The Week in Loudoun

The Week in Loudoun

<sh>Strong Arm Robbery

<bt>Sheriff's investigators have released the composites of two female suspects in a strong-arm robbery and are asking for the public's assistance in helping to identify them.

Around 10 p.m. on Oct. 20, a 33-year-old Sterling woman was in the area of Holborn Court in Sterling exiting her vehicle when two suspects approached her. One of the suspects asked to use the victim's cell phone and subsequently grabbed the victim's purse from her hand. The two suspects fled the scene on foot.

The first suspect is described as a white female, age 17-18, 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing approximately 125-135 pounds. She is further described as having a thin build and was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes at the time of the incident.

The second suspect is described as a black female, age 17-18, with black hair. She is believed to be 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighing approximately 120-130 pounds. She is further described as having a medium build and was wearing a tan jacket and blue jeans at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information regarding this incident, or with information regarding the two suspects, is asked to contact Investigator Fognano of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

<sh>Marijuana Plants Seized

<bt>Members of the Sheriff's Office Vice/Narcotics Unit seized between $10,000 and $15,000 worth of marijuana plants from a Sterling residence the night of Oct. 28.

The investigation, which was conducted over the past several months, determined the owner of the residence had an indoor growing operation. Removed from the home in addition to the marijuana plants were cultivating materials including drying screens and a heating lamp. A firearm was also recovered during the search.

Since the beginning of this year through Sept. 30 the Vice/Narcotics Unit has seized $90,804 worth of narcotics and $11,472 in U.S. currency. During the same time period, a total of 242 cases have been closed by arrest or other means.

The case remains a continuing and ongoing investigation and no charges have been placed at this time.

<sh>Five Arrested in July 4 Assault

<bt>Sheriff's Investigators arrested five juveniles last Friday on charges stemming from an assault of a Sterling teenager at a July 4 party.

All five of the subjects have been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Assault by Mob. The juveniles, two of which are from Sterling, two from Reston, and one from Herndon are all currently being held at the Juvenile Detention Center. Further arrests are pending in this case.

According to Sheriff Steve Simpson in a statement released Nov. 1: "This investigation was initially hampered by misinformation and rumors that were circulating in the early stages of the investigation. As I stated from the beginning of this investigation, the reason I did not say officially that this was gang related was because we had conflicting stories and needed time to conduct a thorough investigation. As the investigation has revealed not only was it not MS-13 gang related, the suspects were not even Hispanic."

The arrests stem from an investigation into the assault of a 16-year-old who was attending a party at a residence in the 800 block of North York Road in Sterling.  In the incident the victim and several other juveniles walked outside of the residence. At this time a group of subjects was seen walking towards the juveniles and some of the subjects began smashing the windows of a vehicle that was parked in the area. The 16-year-old victim was then assaulted by a group of males carrying what appeared to be baseball bats or clubs.

As the juveniles attempted to flee the area the victim was struck multiple times with an unknown blunt object.

Several of the subjects had also vandalized a second car driven by the victim. The damage to the first vehicle resulted in $3,000 in damages. The victim's vehicle had $1,800 in damage.

After the incident the teenager was taken to Loudoun Hospital where it was determined he was suffering from serious injuries and he was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

<sh>GRIT Holds Gang Prevention Meetings

<bt>The Loudoun County Gang Response and Intervention Team (GRIT) is sponsoring three informational presentations from the Sheriff's Office and Leesburg Police Department. There will be a question and answer period following with panel members from law enforcement, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Juvenile Court Services, public schools, mental health and substance abuse and Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

Meetings will be held:

* Wednesday, Nov. 12, 7-8:30 p.m., at Harmony Intermediate School, 38174 West Colonial Highway, Hamilton.

* Monday, Nov. 17, 7-8:30 p.m., at J. Lupton Simpson Middle School, 490 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg.

* Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7-8:30 p.m., at Dominion High School, 21326 Augusta Drive, Sterling.

Contact Dave Carver at 703-777-0303, for more information.

<sh>Warning: Lock Vehicles

<bt>The Sheriff's Office reminds residents to lock their vehicle doors and remove anything of value when left unattended, especially during the overnight hours.

The reminder comes after a series of larcenies from vehicles recently in the Ashburn and Leesburg areas.

The Ashburn area saw 13 vehicle break-ins early Tuesday morning between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Most of these incidents occurred in the area around Ashburn Road (Route 641). A majority of the vehicles were unlocked and in three of the incidents windows were busted open for entry. Car stereos appeared to be the main targets in these larcenies.

