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Families, Community Advocate For Special Education Graduates

Supporters gathered at Fairfax County budget hearing on April 10.

Diana Martin, a Fairfax Station resident, was already losing sleep thinking about how she was going to balance the post-grad needs of her daughter Kenzie with her husband’s chemo and medical care. Now, she is even more concerned as funding for the programs that help special education graduates from Fairfax County Public Schools is included on a list of possible further reductions that County Executive Ed Long presented to the Board of Supervisors on March 18.

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Promoting STEM in Schools, Budget Hearings

Nifty Fifty STEM education events continue as students advocate for STEM at Fairfax public hearings.

As part of an effort to inspire students to pursue STEM careers and to spark interest in math and science, scientists visited Fairfax County Public Schools last week to talk about their careers and to provide insight on the field.

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Area Writers Shine at Crime Authors Book Fair

Fairfax County residents share insight at National Crime and Punishment Museum.

For Fairfax County resident John B. Wren, writing crime novels is addictive. Creating problems, or the mystery, making people curious and creating solutions, is enjoyable for him. “It’s so much fun,” he said.

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Lorton Residents ‘Ride to Conquer Cancer’

Kim and James Reno, West Springfield High School graduates, hope to raise $5,000 each.

West Springfield High School graduates and current Lorton residents Kim and James Reno are putting in long hours training for the upcoming Ride to Conquer Cancer. The two-day, 150-mile bike ride will take them through the D.C. area as they raise money and awareness for cancer research. Both Kim and James need to raise at least $2,500 dollars, but are aiming for $5,000 each.

Chess Champions

FCPS students sweep team titles at Virginia Scholastic Chess Championships.

Students from three Fairfax County public schools won team championships in all four K-12 divisions at the Virginia Scholastic Chess Championships held recently in Roanoke. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students also won individual championships in the K-3 and K-5 divisions.

Week in Vienna

Since Laurie DiRocco is the only person running for mayor in Vienna, it’s a good bet that she’ll be elected. And in the meantime, she’s getting some on-the-job training by fulfilling the unexpired term of the town’s late mayor, M. Jane Seeman, who died Feb. 23.

High-quality Preschool Helps Children Succeed

Fairfax County must expand access to Virginia Preschool Initiative.

As a retired general and the husband of an educator, I would like to highlight the importance of quality preschool as the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors makes final decisions about the county budget. I am alarmed that 75 percent of all young Americans ages 17-24 are not able to serve in the military, primarily because they are too poorly educated, too overweight or have a criminal record. In Virginia, 18 percent of young people do not graduate from high school on time. In addition, one in four of Virginia's high school graduates who try to join the military cannot serve because of low scores on the military's exam for math, literacy and problem-solving.

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Madison Science Olympiad Team First in Region, Third in State

James Madison Science Olympiad is a still developing group, gaining competitive recognition as the years go by. They have received fifth place in 2012, third place in 2013, and third place this year in 2014 in the state competitions. In the regional competitions they have gotten first both this year and last year. Science Olympiad is a nation-wide organization aimed to expose students to different aspects of science not introduced at the typical school level. It is similar to the Olympics in a way -- students represent their school and compete against other schools to win their event. The sixth through first place winners all receive medals. There are multitudinous events, slightly differing from middle school to high school. Events include Rocks and Minerals, Astronomy, Water Quality, and many more.

‘Humphrey’ Writer Visits Vienna Elementary

Betty Birney writer of the popular “Humphrey” series visited Vienna Elementary on March 25. “Humphrey” is a classroom hamster and the stories are written from his perspective.

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The Italian Gourmet Celebrates 40 Years

On Monday Dec. 9, 1974, The Italian Gourmet opened in Vienna. With its gourmet Italian prepared foods and specialty hard goods, The Italian Gourmet drew customers from all over the D.C. area. Today Jeremy and Margaret Schottler own the store, and their two children can often be found "helping" in the store as well. Six days a week (the deli is closed on Sunday for family time), The Italian Gourmet serves as a deli, gourmet food shop and caterer to the Vienna community.

Chocolate Factory Comes to Vienna

Vienna Theatre Company Presents “Willy Wonka” over three weekends.

“Willy Wonka, The Musical,” based on Roald Dahl’s popular children’s story “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” comes alive in Vienna for three weekends from mid-April to early May. The Vienna Theatre Company presents the family-friendly production at the Vienna Community Center. Of a cast of 20, eleven are residents of Vienna. Ten of the 11 are local children. “We usually don’t do a show with a lot of kids in it,” said “Willy Wonka” director Jessie Roberts. “The kids have been fabulously fantastic, just wonderful to work with.”

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Vienna Honors Community Volunteers

More than 35 citizens received certificates and gratitude at April 8 awards ceremony.

