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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    Sterling Boulevard: Better to give
    Sometimes, it’s easy to let the bad and the people who aren’t great convince you that the world is just filled with awful humans. All you have to do is turn on the news and you see examples of people just doing really horrible things and you can let yourself get bit depressed. But here’s why you shouldn’t – at least not about the people in Sterling.

    Everybody Clean Up: On Saturday, April 12, a bunch of volunteers (I counted about 15) met at Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park to wear snazzy orange vests and clean up Sterling Boulevard. They picked up litter from the side of our busiest street and made our neighborhood look not only better but appreciated by those of us lucky enough to live here. The Sterling Foundation,, sponsors this important event and works tirelessly to make Sterling a nicer place to be. They also sponsor SterlingFest! The group is always looking for volunteers and help, so this is your chance to be part of something awesome.

    Eggs for Everyone: The non-scientific count had over 300 children at the Community Egg Hunt this weekend, sponsored by St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Sterling. Volunteer-run and free to whoever showed up, the egg hunt included face painting, crafts and sparkle tattoos for all who came. The entire playground at Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park was dotted with eggs for the finding – and not an egg was left at the end.

    Walk for a Cause: Later this month, Rolling Ridge Elementary will be holding a walk-a-thon to raise money for a new track at the elementary school. If you’ve ever driven by the school, you know it won’t be just kids using the track. Many in our community use the grounds of the school for keeping fit, playing sports and flying some gorgeous kites on warm windy Saturdays. If you know a Rolling Ridge family, ask how you can sponsor a child in the walk-a-thon. If you just want to help, you can donate at

    Did your organization, place of worship or school do something great – or do you need some help doing something great? Tell me about it. I know there are wonderful things going out in our community that people should hear about. Just let me know at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I’ll be happy to get the word out.
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    CountrySide: A worldwide celebration of books
    The Cascades Library joins a global celebration of the power of books with an April 14 reception to launch the local donation of more than 450 books to individuals who don’t read regularly and may not have access to books of their own.

    The event is part of an annual worldwide effort to spread the joy of reading through a program launched in 1995 by the United Nationals Education, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).

    Tracy Kallassy, the librarian coordinating the effort at the Cascades branch, said that the library will be giving away 10 of the 37 titles selected for the 2014 program by the World Book Night U.S. committee. The books were chosen by a committee of publishers’ representatives, printed in special editions and made available to the program at no cost.

    A group of 22 volunteers will be delivering the books throughout the community, Kallassy said.

    The April 14 reception will be the pickup point for the donated books.

    Kallassy pointed out that the Cascades Library reception, which is free and open to the public, also offers a special treat. Alethea Kontis, a bestselling Loudoun-based writer whose award-winning novel, “Enchanted,” was selected as one of the 37 titles in this year’s national book giveaway, will be on hand to meet attendees.

    “This is fantastic,” Kallassy said. “There are some really amazing authors chosen [for this program].”

    The donated books will be directed to carefully selected recipients.

    Kathleen Britto, who runs the library’s teen services program, is one of the volunteers on the book distribution team. Her work with the library’s after-hours teen center has helped her identify some young members of the community who would benefit from the World Book Night program.

    “This would be a great opportunity to get some books in their hands,” Britto said. “We’ll try to connect them with kids who aren’t big readers and who attend Teen Night.”

    The Cascades Library World Book Night reception takes place April 14, beginning at 7 p.m. The library is located at 21030 Whitfield Place in Potomac Falls.

    Falcons Landing concert: The Falcons Landing retirement community presents pianist Bill Trowell of Bar Harbor, Maine, in two free concert appearances on Wednesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Falcons Landing Ballroom. Trowell will present a variety of musical styles, from standards to show tunes, and classical to contemporary music. The concert is open to the public. Tickets are not required. For information, call 703-404-5130.

    Contact the columnist at KFinLoudoun[at]
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    CountrySide: Cleaning up with the Cascades Green Team
    Volunteers prepare for field work at the Fall 2013 Cascades Trash Bash. Photo Courtesy/ Kathie Felix.
    This week, Mark Lenko, director of the Cascades Trash Bash and a vice president of Keep Loudoun Beautiful, is putting the finishing touches on preparations for the annual spring Cascades Trash Bash and Food Drive, taking place on Sunday, April 6, from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

    Since 2008, the event has evolved from a litter cleanup project where volunteers did some local cleaning and left trash bags for roadside pickup to a family-friendly day that starts with a social gathering and a food drive for the Loudoun Interfaith Relief pantry, followed by outdoor cleaning throughout eastern Loudoun with an emphasis on recycling.

    “I’m sort of on my own personal campaign to get the light bulb turned on in people to see the value of recycling,” Lenko said.

    That light appears to be shining brightly. Since he began directing the event in October 2009, the Cascades Trash Bash has recycled 370 bags of discarded materials, disposed of 237 bags of trash, gathered 49 tires and donated 247 pounds of food.

    Lenko offered a variety of statistics to illustrate the consequences of thinking and acting green. He said the energy saved by recycling one glass bottle can light a 100-watt bulb for four hours or run a computer for 30 minutes. Recycling one aluminum drink can will save the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline, or enough electricity to run a television for three hours.

    “When all that stuff ends up in a landfill, it’s millions of gallons of gasoline we’re throwing away,” he said. “We can do better than that. We really need to do better than that.”

    According to Lenko, one simple step can greatly reduce the litter footprint in any community: the use of a covered recycling bin. This type of bin, a resource provided at no cost to Cascades residents, ensures that a neighborhood’s recycling doesn’t become an area’s litter. He’s concerned, however, by the low rate of acceptance of the covered bins in the area’s townhouse communities.

    “There are only about a dozen—out of thousands of townhomes—that do it,” he said.

    The Cascades Trash Bash begins April 6 at Potomac Baptist Church at 20747 Lowes Island Blvd. with check-in, door prizes and giveaways and a pre-cleanup briefing from 12:30 until 1 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register online in advance to receive event updates, including any weather-related announcements.

    To register and for more information, including food donation needs, go to

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    Sterling Boulevard: The hunt is on
    CountrySide: Local authors in the spotlight, family fun at Claude Moore Park, Boy Scout fundraiser
    CountrySide: ‘Crop for a Cause’ in Broad Run
    CountrySide: Raise the roof for the troops
    From Sudan to Seneca Ridge
    St. Baldrick comes to Sterling
    A Valentine Gift to Educators
    The Snow Angels of Broad Run
    Sterling Ruritans: Helping out for 63 years
    Latin is Alive in Sterling

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