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Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
By Jen Lofquist

Every few years, we hear of an NFL team getting a new stadium. The press covers everything from where it’ll be placed to what the name will be – usually whoever gives the most money. Then it becomes will the new stadium be ready in time for the season kick-off?

This Friday, the Park View Patriots Nation has no such worries, as their new field gets rededicated just in time for the battle of the Parks – Manassas Park versus our own Park View Patriots. With the help and support of our own Washington Redskins, the field at Park View High School, 400 W. Laurel Ave., will be the envy of every high school around.

In April 2014, the Redskins announced it would be donating $100,000 to convert the current grass football field to a multi-sport, synthetic grass field that would be impervious to the weather. The Redskins’ donation was matched by the NFL Grassroots Field Grant Program. The majority of the funds (because really nice fields aren’t cheap) were committed from our county. So instead of watching every rainy day from inside the gym and hoping the field will be dry enough by the time the game starts, our student athletes will have a nicer – and safer – field on which to celebrate their victories. Hopefully, those victories will begin this Friday.

But the celebration isn’t just game time. Prior to the game, at 4:30 p.m., the Washington Redskins will host an NFL Play60 event free to the public. There will be subs, pizza and drinks, and a lot of running around. Play60 is the NFL program to encourage every child to play at least 60 minutes each day. It’s been shown that getting outside and being active combats the dangerous trend of childhood obesity.

At 6:40 p.m., Redskins' owner Dan Snyder will rededicate the field just in time for the 7 p.m. kickoff against the Manassas Park Cougars. Admission to the game is just $6, but if you’re a student and you came to the Play60 event, you get to watch our Patriots take on the Cougars for free. There’s no need to register for the event, but be sure to come out a little early just in case. And GO PATRIOTS!

So now you have plans for Friday, but you need something to do on Saturday. Don’t forget about “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” auditions at the Sterling Community Center, 1:30-4:30 p.m., presented by our own Sterling Playmakers. There’s also auditions 7-9 p.m. on Friday, but you’ve got the game. More information is available at http://www.sterlingplaymakers.com.
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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: CountrySide considers tot lot surfaces
In response to resident inquiries, the CountrySide Facilities Committee is examining the effects of using shredded rubber as surface fill in the community’s 10 tot lots―and asking for community input on the issue.

The shredded rubber currently in use replaced wood chips in the tot lots more than 10 years ago, following concerns about costs and safety. Recently, residents asked the community to consider replacing the shredded rubber with wood chips, due to concerns about health and the environment.

A poll on the subject is underway on the CountrySide Community Association website at countryside-va.com. According to the CountrySide Proprietary, the online survey is scheduled to take place through the end of August.

Nearly two weeks into the voting, with close to 300 votes cast, residents supporting wood chips were in the lead, with 52.2 percent of the vote, compared to 47.8 percent in favor of shredded rubber in the playgrounds.

Community members are asked to review a five-page information sheet on the subject posted on the CountrySide website before placing their vote. The backgrounder provides information on life-cycle costs; an explanation of the difference between shredded rubber, or rubber mulch made from shredded tires, such as that used in CountrySide, and crumb rubber, which is used in artificial turf systems; the cost of replacing the fill in the tot lots; and more.

According to the research paper, the estimated cost to remove the shredded rubber from the 10 tot lots and replace it with wood mulch would be approximately $200,000. The funds for the project would come from an increase in the homeowners’ association assessment that could range anywhere from $1 per month for 10 years to $5 per month for two years.

Residents who would like to provide the Facilities Committee with comments or suggestions on the subject should contact Mike Stracka, the community’s facilities manager at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). He will be presenting the comments at the monthly committee meeting.

The committee meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Parkway pool meeting room. The next meeting takes place Sept. 10. Residents are welcome to attend and will be given priority at the start of the session.

Tech experts

The Loudoun County Public Library at Cascades offers technology assistance for members of the community provided by teens who know all about setting up email, downloading e-books and how to use apps, search airfares and more. The next session takes place at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24. Bring your device or use one at the library. For information, call 703-444-3228.

Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.

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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Our award-winning educators
Educators in eastern Loudoun are giving young learners in our community a good start in countless ways, both inside and outside of the classroom. Two of them—Andrea Weiskopf and Karla Blasquez Soto—recently received awards for their outstanding efforts.

Andrea Weiskopf, who has been teaching Latin at River Bend and Seneca Ridge middle schools for the past 10 years, was recognized this year by the Classical Association of Virginia for excellence in the classroom. She received the association’s 2015 Angela P. Lloyd Book Award, presented to secondary school teachers with a demonstrated excellence in, and commitment to, teaching.

Weiskopf wasn’t always a Latin scholar. She began her exploration of languages by studying Spanish throughout high school, even though her mother always told her that she would enjoy Latin. She discovered Latin—and Greek—while studying at Bard College in New York.

After earning a Master’s degree at Rutgers in New Jersey, Weiskopf has been a teacher in public and private schools in Virginia for most of her career. A stint as an editor on Capitol Hill led her back to the classroom.

“I missed my true passions—working with children and Latin,” she said.

Karla Blasquez Soto, who has worked as a parent liaison at Countryside and Guilford elementary schools and at Sterling Middle School, received the 2015 Master in the Middle Educator of the Year Award from the Virginia Middle School Association.

The award recognizes educators “serving in roles other than classroom teachers, who have demonstrated a devotion to working with young adolescents and have demonstrated a commitment to best middle level practices,” according to the association.

“She’s amazing, absolutely amazing,” Countryside Principal Richard Rudnick said. “She is all about the kids and anything she can do to help the families find resources.”

Blasquez Soto was born in Veracruz, Mexico. She studied English Literature at the University of Veracruz and earned a Master’s degree in technology education at Atenas Veracruzana University, where she taught English as a second language.

She worked part-time at Countryside Elementary for the past year, at the request of Rudnick, who had worked with her at Guilford. In the coming school year, Blasquez Soto will be working full time at Sterling Middle School. Rudnick is in the process of finding someone to fill the part-time position now open at Countryside.

Summer reading: For its next meeting, the CountrySide Women’s Club book club is reading “A Spool of Blue Thread” by Baltimore’s Ann Tyler. The meeting takes place Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. at Panera Bread in Lansdowne.

Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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STERLING BOULEVARD: Getting ready for school
STERLING BOULEVARD: Play it again, Jen
CountrySide/Cascades/Sterling: Summer Scholars
CountrySide/Cascades/Sterling: Sizzling Sterling
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: CountrySide artists at Oatlands in July
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Lowes Island mom helps Little Lights shine
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Sterling Ruritans Present $14,800 in Scholarships
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