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Donna Manz

Stories by Donna

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Vienna Stands Above the Rest

Year-round activities and events create small-town feel and sense of community.

Laurie DiRocco was voted in as Vienna’s new mayor this year. Months before her death, former Mayor M. Jane Seeman had previously announced she would not run for re-election in 2014. The Connection chatted with Mayor DiRocco about Vienna, what makes it special and what issues confront the town.

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Middle Eastern Food Festival Returns for 22nd Year

Festival hosted by Holy TransfiguratiMelkite Greek-Catholic Church features, food and sweets, family activities and traditional culture.

Food and festival-lovers alert! The annual Labor Day weekend Middle Eastern Food Festival is upon the McLean/Vienna area once again. And if you’ve wondered how a Northern Virginia foodfest can go through 200 pounds of lamb, 400 pounds of beef, 450 pounds of chicken, 180 pounds of butter and 12,000 pieces of sweets, this is your opportunity to find out.

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Vienna is Where Softball Holds High Court

Pure Performance Softball Training Center coaches girls and young women on softball techniques and strategy.

Tucked away in a concrete industrial park on Mill Street is a unique training facility for women and girls.

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Vienna Youth Players Present Musical

‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ opens Aug. 1, runs for two weekends.

For children who studied in Catholic school in the 1950s and 60s, a burning question that perplexed young minds was, “do black patent leather shoes really reflect up?”

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Ice Cream Social At Freeman House

Historic Vienna, Inc. hosts family summer fun with games and ice cream.

Historic Vienna, Inc. takes its mission to preserve and promote Vienna’s colorful history seriously.

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Caffe Amouri Celebrates Birthday

Live music, activities for children and hotdogs draw community.

Business and nonprofit interwove on Saturday, July 19, when Caffi Amouri celebrated its fourth anniversary in business with a benefit on behalf of the Lamb Center, a faith-backed charity that serves the poor and the poor-in-spirit locally.

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Vienna Arts Society Presents Heroes Healing Wall

Troops on the mend from Fort Belvoir compose multi-media puzzle pieces.

The newest exhibition of the Vienna Arts Society is a trifecta of purpose

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Vienna’s 4th of July Celebration Draws Thousands

Sunny skies, breeze set stage for celebration.

The weather could not have cooperated more had the Town of Vienna scripted and directed it for the town’s annual 4th of July celebration.

Vienna Author Launches Next Thriller

Mark Gilleo takes his reader on a suspenseful journey of intrigue in “Favors and Lies.”

Mark Gilleo’s world embraces private detectives, bail bondsmen, hackers, madams, and murder.

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Optimists Honor Local Officers

Vienna Police Officer Patrick Kiley and Fairfax County Officer Philip C. Stone recognized.

On June 18, the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna honored Town of Vienna Police Officer Patrick J. Kiley and Fairfax County Police Officer PFC Philip C. Stone, Fair Oaks District, with its “Charles A. Robinson Jr. Respect for the Law” awards.

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Vienna Celebrates the 4th with Festival, Fireworks, Fun

The Town of Vienna’s annual 4th of July small-town festival and fireworks is one of the characteristics of Vienna that give it, well, its small-town feel.

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Vienna Rotary Installs New Leadership Team

Members who put ‘service above self’ honored.

When the Rotary Club of Vienna passed the torch from the 2013-14 “leadership team” to the 2014-15 “leadership team,” it did so in style.

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Annual HVI Book Sale Draws Buyers from Vienna, Region

Two-day sale raises money for Historic Vienna, Inc. programs and exhibits.

What has 30,000 used books selling for $2 and less, two weekend days of book fair, and funds exhibits and historical programming throughout the year? The Historic Vienna, Inc. [HVI] annual book sale.

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Pets Blessed in Vienna

Antioch Christian Church’s annual pet blessing draws the living and those alive in memory only.

Every year since Pastor Randy Beeman came to Antioch Christian Church in Vienna four years ago, he has set aside a June Sunday to bestow grace on the family pets of the area who come for the church’s “Blessing of the Animals.”

