Step Up Loudoun contestregistration is underway

Registration is open for the 2012-13 Step Up Loudoun competition, which challenges middle school and high school students to choose an issue important to them and develop an action plan.

To register or for information, go to The registration deadline is Jan. 4. Early-bird registrations are due Friday.

Step Up is open to public, private and home-schooled Loudoun County students, who may enter as individuals or teams. Community groups and clubs are also eligible; winners will be named March 7. The first-place winner receives $1,000; second place, $500; and third place, $250. E-mail questions about registration or the competition to

Acting chief financial officer is appointed by the county

Ben Mays has been named Loudoun County’s chief financial officer and director of the Department of Management and Financial Services. The appointment became effective Thursday, County Administrator Tim Hemstreet said in a statement last week.

Mays has been acting director since May. He joined the county as budget officer in 1992 and was deputy chief financial officer before becoming acting director.

Mays has more than 27 years of financial and local government experience. He has a bachelor’s in government from the College of William and Mary.

Toys for Tots accepting donations through Thursday

Leesburg officials have partnered with the Loudoun County Detachment of the Marine Corps League to sponsor this year’s U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign.

Toys collected at five drop-off locations in Leesburg will be distributed within Loudoun.

The locations include: Town Hall, 25 W. Market St.; Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St.; the Leesburg Police Department, 65 Plaza St. NE; Ida Lee Recreation Center, 60 Ida Lee Dr. NW; and Leesburg Executive Airport, 1001 Sycolin Rd. SE.

Donated toys should be new and unwrapped. They will be distributed to children ages 1 to 12.

Donations will be accepted through Thursday. Monetary donations may be given directly to the local branch of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation through its Web site,

— Compiled by Caitlin Gibson