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Donna Manz

Stories by Donna

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Public Works Day Draws Hundreds to Property Yard

Children climb in heavy equipment and wear hardhats.

Every year, during National Public Works Week, the Town of Vienna opens up its property yard on Mill Street to the public. This is no ordinary “open house,” either. The equipment, from ditch diggers to garbage trucks and front loaders and everything a town needs to maintain its infrastructure, is washed clean and spiffy-ed up. The all-afternoon event on May 23 featured snacks, give-outs that kids like—from blowup balls to hardhats—popcorn, tattooing and the chance to climb into a police car without being hauled off to the police station. Kids look forward to Public Works Day all year.

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Summer Fun Abounds in Vienna

Guide to special events and children’s activities.

Every Friday and Sunday evening—and summer Wednesday—free concerts liven up the Vienna Town Green. Sponsored by the Town of Vienna’s Parks and Recreation Department and local businesses and individuals, the concerts feature local musicians and special guests, including the armed forces bands.

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Community Comes Together for ViVa! Vienna!

Annual three-day Rotary Club festival featured food, amusement rides, live entertainment and 300-plus vendor marketplace.

Thousands of local families, teens, seniors, preschoolers and friends thronged the historic Church Street corridor over Memorial Day weekend at ViVa! Vienna! The annual festival, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greater Vienna, featured 30 amusement rides for children of all ages, fried food, fresh food and frozen food, live entertainment on two stages—three if you count Vienna Idol—and more than 300 vendors selling arts, crafts, goods and services.

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ViVa! Vienna! Returns Memorial Day Weekend

Three-day festival features live entertainment, carnival food, rides and 300-plus vendors.

ViVa! Vienna! is back: Carnival midway, live entertainment and food vendors kick-off the three-day Memorial Day weekend festival on Saturday, May 25. And that’s just the beginning. On Sunday, more than 300 vendors—selling crafts, goods and services—converge along the historic Church Street corridor, hosting upwards of 50,000 visitors to the festival sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greater Vienna.

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Vienna Woman’s Club Awards Scholarships

Madison HS seniors, Vienna elementary schools recipients of club’s generosity.

The Vienna Woman’s Club celebrated 51 years of scholarship awards on May 15 at a program honoring three local high school seniors and four Vienna elementary schools. The scholarship winners each received a $1,000 check from the Woman’s Club. “The scholarships honor exceptional seniors and their families,” said Scholarship and Education Committee co-chair Jo-Lynn Westlund.

Incumbents Retain Town Council Seats

Standing under umbrellas, the four candidates running for three Vienna Town Council seats greeted voters in a rain steady throughout most of the morning and early afternoon. The rain wasn’t torrential but neither was voter turnout throughout much of the day.

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Safety and Bike Rodeo Teaches Healthy Habits

Child-centered activities held on Town Green on May 4.

Those children on Mill Street on Saturday, the ones in the parking lot across from the Town Green surrounded by Vienna police officers, were not being charged with a traffic violation. They were, instead, being guided around a training course by Vienna police in Vienna’s 2nd Annual W&OD Safety and Bike Rodeo sponsored by the Town of Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee, Friends of the W&OD and local civic groups and businesses.

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Taste of Vienna Brings Community Together

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department fundraiser offered restaurant fare, live entertainment and a moonbounce for kids.

Certainly, Saturday’s almost-May weather contributed to the festive mood at the 2nd Annual Taste of Vienna sponsored by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. Abundant sunshine and cloudless blue skies lit up Cherry Street on April 27. Throngs of local families, seniors, teens and babies in strollers milled around food and wine tents, under eating tents and along the stage front, where contemporary pop bands performed. It was the kind of community-spirit day Vienna is known for.

Community Center Expansion Discussed

Open forum on April 23 solicited viewpoints and needs from community.

If you had an unlimited budget—or a magic wand—what would you turn the Vienna Community Center into? Most of the more-than 35 attendees at the Department of Parks and Recreation April 23 forum on the proposed expansion of the community center shared a consensus of what they hoped to see an expanded community center look like (from a large indoor swimming pool with retractable walls to a well-equipped fitness center and regulation-sized gym).

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Making Life ‘Greener’ in Vienna

Vienna Green Expo showcases community conservation options.

During the 5th Annual Vienna Green Expo on Thursday, April 18, three Vienna businesses were recognized for incorporating green practices into their business. The Vienna Town/Business Liaison Committee awarded Maple Avenue Market, Vienna Paint and Caffe Amouri with the 2013 Vienna Green Business Recognition Award.

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Vienna Woman’s Club Supports Homeless Female Veterans

Club fundraises on behalf of Final Salute, Inc.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are more than 13,000 homeless female veterans living in the United States; half of them are single mothers. Only about half of the 500 transitional housing programs accept women. These homeless female veterans have fewer resources than male veterans do.

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Patrick Henry Library Book Sale Draws Community

Two-day spring sale sells donated books of every genre.

t took a year of planning and collecting, approximately 15 volunteers and more than 2,000 books to carry off the spring book sale hosted by Friends of Patrick Henry Library. The two-day sale, spread over April 13 and 14, took over the front lawn, the event room and an area of the children’s department. When the book sale opened to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, a waiting line had already formed.

