Faces of Loudoun campaign starts

 

Faces of Loudoun poster display

Josette Zahinda says that a brochure saved her life.

The Ashburn resident said her doctor had noticed, over the course of several visits, that she didn’t look well. The physician suspected Zahinda was a victim of domestic violence and, when she wasn’t looking, slipped a brochure into her purse. She found it later, at home.

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The Washington Post, March 12, 2017

Loudoun proposes $2.5 billion budget

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet kicked off the county’s annual budget review process Wednesday by presenting a proposed spending plan for fiscal 2018 that funds almost all of the school system’s request and provides staffing for several new facilities while holding property tax bills steady.

The $2.5 billion budget complies with the Board of Supervisors’ demand for a plan that avoids increasing the average homeowners’ tax bills. It would boost local funding by $61 million for the school system and $27.7 million for the general county government.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2017

Deputies learning about autism

Drew Gutenson loves to talk about his collection of prescription eyeglasses and his fondness for playgrounds — slides, swings, trampolines and zip lines.

Gutenson, who describes himself as a high-functioning adult with autism, knows that some skills are particularly challenging for him, such as sensing when people don’t want to talk to him. He also understands that his fondness for playgrounds can be a source of concern for those who don’t know him.

“I have a beard,” he said. “If they see an older adult with a beard on a playground, most people think it’s not good at all.”

Gutenson, 25, of Lovettsville spoke to a group of 14 sheriff’s deputies and other criminal justice professionals in Leesburg on Tuesday at the advocacy group the Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs and other services for people with disabilities.

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Help for domestic violence victims

Derek Summers Jr. wants victims of domestic violence to know there are people who can help them. They just need to know where to go for assistance.

Shortly after the violent death of Christina Fisher of Leesburg in April, Summers joined with friends and family members to form the Citizens Committee Against Domestic Violence. The group had a community meet-and-greet expo Aug. 27 in Leesburg, for people to learn about resources available for domestic violence victims. The plan is to make the expo an annual event.

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Washington Post, Sept. 4, 2016

Interview with Phyllis J. Randall

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Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) became chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in January. She previously had a 26-year career as a mental health therapist, mostly in Prince William County, where she provided substance abuse services for offenders.

The Washington Post recently met with Randall, 51, to discuss her first five months in office and her goals for the rest of her term. The following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

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Washington Post, June 5, 2016

Loudoun supervisors adopt budget

Torn between the competing goals of fully funding the school board’s budget request and avoiding a tax increase, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors settled on a compromise spending plan Tuesday for fiscal 2017.

Three Republican supervisors joined three Democrats to approve a $2.46 billion budget that slightly raises the real property tax rate but falls about $16.9 million short of the school board’s request. The school board is now considering options for closing the gap.

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Washington Post, April 10, 2016

 

Walking to prevent teen suicide

On Wednesday, Woodgrove students and staff members will take part in a 1.5-mile “We’re All Human” walk to raise awareness of teen suicide. The walk will be co-sponsored by the Ryan Bartel Foundation, which was created by Ryan’s parents to help prevent such deaths. Organizers say they hope the walk will encourage students who are considering taking their lives to reach out for help.

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Washington Post, April 3, 2016

Help for people after first psychotic episode

Prince William and Loudoun counties are among eight localities in Virginia that have begun offering care to young adults who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode.

The programs — GetOnTrack in Prince William and LINC (Linking Individuals & Navigating Care) in Loudoun — aim to help clients recover by providing treatment and support services soon after their first psychotic break. The programs also help families cope with a life-changing experience that one mother described as “overwhelming.”

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Washington Post, February 7, 2016

Turning Point for young adults in crisis

Two Fairfax County organizations have united on a program that provides immediate help to young adults who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and PRS, a nonprofit mental health service provider, launched Turning Point last year to help stabilize young people 16 to 25 who have recently had a psychotic break, officials said. The outpatient program aims to improve clients’ chances of long-term recovery by helping them during the onset of their illness.

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Washington Post, January 13, 2016

40 hikes at age 40

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When Stephanie Manning decided to mark her 40th birthday by completing 40 hikes in one year, she was celebrating more than her age.

A few days earlier, Manning had begun to emerge from a deep, six-month postpartum depression. Embarking on a year of hikes, she said, helped her to overcome that and to reconnect with family members and friends in ways she had never expected.

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Washington Post, September 27, 2015