Six of the break-ins occurred on Aberdeen Terrace, one on Downing Court, two on Carson Court, two on Shellhorn Road, one on Webster Court, and one on Camptown Court.

On Oct. 23, Sheriff's deputies responded to numerous calls of vehicle tampering and larcenies just north of Leesburg. Vehicles that were parked on and around Raspberry Drive had been entered and rummaged through. Some of the items removed from the vehicles included U.S. currency and several purses.

Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for the information that leads to the subjects' arrest and conviction. Anyone with information about the identity of these subjects is asked to call Loudoun County Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. The caller will never have to give their name, just the information that they want investigators to know. The caller will be assigned a number that is specific to the information that they provide, and this caller number is the key to getting the cash reward. The caller is eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000, from the Crime Solvers Organization if the information provided leads to the arrest and indictment in this case.

<ro>Early School Funding Approved

<bt>The day before Election Day, the Board of Supervisors finished business in 45 minutes. The six action items on the agenda were placed on the consent agenda with the board voting 9-0 in favor.

One of the items concerns eastern Loudoun to accelerate funding for a new Ashburn area elementary school to open in fall 2005 instead of in 2006. The School Board asked that $439,000 in Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) bonds be made available immediately to start the design phase of the project, estimated to cost $15.12 million for constructing and equipping the school. The school will be located in the Brambleton subdivision.

<sh>Route 659 May Get Expansion

<bt>County officials are working with developers on a public-private partnership to expand Route 659 to four lanes from Route 7 to Route 50.

"The Broad Run and Dulles districts share Route 659 as a major north-south road that is in desperate need of improvement," said Planning Commissioner John Murphy (At large). "A public-private partnership will allow this critical road to be constructed much quicker and with less interruption to those who live nearby."

Broadlands committed $4 million to the Route 659 improvements. Another three developers plan to provide $4 million based on the outcome of rezoning decisions. And the county has funds in its six-year capital improvements program.

The improvements are scheduled to be completed in 2015 under the Virginia Department of Transportation's schedule, a project the state estimates will cost $41 million.

"As a piecemeal project, improvements to Route 659 would waste millions of dollars," said Supervisor Charles Harris (D-Broad Run), adding that as a public-private project, the improvements "would be mapped out and construction coordinated with one construction company, which would save time and money."

<sh>Service Groups Identify Needs

<bt>Non-profit and public service agencies identified affordable housing and several other human service needs at the day-long "Tell Me About It" Loudoun Human Service Resource Fair and Community Forum held on Oct. 21.

Forty-five speakers representing non-profit and public service agencies spoke to another 60 participants about their organizations. After three hours of presentations, the participants broke into eight groups to identify the county's primary human service needs, including the need for affordable housing, improved access to medical and dental care and a comprehensive assessment of those needs, along with a lack of awareness in the community.

"There was a lot of good information," said Susan-Jane Stack, chief of special projects and resource development at the Department of Social Services. "The afternoon sessions brought to light different issues I was happy to see highlighted."

The sessions were a follow-up to the human services summit the Social Services and Community Services boards hosted five years ago that resulted in the Loudoun Human Services Network. The network and the Loudoun Volunteer Center hosted this year's forum to update the needs identified at the summit. A formal report will be compiled by the end of the month.

<sh>Public Hearing Scheduled

<bt>The next public hearing of the Board of Supervisors will be held Wednesday, Nov. 5, due to the election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E. in Leesburg.

The agenda and items for the public hearing as well as other documents related to the board's business meetings and standing committee meetings are available online at

<sh>Clemens To Hold Citizen Meetings

<bt>Gary M. Clemens, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, has begun a series of community meetings organized to provide information regarding public records in the circuit court clerk’s office, remote access to court records, legislation regarding public records, and privacy issues with public records. The Clerk has conducted citizen meetings in Leesburg, Ashburn and Purcellville with meetings organized for Potomac and Sugarland Districts on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 7:30–9 p.m., at Eastern Loudoun Regional Library, 21030 Whitfield Place, Sterling.

Meetings for the Catoctin and Sterling Districts will be announced in mid-November.

More information regarding the remote access system, general court information and services available in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office can be reviewed at .

The Clerk anticipates having frequently asked questions and information regarding remote access available on the Web site within the next two weeks.

