Jan. 24. Bus departs at 7 a.m. Participants will meet with their General Assembly members one-on-one and have the opportunity to hear from Virginia's newly elected top government leaders. $40 per person chamber members only, includes lunch. Transportation van departs from the chamber office in Leesburg, at 7 a.m. Reserved a seat by e-mailing crichardson@loudounchamber.org.

Local area vendors are invited to the 2005 Loudoun County

Procurement's Buyer/Seller Information Exchange sessions. The purpose of these informal sessions is to give area businesses the opportunity to meet the county's procurement staff and become familiar with the county's procurement process. The next round of sessions are as follows:

* Thursday, Dec. 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, Jan. 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

* Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, April 21, 2 p.m.

* Friday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.

* Thursday, June 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.

The sessions will be held in the Lovettsville Room on the first floor of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E., in Leesburg. Call 703-771-5142 or send an e-mail to sfields@loudoun.gov.

The UPS Store located at 44050 Ashburn Shopping Plaza, Ashburn Village, through Dec. 23, will be offering customers the opportunity to purchase Toys for Tots donation cards for $1, with all proceeds going to local Marine Toys for Tots efforts. In addition, limited-edition replicas of the UPS Store/Toys for Tots No. 88 Ford race car will be available for $9.95, with a portion of the proceeds also benefiting the toy campaign. Unwrapped, new toys will also be accepted. Visit www.theupsstore.com.

Wegman's has selected Loudoun Interfaith Relief as the beneficiary of its Care About Hunger? campaign. Through Dec. 24, customers will be able to add a donation to their bill at check out, with 100 percent of that donation going to Loudoun Interfaith. Last year, the nonprofit organization directly served more than 11,000 families and through its food-sharing program provided more than 100,000 pounds of food to other organizations.

The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce requests that the citizens of Loudoun nominate local heroes for the 2006 Valor Awards.

The chamber, in conjunction with all of the local public safety agencies, has established the Loudoun County Valor Awards Program to recognize and acknowledge those who continuously place themselves in harm's way to ensure the safety of others. The 2006 Valor Awards will be held Tuesday, April 18, at the Dulles Marriott Hotel. The recipients, their families, public-safety agency staff and volunteers, elected officials and VIPs will be invited to attend the ceremony hosted by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Award winners will be notified prior to the event.

All public-safety agencies, local government organizations, and the general public are invited to submit nominations to recognize and pay tribute to men and women who have performed selfless acts of courage.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, Dec. 30. Visit the chamber Web site www.loudounchamber.org to complete the official 2006 Valor Awards Civilian Nomination Form or contact Roxane Remley, events manager, at 703-777-2176, Ext. 25.

The Loudoun Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, has joined a national, profession-driven quality improvement initiative called "Quality First," which builds on the federal governmentÕs Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) that was inaugurated to publicly report key quality measures for nursing facilities to help consumers select a facility. At its inception, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and key labor and other groups, including AARP, endorsed Quality First.

A facility must formally pledge to the Quality First covenant. By taking the voluntary pledge, facilities agree to abide by the initiative's core principles and to meet or exceed the six performance outcomes, which are: improvement in compliance with federal regulations; progress in promoting financial integrity and preventing occurrences of fraud; progress in the quality of clinical outcomes and prevention of confirmed abuse and neglect; improvement in all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continuous quality improvement measures; improvement in customer satisfaction; and improvement in employee retention and turnover rates.

JK Moving and Storage, the moving and storage company, has implemented a new program during the 2005 holiday season to provide complimentary moving services for families in transition.

The program is designed to help families who are ready to move out of shelters into their own homes. JK Moving & Storage has agreed to donate its services to provide the first steps in helping families get back on their feet.

JK Moving and Storage launched the program Dec. 16, when it move a family from the Homestretch Shelter in Falls Church into a new permanent home, also in Falls Church.

Blue Ridge Meats donated 500 pounds of deer meat to the LINK Thanksgiving Program Nov. 19. The meat was cut into steaks, roasts, tenderloins and venison burger. Blue Ridge Meats will again donate 1,000 pounds of meat to support the LINK Christmas Program Dec. 17, at Christ the Redeemer Catholic in Sterling and Trinity Presbyterian in Herndon. More than 400 families, comprising 2,000 people, are expected to register for this event.

Blue Ridge Meats has been in business since 1990 and is owned by Doug and Lois Aylestock, who became partners with Hunters for the Hungry in 1991 and have processed venison for the area food banks: Seven Loaves, Middleburg; Interfaith Relief, Leesburg; Messiah's Market, Sterling -- the Good Shepherd Alliance, Sterling and Food for Others, Fairfax -- to assist those who might need some extra assistance in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

Provident Bank has launched a corporate-wide initiative and multicultural outreach model aimed at meeting the banking needs of Loudoun County's growing Hispanic community. Thirteen branches in the greater Washington area, including the Sterling Shoppers Food Warehouse (SFW) branch located at 47100 Community Plaza, will serve as pilot locations for the new initiative and will offer products, services, and community outreach programs targeted specifically toward Hispanics.

A range of services, including a "Language Line" interpreter service, have been put in place to meet the banking needs of Hispanic customers, while also providing them with better accessibility. These resources include acceptance of the Matricula Consular Card, bilingual Spanish ATM options and the ITIN Mortgage product for permanent and non-permanent residents.

BeckITSystems, a technology management company for small- and mid-sized organizations, was named Small Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. BeckITSystems was previously named the Loudoun County Technology Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in 2004. The award recognizes BeckITSystems for exemplifying achievement and excellence in business serving the Greater Washington area.

Van Metre Companies donated $140,000 to four Loudoun County organizations as part of its 50th anniversary. Van Metre donated $35,000 each to the following programs: Loudoun Community Free Clinic, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management Department, Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Loudoun Youth Initiative.