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

H.S. performance of Ghost the Musical draws notice

A special guest was watching Jan. 27 as students from Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn gave a spirited performance of “Ghost the Musical.”

Jim Hoare, an executive with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, traveled from New York to view the students’ interpretation of a version of the Broadway musical that was adapted for use by high school theater groups. He wanted to observe several innovations the students made in set design and stagecraft, to see whether other schools could also use them.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2017

Loudoun’s IT system costs mounting

The cost of bringing Loudoun County’s computerized financial management systems into the 21st century continues to mount.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously June 23 to reassign the trouble-plagued project from AST, the company that had been contracted to do the upgrade, to Oracle America. The board also pumped almost $4.8 million into the project, pushing the total cost above $46 million — nearly twice the initial budget of $25 million.

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Washington Post, 7/3/16

Teen’s nonprofit tutors hundreds of kids

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Arvind Chava (left) tutors Katherine Fonseca, 10

Arvind Chava believes that a good education is the pathway to a better life. And the 17-year-old high school senior is doing something about it — not only for himself, but also for hundreds of children in southeastern Fairfax County.

Two years ago, he started STEMWISE, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school tutoring and online classes to about 400 children, many of whom are from low-income families. Through the program, Arvind and about 50 of his classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology help children with math and science at 10 community centers.

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Washington Post, December 9, 2015

They’re no dummies!

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Simulation lab at GWU’s School of Nursing

It was harrowing, student nurse Lisa Bowen said.

Her patient was undergoing a medical procedure on his kidney. Shortly after Bowen attached an IV to give him blood, he began showing signs of a severe allergic reaction.

“I can’t breathe,” he gasped. His arm felt itchy, he said, and his heart began racing. Bowen quickly detached the IV and called for a doctor.

Although allergic reactions can be life-threatening, Bowen never worried that her patient would die — because he was not alive. He was one of a growing number of high-tech, lifelike manikins that the George Washington University School of Nursing in Ashburn uses to train students.

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Washington Post, December 6, 2015

Financial systems delayed again

For the third time this year, the ongoing $41.4 million upgrade of Loudoun County’s aging financial management systems — which handle core computer functions such as accounting, procurement, assessments, taxation and human resources for the county government — missed a scheduled completion date.

The Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million in its fiscal 2010 budget to replace the system, but the cost of the upgrade has exceeded that amount by more than 65 percent.

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Washington Post, October 18, 2015

Solarization in Dumfries

Solarize NOVA, a program that offers free on-site energy assessments and bulk purchasing discounts for the conversion to solar power, is available to homeowners and businesses in Dumfries through Nov. 10.

As part of the program, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Local Energy Alliance Program, Dumfries homeowners can use a new online mapping tool to estimate how much energy they could save by converting to solar power. The program bases savings predictions on factors such as the size of the roof and the amount of sunlight the building receives, said Robert W. Lazaro, director of regional energy planning for NVRC.

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Washington Post, September 13, 2015

Going solar in Fairfax

Homeowners in Herndon, Vienna and Falls Church have until Tuesday to take advantage of a program that can make it more affordable to start powering their homes with solar energy.

The Solarize NOVA program helps homeowners save money on converting to solar power through free home assessments and bulk discounts, said officials with the Local Energy Alliance Program, which sponsors the initiative with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

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Washington Post, June 25, 2015

Cyber-defense competition

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Four eighth-graders from Bull Run Middle School in Gainesville tested their skills and knowledge of computer security last month in the National Cyber Defense Competition, which is sponsored by the Air Force Association. The Bull Run team placed 11th in a field of about 200 middle school teams from across the country.

Washington Post, February 15, 2015

Education Center at landfill

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Prince William County officials last week unveiled plans for a STEM Education Center at the county’s sanitary landfill on Dumfries Road near Independent Hill.

Billed as an interpretative education center for science, technology, engineering and math, the facility would be used to teach students and the public about environmental issues and challenges.

Washington Post, February 1, 2015