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Community Pays Tribute to Late Mayor

Official portrait unveiled, state capitol flag and memorial resolution given to family.

Town of Vienna officials and staff and invited guests paid tribute to Vienna’s late mayor, M. Jane Seeman, on June 2 in Town Hall chambers.

Sophia Manicone Named Vienna Idol

Vienna Idol raised over $13,000 for the Khristin Kyllo Memorial Fund.

Of more than 35 contestants auditioning for Vienna Idol throughout the spring, it came down to six finalists competing on the Town Green Friday night, June 6.

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Vienna Elementary Honors Retiring Teachers

Terry Love and Linda Camacho leave the school after decades teaching there.

Staff, students and parents of the Vienna Elementary School [VES] community came together on May 19 to say goodbye to two long-time VES teachers retiring this year.

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Vienna Woman’s Club Awards Scholarships to High School Seniors

Oakton and Marshall High School students each accept $1,000 scholarships.

The Vienna Woman’s Club awarded $1,000 scholarships to three local high school seniors going on to college this fall.

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Music Returns to the Town Green

Bluegrass music and candle tribute to former mayor M. Jane Seeman.

The Vienna Town Green concert series kicked off on Friday, May 30 with a performance by Bill Emerson and the Sweet Dixie Band, and a tribute to the late mayor M. Jane Seeman.

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Something for Everyone This Summer in Vienna

From camps to concerts, festivals to fireworks, there’s something for everyone.

If you live in Vienna, you’ll have fun, fun, fun, long after your daddy takes your T-bird away. From concerts on the Town Green to sprinklers on the Town Green, from festivals and fireworks to book sales and live theatre, day camps to teen excursion camps, there’s something for every age, every interest. The Department of Parks and Recreation even sells theme park tickets to Busch Gardens and King’s Dominion. Go to www.viennava.gov for details of Town of Vienna community events and activities.

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ViVa! Vienna! Marks Another Fun-filled Festival

Three-day carnival featured 350 vendors, food, rides and live entertainment.

Vienna Rotary could not have ordered a more ideal setting of blue skies and dry heat for ViVa! Vienna!, the club’s annual three-day festival running along the historic Church Street corridor, Saturday through Monday. ViVa! Vienna! is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Vienna, in partnership with the Town of Vienna. “This is so Vienna,” said D.H. Scarborough, manning the Vienna Business Association booth. “The community is here together. “There’s food, vendors and fun.”

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Vienna Public Works Day Draws Crowds

Preschoolers have opportunity to climb on heavy equipment.

To a young child, there’s no question --- the bigger, the better. Witness the euphoria and unbridled enthusiasm of hundreds of preschoolers who climbed onboard heavy equipment, from front-loaders to ditch-diggers, at the Town of Vienna’s annual (and very popular) Public Works Day open house on May 15. Kids had the opportunity to sit in police vehicles, crawl into the animal compartment of the police department’s animal control truck, get tattoos, and grab loads of complimentary packaged snacks, as well. The congenial staff of the Public Works Department was there on-hand to boost the children into equipment cabs and ensure their safety.

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Paladar Brings Latin-inspired Cuisine to Vienna

Restaurant launches with benefit for Food for Others, plans to be good neighbor in community.

Mix innovative Latin “comfort” food with a twist, a rum bar with more than 60 rums from throughout the Caribbean and South America, gracious staff, and a mission to be a friend to the community, and you have Vienna’s newest good neighbor, Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar. On May 8, Paladar hosted a benefit dinner on behalf of Food for Others, donating the proceeds to the Northern Virginia-area charity. It opened its doors to an enthusiastic public the following evening.

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ViVa! Vienna! Returns Memorial Day Weekend

Rides, food, entertainment, kids’ activities and Memorial Day tribute celebrate community spirit.

