Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454. This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce has the following upcoming events:

* Business Showcase Breakfast, Thursday, Jan. 12, 7:30-9 a.m., Belmont Country Club, 19961 Belmont Manor Lane,

Ashburn. Tickets: $15 for members in advance; $20 for members at the door; $25 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required no later than Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m. RSVP to or call 703-777-2176.

* Federal Contracting Strategy Session, Thursday, Jan. 19, 8 a.m. The chamber will be holding a strategy session to decide how to best support its federal contractor/subcontractor members and provide information to those interested in learning more about the opportunities available in the federal sector. Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, 101 Blue Seal Drive, Suite 100, Leesburg. Free, however, preregistration required. RSVP to

* Chamber Day in Richmond, Tuesday, Jan. 24. Bus departs at 7 a.m. Participants will meet with their General Assembly members one-on-one and have the opportunity to hear from Virginia's newly elected top government leaders. $40 per person chamber members only, includes lunch. Transportation van departs from the chamber office in Leesburg, at 7 a.m. Reserved a seat by e-mailing

Local area vendors are invited to the 2005 Loudoun County

Procurement's Buyer/Seller Information Exchange sessions. The purpose of these informal sessions is to give area businesses the opportunity to meet the county's procurement staff and become familiar with the county's procurement process. The next round of sessions are as follows:

* Monday, Jan. 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

* Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, April 21, 2 p.m.

* Friday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.

* Thursday, June 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.

The sessions will be held in the Lovettsville Room on the first floor of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E., in Leesburg. Call 703-771-5142 or send an e-mail to

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, the California-based Mexican chain, raised more than $11,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: National Capital Area Chapter (LLS). On Thursday, Dec. 15, all 23 area Baja Fresh locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia participated in the all-day fund-raiser, which donated 15 percent of all store net sales to the society.

Snappy Auctions of Ashburn has opened at 44260 Ice Rink Plaza, Suite 104, in the Cameron Chase Village Center in Ashburn and will be celebrating its grand opening in January. Snappy Auctions of Ashburn is an independently owned franchise and is operated by Ashburn residents Nicole and Donald Chapell and is affiliated with the chain of eBay consignment centers launched in 2003 in Nashville, Tenn., by Debbie Gordon.

The Loudoun Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, has joined a national, profession-driven quality improvement initiative called ÒQuality First,Ó which builds on the federal governmentÕs Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) that was inaugurated to publicly report key quality measures for nursing facilities to help consumers select a facility. At its inception, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and key labor and other groups, including AARP, endorsed Quality First.

A facility must formally pledge to the Quality First covenant. By taking the voluntary pledge, facilities agree to abide by the initiativeÕs core principles and to meet or exceed the six performance outcomes, which are: improvement in compliance with federal regulations; progress in promoting financial integrity and preventing occurrences of fraud; progress in the quality of clinical outcomes and prevention of confirmed abuse and neglect; improvement in all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continuous quality improvement measures; improvement in customer satisfaction; and improvement in employee retention and turnover rates.

Blue Ridge Meats donated 500 pounds of deer meat to the LINK Thanksgiving Program Nov. 19. The meat was cut into steaks, roasts, tenderloins and venison burger. Blue Ridge Meats will again donate 1,000 pounds of meat to support the LINK Christmas Program Dec. 17, at Christ the Redeemer Catholic in Sterling and Trinity Presbyterian in Herndon. More than 400 families, comprising 2,000 people, are expected to register for this event.

Blue Ridge Meats has been in business since 1990 and is owned by Doug and Lois Aylestock, who became partners with Hunters for the Hungry in 1991 and have processed venison for the area food banks Ñ Seven Loaves, Middleburg; Interfaith Relief, Leesburg; Messiah's Market, Sterling; the Good Shepherd Alliance, Sterling and Food for Others, Fairfax Ñ to assist those who might need some extra assistance in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

Provident Bank has launched a corporate-wide initiative and multicultural outreach model aimed at meeting the banking needs of Loudoun CountyÕs growing Hispanic community. Thirteen branches in the greater Washington area, including the Sterling Shoppers Food Warehouse (SFW) branch located at 47100 Community Plaza, will serve as pilot locations for the new initiative and will offer products, services, and community outreach programs targeted specifically toward Hispanics.

A range of services, including a ÒLanguage LineÓ interpreter service, have been put in place to meet the banking needs of Hispanic customers, while also providing them with better accessibility. These resources include acceptance of the Matricula Consular Card, bilingual Spanish ATM options and the ITIN Mortgage product for permanent and non-permanent residents.

BeckITSystems, a technology management company for small- and mid-sized organizations, was named Small Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. BeckITSystems was previously named the Loudoun County Technology Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in 2004. The award recognizes BeckITSystems for exemplifying achievement and excellence in business serving the Greater Washington area.

Van Metre Companies donated $140,000 to four Loudoun County organizations as part of its 50th anniversary. Van Metre donated $35,000 each to the following programs: Loudoun Community Free Clinic, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management Department, Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Loudoun Youth Initiative.

Bryan Dearing, chief executive officer of the future Broadlands Regional Medical Center of Loudoun County, a member of the HCA family of health-care facilities, presented Shenandoah University with a check for $75,000 in early January. The gift supplements the $100,000 HCA presented to the university, last September, to support nursing education in Loudoun County.

The funds will benefit SUÕs nursing program and underwrite the salary of a full-time nursing coordinator at SUÕs Northern Virginia Campus, as well as allow for the purchase of supplies, equipment and testing materials.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia and the Anthem Foundation have awarded grants totaling $30,000 to the Loudoun County Free Clinic. The grant allocates $20,000 to be used for cancer screening programs and $10,000 to help support the clinicÕs operational expenses.

The Loudoun Library Foundation has a new partnership with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in support of the foundation's 2006 book sale. ASE agreed to commit space, 101 Blue Seal Drive, Leesburg Airpark, for book in-take and sorting through the June 23-25 book sale. The books are collected throughout the year and sorted by volunteers. The collection center is open every Wednesday and Saturday, from 9 a.m.-noon, for donations.

Tech-Knowledgy Services LLC of Ashburn, an outsourced IT solutions provider for small to mid-sized businesses, celebrates its fifth year in business serving a growing client base with an expanding array of technical services.