Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

Three-time gymnastic Olympian and gold medalist, Dominique Dawes, paid a visit to the "Go Girls Go!" spring break camp, March 21-25, for middle-school students hosted by the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. The girls in attendance learned self-defense moves, went rock climbing, were coached by certified basketball players and personal fitness instructors, and heard inspirational stories from guest speakers, as well as women living in the local community. "Go Girls Go!" camps are sponsored by Girls Inc. a grant-funded youth prevention program operated locally by the Youth Services Division of PRCS.

Nearly 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world think of each other and learn about other cultures on World Thinking Day. Especially in the United States, Thinking Day is celebrated with internationally themed events, and troops often pick this time of year to learn about cultures from other nations and Scouting or Guiding in other countries. Cadette Troop 2462 was responsible for organizing the event for Service Unit 70-03. They also collected donations for the GS natural disaster relief fund.

Twenty-nine local residents completed the Loudoun County training program for Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers March 17. They began training in January and have received over 60 hours of training in basic horticulture topics including botany, soils and fertilizers, entomology, woody and herbaceous plants, water quality, plant pathology, diagnostics, landscape design, and communication. The purpose of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener training program is to train volunteers to assist Extension staff in providing community outreach education on horticulture topics.

Senior Deputy Matt Powell earned his first world championship in March in the 2005 Arnold Schwarzenegger World Gracie Submission Championships.

More than 1,500 competitors from around the world traveled to Columbus, Ohio the weekend of March 5 and 6 for the event. Powell was one of the competitors representing team Relson Gracie. He submitted his opponent with an ankle/foot lock to win the world championship for the heavy

weight (200-213 pounds) masters section.

The competition was inspired by the Gracie style of Jiu-Jitsu named after Brazilian pioneer Carlos Gracie, a man of small stature who believed that even a weak person physically has an equal chance to win in life, as long as they have the confidence to not let anyone or any situation intimidate them.

Powell is a three-time national champion and is currently assigned to the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy as a defensive tactics instructor.

Scott W. Bashore has been hired as Loudoun County's new

manager of broadband services, effective April 7.

Bashore, 38, has more than 10 years experience in the

telecommunications industry, most recently as a senior program manager in broadband services at America Online (AOL). He also served as director of broadband services at PSINet, where he worked from 1997-2001.

In his newly created position in the county's Department of

Information Technology, Bashore will be responsible for promoting the development of broadband services throughout the county, monitoring the quality of broadband services, participating in community development processes and promoting the development of a county government

institutional network (I-Net).

He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the

University of Mary Washington and expects to complete a master's degree in business administration at Virginia Tech this May.

Sascha du Lac and Joseph P. Noel, both basic research scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, were selected for the position of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.

Du Lac focuses on how the brain learns to stabilize an image on the retina of the eye and compensate for head movement. In plants and microbes, biochemist Noel searches for the roots of biological diversity at the chemical level. Through this research, he hopes to harness and alter the biosynthetic pathways, needed to produce complex molecular scaffolds that will expedite the development of effective medicines.

The two Salk scientists are among the 10 California-based researchers selected as new HHMI investigators. With du Lac's and Noel's appointments, the Salk Institute's 57-member faculty will have seven scientists who are HHMI investigators. Du Lac and Noel are among 43 researchers nationwide newly designated as HHMI investigators. These 43 researchers increase the HHMI's total investigators nationwide to almost 350.