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    River Creek & Lansdowne
    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: The Gettysburg Address
    I doubt Abraham Lincoln had any inkling that his speech at Gettysburg written on the back of an envelope, delivered in under three minutes, would endure and be immortalized for 150 years. Even less likely that this same address would become the subject of an uplifting contest at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Lansdowne.

    Robert Morissette, fourth year special education teacher at Belmont, came up with the concept after hearing about it from Greenwood School in Vermont. The program is aimed he says at students who, “have difficulty in reading and with vocabulary and for boosting confidence.” His hopes that fear of failure won’t keep students from participating and to ‘get the school as a whole involved.”

    Beginning in October, students, parents, administration and faculty will be invited to memorize the Gettysburg Address. “Selected teachers will test students and if they make less than five errors [in reading it aloud to the teacher] they become qualified.” Participants can take the test as many times as they want to gain recognition in February.

    The Gettysburg Address consists of 272 words, Morissette says. “It’s a small stepping stone.”

    Sign-ups will begin Nov. 5. When I spoke with him, he made reference to the similarity between Lincoln’s speech and that of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

    “They both talk about the way things were, the way they are now and how they will be or should be in the future.”

    He has also gone outside the school to the Washington Nationals, the Capitals and others challenging them to participate. He and members of the faculty have formed a team to layout the ground rules and administer the program.

    Bluegrass and barbecue special

    On Friday, Sept. 20 from 2 to 6 p.m., the musical group, Jack’s Flats will be performing at the Lansdowne on the Potomac clubhouse. People will be whooping it up and dining on a selection of barbecue, beer and wine. The kids will have access to rock climbing, turbo tubs, spider climber, moon bounce and obstacle course. Admission fees range from $5 to $25 for residents depending on age; $5 to $35 for non-resident guests.

    While munching on barbecue, cole slaw and baked beans, the crowd can enjoy bluegrass, combinations of “pop, modern and classic rock songs.” With a “cocktail drum kit to get people dancing.”

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    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Remembering 9/11
    Former River Creek resident Ernie Carpico.
    Former River Creek resident Ernie Carpico was the captain on a United flight that took off from Frankfurt, Germany, bound for Dulles Airport at noon on Sept. 11, 2001, along with a full flight crew and 300 passengers.

    ““We had just left the coastline when a British Airliner reported they had heard over BBC that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We first thought maybe a private plane had wandered off course. Right after that we got word that a second plane had hit the WTC.”

    After trying to get more information to no avail, he said, “When we reached the midpoint of our flight over the Atlantic we received a message saying that U.S. air space had been closed and that we had to land somewhere else. We still didn’t know for sure what had happened. We were on our own.”

    The flight crew discussed several options, including Ireland, as they still were unaware of the circumstances. A short while later they heard from United that it had been a terrorist attack. Carpico decided they should return to Frankfurt.

    “We had plenty of fuel and the weather favored us. Then we had to think that we might have some bad guys on board so we couldn’t let anyone know that we would be reversing course. Before gradually turning around we disabled the air show that indicates the location of the plane on the individual monitors.”

    The flight crew learned from the manifest that they had 15 U.S. military personnel on board.

    “We called them individually and discreetly into the galley where the chief purser briefed them and asked for their help in securing the aircraft. We had a couple of them hang around the cockpit area and others near the exits.”

    As they reversed course, Carpico said they made an extra wide turn to head back to Frankfurt. One “little old lady” in the rear of the plane commented that the sun had been on the other side of the plane.

    “Once we were over land again, I made the announcement of what had happened. There was almost complete quiet among the passengers.” They stayed in Frankfurt three days before returning safely to the states.

    Passengers wrote Carpico letters of commendation. He said simply, “It’s my job.” Carpico continued flying until his retirement a few years ago.
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    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Dialogues of Discovery
    The Janelia Farm Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Lansdowne sponsors quarterly lectures involving a variety of subjects related to medical science. On Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., the institute will have host “Unraveling Infectious Disease Mysteries Through Genomics.” We have previously attended lectures and they are fashioned to be understood by laymen. Acoustics are excellent as is visibility from every seat in the amphitheater at the campus. A giant screen supplements the lecture with related videos, graphs and illustrations.

    On this occasion Dr. Joseph DeRisi of the University of Southern California, San Francisco will “describe both the tools and the application of new approaches to the study of infectious disease in veterinary and human medicine, highlighting the surprising findings that have come as a result.”

    The doors for the lecture will open at 6:30 p.m. at which time you can enjoy refreshments before the program starts at 7 p.m. For reservations call Margaret Oriot at 571-209-4332 or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) no later than Wednesday, Sept. 10. Admission is free and parking is available after giving your name to the official at the gate near the east end of the campus.

    Last year at the Institute, Joann Theurich, chief administrative officer described their mission, “We search for neural pathways, connections within the cellular level of the brain.” They have a staff of over 200 scientists engaged in this endeavor.

    Dr. Zarixia Zavala-Ruiz, the Science Program manager said, “Our work also consists of developing microscopes and tools to assist in studying the brain.”

    I found the test subjects fascinating: fruit flies plus mice, rats and dragon flies. Zavala explained that fruit flies are, “The simplest organisms.” So don’t be surprised if you see images of fruit flies crawling around on that giant screen when attending a lecture.

    “The LEGO Movie” at River Creek

    A spate of rain last week forced the postponement of the “The LEGO Movie” until Saturday, Sept. 13 on the lawn at the River Creek Clubhouse. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. And speaking of amphitheaters, the lawn is tilted toward the river in what seems an ideal arrangement for an outdoor movie. “The LEGO Movie” came out in February and was met with critical acclaim along with commercial success. With no admission fee, this is an opportunity to enjoy the show for free.


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    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: The dog’s day of summer
    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Slovakia comes to Loudoun
    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Summer reading
    RIVER CREEK: Lifeguards at River Creek
    RIVER CREEK: Bear sightings
    RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Celebrating the Fourth of July
    RIVER CREEK: Reflections Magazine given award
    RIVER CREEK: Show times in Lansdowne
    River Creek: Leesburg Volunteer Fire Co. benefit June 9
    RIVER CREEK: Memorial Day in Lansdowne
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    Loudoun Business Journal - Summer 2014

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