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.

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Volunteer Ombudsman Program was selected as a winner in the National Association of CountiesÕ 2006 Acts of Caring Award, which recognizes top county volunteer programs in the country. The ombudsman program was established in 1985 to advocate for persons receiving long-term care services with a mission to ensure the highest quality of life and care.

The award was presented at a breakfast ceremony Thursday, May 4, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) had six volunteer ombudsmen during 2005. The volunteers are Bernie LaDue, Katherine Layton, Kathleen McCuistion, Emily Sprouse, Novella Whitehead, and James Wille.

Volunteers in the ombudsman program are assigned to a specific local nursing or assisted living facility, and make weekly visits, meeting one-on-one with residents.

The CountrySide Women's Club announces the new officers for the 2006-2007 year.

President, Teresa Bettac; first vice president, Diane Demakis; second vice president, Maryann Richard; treasurer, Sally Velt; and secretary, Joan Louise McCaffrey.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Sean Morgan and nine other statewide recipients were recognized for their efforts combating fraud at the Virginia Chapter of Special Investigation Units and the Insurance Fraud Program of the Virginia State PoliceÕs 2006 Fraud Seminar in Richmond in May. This is the second year that these awards have been given by the Virginia State Police. The award was created to recognize those individuals who set the standard for fighting insurance fraud in Virginia.

Morgan, a six-year veteran of the Office of the District Attorney in Oklahoma County, Okla., spent four years with the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) before joining Loudoun County in February 2005.

The Annual Fire and Rescue Services Awards Banquet, sponsored by the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue System, and Loudoun County Volunteer Retention and Recruitment Committee of the Fire and Rescue Commission, was held Thursday, May 18. The following awards were presented to outstanding fire and rescue members.

The Clark J. Deener Memorial Award, Kit Fraley, rescue chief at Arcola Volunteer Fire and Rescue Station. Instructor Awards: Nicolas Croce and Dave Beatty with EMS Instructors of the Year award and Irvin Chilcoat and Jim Kiser with Fire Instructors of the Year awards. John C. Carr Jr. Memorial Award, J.B. Anderson. The Fire and EMS Hall of Fame Award, honored posthumously, was Robert "Hap" Arnold. Length of Service Awards: for 30 years of service, Paul Cangemi, James Cunnigham, Charles Fletcher, Richard Gardner, James Graham, Neil Hall, Richard Huntley, Robert Isaacs and MC Ramaley; for 35 years of service, James Anderson, Dick Costello, Alan Dutton, Jeffrey Edwards, Jon Harding, James Kiser, Kenneth Lawson, Harry Pangle Jr., Harold Sensabaugh and Fenton Simpson; for 40 years of service, Clifton Walker; for 45 years of service, Robert Piggott, Melvin Partlow and John Caviness.

More than 70 volunteers from the Loudoun County Chapter of the American Red Cross took part in the Red Cross National Convention, at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center, May 11-14. The volunteers included five students from the class of Magi Shepley and Cornelius Snead at Park View High School in Sterling, who served as greeters at Dulles Airport. Many other Loudoun volunteers worked posts ranging from exhibit hall announcer to speaker liaison. Staff members of the Loudoun Red Cross, led by CEO Carol Barbe, attended the convention to help plan for future disaster needs. The convention drew more than 3,000 Red Crossers in the wake of last year's Hurricane Katrina, which prompted the agency's largest response to a single, natural disaster in its 125-year history.

May 21 marked the 125th anniversary of the American Red Cross serving the American public through times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training, and countless other community assistance services.

Del. David Poisson (D-32) has been appointed to represent the House of Delegates on two statewide commissions.

Poisson will be one of five House members Ñ and the only House Democrat Ñ to serve on the 13-member Manufacturing Development Commission. He will also serve as one of four House members on the Substance Abuse Services Council.

Poisson, a member of the House committees on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and Militia, Police and Public Safety, was elected to the House in November 2005.

Twenty leaders from the Class of 2006 have graduated from the Leadership Loudoun program during festivities held at River Creek Club in Leesburg, May 19.

Participants explored current challenges facing Loudoun County and learned how to become agents of change. Members of the Class of 2006 examined the issues of infrastructure, government services, diversity and access to human services.

Graduates were Bob Brewer, Z-Tech Corporation; Deirdre Cahill, Inova Loudoun Hospital; John Callahan, Town of Leesburg; Maggie Colucci, Rehau Inc.; Monika Dixit, Dulles Area Association of Realtors; Christine Freda, Town of Leesburg; Kathy Fetzer, Loudoun Literacy Council; Will Flagler, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management; Paula Harper, George Washington University Virginia Campus; Pat Jewell, Carter Braxton Real Estate; Todd Kapner, America Online; Eileen Kennedy, Middleburg Bank; Lisa Kilgour, Middleburg Bank; Karen McQuaid, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management; Gary Sherwood, America Online; Bob Steere, Reston Limousine; Dave Torraca, Loudoun County Office of Mapping and Geographic Information; Alicia Waning, La Voz of Loudoun; Sharon Wells, Loudoun Soccer; and Joan Ziemba, George Washington University Virginia Campus.

