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Remembering 2006

Changes Come to Sterling

Sky Dantinne said goodbye to the Sterling Community Center this year, to take on the new role as director of Claude Moore Recreation Center, to open in 2007.

The Claude Moore’s facility, located off of Cascade Parkway, will be open to the entire county.

The community center is home to a rock climbing wall with two paths, a novice path and an intermediate one, an elevated indoor track that wraps around the front of the building, overlooking the fitness center and pool area and spacious locker rooms and showers.

"My hope is the entire community will take advantage of the new center," he said.

Dantinne led the Sterling Community Center for nine and a half years. The best part of the job, he said, is the people that work there and live in the community. The Sterling Community Center is committed to the people it serves, he said.

"The Sterling Community Center is made up of a lot of really great people."

Kelly Taylor, a former Parks, Recreation and Community Service camp coordinator, replaced Dantinne this past November.

Taylor said her main goal is to "keep a good thing going."

"We want to meet the needs of the community," she said. "If that means offering English classes, Spanish classes, programs for seniors, programs for teens, whatever it is, I’m open. We’ll do it," Taylor said. "I want to make this community center the hub of Sterling."

THE COUNTY'S five constitutional officers announced they will run for re-election in November.

Clerk of Circuit Court Gary Clemens, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman, Sheriff Steve Simpson, Commissioner of the Revenue Bob Wertz and Treasurer Roger Zurn announced their joint bid Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Leesburg Fire House. The five constitutional officers, who have run together in the past, said they will campaign this year as a team.

"We work well together," Simpson said. "We made the announcement together to show unity."

The sheriff, who took office in 1996, said he would like to continue his efforts in some of the county’s "problem" areas, including gang activity, homeland security and highway safety.

"Gang violence is a growing problem in our area," Simpson said.

Simpson began the Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit two years ago. The unit’s primary responsibility is to educate themselves about local gangs and inform the public about them.

The community continues to worry about local gangs since two teenagers pleaded guilty to a series of drive-by shootings this summer that were gang related.

"Now is not the time for a rookie sheriff," Simpson said. "Loudoun County is changing. I want to help make it safer."

<sh>Sterling Park Gets Rocked

<bt>Sterling Park residents woke up to a series of gunshots beginning at 1 a.m., Wednesday, July 19.

Within 30 minutes, Eric Pang, 16, and Israel Trevilla, 17, fired 30 rounds of bullets from at least two guns and struck seven homes on Aster Terrace, Holborn Court and North Argonne Avenue. The shootings were believed to be gang related, said Sheriff's Office spokesperson Kraig Troxell.

The Park View High School students pleaded guilty in a Loudoun County Circuit Court in October for one count of malicious wounding, five counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling and one count of arson.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Vernail said the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office could have charged Pang and Trevilla with more than a dozen crimes, but agreed to charge them with only malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied dwelling and arson.

"That’s enough charges to hold them accountable," he said. "It’s up to the judge to determine the sentencing."

Vernail said the judge could give them a complete adult-type sentencing, a complete juvenile-type sentencing or a combination of both.

No matter what, Pang and Trevilla will have an adult record.

They could face up to 80 years in prison, Troxell said.

The teenagers will be sentenced in Loudoun County Circuit Court Monday, Jan. 29, at 9 a.m.

GUNSHOTS FIRED through Sterling Park again in October, just a few weeks after Pang and Trevilla pleaded guilty to drive-by shootings in July 2006.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to Safeway Grocery Store located off of Sterling Boulevard Friday, Oct. 13, for a report of gunfire. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the bodies of Sterling residents Alexander Enrique Rivera-Moreno, 22, and Claudia Vanessa Ayala-Duron, 22, in front of the grocery store. A third victim, Christopher Lee Beech, 24, of Ashburn, was found behind the store, near a loading dock.

Troxell said all three victims suffered fatal gunshot wounds.

The shootings were the result of a lovers' quarrel, Troxell said. Moreno met Ayala-Duron, his former girlfriend, and Beech outside of the grocery store. First, Moreno shot Ayala-Duron. Beech ran behind the store. Moreno followed him behind the store, shot and killed him. He returned to Ayala-Duron’s body, then shot and killed himself.

Ayala-Duron and Beech were friends and worked together at Bottom Dollar Foods, located in the same shopping plaza.

"There was some sort of friendship there," Troxell said. "All three victims knew each other in some fashion."

THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE plans to build a substation across from Rolling Ridge Elementary School on East Frederick Street in Sterling Park.

The substation will allow deputies to report for roll call in the area they work in. Residents will be able to go to the substation to obtain accident reports, file a complaint, and if there's a warrant for an arrest, turn themselves in to the substation.

The school system owns the property and must vote to give it to the Sheriff’s Office free of charge.

If the School Board approves the land transfer, the Board of Supervisors has to approve funding the substation in next year’s county budget. If both boards approve the substation, it could open in fall 2009, said Paul Brown, the county administrator’s assistant.

<sh>Open Road

<bt>The Sterling Boulevard Interchange opened in December, as requested by the Board of Supervisors at their bimonthly meeting, as the discussion over Cedar Green Road continues.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) delayed the opening of the interchange due to safety concerns from local businesses along Cedar Green Road.

Sen. Mark Herring (D-33) and Del. David Poisson (D-32) announced the decision to keep Cedar Green Road open in November. The decision was based on safety concerns and the effects the closure would have on small businesses located there.

"The other ways into this area, if there were a fire or medical emergency, are completely inadequate," Poisson said.

VDOT hired an independent study group to conduct three studies on Cedar Green Road, accessing traffic safety over the next few months. The first study will examine Cedar Green Road's right-out access point. The second will study the right-in access point from Route 28 to Cedar Green Road. The third study is already in process. VDOT hired an independent study group to come up with affordable accessibility options.

VDOT district manager Dennis Morrison said Cedar Green Road was scheduled to close this fall.

"This has been in the making a long time," he said.

When Route 28 was built, Cedar Green Road was intended to become a limited access roadway. So, the plan was to remove street lights and intersections along the highway, in order to discourage everyday traffic flow.

"Route 28 is a heavily used corridor," Morrison said. "It carries so much traffic. We needed to handle it someway."