<bt>A 12-year-old girl missing since last week was located safe and sound by Sheriff's Office personnel Thursday, July 13. Amanda Ann Christian left Eagle Ridge Middle School July 6 and did not return to the Loudoun Youth Shelter.
<bt>James Ross Robinson of Sterling pleaded guilty July 17 to a charge of distribution of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, in violation federal law, according to a press release sent from the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Sentencing has been set for Oct. 13. Robinson can be sentenced to a minimum of five years, and up to 20 years, in prison and can be placed on supervised release for life.
According to court documents, Robinson used his Yahoo! e-mail account and the name ÒJim Saron,Ó to send digital movies of children engaging in sexual acts with adults to three different undercover U.S. Postal Inspectors in March 2005, according to the release. Robinson, who had been the program executive for the In Space Propulsion, Mission and Systems Management Division at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., distributed the movies from his office computer as well as from his home computer in Sterling.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents of the NASA Office of Inspector General.
<sh>Broad Run Meeting
<bt>Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) will be holding a community meeting at the Ashburn Firehouse Social Hall, Wednesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m., to discuss developing criteria for the comprehensive traffic study of Old Ashburn. Open to all residents, business owners and property owners of Old Ashburn. Questions can be directed to Waters' office at 703-771-5088.
<sh>Shuttle Bus Service
<bt>Virginia Regional Transportation Association (VRTA) has created a new shuttle bus service from the Dulles Town Center to Washington Dulles International Airport and on to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center beginning July 12. The shuttle runs from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., daily. The cost will be $.50 each way with free transfers. This public service was made available through a joint collaboration between VRTA, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Funding for the extending service has been provided for a one-year period to start July 1 and end June 30, 2007, when local governments will decide whether local funding is warranted.
<bt>Virginia's first sales-tax holiday, approved unanimously by the General Assembly, will take place from Aug. 4-6 and will be repeated annually. Retailers will not be charging the 5 percent retail sales tax on purchases of school supplies costing $20 or less per item, or clothing, including footwear, priced at $100 or less per article. The Department of Taxation has posted a comprehensive list of eligible items, along with guidelines and frequently asked questions about the "holiday" on the department's Web site at www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.
<bt>The Department of Labor has awarded a grant of $75,000 to The Good Shepherd Alliance Incorporated (GSA), for its ÒCareer Advancement Now!Ó (CAN) project, which seeks to improve the earning potential of Loudoun CountyÕs homeless population.
The GSA manages homeless shelters throughout Loudoun County. The project guides clients from the moment of intake all the way through self-sufficiency in a maximum of 89 days, and expects to enroll at least 50 new clients in the CAN program within the next 18 months. GSA estimates the average wage will be up to $9.85 an hour for the work performed within the program. Fifty percent of the new enrollees will be encouraged to obtain a GED and 100 percent of the new enrollees will be encouraged and assisted to enter skills training, apprenticeships or higher education as a part of the program. Services include post-job placement mentoring and educational/skills advancement.
<sh>County Receives Awards
<bt>Loudoun County received achievement awards from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for its Companion Animal Resource Effort (CARE) and its Athletic Space Allocation programs.
CARE, developed by the Department of Animal Care and Control, helps residents keep pets in their homes and reduces the number of animals taken into the Animal Shelter. Athlete Space Allocation program, developed by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, created new policies and procedures to solve the problem of allocating public athletic space for residents who participate in organized sports programs.
Loudoun County is one of 11 counties to receive a VACo Achievement Award, and one of only three to receive multiple awards.
<bt>A sobriety checkpoint held Saturday, July 8, near South Riding saw nearly 700 cars checked with one person arrested for driving under the influence.
The checkpoint was held on westbound Route 50 at the intersection of Willard Road. The checkpoint saw 694 vehicles pass through with 10 vehicles pulled to the side for further screening. Five other citations were written for infractions including driving on a suspended license, driving without a license and expired inspection stickers.
<sh>Taken Out of Service
<bt>More than half of the trucks inspected at a commercial motor vehicle checkpoint held Friday, July 14, near South Riding were taken out of service.
During the five-and-half hour inspection 53 percent of the trucks inspected were found to have safety violations forcing the trucks to be pulled to the side of the roadway until the problem was either fixed or the issue was resolved. A total of 19 commercial vehicles were inspected with 10 taken out of service. In all 54 citations were issued for safety violations including defective equipment, such as brakes and tires, and driver violations including improper licensing.
The inspection detail began at approximately 6 a.m. in the area of Route 659 and Tall Cedars Parkway located just south of Route 50.