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Donna Manz

Stories by Donna

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Walk of Lights at Meadowlark

In one of the season’s more spectacular holiday gestures, the chairman of the board of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, Brian Knapp, ceremonially threw a switch at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, illuminating hundreds of trees and scenes within Meadowlark’s 100-acre parkland.

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Vienna Arts Society Hosts Treasury of Art Show

More than 150 juried pieces went on exhibit at Community Center.

The Vienna Arts Society’s [VAS] 43rd Annual Treasury of Art Juried Show and Sale opened to the public on Friday, Nov. 16, closing on Nov. 18.

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Give a Gift, Share a Gift

The season of sharing and gift-giving is upon us. The malls and chain stores scream “sale” and mass-produced merchandise, made in other countries, flies off the shelves. This year, why not seek out the unique, the one-of-a-kind gifts sold in places that offer personalized, welcoming service, the kind of place where the owners and staff are truly happy to see you.

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Vienna Honors Veterans

American Legion Post 180 program salutes those who served country.

Vienna honored Veterans’ Day at a program hosted by Vienna’s own American Legion Dyer-Gunnell Post 180.

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Vienna’s Fair-est Saturday Presents Early Holiday Bazaars

The Vienna Woman’s Club and the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary host their annual fundraisers.

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with the first of Vienna’s festive bazaars? On Saturday, Nov. 10, there are two of them, adjacent to one another, no less.

World War II Veteran Recalls Wartime Experiences

From making machine guns to joining the WACs, Vienna resident shares memories.

World War II veteran Carolyn Fix may have slowed down somewhat as she approaches 90 years old, but she has not lost her sharp wits and her memory of her wartime experiences.

Viewpoints: "What issues are most important to you in this year’s election?"

“Three issues really are on the top of my mind. The security of the U.S. I am very concerned about the defense of the United States. Secondly, the economy. We’ve done nothing to bring us out of this depression. Third, unemployment. Twenty-seven million people out of work is unacceptable. I think it’s time we get a new horse-holder up front.”

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Civil War Dead Honored at Flint Hill Cemetery

Historic marker unveiling set against illuminations, living historians.

Even a thinly-veiled but luminous moon contributed to the theatrical mood at a dark Flint Hill Cemetery on Saturday night.

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Vienna Halloween Parade Keeps Them Smiling

Floats, emergency vehicles, bands and costumed children set the mood for festive evening.

The weather during the 66th Annual Vienna Halloween Parade on Wednesday, Oct. 24, did not merely cooperate, it begged the community to revel in its balmy temperatures and clear skies.

A Veteran’s ‘Best Friend’

Rescued pets help veterans overcome PTSD.

The Vienna Woman’s Club funds scholarships for local students, supports homeless high school students, contributes food and goods to a local charity, and, now, is fundraising on behalf of American veterans and first-responders with PTSD.

Unveiling History in Oakton

The Oct. 27 program at Flint Hill Cemetery honors the memory of the 165 veterans—from Civil War to 20th century wars—buried at the historic Oakton site.

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Vienna Preschoolers Help Less-fortunate

F. B. Meekins Preschool partners with Emmaus Church to bring food and goods to Our Daily Bread pantry in Vienna.

To kick off the season of sharing, F. B. Meekins Preschool in Vienna partnered with Emmaus United Church of Christ to give its preschoolers an opportunity to share their good fortune and bounty with families less fortunate.

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Big-Band Floor Show Comes to Vienna

Benefit fundraiser for SCOV is next-best thing to the Copacabana nightclub.

If you know who Glenn Miller was, what drugstore soda fountains were, or if you have ever watched a Thin Man film, the Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna [SCOV] is returning you to those times.

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Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Holds Annual Open House

Equipment, activities, draw hundreds of families to Saturday’s award-winning event.

What little child—or grownup child—doesn’t like fire engines and ambulances? Vienna youngsters got their chance to climb aboard emergency equipment, learn about fire safety, jump in a bounce house, get tattooed and nibble on free hot dogs and popcorn, all while at the Fire Prevention Week Open House presented by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department on Oct. 13.

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Oktoberfest Brightens Vienna Saturday

Annual festival draws families.

Oktoberfest, on Saturday, Oct. 6, started out as picture-perfect autumn day… sunny blue skies with a mild temperature, perfect for strolling. By early afternoon, dark clouds rolled in, but the families with young children made the best of their time at Oktoberfest.

