Back to profile

Donna Manz

Stories by Donna

Hometown Girl Really Makes Good

Danielle Talamantes goes from Vienna to NYC’s Metropolitan Opera.

Danielle Talamantes’ life story sounds like a Hallmark made-for-TV movie. Local girl sings in community, takes her voice to next level in international competitions, is discovered by agent of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Tease photo

The Best Holiday Gifts in the Vienna Area

Holiday gift guide features locally-owned businesses with high-quality merchandise and friendly customer service.

Why, yes, you can shop online or at the mall for holiday gifts …. or, you can get personalized, friendly service and distinctive, high-quality goods by supporting your Vienna-Oakton small businesses, typically owned by local people who give back to the community.

Tease photo

Vienna Gets Festive

Holiday activities abound in December.

The Vienna area, from James Madison High School to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, offers a diversity of holiday fun for all ages. Some are free; most are not.

Early Voter Turnout Steady in Vienna

At Wolftrap Elementary School the morning of election day, Nov. 4, voters came in a steady stream, but no large crowds at a single time.

Tease photo

Restaurants Serve ‘Themed’ Dinners

If the abundance of hosted “themed” dinners, particularly those paired with complementary wines, are an indication of popularity, one may then conclude that themed dinners are quite in vogue now.

Tease photo

Bellini Salon Hosts ‘Princess and Firefighter Party’

Transformation for girls and boys donated by Bellini staff.

The Bellini Salon of Vienna welcomes children 14 and under to become either a “princess” for a day, or firefighter, at its “Princess and Firefighter Party” to benefit the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.

A Thurber Carnival’ Comes to Town

Vienna Theatre Company presents 15 of James Thurber’s most-recognized scenes.

With every production, the Vienna Theatre Company stretches its comfort zone. In this fall, 2014, production, VTC draws on a series of scenes based on The New Yorker (mostly) short pieces and cartoons of American humorist James Thurber.

Tease photo

Little Free Library, in Memory of M. Jane Seeman, Dedicated on Town Green

As a book-lover, Vienna’s late mayor volunteered more than 3,000 hours at Patrick Henry Library.

Vienna’s late mayor, M. Jane Seeman, loved books, loved reading, loved Patrick Henry Library where she volunteered more than 3,000 hours.

Tease photo

Family Fun Day for ‘Growing Hope’ Draws Big Turnout on Town Green

Live music, activities, food and fun raises funds for families of children with cancer.

The Vienna Town Green rung out with joyful sounds, from children’s laughter to live pop music, on Saturday, Sept. 27, as the Optimists of Greater Vienna hosted its 9th Annual Family Fun Day and Fun Walk for “Growing Hope.”

Tease photo

Fall Family Fun Abounds in Vienna

Myriad of events make the crisp season festive.

When the air turns crisp and the leaves burst into color, it’s fall in Northern Virginia.

Tease photo

Irish Food, Drink and Hospitality Come to Tysons

Paddy Barry’s Irish Pub and Restaurant hosts kin and friends at grand opening celebration.

For all the Irish and the not-so-Irish in the Vienna-Tysons area who have wished for an authentic Irish pub in the community, your wish has come true.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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?”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Prev