The Vienna Town Council honored community volunteers – individuals, families and businesses – at the 13th annual Volunteer Service Award ceremony on April 8 at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. More than 35 volunteers, nominated by neighbors and peers, were recognized with certificates and gratitude for their outstanding contribution to the community. On behalf of the Vienna Town Council, acting Mayor Carey Sienicki proclaimed Tuesday, April 8, as Volunteer Recognition Day in the Town of Vienna, an opportunity to “celebrate and promote volunteerism” in the community. In her proclamation, Sienicki said, “volunteering of one’s time and resources is a fundamental part of the tradition of our country and is essential to its spirit. The people of our community benefit from the deeds of these selfless and dedicated individuals and organizations.”

Vienna Bridge Champ Turns 100

Don Elliot known as the ‘one to beat.’

It’s pretty extraordinary to turn 100 years old. It’s even more extraordinary to maintain one’s status as the reigning bridge champ in Vienna’s 50-plus Bridge Club which meets at the Vienna Community Center. Don Elliot, who turned 100 on April 5, was still regarded as the “one to beat” until he played his last bridge hand at the club in late March. The club celebrated his century birthday with a customized cake and the birthday song on Wednesday, April 9.

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Bring an Appetite; Come to Town

Third annual Taste of Vienna is Saturday, April 26.

Grab your taste buds and come downtown. It’s almost time for the Taste of Vienna, and there’ll be food and fun galore. The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) will host the third annual Taste of Vienna on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. It is in the fire department’s parking lot at 400 Center St. South and will be held, rain or shine. The event showcases the variety of foods offered by the town’s many restaurants. Admission is free, and the proceeds from attendees’ food and beverage purchases will directly benefit the town’s fire department. As the first fire station in Fairfax County, VVFD members have been serving Vienna residents for more than 100 years. But besides protecting lives and property in and around the town, volunteers must spend many hours raising money to keep it functioning. Combining operational and administrative personnel, the station has more than 100 members, and the dollars from the Taste of Vienna are truly needed.

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Vienna’s Easter Eggstravaganza

Vienna’s Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Roll was Saturday, April 12.

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Gyeonggi Province Governor Visits the Korean Bell Garden

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has announced that Kim Moon-Soon, Governor of the Gyeonggi Province of the Republic of Korea, donated $10,000 for the long-term maintenance of the Korean Bell Garden during his recent visit to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. Governor Kim has a long standing relationship with the people of Fairfax County and has been an active part of the creation and completion of The Korean Bell Garden. The bell garden was fully funded by donations from the Republic of Korea and the Gyeonggi Province. This is the only traditional Korean garden with a bell in the western hemisphere and the only Korean bell on the east coast. The two--ton “Bell of Harmony” was donated by Governor Kim and the Gyeonggi Province in 2011 and is the jewel of the Bell Garden. The bell combines images of nature from both Korea and Virginia as a symbol of the Korean-American population in this region.

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Wolftrap Elementary Wins Odyssey of the Mind Competition

Students from Wolftrap Elementary School competed at the NoVa North Odyssey of the Mind Region 9 Tournament, which took place at Oakton High School on March 8. Wolftrap Elementary's Division II Team competing for Problem #3,“It's How We Rule” placed first for the second year in a row, and will advance to the State Tournament in Rocky Mount, Va. on April 26. This was the first year that the sixth grade team participated in Division II where they competed against sixth, seventh and eighth grade teams from across the region. Team members are: Kiran Gowda, Wendy McHone, Ruhi Mehta, Valerie Nayak, Michael Shi, Katarina Stefanik and Lauen Van Stone, coached by Rachelle Stefanik and Tracy McHone. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving program that involves students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their critical thinking, team building and problem solving skills to produce an original performance or presentation in a variety of areas including: mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure and performance. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. For more information, visit

SOL Night at Lake Anne

Lake Anne hosted their annual SOL night on March 26 for students. The teachers and staff members were on hand all over the building with games, problems, and many other activities for the students to work on. The students worked both with the teachers, as a group, and individually on their own on all SOL related topics as a means to boost them academically for the taking of the SOLs coming up soon. Pictured here is fifth grade teacher Mr. Garcia showing Tristan and Lucas how to work through a science problem.

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Walking for a Cause

Reston’s 4th annual Kidney Walk a success.

More than 300 people banded together to support the fight against kidney disease on Sunday. The National Kidney Foundation’s fourth annual Reston Kidney Walk in the town center garnered about $83,000 from pre-registered walkers alone. “This is more of a family-driven event,” said NKF Development Manager Jessica Shatzel. “Our gala is a corporate driven event. A lot of our teams are families that return year after year.” Jessica Blevins, Gainsville, and her family came out to support the NKF walk with a “Team Logan” banner.

CATS Puts Special Needs Kids First

Children’s Adaptive Team Sports reinforces and praises with soccer and trophies.

Children with special needs can sometimes feel like they are not a part of a community. CATS - which stands for Children’s Adaptive Team Sports - helps these kids feel like real winners by putting them on their own basketball and soccer teams. “We’ve had some parents who were emotional and said they thought they’d never see their son play on a soccer team,” said founder and CEO Margarita Benavides. “Eighty percent of parents said there were improvements on motor skills or attention.”