Week in Loudoun

Week in Loudoun

Town Hall Meeting

<bt>Join Virginia Del. Chuck Caputo (D-67) and his guests, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Home and state Sen. Mark Herring (D-33) at a town hall meeting Saturday, March 25, at South Riding Town Hall, 43055 Center St., South Riding, from 10 a.m.-noon. Caputo, Homer and Herring will discuss transportation, the budget and the legislative session. All are welcome. Questions can be directed to Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb, legislative assistant, at delccaputo@house.state.va.us or 703-476-6944.

<sh>Comments Sought

<bt>Loudoun County officials are seeking public comment on proposed changes to the county's Codified Ordinances to establish a management program for on-site wastewater systems in the county.

Loudoun County government staff members have been working on updating county ordinances covering private sewage disposal systems to address procedures for review and approval of newly proposed systems, operation and maintenance requirements, alternative technologies and other technical issues. The current code is more than 20 years old.

A meeting to obtain public comment on the proposed changes is scheduled for Friday, March 31, from 4-6 p.m., in the board room on the first floor of the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E., Leesburg.

More information about the project, including the proposed code changes, is online on the Loudoun County Government Web site at www.loudoun.gov/health/manage.htm.

<sh>St. Pat's Checkpoint

<bt>A St. PatrickÕs Day DUI checkpoint held Friday, March 17, in Sterling saw four people arrested for driving under the influence.

The checkpoint was held on northbound Route 28 at the intersection of Nokes Boulevard. The checkpoint saw 762 vehicles pass through with nine vehicles pulled to the side for further screening.

The SheriffÕs Office Mobile Alcohol Testing Unit (MATU) was present at the checkpoint. The new tool in DUI enforcement enables the agency to more effectively test suspected drunk drivers.

The MATU is a converted recreational vehicle outfitted with an intoxilyzer and is the only one of its kind in the state of Virginia. The MATU will continue to be on the scene of upcoming sobriety checkpoints.

The SheriffÕs Office currently conducts one checkpoint per month throughout the year and holds additional checkpoints during the holidays. The SheriffÕs Office designed the checkpoints to raise public awareness and to discourage impaired driving. The ultimate goal is to ensure the roads are safe for all motorists by achieving voluntary compliance of the drinking and driving laws.

<sh>Former Instructor Sentenced

<bt>A Loudoun driving instructor was sentenced to up to six months in jail Monday, March 20, for taking indecent liberties with a local juvenile last year, according to the Sheriff's Office.

George Larry Herndon, 54, was arrested Jan. 13, 2005, after he was accused two days earlier of proposing inappropriate sexual acts and touching a then 16-year-old female during a driving lesson. Herndon at the time operated GLH Driving School based out of Leesburg.

During a two-day trial in December a Loudoun jury found Herndon guilty of taking indecent liberties by a custodian, a Class 6 felony and assault and battery. The jury recommended a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.

A Loudoun judge sentenced Herndon to four months in jail on the indecent liberties charge and two months in jail on the assault and battery charge. The sentences will run consecutively. He was also fined a total of $5,000.

As part of his sentence Herndon will be on supervised probation for two years and must register as a sex offender with the state of Virginia. He is also required to enroll in a sexual offender treatment program.

<sh>Suspicious Package

<bt>A suspicious package found outside the Dulles Town Center Tuesday, March 14, closed a small portion of the mall for several hours, according to the Sheriff's Office.

A shopper at the center found a suitcase outside the JC Penny around 6:45 p.m. The shopper notified security with the Dulles Town Center who contacted the Sheriff's Office. The Loudoun County Bomb Squad responded to the scene and examined the case.

Since it was unclear as to what was in the case the squad decided to render the package safe as a precautionary measure. The scene was cleared shortly before 10 p.m. The case did not contain any explosive material.

The JC Penny store as well as the adjoining Lord & Taylor store were closed during the incident. Shoppers whose vehicles were parked in the lot located near the package were taken to the mall's food court.

<sh>Embezzlement Charge

<bt>A Winchester woman was charged Friday, March 17, with

embezzling more than $100,000 dollars from a local brewery.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Kathy Gale Lewis, 51, is alleged to have embezzled money from the Old Dominion Brewing Company in Ashburn over a five year period. Lewis was employed as the bookkeeper at the brewery and is accused of misappropriating at least $108,157.60.

Lewis is charged with five counts of felony embezzlement. She was released on a $10,000 secured bond.

<sh>Commuter Incentives

<bt>The Loudoun County Office of Transportation Services is participating in the Chevron 5,000,000 Mile Rideshare Challenge as a 50,000 Mile Reward Sponsor. The Chevron challenge is an event that leverages Web-based technology to match riders with drivers in greater Washington, D.C., to help alleviate traffic congestion and conserve fuel. The initiative is part of Chevron's partnership with NuRide, www.NuRide.com, the nation's first incentive-based ride-sharing network. NuRide's online program lets individuals use NuRide's patent-pending technology to find the ideal partner with whom to share a single ride for work or nonwork activities. NuRide offers its members rewards each time they use the ride-sharing program.

As a "50,000 Mile" sponsor, the Loudoun County Office of Transportation, Commuter Services Division will provide a $25 Dulles Town Center gift card as a reward to NuRide members that meet certain milestones.

For more information about NuRide, call the Loudoun County Office of Transportation Services at 703-771-5665.

<sh>New Command Unit

<bt>The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office March 9 unveiled its new state-of-the-art Mobile Command Unit (MCU) for use at crime scenes, local emergencies and public events.

The 40-foot vehicle will act as a mobile center of operations and enhances the agency's ability to respond to situations that endanger public safety. On board, Sheriff's personnel will be able to access the latest in computer, phone system and satellite technology at scenes ranging from hostage situations to natural disasters.

The MCU features seven work stations Ñ six interior and one exterior Ñ and a conference area with seating for up to 10 people. Inside deputies will have access to cellular, Internet-based and satellite-phone services, UHF and VHF hi/low radios, county 800 MHZ radios, surveillance equipment and Internet capabilities.

The new MCU was purchased for more than $400,000; a third of that cost was paid for through a grant from the Virginia Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), as well as federal and local funding.

The Sheriff's Office's previous mobile command unit was a onetime county bookmobile that was retrofitted in the late 1990s to serve as a mobile headquarters. The vehicle, a 1989 International, will be retired.

<sh>House Fire

<bt>Just before 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 14, Loudoun Fire and Rescue Services received a 911 call for a structure fire at 217 Appletree Drive, N.E., Leesburg. Fire and rescue personnel arrived on the scene to find a two-story, single-family home on fire. Crews went to work quickly to contain the fire, keeping it from spreading.

The cause of the fire, which resulted in $350,000 damage, is pending the investigation by the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office.

The family of three, who was displaced as a result of the fire, was provided assistance by the Loudoun County After the Fire Program and the American Red Cross. There were no injuries reported.