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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.

Entries sought for annual Favorite Loudoun Tree photo contest, sponsored by the local Arbor Day Committee. Photos should feature a single tree in Loudoun County. Entries may be black and white or color and no larger than 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches, not framed or matted.

A sheet of paper attached to the back of the photo should include the name, address and phone number of the photographer, location of the tree, and the kind of tree, if known, and the significance of the tree to the photographer. Photos become property of the Arbor Day Committee.

Entries should be submitted to the Arbor Day Committee, c/o Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, 30 Catoctin Circle, S.E., Suite H, Leesburg, VA 20175. The deadline to enter is April 7. Prizes will be awarded to the top four entries.

Winning photos will be displayed at the Annual Arbor Day Celebration Saturday, April 22, at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.

Loudoun Ballet Company announces the 20th annual choreography competition "A Celebration of Dance." This competition is open to any professional or nonprofessional aspiring choreographer. Deadline for entries must be postmarked by April 8. The competition will be held at Heritage High School, April 29-30. Nonprofessional preliminary competition will be held April 29, beginning at 1 p.m., and the final competition for nonprofessional and professional will be held April 30, beginning at 4 p.m. Admission is charged for Sunday's final competition only and will be $5 at the door. For information, rules of competition and entry forms visit Loudoun Ballet Company's Web site www.loudounballet.org or call 703-771-1522.

The Loudoun Museum is issuing its second call for photos and images to illustrate its upcoming pictorial history book titled "The Lure of Loudoun: Centuries of Change in VirginiaÕs Emerald County." The bookÕs publication, sponsored in part by James Monroe Bank, will coincide with the countyÕs 250th anniversary in 2007.

For the first time, the large-format book will cover both text and photographs the history of Loudoun County from its geographical beginnings to its emergence as one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The book will feature more than 300 black and white and color photographs. Images of little known artifacts from the museumÕs collection will be included, but staff for the book is also soliciting rare or never-before-seen photographs from families and businesses of the county.

Historical content will be mostly based on Charles PolandÕs "From Frontier to Suburbia: Loudoun County Virginia, One of AmericaÕs Fastest Growing Counties." PolandÕs book will be condensed and new material added for the book by former National Geographic staff writer Noel Grove, a resident of Loudoun County for 27 years, currently living near Paris, Va. Images and photographs for the new county history book can be mailed or brought to the Loudoun Museum, 16 Loudoun St., S.W., Leesburg, Virginia 20175.

Call Eric Larson at 703-777-7427 or e-mail elarson@loudounmuseum.org.

The Loudoun Ballet Company is accepting dance-themed artwork for display at its 2006 National Dance Week Choreography Competition Art Show, April 29-30, at Heritage High School.

Artwork will be accepted at the Loudoun School of Ballet, 305 East Market St., Leesburg, from April 17-April 22, between the hours of 4-9:00 p.m. Additional entry forms can be picked up there as well or downloaded from The Loudoun Ballet Company Web site, loudounballet.org, under Schedule/Events and Choreography Competition.

All artwork needs to be properly protected to prevent damage during handling, transportation, and hanging. Two dimensional pieces should be mounted to construction paper or similar lightweight material. Fill out the entry form and attach it to the back of the artwork. Your name must not appear on the front of the artwork.

Gift certificates have been donated by The Cinnamon Tree, a dance supply store in Herndon, for first, second, and third place winners in each category. Categories are as follows: Child, age 5-8; Junior, age 9-12; Senior, age 13-17 and Adult, age 18 and up.

The artwork may be picked up at the conclusion of the awards ceremony or by contacting the coordinator, Deborah Jordan, at 703-944-2876.

American Cancer Society Relay for Life team captain meetings will take place April 25, May 23, May 30, bank Night, for the Eastern Loudoun ACS Relay for Life, June 3-4. The meetings are at 6 p.m., in the Potomac Falls High School Library, 46400 Algonkian Parkway, Sterling. All welcome to come to hear about the relay and how to get a team signed up. Contact Chris hallettva@verizon.net or www.acsevents.org/relay/easternloudoun.

Free tax program available at the Senior Center at Cascades Marketplace, 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling, through March 30. For seniors only. Call 703-737-8037.

Ashburn Fire and Rescue Department annual photograph fund-raiser is underway. Make arrangements with the authorized staff in Ashburn Fire and Rescue shirts who are going door to door in the neighborhoods. For a donation to AVFRD, receive a free photo shoot and 11 by 14 photo. Or visit the Ashburn Fire House, 20688 Ashburn Road, Ashburn to make a donation and have photo taken.

Bring family, friends, co-workers, baseball team, pets or just yourself. Photo shoot dates April 1, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., May 6 and 7, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. , June 10 and 11, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., July 16, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Call the Fire House at 703-729-0006.

The Youth Fest is seeking step/dance teams, local bands, vocalists and teens to showcase their talents during the 2006 Youth Fest. The registration form can be found at www.loudounteens.org and must be submitted by Friday, April 7.

Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area (JA) is actively seeking bowling teams from Loudoun County for its Annual Bowl-A-Thon, which takes place April 22 and 23, at Bowl America Dranesville in Sterling. JA is encouraging company and individual teams comprised of five people to register by March 31 by calling Hillary Brendzel at 202-777-4473 or e-mailing her at bowl@janca.org. There is a $14 nonrefundable registration fee required per bowler for two games. Proceeds will benefit JA and its after-school initiatives in the Greater Washington Region.

In addition to the registration fees, funds are raised by each team through tax-deductible contributions they secure from friends, neighbors and co-workers. All participants will be eligible for special prizes.

AARP Tax-Aide is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation service available to taxpayers with low and middle income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. AARP Tax-Aide is administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the IRS. All tax preparation volunteers receive training in tax law and must pass an IRS certification examination.

All taxpayers must bring a government issued picture identification and Social Security cards for all persons included on the tax return.

The AARP Tax-Aide program operates through April 17, at Falcons Landing Senior Residence, 20225 Falcons Landing Circle, Sterling. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Appointment required, call 703-404-5216.

Arts in the Alley is seeking entries for the outdoor art fair and music festival to be held June 10 in historic Purcellville.

The show is open to artists working in all media including, but not limited to painting, photography, sculpture, fiber, mixed media, clay, glass or wood. All items must be for sale and must be the original work of the artist. No commission on sales. Artists are responsible for handling their own money and reporting their own sales tax. Insurance is the responsibility of the artist.

Student artists (under age 18) are encouraged to show their work also. Student art will be displayed in a separate area and judged for prizes. Student artists may choose to sell their work if they wish or just display it.

All accepted artists are invited to promote their work on

the show Web site www.ArtsInTheAlley.org. Instructions for

uploading images and contact information will be sent upon

receipt of your booth fee.

To apply, complete the online form at http://www.artsinthealley.org/callforentries-form.php and send three images, which are representative of the artist' current work and a photo of the booth display with a nonrefundable entry fee of $25. Or, request a form by writing

to Show Director, P.O. Box 479, Purcellville, VA 20134-0479.

Applications will be evaluated as received.

Arts in the Alley is presented by local artists and art supporters in association with Main Street Purcellville, Main Street Loudoun, and the town of Purcellville, Va. Call or e-mail Jane Butler, artists@ArtsInTheAlley.org, 540-338-2002.

The Good Shepherd Alliance Thrift Store in Sterling is looking for donations, specifically jewelry. Profits from the Thrift Store go towards operation of the two homeless shelters in Loudoun County, the day/warming center in Leesburg, and a new project in Purcellville. Donations are taken daily Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the back door of the Thrift Store in Sterling. Call 703-444-5956. Tax receipts are available.

Loudoun MADD is selling the red MADD CHOOSE COURAGE community awareness wristbands for $1, which can be mailed for an additional $.50 each. The wristbands can be purchased by sending a check to Loudoun MADD at P.O. Box 4252, Leesburg, VA 20177, with the number of wristbands for purchase. Visit the Loudoun MADD Web site at www.maddloudounva.org to see a picture of the wristbands. For questions send an e-mail to maddloudoun@aol.com.

Residents and businesses using the Loudoun County Recycling Drop-off Centers are reminded that the recycling centers accept only mixed bottles, cans, and paper. Specifically, items that are accepted at the recycling centers include clear- and colored-glass bottles and jars; aluminum and steel cans; plastic bottles and jugs Ñ beverage, detergent and squeeze bottles and jugs only; newspapers; magazines; phone books; catalogs; junk mail; office paper; cardboard; and paperboard such as cereal boxes.

Items that are not accepted at the centers include plastic bags; plastic flower pots; Styrofoam; or any other type of plastic that is not specifically a bottle or jug; window glass; plate-glass; porcelain; wood; yard waste; furniture; needles; nails; construction materials; electronics; hazardous chemicals or chemical containers; and motor oil containers.

If an item is not listed on the sign as acceptable for recycling, do not deposit it in the recycling bin, and instead call the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187. For more information visit www.loudoun.gov/oswm.

Loudoun Volunteer Services seeks nominations for Student Volunteer of the Month. Loudoun students will be recognized for their volunteer efforts during the 2004-2005 school year. Nominate students, or groups of students, elementary-12th grade, who volunteer their time in a variety of ways in their schools, churches, and towns. A one-page narrative may be sent to the Loudoun Volunteer Services Board at pivs@loudoun.gov or to 1 Harrison St., S.E., P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177.

The one-page narrative should include the student's name, address, telephone number, school and a description, including length of service of the exemplary volunteer efforts of the student. Contact information for the person nominating the student should also be included.

Volunteers will be featured in the Loudoun Volunteer Services Newsletter and on the Loudoun County Government Web site. Contact Lisa Rose, volunteer coordinator, at

703-777-0113.

The Claude Moore Foundation has awarded the Loudoun Literacy Council a $65,000 grant to be used as funds for the council's Family Literacy Program for the 2006/2007 school year. The literacy program provides services to at-risk families, such providing the literacy component of Head Start, a reading program at the county emergency homeless shelter and a special national children's book week distribution to county shelters and STEP and Head Start programs.