Memorial Day is a time to honor America’s fallen and to celebrate life. ViVa! Vienna!, a three-day family-focused festival covering Memorial Day weekend, does both with fun activities and a Memorial Day tribute. ViVa! Vienna!, sponsored and hosted by the Vienna Rotary club, in partnership with the Town of Vienna and Navy Federal Credit Union, opens on Saturday, May 24, with food vendors and amusement rides for all ages. On Sunday and Monday, 350 vendors converge in the historic Church Street corridor and on the Town Green. Church Street closes down and nonstop live entertainment is presented on a children’s stage and a main stage. The Rotary Club returns its profit from the festival back to the community. It is awarding more than $165,000 to local nonprofits and schools in 2014.

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Hosting Community on Passover

March 21 reception recognized donation of 100-plus Haggadot from Mike Berger of Vienna.

Passover or Pesach celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The sacred holiday begins sunset of Monday, April 14, and ends nightfall of Tuesday, April 22. The commemoration begins with the Passover ritual, the Seder, in which followers of the Jewish faith read from the family Haggadah, breaking for a traditional feast. At its core, the Haggadah narrates the story of the Exodus from Egypt. On March 21, the Chabad Tysons Jewish Center, in Vienna, recognized a donation of more than 100 Haggadot [Jewish texts] from Mike Berger, a Vienna resident whose father collected the versions throughout his lifetime.

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Spring Fun Starts Now

From food to live entertainment, a bit of something for everyone is available.

Daffodils are peeking through ground snow and the days grow a bit longer each day. It must be spring. The Connection offers this diversity of springtime fun to its readers.

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Freeman House Celebrates ‘The Country Store’

Exhibit showcases history of bygone era.

For a hundred years, towns and cities across America depended on their "general" stores – or "country" stores – for food provisions, clothing and dry goods, animal feed and seeds, and small equipment to sustain the community.

In Search of ‘Game Changing’ Ideas

Local legislators reflect on social issues addressed by Virginia General Assembly in 2014.

At a presentation hosted by SALT [Social Action Linking Together) on March 22, more than 50 community activists gathered to hear local legislators offer brief comments on social progress in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2014 General Assembly session. The presentation was hosted at American Legion 180.

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Fire Ball Auction Hottest Ticket in Town

First-responders volunteered to raise funds for Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.

More than 100 friends and citizens came out on March 21 to support the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s fundraiser, the 2nd Annual Fire Ball Auction. Community businesses donated prizes for the silent auction and the raffle, and dedicated firefighters and EMTs donated themselves in a live auction. Bidding for an organized group dinner-date with a first-responder started at $40 and guests sent the bidding in the hundreds of dollars. Twelve firefighters and EMTs volunteered as auction prizes.

Fire Ball Auction Takes Bids on Firefighters and EMTs

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department hosts live and silent auctions on March 21.

Here’s an opportunity to win a group dinner "date" with a Vienna Volunteer Fire Department EMT or firefighter, as well as a diversity of prizes. On Friday, March 21, the VVFD holds a live auction featuring bids on the department’s emergency responders and a silent auction for prizes donated by area businesses, from restaurants, spa treatments and vacation rentals to services and jewelry. Twelve firefighters and EMTs will be auctioned off and bids start at $40. The auctions begin at 7 p.m.

Vienna Arts Society Exhibits the World, Honors Springtime

‘Great Escapes’ gives way to ‘Music to My Ears.’

The Vienna Arts Society does much more than bring local artists together. It reaches out to the community with art classes for adults and children, fine arts competitions, art camps for kids, and gallery exhibitions of quality pieces that change monthly. March’s exhibition of "Great Escapes," runs through March 29.

Healthful Meal Ideas for Seniors

Dietician/chef creates meals that are nutrient-dense and easy to prepare.

Shirley Martin of Vienna has a pacemaker and is on warfarin, a blood thinner, and Vitamin K, found in dark leafy greens, can lessen the effectiveness of warfarin. Martin also has high cholesterol. "I have to be concerned about eating too many greens while I’m on warfarin or too many fats," said Martin. "I also try to keep from gaining weight."

Handcrafters Guild Arts & Crafts Show Comes to Vienna

Thanksgiving weekend tradition draws shoppers from throughout region.

The Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild Arts & Crafts Show annually takes over the Vienna Community Center for three days of the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Holiday Gifting from Toys to Acts of Kindness

The spirit of the season is giving of love.

There’s still plenty of time to buy gifts for family and party hosts. There is even time to buy a gift or two for someone without the means to reciprocate. Here are a few ideas from local shops, restaurants and resources. And, please, remember that gifts do not have to come in wrapping to be welcomed and appreciated.

Holiday Shopping the ‘Small-town’ Way

Local businesses offer personalized service, distinctive and unique gifts

So, you ask, what makes shopping at Vienna’s small businesses a pleasant, rewarding experience. For starters, merchandise and services are likely to be unique and distinctive, and customer service is typically personal and enthusiastic. You can go to the mall and find the same brands, harried employees and temporary staffing at one store or another. Or … you can shop locally where the merchants are your neighbors, your fellow club or church members, and community supporters. From one-of-a-kind hand-knit hats to wood birdhouses and bat condominiums, Vienna-logo gifts, and pumpkin pie liqueur, there’s something for everyone in Vienna’s hometown shops.

Walking for a Burning Reason

Flicker of Hope fundraiser benefits burn survivors.

When David Borowski was 6 weeks old, his mother witnessed his bassinet suddenly burst into flames—with her newborn in it. She grabbed her infant to her chest, trying to smother the fire engulfing his little form. The telephone was enveloped by the fire, and David’s mom ran to the street.

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Vienna Halloween Parade Attracts Thousands

Costumed children, bands, floats and vehicles anchor 90-minute parade.

As chilly—and drizzly—as it was, the weather did not deter thousands of local families to line Maple Avenue on Wednesday, Oct. 23 to celebrate the 67th annual Vienna Halloween Parade. Hosted for the first time ever as a partnership between the Town of Vienna and the year-old Vienna Business Association [VBA], the parade featured Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman as its Grand Marshal in 2013. New this year was a concert presented on the Town Green by the School of Rock as an early evening prelude to the parade.

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Halloween Parade Steps Off on Oct. 23

Pre-parade entertainment on Town Green new in 2013.

Vienna’s longest-running and most-anticipated annual event—the 67th Vienna Halloween parade—steps off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. One hundred-plus groups, clubs, bands and floats take over Maple Avenue between Berry and Center streets.

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Halloween Parade Steps Off on Oct. 23

Pre-parade entertainment on Town Green new in 2013.

Vienna’s longest-running and most-anticipated annual event—the 67th Vienna Halloween parade—steps off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. One hundred-plus groups, clubs, bands and floats take over Maple Avenue between Berry and Center streets. With a theme of “Celebrating Music and Theatre Through the Decades,” the parade is led by Grand Marshal Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman. The parade was originally founded to give Vienna children an opportunity to dress in costume and march through the town. The tradition holds fast today.

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Fire Stations Host Open Houses

Vienna fire department wins best open house for 2nd Battalion for third straight year.

Fairfax County fire stations capped off National Fire Prevention Week with station “open houses” throughout the County on Oct. 12. In Vienna zipcodes 22180 through 22182, there are two fire and rescue departments, Station 2 in the heart of Vienna, and the newly-launched Wolftrap station, number 42. The Wolftrap station celebrated its grand opening with the ceremonial “push-in” of its engine. Fairfax County fire stations capped off National Fire Prevention Week with station “open houses” throughout the County on Oct. 12. In Vienna zipcodes 22180 through 22182, there are two fire and rescue departments, Station 2 in the heart of Vienna, and the newly-launched Wolftrap station, number 42.

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Vienna Commemorates ‘A Day to Remember’

Town, American Legion Post 180, pay tribute to lives lost on September 11, 2001.

On a hot and humid September 11, 2013, people in Vienna—as they did in towns and cities across America—reflected on the horrific terrorist attack that altered the lives of Americans from that date forward 12 years ago. More than 3,000 innocent human beings lost their lives when jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. Patriot Day pays tribute to lives lost, lives impacted and to the living who put themselves in harm's way to protect the nation.

