John Russ, an investigator with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, has been named one of the Virginia Homicide Investigators Association's top homicide investigators of the year. Russ has been lead investigator on several homicide cases in Loudoun, most notably the slaying in 2001 of Robert M. Schwartz. The case gained national attention after the investigation revealed that Schwartz's daughter planned the murder.

Betsy Fields, Leesburg's director of economic development and tourism, was recently elected to a two-year term on the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Developers Association.

Loudoun Interfaith Relief Inc., the largest food bank in Loudoun County, has elected new officers for its board of directors. The officers for 2005-06 are Barbara Notar, president; Jane Rodgers, vice president; Phil Carrescia, treasurer; and Tina Johnson, secretary.

J. Christopher Clough of Leesburg has been named director of marketing and strategic communications at Virginia Tech. He will oversee the university's marketing and branding plans and aid in content development for the university's Internet communications.

Lynn A. Reid of Leesburg is the new division manager of the Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging. Reid was senior vice president of research and education for Spry Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group for seniors.

The Loudoun County Farm Bureau chose new officers and directors at its recent annual meeting in Aldie. They are Christopher Hatch, president; James McIntosh IV, vice president; Donna T. Rogers, secretary; Richard Fiske, treasurer; and Tommy Payne and Lewis Parker, directors.

Tori Travers of Purcellville won first place at the Virginia State Fair in the children's division of the Hershey's Cocoa Classic baking competition. Tori, an eighth-grader at Harmony Intermediate School, made peanut butter swirl brownies to win the $250 prize.