<sh>Animal Shelter Encourages Holiday Adoptions

<bt>The Animal Shelter is participating in the Home 4 The Holidays international adoption drive Nov. 10-Jan. 4, 2004. The shelter is one of 1,200 shelters participating in the drive and last year adopted out 71 animals. Overall, the shelters adopted out 180,000 animals and aim to adopt out 225,000 animals this year.

Anyone who adopts a dog or cat during the holiday adoption drive will receive a dog or cat care booklet, as well as a gift from PETCO.

<sh>Holiday Programs Begin

<bt>The Community Holiday Coalition's "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" program is gearing up for the 8th annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Stores. The Thanksgiving and Christmas stores will help more than 1,000 Loudoun families in need, including more than 2,000 children. For the second year, Lerner Corporation, owner of Dulles Town Center, has donated space at the Dulles 28 Centre for use by the Coalition Stores. Dulles 28 Centre is located at the northwest corner of Route 28 and Waxpool Road in the old Best Company Building.

Families are determined eligible by income and can find applications at Loudoun County Social Services, Loudoun Interfaith Relief and the Good Shepherd Thrift Store.

The Holiday Coalition will be collecting and distributing gently used, clean winter coats and blankets. Coats are needed in all sizes, but especially those for children and teens. New gloves, hats and mittens will be distributed in December. Bring items to the Dulles 28 Centre on Sunday, Nov. 16, from noon-4 p.m., and on Monday, Nov. 17 through Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

In addition, many area businesses and all community centers have drop-offs for donations. Those wishing to participate as volunteers may call 703-737-8367. To donate cash or clothing, call the Holiday Hotline at 703-771-5718 or visit

<sh>Time Change for Nov. 12 Meeting

<bt>The meeting of the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 12, will begin at 4 p.m., one hour earlier than originally scheduled. The meeting will take place in the Lovettsville Room of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E. in Leesburg.

The meeting packet for the committee, which includes the agenda as well as action and information items, will be available online several days before the meeting at

<sh>Forum to Help Boost Tourism

<bt>U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) will host a forum Nov. 21 to help area tourist attractions benefit from the December opening of the Smithsonian's new Air & Space Museum annex near Washington Dulles International Airport.

"The opening of the new annex represents an exciting opportunity for the region's many businesses and tourist sites to tap into the new visitor pool coming to see this world-class facility," Wolf said. "How we take advantage of this opportunity can mean rewards for years to come."

A representative from the Smithsonian will provide an overview of the new museum and officials with Commonwealth's Virginia Tourism Corporation will discuss ways area attractions can market their sites to the three million visitors the new museum is expected to attract every year.

The forum, "Helping Our Tourism Industry Take Off," will be from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Cottage House at Oatlands Plantation, which is on Route 15 just south of Leesburg. Anyone involved in the tourism industry in the 10th District is encouraged to attend the free event. To register, contact Neil Siefring or Elizabeth Becker in Wolf's Washington office at 202-225-5136.

"With the opening of new Air and Space Museum, our region has the chance to promote its historic and tourist sites in a way it has never had before," Wolf said.

<sh>Make a Difference Day

<bt>Loudoun Volunteer Services invites families in Loudoun County to make a difference by volunteering in support of their community during National Family Volunteer Day on Nov. 22. The event is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving and kicks off National Family Week.

Loudoun Volunteer Services has put together a planning packet for groups or families that will provide some project ideas, "how to" tips and a registration form for an event.

For more information, or to receive a registration packet, contact Lisa Rose, Loudoun Volunteer Services at or call 703-777-0113. All materials are available online at

<sh>Leesburg Planning Meeting

<bt>The Town of Leesburg Planning Commission invites the public to attend a Visioning Session to discuss long-range urban growth issues on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Ida Lee Recreation Center, 50 Ida Lee Drive, N.W., Leesburg. For more information, visit, e-mail or call 703-771-2765.

<sh>Meeting on Purcellville Plan

<bt>The public input session on the update of the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan originally scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, has been rescheduled for Dec. 6. Details regarding format, time and location will be announced later.

A work session for property owners adjacent to the Town of Purcellville's corporate limits will be held Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Town of Purcellville office, 130 E. Main St., Purcellville.

The Joint Policies Review Committee will meet Dec. 16, at 5 p.m. at the Town office to discuss input from the earlier public work sessions. Comments from the sessions have been compiled and are available online at

The Town of Purcellville and Loudoun County are in the process of updating the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan, which contains land use goals and priorities for the area surrounding Purcellville's corporate limits. The area is known as the Joint Land Management Area (JLMA) and is jointly planned by the town and county.