Man Pulled From Car Fire

Two Loudoun County residents pulled a man from a burning vehicle in Sterling on Thursday after his car crashed head-on into another and burst into flames, county authorities said.

Robert Ray Schermerhorn Jr. of Leesburg was driving south on Old Ox Road about 3 p.m. when his Maserati struck a Pontiac being driven north by Martha Gomez of Reston, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said Friday.

After Schermerhorn's car caught fire, two witnesses, Oscar Merida of Leesburg and Christopher Johnson of Ashburn, pulled him from the vehicle. County firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Schermerhorn was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Gomez was treated at Inova Loudoun Hospital, and two passengers in her car were treated at Reston Hospital Center and released.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

Officers Restore Heartbeat

Four Leesburg police officers saved the life of a Maryland man early Thursday morning by shocking his heart into a normal rhythm with a defibrillator, a police spokesman said.

Officers Nick Martin, Matt Hackney, Joseph Marsten and Larry Mangan arrived at the Days Inn on East Market Street to find a 62-year-old man slumped against a wall in the hotel lobby, said Leesburg police spokesman Lt. Jeffrey Dube. They administered one shock with a defibrillator and gave several rescue breaths. Volunteer rescue workers took the man to Inova Loudoun Hospital's Cornwall campus.

Leesburg patrol officers carry automated external defibrillators and are trained to use them. They have saved four lives with the portable devices since 1997, Dube said.

Center to Get New Pipes

Lucketts Community Center will be closed through Wednesday as the county replaces some lead-soldered pipes in the nearly 100-year-old building, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority said Friday.

At the prompting of angry preschool parents, the county replaced pipes in a hand sink and replaced a water fountain that had a lead-lined tank, said spokeswoman Samantha Villegas. Elevated levels of lead and fecal bacteria were reported in the center's water in October.

To deal with the bacterial contamination, the county is connecting the center's water supply to a well at Lucketts Elementary School. The system could be in place by mid-January or by February, Villegas said.

After the lead finding was reported in October, the center shut down its water system and has been using bottled water.

Holiday Coalition Store

The Community Holiday Coalition's Holiday Store opened a day late yesterday, following the overnight snowstorm that closed Loudoun County public schools on Friday.

Many of the store's customers come from the county's public school system, coordinator Karen Velez said Friday. The store, which allows needy families to shop for donated goods in a department-store setting, will be open through Thursday, as scheduled.

The store is at 45335 Vintage Park Plaza, Sterling. It will be open from noon to 4 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Committee Meetings Off

Three standing committee meetings of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors scheduled for December have been canceled.

The meetings were for the Public Safety Committee tomorrow, the Economic Development Committee on Dec. 19 and the Human Services Committee on Dec. 21.

The committees' normal meeting schedule, available at, is expected to resume in January, a county spokeswoman said.

Assistance on Heating Bills

Loudoun County residents in need will get a little help with their heating bills this winter, thanks to a donation of $7,000 by four local places of worship and a Dulles company.

NEW Customer Service Cos.has contributed $5,000 to low-income families through Loudoun Cares. And St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Crossroads United Methodist Church in Ashburn, Potomac Falls Episcopal Church in Sterling and Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation in Ashburn each donated $500 to the nonprofit group.

A household can expect to pay about 48 percent more for natural gas this winter, and homeowners who use heating oil can expect to pay 32 percent more, according to Andy Johnston, executive director of Loudoun Cares.

To donate, call 703-669-4636. To determine whether your family is eligible for help, call the Loudoun County Department of Social Services at 703-777-0353.

Valor Award Nominations

Do you consider a local firefighter, government worker or police officer your hero? The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its 2006 Valor Award, granted to people who put themselves at risk to ensure the safety of others.

Winners will be honored April 18 at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott.

The nomination deadline is Dec. 30. For more information or to nominate someone, call 703-777-2176 or visit

Literary Council Donations

An anonymous donor will match donations -- up to $10,000 -- to the Loudoun Literacy Council through December. The council, which offers free and low-cost tutoring to adults and families, has struggled to cover operating costs.

The deadline for donations is 6 p.m. Dec. 31. Checks should be made payable to Loudoun Literacy Council, PO Box 1932, Leesburg, Va. 20177. For more information, call 703-777-2205.

-- Compiled by