Five School Trips Canceled

Loudoun County school officials have canceled five high school trips to Europe this summer, citing concerns about war and terrorism.

Administrators called off trips planned by students from Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Park View and Potomac Falls high schools to Germany, France, Italy, Scotland and Switzerland. A group at Stone Bridge High independently decided to cancel a trip to France.

Overseas field trips were suspended for almost a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. High school groups resumed planning those trips in August on condition that each would be approved by the School Board. School groups were also instructed to write contracts with touring groups that would allow for full refunds if world events forced cancellations.

Schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard said administrators have been advised by authorities that avoiding overseas travel is wise this summer.

"The feeling was that if you have a large number of American students traveling in a foreign country, that makes an inviting terrorist target," he said. "Chances are, nothing would happen. But we will always be cautious."

Telephone Book Recycling Sites

Loudoun County residents and businesses may drop off old telephone books at the following locations for recycling:

Arcola Community Center, Hillsboro Elementary School, the Loudoun County landfill, Lovettsville Recycling Center, Lucketts Elementary School (Saturdays only, 8 a.m.-noon), Mickie Gordon Memorial Park east of Middleburg, Park View High School recycling center in Sterling (March-April), Philomont Fire Department and the Leesburg Plaza Shopping Center parking lot across from Kmart (March-April).

If all Loudoun residents and businesses recycled last year's phone books, more than 300,000 pounds of paper could be turned into new paper products, said Tony Hayes, a county recycling specialist.

For more information about these and other local recycling opportunities, call the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187 or visit www.loudoun.gov/oswm.

Park Program Funding Possible

This spring, Sky Meadows State Park may be able to restore some programs it cut last fall, including astronomy field trips, tours of historic Mount Bleak House, guided nature walks and overnight camping, said Gary Waugh, spokesman for the conservation and recreation department.

The 1,862-acre park in northern Fauquier and Clarke counties stopped the programs when Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) cut its funding along with that of three other state parks. Sky Meadows also was forced to close Mondays and Tuesdays. It lost all its part-time employees, and two park rangers were reassigned, leaving one to maintain the land, 10 miles of trails, Mount Bleak House and other buildings and to operate the visitors center.

The General Assembly adopted budget amendments that could provide as much as $2.1 million over the next two years to the four parks. Waugh said Sky Meadows won't know until early April, when the new budget is up for approval, whether or when the funding will be restored.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed," said a ranger who declined to be identified. "With restored funds, the canceled programs will resume."

The park, built on land donated by the late philanthropist Paul Mellon, has been developed as an equestrian staging and bridle trail area.