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River Creek resident Steve Taylor recently visited Russia. Courtesy Photo
River Creek resident Steve Taylor recently had a trip of a lifetime. As a former official in the Internal Revenue Service, he now operates on a consulting basis. As such he was entrusted with an assignment in Moscow where he spent a week.

“I was asked to speak to an international group of tax administrators about the future of tax administration in the digital, e-world,” he said.

While there he had an opportunity to do some sightseeing. One of the highlights he said involved a tour of the Kremlin Royal Palace.

“What a magnificent place,” he said. The palace displayed its several hundred years of life with a “blend of medieval and modern architecture, rich with gold trim, marble, art, inlaid floors and massive rooms. The feel of the history that took place there was palpable.”

The palace, built between 1837 and 1849, originally was the home of the Tsar.

Taylor said this was his first trip to Russia. He stayed at the Metropol Hotel near the Bolshoi Theater and Red Square. He described Moscow as “a very international, modern and vibrant city, clean and friendly.” He particularly noted the subway stations replete with “artifacts, murals and entertainment.”

“Many of the stations were built before and during WWII and are extremely deep as places to escape the German bombings,” he said.

Taylor's impressions gave extensive weight to architecture: Red Square, the cathedrals, monasteries, shops and restaurants.

“It is definitely a walking city. Everywhere I went was on foot or subway,” he said. The Russian people, he said, “seemed upbeat and cheerful. They were very nice at stores, restaurants, hotels. Lots of young folks.”

Taylor heard that the government gives a stipend to families with more than one child as they are concerned about an aging population.

Frozen on the Village Green

On Friday, July 24, the Village Green at Lansdowne Town Center will be continuing its summer movie series with the animated feature film, “Frozen.” The program starts at 6:30 p.m. with games, face painting and a moon bounce. The movie will begin showing at sundown (forecast to be 8:30 p.m.). The movie “Frozen” has been praised by critics as the finest animated movie made by Disney. “Frozen” received two Academy Awards after its release in 2013. Theater goers have been encouraged to bring something to sit on, refreshments and proper attire to fit the weather conditions.
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RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Breakfast with Gary Sinise
Vivian Dietrich, president of the Mid Atlantic chapter of Operation Homefront, met actor Gary Sinise at a recent National Press Club Speakers’ Breakfast. From left to right, Gen. James Livingston, Gary Sinise and Dietrich. Times-Mirror/Joe Motheral
River Creek resident Vivian Dietrich had the privilege of attending a National Press Club Speakers’ Breakfast featuring actor Gary Sinise.

The president of the Press Club introduced Dietrich to the audience as the president of the Mid Atlantic chapter of Operation Homefront, an organization that extends emergency aid to military families. The Gary Sinise Foundation shares in the same mission. They had an opportunity to meet each other and recognize their mutual interests. Sinise came to Washington to receive the American Leadership Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation.

“I was thrilled to meet Gary Sinise. His genuine support for veterans and military causes was evident in our brief encounter,” Dietrich said.

Sinise, who may be best remembered for his award winning portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in “Forest Gump,” explained that according to a recent survey 71 percent of Americans do not understand what combat veterans endure.

“We have been at war for the past 14 years. And the emotional trauma experienced by veterans is at epidemic proportions,” he said.

Sinise also starred for nine years in the TV series “CSI: NY” and as an aside to his passion for helping military families, he mentioned that he would be among the cast of the weekly TV show, “Criminal Minds.”

One of the specific functions of the foundation has been to help finance “specially adapted smart homes” for quadruple amputees as a result of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Recently, his organization assisted in doing so for a home in Lovettsville and Purcellville.

As an additional privilege, Dietrich met retired Gen. James Livingston who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his distinguished service in the Vietnam War.

Lansdowne Summer Concert

The group Medicated Sunfish will be swimming onto the stage at Lansdowne on the Potomac Club, Saturday, July 18. The outdoor amphitheater has been the venue for performances of all kinds and can claim to be a comfortable setting for audiences.

The concert will get underway at 7 p.m. and go on until 9 p.m. The seven-piece Medicated Sunfish specializes in rock, psychedelic, reggae and blues. They come out of Wilmington, N.C. and have played before audiences up and down the East Coast. The concert is open to residents of Lansdowne.

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RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE:Reflections Magazine given award
For the second year in a row, Reflections, a quarterly magazine published jointly by the Home Owners Association and the River Creek Club has won the APEX Award for Publication Excellence in the category of Custom Published Magazines, Journals and Tabloids.

Editor-in-chief Bea Snyder, who has been an active member of the River Creek community for years says, “Thanks to the editorial staff and all the contributors for this honor along with publisher, Mary Pat Imlah.”

The publication contains a collection of articles and photos contributed by members of the community that give weight to every facet of River Creek life. And as Snyder says, “We are in good company as some of the winners are national and international firms such as The Disney Company, Ford Motor Company, American Society of Civil Engineers ...”

APEX awards come from Communications Concepts, an organization that has been acknowledging superior quality publications for 25 years.

Life guards from Moldova

Every year I enjoy meeting the young men and women at the Harper Clubhouse in Lansdowne Town Center who mainly hail from Eastern Europe and spend the summer as life guards. Andre, Christian and Batu are from Moldova, a small country next door to Romania. They speak Russian, Romanian and thankfully English since my Russian and Romanian is a bit rusty. They said they learned English from video games and English websites. When asked about their experiences here, Andre said, “People are very kind.” Christian explained, “No one looks for profit.” They all agreed, “Everyone to help.”

While in the states for the first time, they want to visit Washington D.C. and Virginia Beach.

Texas vs. Loudoun

Recently when I was in Texas I felt the urge to compare driving characteristics there with those of Loudoun County. For one, I estimated that 78.3 percent of the vehicles on the highways in Texas are pick-ups while in Loudoun they represent maybe 23 percent.

Each pick-up in Texas is turbo charged. In Loudoun we have regular internal combustion engines. There’s scarcely any traffic on the major highways in Texas while in Loudoun we are often in gridlock. I once went 20 minutes on a major highway in Texas before I saw another vehicle Finally a white pick-up came flying by at near supersonic speed. I did get a glimpse of the driver wearing a cowboy hat.
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RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Penguins at River Creek
RIVERCREEK/LANSDOWNE: Leesburg Volunteer Fire Co. to hold golf benefit
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Happenings on Memorial Day weekend
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Operation Homefront Golf Tournament helps wounded warriors
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWN: Syfy, etc. at Rivercon
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Operation Homefront golf outing
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Punjabi in Lansdowne
RIVER CREEK/LANSDOWNE: Weekend Easter celebrations
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