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    Sterling, Cascades & 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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    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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    The hunt is on
    Though it didn’t look like it this weekend, it is spring. Yes, despite the snowflakes the size of goose feathers on Sunday, it’s been spring for about two weeks now. Hopefully Mother Nature is having a grand time confusing my tulips.

    Spring also means a nice break for our kids from school (because obviously all that snow didn’t give them enough of one). But it also means the St. Matthew’s Community Easter Egg Hunt. Because I can’t enjoy anything without researching the history of it, I did some sleuthing on the origins of the Easter Egg.

    Decorating eggs goes way farther back than Easter. In fact, decorated shells have been found in graves in Egypt and Sumeria, many times using ostrich eggs. Eggs have long been the symbol of new life. After all you have this rock like object, and then almost magically a chick comes out of it.

    So how did the bunny get into the egg-laying business? Seems to me by a misunderstanding of species. Starting sometime before 1650, German Lutherans had the tradition of the Osterhase, or Easter Hare, who would lay eggs (yeah, I don’t understand this part, either) in nests children made in their hats—assuming those children were good, bad children got nothing. Eventually, some Easter Hares may have wanted to have a bit of fun with the kids and start hiding the eggs throughout the house. Eggs gave way to chocolate, hats to baskets, hares to bunnies--and a tradition was born.

    On Saturday, April 12, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is holding its annual community Easter egg hunt at Briar Patch Park for kids 10 and under. The festivities begin at 10 am with the fun continuing until noon. But if your child isn’t the hunting sort, don’t worry, because there’s still plenty to do, including a crafting table and face painting.

    Bags for the kids will be provided, but feel free to bring a basket—or a straw-stuffed hat if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic. There will also be a chance for everyone to get a picture with the biggest bunny of all. Best of all, the event is completely and utterly free to anyone that shows up. I dare the most committed bunny to do something that wonderful.

    Also, 10 years ago, on Easter, I brought home the best present ever. Happy Birthday to my daughter.

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    Local authors in the spotlight, family fun at Claude Moore Park, Boy Scout fundraiser
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