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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.

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.

The following Virginia Tech students were among those honored at the university's fall commencement ceremony, held Dec. 16, in Cassell Coliseum. The on-campus ceremony was presided by Virginia Tech president Charles W. Steger.

Abhijit Patel, Aldie, bachelor of science in business degree (cum laude) in finance from the Pamplin College of Business; Stephanie Algozine, Ashburn, bachelor of arts degree in art from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Cassandra Coffman, Ashburn, bachelor of science degree (summa cum laude) in human development from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Spurgeon Norman, Ashburn, bachelor of science in computer engineering degree (magna cum laude) in computer engineering from the College of Engineering; Nida Sohail, Ashburn, bachelor of science in business degree in marketing management from the Pamplin College of Business; Jonathan Huynh, Ashburn, bachelor of arts degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Avinash Kondagunta, Ashburn, bachelor of science in computer engineering degree in computer engineering from the College of Engineering; Kristin Lamir, Ashburn, bachelor of science degree (magna cum laude) in human development from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Timothy Wiltgen, South Riding, bachelor of science in mechanical engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering; Amol Bhaskar, Sterling, bachelor of science in business degree in accounting and information systems from the Pamplin College of Business; Chakriya Lim, Sterling, bachelor of arts degree in communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Justin Oksanen, Sterling, bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the College of Science; Jennifer Stroup, Sterling, bachelor of science degree (magna cum laude) in biological sciences from the College of Science; Kiernan Calef, Sterling; Jaime Clampitt, Potomac Falls, bachelor of science degree (cum laude) in interior design from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Christopher Galvan, Potomac Falls, bachelor of arts degree in international studies from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Kelly Shin, Potomac Falls, bachelor of science degree in hospitality and tourism management from the Pamplin College of Business; and Caitlin Knight, Ashburn, bachelor of science degree in psychology from the College of Science.

Virginians for the Arts re-elected Peter H. Dunning of Leesburg to a three-year term on its Board of Directors. Now in its 14th year, VFTAÕs membership includes artists, arts patrons and arts organizations. VFTAÕs mission has been to preserve the arts in the commonwealth by advocating for increased funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts.