Science Center finds home in Loudoun

8-year-old Ananya demonstrates her invention, a “rolling aquarium,” which she created in the Children’s Science Center’s Garage.

When visitors enter the Children’s Science Center, they are greeted by two distinct sides of the small museum.

To the left is the Experiment Bar, where children conduct science experiments, assisted by family members, staff members and volunteers. To the right, mounted on the wall, is an enormous periodic table of elements showing the names of the museum’s major benefactors.

The Experiment Bar is one of the most popular features of the center, which offers interactive scientific activities for children and their families. The element wall honors the donors who helped open the center, marketing director Dorothy Ready said.

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The Washington Post, July 9, 2017

Randall: Exciting times in Loudoun

In her annual State of the County presentation, Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) described Loudoun as strong, thriving and “standing on the cusp of an exciting future.”

A standing-room-only crowd that included business leaders and public officials from across the region packed the Board of Supervisors’ meeting room Wednesday, as Randall recapped the county’s successes of the past year. She also pointed out some of the challenges associated with Loudoun’s high cost of living, including the lack of workforce housing and an inadequate pay scale for public safety workers.

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The Washington Post, May 28, 2017

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

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

New folk school opens in Waterford

A new school opening in Waterford asks people to step away from their screens for three days and focus on learning traditional crafts and skills.

The Waterford Heritage Crafts School will offer its first classes Friday through next Sunday, giving students a chance to receive a hands-on introduction to archaeology or to learn how to restore antique windows, make quilts or mix and apply lime mortar.

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Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2016

 

Museum gets one more chance

The Loudoun Museum has been given one last chance to get its financial house in order.

The Board of Supervisors on July 21 approved an agreement with the museum that will provide $156,000 in funding to keep it operating through June, by a 7-1-1 vote. Ron A. Meyer (R-Broad Run) opposed the plan, and Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) was absent.

The agreement spells out quarterly milestones the museum must meet to receive the funds, and requires each member of the museum’s board of trustees to contribute or raise at least $3,000 annually.

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Washington Post, July 31, 2016

Authors to sign sports-themed books

As the public information officer for the Loudoun County school system, Wayde Byard is one of the best-known local officials. In winter, children, parents and school staff members eagerly anticipate hearing his voice on phone alerts announcing weather-related school closings.

Now Byard is directing his voice toward a new audience, as the author of a history of the Washington Redskins. His first book, “The Burgundy and Gold Standard,” has been published by Mascot Books, which is based in Herndon.

Byard and two other local authors will sign their sports-related books Tuesday at an event in Ashburn. Joining Byard will be Andrea Alexander, who has written two sports biographies for children, and Ann Good, author of “Washington Nationals A to Z.” The event will raise funds for Glory Days Live, a nonprofit group Alexander is launching to raise money and equipment to help children from low-income families play sports.

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Washington Post, July 24, 2016

New mural for Leesburg garage

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Leesburg artist Kevin Dunn

With the help of some local high school students, Leesburg artist Kevin Dunn is adding a splash of color to one of the drab gray walls of Leesburg’s downtown parking garage.

Last weekend, several art students from Tuscarora and Heritage high schools joined Dunn in painting a bicycle-themed mural he designed to serve as a backdrop to some bike racks inside the garage. Dunn and other proponents of bringing art to public places hope the project will revive interest in creating a larger mural on an exterior wall of the garage.

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Washington Post, June 19, 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