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Votes

Community, Feb. 4-10

Send announcements or events, which are open to the public at no or minimal cost, to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102 or e-mail <a href="mailto:loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com">loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com</a>. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged.

The AARP Tax Aide Program will have IRS-certified counselors at the Cascades Library, 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls, to prepare federal and state tax returns Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., through April 14. There is no charge for this service and you do not need to be an AARP member. Bring photo identification, social security cards for taxpayer, spouse and dependents, all tax documents received for 2008, receipts for medical, tax, interest and charitable expenditures, a copy of 2007 tax returns (federal and state) and the amount of the stimulus payment you received in 2008.

The Loudoun County Department of Animal Care and Control will hold its Furry Friday program, where adoptable animals visit the Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise St., Sterling on Fridays, Feb. 6 and Feb. 23, 5-7 p.m. Visit www.loudoun.gov/animals.

The Loudoun Valley HomeGrown Markets Association is accepting applications for its summer farmers markets. The season runs May-October in Leesburg, Ashburn, Middleburg, Purcellville, Lovettsville and Cascades. Anyone wishing to participate must fill out an application and submit it to the LVHMA board by Feb. 6. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the LVHMA markets by Feb. 23. There are also a few spaces available at the LVHMA winter market, which runs Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at Virginia Village Shopping Center, 32 Catoctin Circle S.E., Leesburg, through April 25. Visit www.loudounfarmersmarkets.org or call market coordinator Judy Stroske at 540-454-8089.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, locally known as the Northern Virginia CASH is seeking volunteers to deliver free tax preparation services at no cost to working families and individuals in the community who earned less than $42,000 in 2008. Contact Karen Velez, 703-771-5718 or karen.velez@loudoun.gov or Debra Bressler, 703-777-0505 or debra.bressler@loudoun.gov to register.

The Loudoun Literacy Council has received a matching donation of $10,000 from an anonymous donor. The donor pledged a gift of $10,000 if the board of directors of the Loudoun Literacy Council can raise $10,000 during December. The council conducts English classes in churches and community centers, offers individualized tutoring to low-literate adults and provides literacy activities to children from disadvantaged families. To contribute, mail a check to Loudoun Literacy Council, to P.O. Box 1032, Leesburg, VA 20177 or donate at www.loudounliteracy.org.

The Loudoun County Design Cabinet has announced the call for nominations for their 5th Annual Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence Program. The awards recognize the buildings, interiors, places and details that make Loudoun County unlike any other. The Design Cabinet will be accepting nominations through 5 p.m. Feb. 6. Entry forms, rules, photos of previous winners and the award criteria can be downloaded from www.biz.loudoun.gov/designcabinet.

The Heritage Farm Museum, 21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, is seeking exhibitors for Bunny Bonanza Wednesday, April 8. The event features live animals, demonstrations, hands-on experiences and information. Visitors also learn about volunteer opportunities in the area. Bunny Bonanza is free with paid museum admission.

Rides on the Ashburn LINK shuttle bus are free for the winter. Riders can pick up the LINK at designated stops on Ashburn Farm Parkway near Summerwood Circle and just past Crossroads Drive. The third pickup location is on Claiborne Parkway at Belgreen Drive. Parking is available at Parkhurst Plaza Shopping Center and in the lot across the street from Crossroads United Methodist Church. Call 703-771-5665 or visit www.loudoun.gov/bus.

Seven Loudoun educators received a tuition scholarship from the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership to participate in a class that helps them incorporate the historical resources from the JTHG National Heritage Area into an academic curriculum. The JTHG Partnership secured the support of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and as a result, has been able to offer scholarships to qualified teachers from Loudoun County to take this class.

The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development has started planning for the 2009 Spring Farm Tour scheduled for May 16 and 17. The objective of this county-sponsored event is to increase consumer awareness of farms, as well as allow visitors to experience the traditions and rural character Loudoun has to offer. Farmers who would like to participate in the Spring Farm Tour are asked to contact Ann Higgins at the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, 703-777-0426 or e-mail ann.higgins@loudoun.gov.