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Church Street Garage Discussed

Town and architect invite questions, comments.

The Town of Vienna and project architect Paul Layer conducted another round of citizen meetings on Sept. 27 to discuss the proposed Church Street mixed-use building, a small complex of parking garage/retail and condo apartments, developed as a private/public partnership. Approximately 25 concerned community members turned out for the mid-afternoon meeting, while a much smaller number participated in the evening meeting. The evening meeting, however, featured a greater interaction between speakers and fellow citizens.

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Oktoberfest Returns on Oct. 6

Festival is partnership of Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and Town of Vienna.

It’s time for oompah music, wurst and beer. Add a diversity of children’s activities, a marketplace and live entertainment for kids and grown-ups and you get the 5th Annual Oktoberfest sponsored by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce [TRCC] and the Town of Vienna. The all-day festival takes over the Town Green and the historic Church Street corridor on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Talents Galore at ‘Arts by George!’

The 7th annual George Mason University ‘Arts by George!’ to be held on Saturday, Sept. 29.

A bevy of incredible talent is set to entertain as the seventh annual George Mason University "Arts by George!" is coming on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. Arts by George! will take place in the de Laski Performing Arts Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, as well as Harris Theater and a tented plaza next to the performing arts building.

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Fall Fun Finds in Vienna

Event-filled season begins now.

Fall is the festive season in Vienna. There are the traditional annual events—from the Halloween parade to the Church Street Holiday Stroll and everything in-between—to new multi-generational activities. Local holiday craft fairs and bazaars are big, as are elementary school book fairs, a great place to buy holiday gifts for children that not only make them happy, but, support the schools as well. One of the nicest parts about school book fairs is that anybody can visit and buy.

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Vienna Businesses Form a New Community Association

Vienna businesses are building their own association.

Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but, if Vienna businesses wrote a song, they would lament that the newly-renamed and newly-relocated Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce left its heart in Vienna. When the Chamber changed its name from the ViennaTysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, it also announced a move out of Vienna to Tysons Corner. That did not sit well with several Vienna businesses, neighbors who feel they are the business heart of Vienna. “The surprise came not so much as the move as it was the name change,” said VBA co-organizer Kathy Georgen of Georgen and Scarborough.

Vienna Gardens Open to Visitors

Vienna Sustainability Garden Tour showcases innovative conservative ideas.

The 2nd Annual Vienna Sustainability Home & Garden Tour is a paean to conservation and a resourceful means of creating sustainability. From homemade deer fencing to energy-efficient homes, the 11 homes and single business participating in the Sept. 16 tour showcased vegetable and flower gardens that thrive in Northern Virginia.

Fall Farmers’ Market Brings in the Best of Autumn

Vienna market showcasing pumpkins, root vegetable and hardy flowering plants.

The Vienna Farmers’ Market—on Church Street, in the caboose parking lot—is transitioning from summer harvest to fall specialties, all this under sunny blue skies and crisp air. If you’ve been waiting for that first seasonal bite of crunchy, juicy locally-grown apples, now is your time.

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Growing Hope in Vienna

For families looking for free family fun, look no further than the Vienna Town Green on Saturday, Sept. 29. For the seventh consecutive year, the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna hosts its annual Walk & Family Fun Day for Growing Hope, a local nonprofit resource dedicated to supporting children with cancer and their families.

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Marshall Renovation, Celebration Goes On

Marshall High celebrates 50 years of academics and sports.

“We are very lucky all our kids graduated from Marshall,” said Rennert. “It’s a little jewel in Tysons Corner.”

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Koi Show Features the Art of the Species

ZNA Potomac hosts 19th Annual Koi Show at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna.

Over the weekend of Sept. 8, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens turned into a nirvana for koi fans. The ZNA Potomac 19th Annual Koi Show returned to Meadowlark for the fourth consecutive year, bringing in koi owners and Meadowlark visitors. The koi show was open to the public and free. “It’s so enjoyable,” said koi exhibitor Chuck Lockard, Vienna, who also maintains a saltwater pond. “I have a patio, I sit outside and watch them. It’s a fabulous hobby, and it ties into my landscaping and gardening.” Lockard’s kidney-shaped pond holds about 18,000 gallons of water and 25 koi. Vienna was well-represented at the Potomac koi show. Other koi hobbyists from the Vienna area entered their koi, as well, or came to the show to buy koi for their home ponds. “Raising koi is a lot of fun,” said Vienna hobbyist Gretchen Lindsey, who bought her home with a koi pond already in the yard. The previous owners had not constructed their own koi pond in their new house so Gretchen and her husband were left to care for the ones left at the Lindsey home. “All we had to do was feed them. I thought, ‘this is easy.’”

