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The Top 10 Stories in Loudoun County

Compiled by Peter Pae
Wednesday, December 25, 1996; Page V01

1. AMERICA ONLINE INC., the world's largest computer online service, moved its headquarters to Ashburn in June as Loudoun experienced a resurgence in commercial and residential development not seen since the mid-1980s. Work began in November on the Dulles Town Center, the county's first regional mall, similar in size to Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax County.

2. A MIGRANT WORKER being held on a murder charge escaped from the Loudoun County jail in May and was captured three days later after allegedly trying to assault a woman near Waterford. Three jail guards, who didn't notice the escape until two days later, resigned, and the escape prompted changes in the way inmates are supervised. Jose Sagastume later was convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of a migrant worker camp supervisor.

3. LOUDOUN COUNTY AND neighboring Northern Virginia jurisdictions got new Zip codes in July because of the area's growth. The change drew complaints from residents and officials in Loudoun, where a new 540 telephone area code for the western part of the county was introduced six months earlier. Postal official promised the new Zip codes would speed mail sorting and delivery.

4. THE LOUDOUN COUNTY High School football team completed an undefeated (11-0) regular season for the first time since 1954. The team reached the state regional finals before losing to Sherando High School, of Stephens City, Va.

5. THE OWNERS OF THE Dulles Greenway, responding to low traffic figures, slashed the one-way toll from $1.75 to $1, which boosted traffic but not enough to avert missing two quarterly interest payments, placing it in danger of foreclosure.

6. LESS THAN AN HOUR into the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors' first meeting in January, a battle broke out between two factions of Republican supervisors. The conflict led to a weakening of the board chairman's committee appointment powers and to factionalism on the board for the rest of the year. In February, Supervisor Steven D. Whitener (R-Sugarland Run) was stripped of committee assignments for one year for verbally abusing two other supervisors shortly after the January political fracas.

7. COUNTY SUPERVISORS withdrew a new 1,800-student high school from a November bond referendum after the School Board filed a lawsuit arguing that the supervisors had usurped the board's authority. The School Board sought a smaller school of 1,350, which supervisors have rejected as too costly and inadequate to handle the growing student population.

8. LOUDOUN HOSPITAL center and a county developer announced separate plans to open urgent-care clinics in Purcellville. The two clinics would be the first such medical facilities in western Loudoun. The announcements came in reaction to residents' concern about a lack of medical services in the west amid Loudoun Hospital's move from Leesburg to Lansdowne, five miles east.

9. COUNTY SCHOOL officials fired Jeffrey Dion Bruton, a popular high school assistant coach and middle school physical education teacher, after they discovered that he had starred in gay pornographic videos under the stage name of Ty Fox.

10. ACTING ON A TIP from an informant, Loudoun sheriff's deputies found marijuana plants at the Taylortown home of Mouncey Ferguson, an owner of a high-profile Leesburg advertising firm who is active in civic affairs. Ferguson was charged with drug possession with intent to distribute. Ferguson's lawyers said he used marijuana to treat depression.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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