<lst>The Loudoun County Department of Services held a Foster Family Appreciation Luncheon, at the Outback Steakhouse in Sterling, May 6, to honor the agency's foster families. Bashar Kassir, manager/proprietor of the restaurant sponsored the event by opening his restaurant early for the group and donating all of the food.

An engraved photo album, framed certificate and bouquet of red roses were presented to Loudoun County's Foster Parents of the Year, Gloria and Randy Baer.

Certificates of appreciation were awarded to the following foster families, Rosaria and Kent Butterfield, Maria Robohn, Desiree and Frederick Washington, Natalia and Al Morro, Janet and Ron Arp, Louise and Phill Gross, Lorraine and Tim Sawyer, Marna and Larry Zok and Cindy and Chuck Gavelek.

Community service awards were presented to Judge Pamela Brooks; Elizabeth Weaver and Deborah Shiffelette and their organization, PAC of LOVE; Karen Velez, Holiday Coalition and Summer Camp Committee and Kassir. A final community service award was presented to director Robert Chirles for his leadership, advocacy and protection of the foster-care program here at Loudoun County Department of Family Services.

Nick Kraynack, son of Amy and James Kraynack of Ashburn, was named an All-American Scholar At-large Award Winner at the United States Achievement Academy. Nick will appear in the All-American Scholar Official Yearbook, which is published nationally. He is a student at Belmont Ridge Middle School.

The academy recognizes fewer than 10 percent of American high-school students. Winners are based on the Standards of Selection, which include grade point average, student achievements and a well-balanced schedule of academics and extracurricular actives.

Najib Salehi, Loudoun County's energy manager, has been elected to the board of directors of the Virginia Energy Purchasing Governmental Association (VEPGA) for a three-year term.

VEPGA was formed in 2002, after being authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia with the passage of the Electric Utility Restructuring Act in 1999. The group's functions include procurement of electric power on behalf of its 171 member jurisdictions and negotiation for electric transmission and distribution services with Dominion Virginia Power.

As Loudoun County's energy manager, Salehi works to minimize annual energy cost increases for county-occupied facilities and to restrain the county's energy costs despite a volatile energy market and fast-paced growth environment. Salehi has been with the county since November 2004.

Salehi has more than 20 years of utility/energy management experience. He is a certified energy manager and is certified in energy procurement.

Iris Angelica Leguizamo of Loudoun, center director, NOVA Child Development Center, was appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), to the Start Strong Pre-K Council, which will focus on developing an affordable, effective and efficient blueprint for expanding access to high-quality, prekindergarten education to every child in Virginia.

The Start Strong Pre-K Council will develop strategies to build on the existing network of public, private and faith-based providers across the commonwealth. The council will meet at least quarterly to oversee the development of early childhood education programs. Members of the Council will serve without compensation.

The following local students graduated from the University of Mary Washington May 13: John Fuentes, master of education degree, Chantilly; Ashley Gibson, English BA, Sterling; Kathryn Hershberger, English BA, Sterling; Lindsey Hyde, history BA, Leesburg; Jessica Kicha, biology BS, cum laude, Ashburn; Sarah Lintelman, English BA, Sterling; Jessica Noble, English BA, Leesburg; Angela Roth, history BA, cum laude, Potomac Falls; Christopher Spida, philosophy BA, Sterling and David Steele, Latin BA, Leesburg.

ÒExcellence in the Arts,Ó LoudounÕs arts competition for student artists, was held May 6. The Loudoun Arts Council awarded cash prizes to first-, second- and third-place winners in the following seven categories Winners were: in theater, first place, Erin Rust, home school; second place, Alexandra Miheala Wicker, Broad Run High School;third place, Catherine Oliver, Loudoun Valley High School. In literary, first place, Abe Annis, Heritage High School; second place, Lydia Smith, Notre Dame Academy; third place, Whitney Cavin, Potomac Falls High School. In dance, first place, Laurel Snyder, Loudoun Valley High School; second place, Lindsey Miller, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Brittney Miller, Broad Run High School. In instrumental, first place, Ana Rosario Quijano, Notre Dame Academy; second place, Christian Rippe, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Raashi Kulkarni, Stone Bridge High School; honorable mention, Annelise Harder, home school; honorable mention, William Keran, home school. In piano, first place, Kulkarni; second place, Michelle Eve Laurent, Broad Run High School; third place, Phillip Roberts, Dominion High School; honorable mention, Matthew Mennickelly, Dominion High School. In visual, first place, Dane Cozens, Stone Bridge High School; second place, Annis; third place, Stacey Swann, Potomac Falls High School; honorable mention, Shea Carney, Notre Dame Academy. In voice, first place, Jacob X. Mason, home school; second place, Katie Skinner, Stone Bridge High School; third place, Heather Vereb, Park View High School; honorable mention, Rippe.

Rachel Branch of Herndon has become recognized as a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, National Leadership and Honors Organization at James Madison University.

This honor is among three recently bestowed upon Branch, as she has also received recognition and honor with membership into the National Honor Society of Collegiate Scholars, as well as Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in