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Coffee for a Cure at Caffe Amouri

Lymphoma survivor leads team to fundraise on behalf of lymphoma research.

“Until 1995, my lymphoma was a death sentence … Because of research, there are many of us who are alive. My medicines were not around five years ago, and here I am, cancer-free.” —Valerie Kappler, Vienna, Remission Rider

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Vienna Remembers 9/11

Vienna’s American Legion Post 180 partners with town to honor the dead and the brave of Sept. 11, 2001.

Sept. 11, 2012, was eerily similar to the warm, sunny day 11 years ago when terrorists hijacked four American jetliners, slamming them into buildings and the ground. As much of a day of infamy as was the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11 is commemorated every year throughout the United States. And every year, Vienna’s American Legion Post 180 partners with the Town of Vienna to honor the memory of the dead, the bravery of the day’s heroes and the sacrifices of those Americans actively battling terrorism daily.

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Celebrating Middle Eastern Food, Culture

Holy Transfiguration Church hosts 12th annual food and culture festival on Labor Day weekend.

If you love freshly-roasted aromatic meats, rich syrupy pastries, exotic dance and music and very congenial people, you’ll love the ethnic food festival in McLean that brightens Labor Day weekend. For the 12th consecutive year, the parishioners of Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek-Catholic Church on Lewinsville Road are throwing its annual Middle Eastern Food Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2.

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Church Street Garage Debated

Proposal submitted under Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act.

“This is an opportunity to get Church Street to work better.” --Mayor M. Jane Seeman

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Vienna Insiders Perspective

What makes living in Vienna special?

Everyone knows that the best advice comes from experience--and that's true even in the small things. Newcomers and old-timers alike can find a refreshing look at what we love about Vienna herein. Looking for the best place to eat? Forget yelp and find a local blog or ask a neighbor. Wondering about the places to be on the weekend? Finding an in-the-know peer can be the antidote to a all kinds of boredom. So, c'mon, you've got no excuse: do your research and get exploring.

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Oakton Senior Loves Her Girlhood Home

86-year-old Pat Price lives in house she was raised in.

Pat Price lives in her girlhood home in Oakton. Not in the same place, but in the same house. Price is 86 years old now. Her Oakton bonds go back to before 1850 when her great-grandmother took over as Oakton School’s first teacher. A great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. Her “people,” as she refers to her ancestors, have been in the Vienna-Oakton area for more than 150 years.

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Free Fun in Vienna

There’s a bit of free something for all around town.

From free concerts on the Town Green to Civil War-era exhibitions and festivals to presentations, there are lots of free things to do in the Vienna area for every age group. Even those not-quite-free things are a bargain for what you get. The restored and newly-repainted red caboose across the street from Freeman House is maintained by the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna. Children are always welcome to climb aboard, but once a month or on special occasions, the Optimists open the doors to the caboose for the public to walk through.

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Vienna Woman Follows a Slippery Slope

Madison grad training for skeleton in winter Olympics

Since graduating from Elon University, Veronica Day’s life has gone downhill. And well it should be because Day, a Madison High School graduate in 2007 who was track and field three-time All-State, who broke Elon’s track and field records, is at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s training facility at Lake Placid, honing her skill at "skeleton," a relative of luge and bobsled. She’s preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

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Moonlight Shines in Vienna

“Moonlit Musical,” children’s theatrical production, premiers in Vienna.

What child has never imagined herself to be on-stage, bowing to adoring fans? If you are a child living in Fairfax County, you have a good shot at stardom.

National Farmers' Market Week Starts in Vienna

USDA launches National Farmers’ Market Week from Vienna’s Church Street farmers’ market.

USDA Under-Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos launched National Farmers’ Market Week from Vienna’s Church Street farmers’ market on Aug. 4.

