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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Sterling Eateries open on Thanksgiving
If circumstances—expected or unexpected—keep you from getting to that picture-perfect at-home Thanksgiving dinner this year, several alternatives are available in Sterling on Thanksgiving Day.

The dining options include The Bungalow Lakehouse, open from 11:30 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving, with a holiday buffet available from 1 to 6 p.m. Delia’s Pizzeria and Grille in CountrySide will be open on the holiday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. And, a short drive south on route 28, the Cracker Barrel in Sterling will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you prefer more casual dining on Thanksgiving, the McDonald’s in CountrySide and the McDonald’s in Cascades both will be open on their usual 24-hour-a-day schedule.

For those planning on spending some time in the kitchen, area grocery stores will be open on Thursday. The Safeway in the CountrySide Shopping Center will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Giant in Cascades Marketplace will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Sterling Wegman’s will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Among the dining establishments closed for the holiday are the Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling and Cheng’s Oriental Restaurant in CountrySide.

Holiday sharing: Eastern Loudoun is home to an array of community organizations that quietly do a lot of good in the community and all of them can use some help at the holidays, as well as throughout the year.

The Hope’s Treasures store in the Regal Cinema Shopping Center, run by the Loudoun-based Good Shepherd Alliance and open to the public, offers more than 6,000 square feet of bargains including housewares, clothing and electronics. The store’s merchandise sales support emergency shelter for the homeless in Loudoun County. In addition, the store provides clothing and household items through a voucher system for needy individuals and families. Donations of items in new or like-new condition are accepted year-round, at a drop-off site set up at the store’s back door during regular store hours (Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Call before bringing furniture: 703-444-5956.

The ham queen: As the holidays roll around, people tend to ask what happened to the Honey-Baked Ham store that was a Sterling staple for more than 15 years. If you’ve lost track of the perpetually cheerful Roxie Curtis, owner of the store, you can find her operating a new store nearby in Reston, in the North Point Shopping Center on Reston Parkway.

No Patti pies:
In case you're wondering, the Sterling Walmart does not have Patti LaBelle sweet potato pies on hand. The hard-working bakery staff has requested a shipment from headquarters but, so far, has no word on when, or if, those pies will arrive.

Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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STERLING BOULEVARD: Give a little bit
By Jen Lofquist

My mom used to tell me that old tale that if everyone took their worries and their problems and put them on a table to trade with others, there would be a rush to see how fast you could grab your own back. Because every problem seems insurmountable until you look and see what those around you are conquering every day.

The holidays are a perfect time to look at all that you have, to be grateful—and then see what you can give to help those in need. This season tends to be a time of plenty, even as there is want all around us. We worry about how many gifts will go under the tree and how many side dishes we need to go with the turkey. Sadly, those in our own community are worried about how they will feed their family or pay utility bills. As I like to tell my own daughter, “The reason you have good things in your life is so that you’re better able to share with others.”

There are a number of ways that you can help others through the next few months, and it’s not even a long drive. LINK is a community of churches in Herndon, Ashburn, and of course, Sterling, that work to provide food, clothing and support to those in greatest need. Their sentence on the LINK site says it better than I ever could: “The all-volunteer staff members at LINK believe in the power of selfless service and the importance of providing people in crisis with unconditional love.”

Three churches in our community participate in LINK: Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Sterling United Methodist Church and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. You can donate non-perishable items to any of these member churches and your donation will find their way to the LINK pantry—which is an impressive operation in itself. Volunteers sort, pack and then distribute the items to those in need, right here in our area. You can also volunteer to help deliver, which—from personal experience—is one of the very best ways to spend a Saturday morning with your family.

LINK and their member churches also provide coats and other cold weather necessities, toys for the holidays and emergency monetary assistance. In other words, they do a lot of good. However the only way we can make sure they can continue to so much good is for those of us who can to share with them.

You can learn more about LINK by contacting any of the member churches above or by visiting their website at http://www.linkagainsthunger.org Happy. Thanksgiving.

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Wyatt Pontius of Potomac Falls High School and Liam Wallace of Heritage High School, both Loudoun Academy of Science students, were recognized by Popular Mechanics magazine in an October write-up of “15 Young Innovators Who Are Already Making a Difference.”

The students were selected by the Popular Mechanics editors for their prize-winning work in making a synthetic leaf. According to the magazine write-up, the leaf made of mesh fibers embedded with cyanobacteria could be used on Mars.

The students’ two-year research project, which included working with two students in Singapore, received three awards in the Loudoun County Public Schools Regional Science and Engineering Fair: second place in the materials and bioengineering category, first place in the NOVA Enrichment Academy Young Scientist category and the Scitel Academy Innovation award.

The LCPS win earned the students a spot at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair, where they earned the Leidos First Place Award in Applied Sciences and a Third Grand Prize overall. That Grand Prize brought a spot at the Intel International Science Fair, where the team won a first-place award in the materials science category, the United States Steel Award for Innovative Materials and a first prize special award for excellence in team research from the Sigmi XI Research Society. In addition, the project was honored at the Hwa Chong Institute Science Fair for the collaboration among the U.S. and Singapore students.

Regional orchestra members: Six students from eastern Loudoun were selected to participate in the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association North Central Regional Orchestras. The Dominion High School students chosen for the orchestra included Katerina Banks, Shane Crowe and Devin Sohi. The Potomac Falls High School students were Kellan Delaney, Justin Ghofrany and Elizabeth Hur.

Potowmack scores: The Potowmack Elementary School PTA raised more than $10,000 with its second annual Walk-a-Thon school fundraiser. The money will be used to purchase new technology for students and teachers. The second grade class taught by Marnie Turman brought in the most in donations, which won them a pizza party donated by Joe’s Pizzaria in Sterling.

Holiday party: Reservations and checks must be received by Friday, Nov. 20, for the CountrySide Women’s Club’s “Over the River and Through the Woods” ornament and gift exchange luncheon. The event takes place Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Belmont Country Club from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tickets are $35. To participate in the ornament and gift exchange, bring a wrapped ornament or gift ($15 limit). For information, call 703-777-7794.

Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Lending a Hand to Operation Homefront
STERLING BOULEVARD: Getting a jump on the holidays
STERLING BOULEVARD: Don’t lose your head
COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: National Merit Semifinalists Named
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