<sh>Storm Causes Road Closures
<bt>Heavy rains Wednesday afternoon flooded two roads in Ashburn that became impassable and had to be shut down to traffic.
“There was some pooling on the roads because it was coming down so quickly, it didn’t have time to drain,” said Kraig Troxell, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.
The county shut down Belmont Ridge Road, or Route 659, and Stubble Road at about 2-2:30 p.m. and kept the roads closed for about four hours. Belmont Road was closed from Route 7 to Stubble Road, which was closed up to Ashburn Road, or Route 641.
During the storm, water pooled on various roads throughout the county. Several roads experienced flooding but did not have to be closed, including Allder School Road, or Route 711, at Hillsboro Road, or Route 690, and the 22500 block of Watson Road.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to seven automobile accidents from 1-4 p.m., at least two of them related to the storm. “Fortunately, none of them were serious,” Troxell said.
<sh>County Employee Arrested
<bt>A former county employee was arrested Nov. 12 for soliciting a bribe from a contractor working for the county.
Benjamin Franklin Johnson, 48, of Reston, allegedly contacted a contractor who was doing work in the Belmont Green subdivision between late August and Nov. 5. Johnson, who worked in the county Department of Building and Development, allegedly promised to sign off on the contractor’s work and give him inside information on future projects in exchange for money.
The contractor contacted his attorney about the bribe, and the attorney contacted the Department of Building and Development. The Sheriff’s Office was informed of the incident on Oct. 31 and contacted the Commonwealth Attorney on Nov. 3. The Commonwealth Attorney issued a warrant for Johnson’s arrest. He was arrested in his home and released on a $5,000 secured bond. He was arraigned on Nov. 19.
“It’s not an unusual case. It’s unusual in that it’s a county employee involved in a bribery,” said Kraig Troxell, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.
County Administrator Kirby M. Bowers released a statement Nov. 19 concerning the arrest:
"Earlier this month, the Loudoun County Department of Building and Development received a report that one of its employees had attempted to solicit a bribe from an outside contractor working with the department.
"The matter was brought to the attention of the County Attorney, who in turn referred it to the Sheriff's Office for investigation. As a result of that investigation, the employee was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 12, and charged with solicitation of a bribe. The employee was placed on administrative leave (with pay) on Nov. 13, 2003.
"Because this is a personnel matter, and because criminal charges are pending, I will have no further comment on this matter at this time," Bowers said.
<sh>Full SOL Accreditation
<bt>For the second straight year, the Loudoun County Public Schools received full accreditation under Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL).
The Virginia Department of Education announced last week that all 54 Loudoun schools taking the SOL tests in 2003 had at least 70 percent of their students pass tests in English, mathematics, history and science. Statewide, 78 percent of schools received full accreditation.
"We're very pleased that we still have all of our schools accredited," said Sharon Ackerman, assistant superintendent for instruction, adding, "It doesn't become routine because each year you're testing a different group of students and, for us, with the number of schools we're opening, it might even be a different school."
The Department of Education adopted the SOLs in 1995 and requires schools to meet the standards by 2007 or lose accreditation.
<sh>First Night Volunteers Sought
<bt>The First Night Leesburg Committee is calling for volunteers and business sponsors to help with its family-focused celebration of the arts held on New Year's Eve. First Night, the New Year's celebration of the performing arts sponsored for the families, friends and neighbors of Loudoun County, relies on more than 100 volunteers each year.
The First Night Committee is looking for volunteers on New Year’s Eve to help with one of four shifts between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. The Committee is particularly interested in hearing from business and civic groups that would like to help with financial contributions, volunteer as a group at a site or take on special work projects. Individuals and/or groups interested in volunteering at the 2003 First Night Leesburg Celebration should contact Ann Langdon at 703-777-6306. Businesses interested in sponsoring First Night should contact Amy Cross-Monroe at 703-669-1650. For general information, write Volunteers, First Night Leesburg, P.O. Box 203, Leesburg, Virginia 20178, or go to www.bluemont.org.
<sh>Supervisors To Meet with Seniors
<bt>The newly elected board members from Sugarland Run District, D.M. “Mick” Staton Jr. (R), and the Potomac District, Bruce E. Tulloch (R), will be at the Loudoun County Senior Center at Cascades Marketplace, 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling, on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 1:30 p.m. to talk about issues facing seniors in Loudoun County.
All seniors are invited. Contact the Senior Center at 703-430-2397 for directions or questions.
<bt>The Board of Supervisors has approved the establishment of integrated communal water and wastewater utilities in a section of eastern Loudoun.
The board acted on an application by the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority (LCSA) to define the service area and facilities plan for the Lower Sycolin and Goose Creek sub-areas. These are sub-areas of the Transition Policy Area established by the county's Revised Comprehensive Plan. The properties affected are generally located south of Sycolin Creek, west of Goose Creek, west and south of Beaverdam Reservoir and east of Route 621.
The LCSA proposal would establish up to three water storage tanks — one in Lower Sycolin and two in Middle Goose — with a capacity of 250,000 gallons each and a wastewater treatment plant in both sub-areas.
The county's Comprehensive Plan supports the implementation of communal water and wastewater systems in the sub-areas as a way to assure the quality and quantity of groundwater and to protect it from contamination from septic tanks and drainfields.
<sh>World AIDS Day Observance
<bt>The public is invited to participate in a World AIDS Day observance on Monday, Dec. 1, at the Dulles Town Center, from 4-7 p.m.
The event will feature guest speakers from the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, an interactive, educational game about AIDS and HIV, music by the Crossroads United Methodist Church, and a Circle of Remembrance to honor those who have died of AIDS and those who are living with the disease. Quilted material from the INOVA Juniper Program will be on display and educational material about AIDS will be distributed. The theme of this year's observance is "Live and Let Live."
Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, will serve as the emcee of the event, which is sponsored by the Loudoun County HIV/AIDS Issues Group. The group includes the Loudoun County Health Department, the Office of Housing Services, the Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse, the Department of Social Services and the Fairfax Community Services Board.
For more information, contact Geraldine Stile-Killian of the Loudoun County Health Department at 703-771-5820.
<sh>Housing Program Receives State Recognition
<bt>Loudoun County's home sharing program, Operation Match, has received statewide recognition. Operation Match was named "Best Housing Program" when the Virginia Housing Awards were presented at the Governor's Housing Conference on Nov. 13.
Operation Match offers choices to people who might otherwise have limited options. The program provides an opportunity for individuals who want to share their homes with someone in need of a place to live. Home sharing offers advantages to both parties, including extra income and reduced housing costs.
Since the inception of the program in 2000, Operation Match has helped 300 applicants locate affordable housing. For more information on the program, visit www.loudoun.gov/housing or call 703-777-0389.
<sh>Meeting on Purcellville
<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 www.loudoun.gov/compplan/purcellville.htm.
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.