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‘Footloose’ Takes Foot in Vienna

Musical comes to Vienna Community Center for five performances, starting Aug. 3.

"Footloose" hit the big screen with a bang in 1984. More than 15 years later, it opened on Broadway. Now, "Footloose" comes to Vienna.

Terrorists Across the Street

Vienna Author’s ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ reflects on pre-9/11 activities in Vienna.

If it weren’t for the reported suspicions of Mark Gilleo’s mother, "Love Thy Neighbor" suspense novel may never have been written.

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Markers Dedicated at Oakton Schoolhouse

Cooperative effort between Hunter Mill Defense League and County produces interpretive panels.

In 2007, a group of Oakton-area community supporters, along with Chevy Chase Bank and the owners of Appalachian Outfitters, saved the historic Oakton schoolhouse from demolition. With funding from Chevy Chase, the building that once stood on the corner of Hunter Mill Road and Rt. 123 was moved to its current location on Hunter Mill Road, just a few hundred yards from where it originally stood.

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Caffe Amouri Celebrates 2nd Birthday

Coffeehouse offered free hot dogs, live music throughout day.

Caffe Amouri turned two and the coffeehouse threw a party for the community out front on July 14 to say "thanks" for its support. And the community returned the thanks with their presence.

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L’Auberge Chez Francois Grows a Garden, a Brasserie

Great Falls culinary icon integrates nature and heritage in classic French cuisine.

Washington’s iconic culinary destination, L’Auberge Chez Francois, is as much a cultural experience as it is a dining venue.

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Kids’ Music Program Brightens Summer

Wolf Trap’s Theatre-in-the-Woods presents song, dance and puppetry.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts isn’t just for adults. Its education outreach programs feature performances for young children, from kiddie-rock music to classical ballet and global performing arts.

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A $1,000 ‘Thank-you’

Bazin’s waiter gets big tip for service.

Michael Manetti wasn’t doing anything he does not normally do when serving the party of 12 at Bazin’s on Church Friday night. He says he was there when they needed him, not when they didn’t. Manetti knows when to be unobtrusive. When the party’s host signed off on the bill, Manetti got the shock of his professional career. He was given a $1,000 tip.

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Vienna Celebrates with Festival, Fireworks

Music, food, kids’ activities highlight festival at Community Center.

Vienna celebrated the 4th of July in style … old-style, that is.

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Summer Stories, Song and Sprinklers Kick Off on Town Green

Weekly Wednesday fun starts at 1 p.m. behind Freeman House on the Town Green.

For children, one of the great joys of summer is running through sprinklers. Preface that with a story and fun songs, like the Hokey Pokey, and you have an old-fashioned country-style afternoon. Historic Vienna, Inc. partners with the Town of Vienna Department of Parks and Recreation every Wednesday to provide music and sprinkler-power on the Town Green.

Vienna Police PIO Retires

Bill Murray looks back on 23 years with Vienna Police Department.

After 23 years with the Vienna Police Department, five of which were spent as Public Information Officer for the department, MPO Bill Murray is retiring from the police force, effective June 30.

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Summer’s in Session in Vienna

Fun abounds throughout town.

From toddler to teen, 20-something to Social Security, there are activities and events in Vienna to please any age demographic. Most, unbelievably, are free.

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Town Green Rocks with Kiddie-Rock

Rocknoceros Kicks Off Kids’ Concert Series on Town Green with huge crowd.

On June 20, local kiddie-rock stars Rocknoceros kicked off the children’s concert series on the Town Green. One could hardly find grass among the ground cover of blankets and lawn chairs and humans of all ages and heights, from newborns in carriers to grandparents.

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Vintage Baseball Game Draws Fans, History Buffs

Baseball played by 1864 rules comes to Vienna.

A Mid-Atlantic Vintage baseball tournament and living history exhibition on June 23 continued Vienna’s sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War.

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Honoring Outstanding Student-Athletes

17th Annual Scholarship Hall of Fame Banquet recognizes former VYI players.

June 12 marked the 17th annual presentation of the Vienna Youth Inc.

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Student Supporters Honored for Dedication

Delta Kappa Gamma education society recognizes selfless missions at awards banquet.

Local school staff and community groups, from building supervisor to principals and Vienna Optimists, were recognized by the Vienna-area chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma education society for going beyond job descriptions to benefit school children.