Old Cell Phones Sought
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and the victim/witness program in the commonwealth's attorney's office are collecting old cell phones that are converted into emergency service phones for victims of domestic violence.
So far, 20 people have received the reprogrammed phones. They can be used to call 911, as well as the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline, which provides crisis intervention and support.
"This is a win-win situation for everyone," said Allison Howard, case manager for the victim/witness program. "County residents can get rid of their old cell phones that in most cases are taking up space in a drawer, and at the same time victims of domestic violence can use the reprogrammed phones to get help."
Loudoun sheriff's deputies responded to more than 1,520 domestic dispute calls last year, an average of four a day.
Drop-off sites for phones include most county community centers, all senior centers, the Sheriff's Office administration building at 39 Catoctin Cir. in Leesburg, the victim witness office in the courthouse at 18 East Market St. in Leesburg, the County Government Center at 1 Harrison St. in Leesburg and the Shenandoah Office Building at 102 Heritage Way in Leesburg.
About 70 percent of the phones collected will be donated to victims. The rest are sold to the recycled phones market to pay for the reprogramming of the donated phones, the Sheriff's Office said.
Care Agency Gets Funding
Mary's Family, the only private, nonprofit respite care program in the Virginia Piedmont, has received a $74,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said. The Warrenton program serves families that have children with physical, mental and medical disabilities.
Tsunami Aid Raised
Students at Loudoun Country Day School raised $3,000 to help victims of the Asian tsunami through a hot dog sale, a nacho-and-cheese sale and a two-week calendar of suggested daily donations. Ideas on the calendar include "5 cents for every stuffed animal in your room" or "5 cents for each blanket in your house."
Voucher Program Praised
For the fourth year in a row, Loudoun County Social Services' Housing Choice Voucher division has received an "Outstanding Performer" rating from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The rating is based on audits during fiscal 2004. The voucher program is a federal program that provides rental assistance to people who meet income requirements. Clients typically pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income for rent, with the remainder being covered by HUD funds.
Librarian Wins Grant
Eleanor Fall, librarian at Loudoun Country Day School in Leesburg, received a teacher incentive grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which she will use to help fourth- through sixth-graders learn about U.S. history from 1926-45.
-- Compiled by LESLIE SHEPHERD