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Cascades and Countryside Blog: Falcons Landing celebrates 20 years in Cascades
This week, Falcons Landing – a retirement community designed and built by a group of Washington area- based retired Air Force officers —celebrates 20 years of creating a lively after-service haven in eastern Loudoun for military officers, senior-level federal employees and their surviving spouses.

The outpost on one of the highest points in Cascades is literally a dream come true. The plan to build Falcons Landing was hatched during a regular morning breakfast gathering of retired officers at Andrews Air Force Base. They thought the Washington area should have an Air Force military retirement community and they launched a plan to make their dream a reality.

In 1984, the Air Force Retired Officers Community (AFROC) was created to oversee the mission. The original board of directors visited retirement communities across the nation to find best practices for their ideal community, secured financing and an inspiring location, commissioned the design and found a company to build their campus.

Falcons Landing was completed in 1996 and the first residents arrived in May of that year. Today, 550 residents call it home – 58 of them moved in during the first year the community opened—and membership in AFROC has been expanded to include military officers from all branches of service and senior-level federal employees.

This week, the anniversary celebrations, launched with a fun walk in Cascades, include a forum on the history of the Falcons Landing project, a high tea celebrating longtime employees, a variety show featuring resident and staff performers, a Polynesian luau and a winetasting at Cardinal Point Vineyard. The anniversary week closes with a formal gala dinner dance on Friday, April 29.

Through the years, Falcons Landing has been a big help to the community surrounding its campus.

With 300 employees, it may be the largest employer in Potomac Falls. After 20 years, 16 of the original employees are still working at the site: Maria Alvarez, Robert Besserer, Santos Castillo, Doris Cruz, Ercilia Elias, Luis Hernandez, Hardy Lister, Glendeen Martin, Evans Nguyen, Paula Perla, Rosa Quintero, Robert Rocha, Joselito Sunga, Maria Turcios, Jose Vendiola and Brian Woods.

Falcons Landing residents help the community around them in countless ways. They volunteer in local schools, read to area elementary school students and help at the library. In 2015, their annual fundraiser for the Sterling Volunteer Fire Co. raised $86,000 to help build a paramedic response vehicle. Each year, Falcons Landing awards scholarships to a graduating senior at each of the county’s high schools. In 2014, the scholarship was increased from $1,000 per student to $5,000 for one student at each of the county’s 13 schools.
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Sterling Blog: Locavore
One of my friends owns a brewery in Colorado called Locavore, which is a coined term for someone who eats only locally produced food, often defined as within 100 miles. He’s a strong supporter of the “eat (and drink) local” movement and usually encourages me to do the same. It’s not an easy task – even with the rise of “farm-to-table” restaurants.

Still, eating local assures you of the freshest produce and supporting your community and local farmers. However, what if we took this movement further and became a “locavore” beyond just our taste buds. Could we be a locavore when it comes to services, goods and activities? We could become loca-activists, loca-consumers and loca-supporters.

By keeping our energies and support in our community, we can dramatically change it and help our neighbors – not people we’ve never met, but those people who nicely move their cars when you need to back out of your driveway. Luckily, for us, there are plenty of ways to be a loca-whatever right here in Sterling and make a real difference.

This weekend, you can support local theatre by coming out for auditions for Sterling Playmakers' summer musical “Oliver.” They are holding open auditions on Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 30, 2-5 p.m. All auditions are being held at the Claude Moore Community Center located in the same building as Claude Moore Recreation Center. For more information, visit http://www.sterlingplaymakers.com.

If you’re more “on the road” than “on the stage,” you can help support Sterling’s American Legion Post #150 as they host their 5th Annual Poker Run. Just show up at 9 a.m. at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in Herndon with your motorcycle and prepare for a fun 90-mile ride through Middleburg, Berryville and Purcellville. Poker and other activities will continue the fun after everyone gets back. The cost is $20 per rider, $10 per passenger and $5 for each additional hand. All the proceeds help support our American Legion and their community activities. You can find out more at http://www.facebook.com/alpost150/ or by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Meanwhile, next Tuesday, May 3, you can bring all of your dog-eared children’s books and get someone else’s dog-eared children’s books that your child hasn’t read yet. The Sterling Community Center on Enterprise Street is celebrating “Children’s Book Week” with a book swap as well as crafts, games, activities and more. The fun starts at 10 a.m. and goes on until 11:30 a.m. The cost is $5. You can find out more by calling the community center at 703-430-9480.

And be sure to mark your calendars for our local job fair on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Claude Moore Recreation Center. More than 40 local employers have already said they’ll be on hand to interview prospective employees. If you’re a student looking for a summer job or adult wanting a change, this is your opportunity to meet with employers face-to-face. Be sure to bring plenty of copies of your resume and dress to get the job you’ve always wanted. You can tell employers you’re coming by RSVPing at http://www.springjobfair.app.rsvpify.com And g.ood luck!
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Sterling Blog: The community is a stage
Just a little while ago, I got into an in-depth conversation (well, as in-depth as you can be on Facebook chat) with a long-time supporter of theatre in Sterling about community theatre. We were focused on the difference between community theatre and professional – not in quality but in spirit. For us, it all came down to the volunteers that make the whole thing possible.

It was the teamwork of all the actors and crew and staff coming together for no other reason than that they really just love to create a show. It is long hours, missed dinners and put off projects – but it’s so much fun to see something come together that it is all worth it. In the end, it’s nothing short of a bit of community magic.

Each summer, our own Sterling Playmakers put on a summer musical, and this year it is a doozy. They’ll be presenting the classic “Oliver” – telling the story of Oliver, a poor orphan, who has to navigate the underworld of London to find a home, all the while singing “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food.”

Now, you could content yourself with being part of the audience. After all, rising to your feet and clapping uproariously is a lot of work and you are a vital part of every Sterling Playmaker production. Or, you could get up on that stage and be part of the show.

Next week, the Sterling Playmakers will be holding auditions for “Oliver” and they are looking for people ages 8 and up to fill every role from the adorable Oliver to the nefarious Fagin. They’ll also need a number of pickpockets. Auditions are at the Claude Moore Community Center (in the same building as the Claude Moore Recreation Center) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 28-29, and also 2 to 5 p.m. April 30. Callbacks will be held on May 1. The show will hit the stage the last weekend of July and the first two weekends of August – so clear your calendars.

You can find your list of songs to have ready as well as forms and information, even a sign-up genius so you can let them know you’re coming, at http://www.sterlingplaymakers.com/auditions-for-oliver Then .warm up your vocal cords and dust off your dancing shoes and be ready to be part of a little bit of community magic.

While you’re in the community spirit, be sure to stop by the Sterling Library on Enterprise Street from 7 to 8 p.m. April 26 for a multicultural performance by student musicians from our own area, directed by Dr. Miroslav Loncar. This acoustic group plays at a number of events throughout the area and we’re fortunate enough to have front row seats.
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Cascades and Countryside Blog: Polish that chrome, support military service
Cascades and Countryside Blog: A fire truck at the finish line
Sterling Blog: At sword’s point
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Award-winning artists and ‘Schools to Watch’
Sterling Blog: Double-booked
Countryside, Cascades and Sterling Blog: The next generation of scientists
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Countyside and Cascades Blog: Mingling at the senior center
Sterling Blog: Peeps and proms
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