Giving Thanks for Caring

Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and caring. The Thanksgiving Store, sponsored by the Community Holiday Coalition, provided food for traditional Thanksgiving celebrations to nearly 600 Loudoun County families. The Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, along with hundreds of individuals who volunteered their time and effort to collect and donate food, stock the store and assemble food boxes, made the Thanksgiving Store a success.

We wish to thank all the individuals, schools, community groups, churches, scouts, restaurants, small and large businesses and everyone else who helped to make this effort such a great success. This effort to coordinate services for those in need was a true community effort that brings people together of all circumstances to help brighten up the holidays for thousands of Loudoun County citizens.

So to everyone who left a bag out for the Boy Scouts to pick up, to everyone that personally brought in trucks, vans and cars filled with holiday food, we express our gratitude for caring and sharing. There will be more opportunities to help during the upcoming holiday season. The Holiday Store will be held at the National Guard Armory the week before Christmas. We look forward to seeing all our old and new friends as we reach out once again to brighten up the holidays for our friends and neighbors.

Once again, many thanks to all who helped make the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program a success. May you have a great holiday season.

KAREN VELEZ

Program Coordinator, Community Holiday Coalition

Leesburg

Distorting Route 28 Wishes

The Loudoun Extra's coverage of impending changes on Route 28 in Fauquier County ["Commuter Parking Lot Is First of Route 28 Changes," Nov. 14] was excellent. But it might be instructive to take a look at some of the assertions of officials quoted in the article.

Donald R. Askew, of the Virginia Department of Transportation, is quoted as saying public hearings indicated a 2 to 1 margin in favor of widening the Route 28 corridor from Route 15/29 to the Prince William County border. That statement is patently false. Something very near the opposite is true.

Of those who completed the questionnaire prescribed for the public hearings, about 55 percent preferred an option called "no-build with spot improvements." Outside the framework of the hearings proper, there were over 1,000 signatures on petitions and hundreds of letters against widening Route 28. One old petition with about 1,000 signatures favored the general idea of widening. The majority of its signatories do not live on the Route 28 corridor.

The "officials on hand, recalling some of Route 28's fatal accidents" seemingly forget that the accident rate has been cut in half since the speed limit was reduced to 45 miles per hour and patrolling was intensified in April 1997. Since then, there have been no fatal accidents, and the accident rate has been cut in half. Here is a lesson for all concerned with transportation planning: Route 28 was effectively "calmed"; lives were saved. Those who so bravely promote the calming of Route 50 are vindicated by this example while the death toll on our four-lane highways continues to rise.

While they acknowledge the need for some improvements, residents of the Route 28 corridor in Fauquier County oppose widening. Their road was unsafe at speeds above 55 mph but not below that speed (at which most of us drive on that road). The new district supervisor was nominated and elected, at least in part, on the promise to try to reverse the widening process. Because the corridor contains 17 percent of our county's farmland and its most productive dairy farms, we wish our new supervisors all success.

J.M. STONE

President, Citizens For Fauquier County

Bealeton

Anderson, on the Record

It is with significant humility and pride that I publicly thank all of the volunteers and voters who participated in the recent election for commonwealth's attorney for Loudoun County. This office continues to function at the highest level of dedication and professionalism, which is precisely the reason that the theme for my campaign was: "The Record Speaks for Itself." That record has withstood numerous attacks over the course of the last six months and has persevered. I have always believed that such a record of accomplishments built on such a solid foundation cannot be damaged or destroyed by accusations lacking in foundation or fact.

It has been a privilege to have received voter support for the next four years, a privilege to have such a large number of friends who have worked toward that goal and a privilege to be able to participate at this level in the criminal justice system with numerous dedicated law enforcement agencies and a team of highly motivated and dedicated professional attorneys, staff and victim-witness personnel.

Four years ago, I pledged that I would give this job 100 percent of what I had to offer, and that is what I have done. I make the same pledge now for the next four years.

ROBERT D. ANDERSON

Commonwealth's Attorney