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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Dialogues of discovery
The Janelia Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will continue its Dialogues of Discovery series with featured speaker Dr. Michael Kennedy of Northwestern University. The topic of his speech will be “The Power of the Community: Improving STEM Futures for Urban Youth.” Kennedy initiated a program to educate youth in the school system in and around Chicago.

His concepts got underway in 2008 when he approached the Boys and Girls Clubs in Chicago with, “the Science Club concept, a fun, mentor driven, science … experience for middle school kids” Since then his outreach has engaged “hundreds of youth and mentors, teaching critical thinking skills and revealing new career paths.”

In this lecture he will “talk about the work he’s done using an innovative, mentor-based approach to train and support scientists working with students in Chicago Public Schools.”

Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at St. John’s University in 1991 and his doctorate in biochemistry at the Mayo Clinic in 1997. He joined Northwestern University in 1998 in the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology. He has been involved in the Human Genome Project, stem cell biology, human cloning, genetically modified foods and global warming.

The program gets underway at 7 p.m. after the doors open at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments. The event, unfortunately, has sold out. However, to can check to see if there is a cancellation, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Yard sale in Lansdowne

I’m going to risk conjecture here and suggest that a yard sale can mean something other than selling yards. To sell your yard, you would have to strip the turf from the front of the house and stack it in the trunk of a car so the buyer could cart it off. You would be left with bare ground that would be taken over by weeds unless you go to another yard sale.

But not this one, because starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 homeowners in Lansdowne and Lansdowne Town Center will be digging into the deepest recesses of their garages, store rooms and closets to retrieve furniture, toys, clothes, utensils, etc. to put on the market in their front yards. The HOA says, “All homeowners yard sale signs may be displayed on their property during the dale but must be promptly removed when the sale is over.”
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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Riverside High goes ‘Into the Woods’
Marilyn Gilligan and a cast member of "Into the Woods." Photo Courtesy/Marilyn Gilligan

Theater director and drama teacher Marilyn Gilligan joined the faculty at Riverside High School in September after 10 years at Briar Woods High School. Her first choice was the Stephen Sondheim, musical, “Into the Woods,” a show that has been on Broadway and that national cinema stage. Gilligan said she picked “Into the Woods” because “it’s ensemble, not one person.” She wanted to hold off solos for the time being. Her ambitions extend into next year, when she hopes to stage five shows at Riverside.

The drama department held auditions in September.

“Riverside High School opened with an auditorium and Black Box still under construction. We had to practice our fall show, as well as 'Into the Woods,' in an English classroom until November,” Gilligan said.

This being Riverside’s first school year, they have no seniors, just a few juniors and the rest sophomores and freshman. “It has been a labor of love and we have a fantastic cast,” Gilligan said.

Gilligan has been an actor, model, librarian and a custom shoemaker. But once she had access to the school system, she found her niche. For her devotion to theater in public schools, Wolf Trap honored her one year with the Outstanding Performance Arts Teacher Award.

“Into the Woods” will be performed on April 21-23 and April 29-30. Admission is $10. For more information, visit loudoun.k12.va.us/riverside.

Operation Homefront Golf Tournament

River Creek will host the ninth annual Operation Homefront Golf Tournament on Monday, April 25. Registration will take place at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. followed by cocktails and dinner at 5 p.m. There will be silent and live auctions and sponsorships. For more information, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Operation Homefront (OH) is a nationwide organization that provides emergency assistance – financial and otherwise – to service members and their families.

“We serve all military families from all five branches of service when they need emergency financial support and they have no one else they can turn to,” said OH Chairman Bill McFadden.

This golf tournament raises funds to enable OH to render its services. There are enumerable examples of how this organization has kept military families from being destitute. One local woman with post-traumatic stress disorder who served in Iraq said: “We would have been homeless if it weren’t for Operation Homefront since I can’t work.”
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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: The Union troops invade River Creek

History buffs and the curious observed 20 to 30 Union troops at River Creek’s Confluence Park April 2-3, as they prepared themselves for the coming season of reenactments. Capt. Dustin Coleman of the 138th Pennsylvania volunteers ran through a list of exercises he had planned: manual of arms, facings, basic marching movements, the fastest way to maneuver, flank marching, wheeling and fixed pivots and four guy targets. The troops also held firing demonstrations.

Coleman said they wanted to “shake off the rust” to get ready for reenactments this summer. Sometime in June, they will hold a reenactment at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Frederick, Md., that Coleman says will include artillery along with 500 reenactors. In July, they will be at Cedar Creek for the reenactment of the First Manassas Battle.“We are having it at Cedar Creek because they have space for it,” he said.

The captain succinctly pronounced their mission: “Live it, learn it, pass it on.” In keeping with that, they have engaged in “battles,” at Gettysburg, Boonsboro and have been on the History Channel. Coleman's unit is made of men and women from all walks of life, including Secret Service members, former military and students. He indicated that one of their biggest concerns was safety, mainly involving the heat in the summer while wearing woolen uniforms.

Several of the troops came from Gettysburg College. Of these some were women, along with the men, majoring in world history. One troop said she wanted to be a director at some museum; the others thought they might have a career in teaching.

I spoke with the top sergeant who looked every bit like a true Civil War soldier with a beard reminiscent of the 1800s. He explained that all he has ever wanted to do was experience some of this country’s history.

A spectator, Nancy Sanders, who was taking photos, told me, “It’s pretty impressive to think a major part took place here.” She was referring to when the Union forces crossed the Potomac River at this same location to go to Gettysburg. Another one said, “We haven’t been shot yet!”

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River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Eggstravaganza
River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: ‘The Little Mermaid’ takes the stage April 1
River Creek and Lansdowne Blog: Crossing of the Potomac reenactment slated for April
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: A wintry farewell
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Dialogues of bacteria
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Martinis for Wildlife
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Comedian Wes Martens to perform at River Creek
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