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Koi Bring a Bit of Japan to Vienna

ZNA Potomac Koi Club hosts weekend competition at Meadowlark Gardens.

If Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and glistening other-worldly koi seem to be a perfect fit, that’s because they were harmoniously wed on Sept. 7 and 8, as the ZNA Potomac Koi Club presented its annual koi show and competition. The competition, bringing in nishikigoi [koi] hobbyists from Connecticut to South Carolina, was open and free to the public. Two hundred and sixty two nishikigoi, “living jewels,” entered the competition this year, breaking the Potomac chapter’s record for the show.

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Regional Flavors of India Come to Vienna

Curry Mantra 3 offers traditional and signature dishes.

Curry Mantra 3 turned upside-down the adage, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” on Sept. 8. Not only did the new restaurant at Cedar Park Shopping Center serve free lunch to celebrate its grand opening, it served free dinner, as well. Vienna guests and loyal customers from Curry Mantra 1 and 2 lined up at the door in support of Vienna’s newest entry into the town’s burgeoning restaurant scene. A hostess manning the door let people in as guests left—that’s how busy it was.

Viewpoints: What are you looking forward to the most this school year?

“I’m looking forward to sports, football, basketball … looking forward to that. Also the challenge of new classes this year because junior year is typically the most difficult. I’m starting to look at colleges this year.”

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Excited to Go Back to School

Fairfax County Public Schools began school year on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

If any of the children waiting at a Westbriar Elementary School bus stop had first-day-of-school jitters, no one showed them. The kids intuitively lined up as the bus approached the stop as parents waved good-bye. The children were excited; parents marked another passage in their children’s lives.

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Capturing Vienna’s History

Historic Vienna, Inc. project recorded and filmed residents’ recollections of earlier Vienna.

There was a time when there was no Rt. 66 ramp in Vienna … mainly because there was a time when there was no Rt. 66 anywhere nearby. Nor was there a Capital Beltway. There was, however, a time when a train from Alexandria stopped in Vienna going west. There was a time when there were maple trees on Maple Avenue and churches along Church Street. Before Louise Archer Elementary School was named after the principal who ran the school for many pivotal years, it was a “colored” school.

The Beauty of Vienna Living

From national recognition to local perspective, views on life in Vienna.

What surprised many people living in the Vienna area is not that Vienna was voted by Money magazine as the third best small town to live in in America but that it did not come in first. That’s Vienna pride.

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A Fading Craft Thrives in Vienna

Guarantee Shoe Repair blends business with congeniality and nature.

The cream-colored two-story clapboard house at 131 Church St. N.W. could be mostly any one’s home in Vienna. It’s well cared-for with rose bushes and an array of flowers and greenery out front. To the side is a small fish pond and to the back is a gazebo anchored by a fountain. The gazebo’s flooring covers an obsolete well whose pump remains a visual magnet.

School Bells Ring Sept. 3

Local schools gearing up for new critical thinking programs.

It’s that time of the year when school bells across the region begin ringing … families are doing last-minute back-to-school shopping for supplies and clothes, the days are getting shorter, fall sports are at practice and children are playing outside until dusk. It won’t last much longer. Fairfax County Public Schools start the school year on Tuesday, Sept. 3, possibly the last year the county will be required to schedule the school calendar year after Labor Day. Fairfax County Public Schools’ new initiative is to develop 21st century learning skills among its students. Several Vienna-area elementary school administrators shared “what’s new” at their schools.

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Packing Healthful Sack Lunches Children Will Eat

Local experts offer lunch suggestions, recipes.

The bigger challenge for mom or dad than building a healthful sack lunch is building a healthful sack lunch that tastes good-enough to eat. If children are not actually eating what you serve them, it makes little difference how healthy the ingredients are. That’s where local food specialists lend a hand. Registered dietician Judy Caplan and professional chef—and mother of two school-aged kids—Christine Wisnewski share suggestions, tips and recipes for planning sack lunches your kids will eat because they enjoy doing so. Healthy and tasty—the ultimate combination.

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