Shooting for Stardom

Marshall HS vocalist/songwriter has global fans.

Remember this name: Sammy Hakim. The George C. Marshall High School junior is a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and holds the record for most weeks at number one on independent charts as ranked by New Music Weekly.

Prom Package Contest Makes Prom a Bit Brighter

Karin’s Florist partners with local businesses to provide prom prize valued at over $1,000.

For 56 years, Karin’s Florist has been part of the Vienna community, serving it at births, anniversaries, proms, weddings, and other special events marking a passage in life.

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Pickleberry Pie Adopts Vienna Center for Disabled Students

If you’ve never witnessed the therapeutic power of music, you’ve never seen a Pickleberry Pie-sponsored live performance for hospitalized children or disabled students. Prominent professional performers—from musicians and storytellers to animals—bring their specialties to school or hospital centers or to the hospital rooms of children too sick to leave their beds. Pickleberry Pie, a national service organization with a large network in the D.C. area, funds the performances. Most participating performers hire out at reduced rates as a public service.

New Vienna Police Chief Settles in

James “Jim” Morris comes to Vienna from 24 years with Fairfax County Police.

James “Jim” Morris comes to Vienna from 24 years with Fairfax County Police.

From Flowers to Food and Festivals

Spring’s weather may be unpredictable but what is always predictable are the many festive spring events in Vienna held year after year. Some are family-centric, some cultural... all are fun.

From Rail to Trail at Freeman Museum

Museum traces history of the railroad passing through Vienna in the 18th and 19th centuries.

“These are trains that used to be alive a long time ago. … Now, they’re abandoned, now they’re scrap.” —Five-year-old Charlie Wilkins, Reston

Fire Department Auxiliary Hosts Craft Fair, Taste of Vienna

Crafts show launches VVFD’s spring schedule of events.

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department [VVFD] hosts community-wide public events and fundraising events.

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Vienna Musicians Rock With a Legend

Earl Slick joins School of Rock students in workshop and performance at Tysons.

A guitar rock legend is coming to the McLean-Vienna area and students from the Vienna School of Rock will be joining him onstage the weekend of March 9. Earl Slick, lead guitarist for rock-star David Bowie, will perform each set with the students. For rock-music fans, this is a big catch.

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Family Pets Are Family in Vienna

Local pet parents share stories of their special family members.

Animals, from dogs and cats to chickens, rabbits and hamsters, come into the lives of humans and complete the family circle. Proud parents that they are, local residents described the attributes of their family’s pets.

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The Optimist Club Honors Students

“How do you let your friends know their value?” was essay topic.

The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna awarded three local high school students cash prizes for their winning essays produced for the Optimists International competition, “How do you let your friends know their value?” The presentation took place Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Optimists’ semi-monthly meeting.

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Circus Artwork Wins International Award

Applegate Gallery owner creates whimsical piece for picture-framing competition.

Sara Applegate, whose framing and art gallery sits on Church Street, won an international competition in late January for a framed artpiece. To call Applegate’s interpretation a “frame,” is akin to calling a Ferrari just a car. The piece, whimsical yet complex, features five three-dimensional circus vignettes. The individual components are mostly vintage lead collector pieces. “Once I found those, I fell completely in love,” said Applegate, who picked up several character pieces at the Frederick Antique Emporium. Two pieces were created in 1948 by Britains, a lead soldier manufacturer that produced a circus collection series. The remaining three vignettes were produced by the same company in 1998. Applegate bought those on E-Bay.

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Comic Books Are No Laughing Matter

E.G. Comics in Vienna features thousands of titles, from vintage to current.

Edwin Gumel really knows his comics. His store, E.G. Comics, has served Vienna and the surrounding area since 1990. He doesn’t just sell comics and graphic novels; he grades their condition, he catalogues them, he knows what back issues are worth. Among his stock are niche collections and the more well-known ones, such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Dark Horse Comics.

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Raising Puppies for Veterans

Veterans Moving Forward pairs disabled U.S. vets with therapy dogs.

Wanted: supporter of U.S. veterans, likes to be licked and take long walks, looking for a committed relationship. Reply to Michele Khol, puppy-raiser training coordinator for Vets Moving Forward, Inc. [VMF].

A Novel Idea

Vienna author focused on love story of two disabled people.

She was impetuous, passionate and a bit on the wild side, a shady past behind her. He was sensitive, introverted, a bit shy, with very little “past” behind him. Like night and day, their lives intersected briefly. Like many star-crossed lovers, they forged a relationship despite obstacles that obstructed their paths. It wasn’t religion, race, class or family feuds that thwarted intimacy. It was their disabilities. And their struggles anchor the plot of a new novel by Vienna author Robert “Bob” Rudney.

Ritz-Carlton to the Rescue

Tysons Corner hotel leaves “Footprints” in community.

It’s not uncommon for Vienna-McLean businesses—from defense industry contractors to hospitality providers—to make themselves good neighbors, vital partners in the community in which their presence is known. They come into schools, they mentor, they support wounded warrior programs. They embrace the community spirit envisioned by their company’s corporate philosophy. Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner goes beyond McLean and Tysons, extending its hand to local service clubs, nonprofit and humanitarian projects, and to the hotel’s dedicated project, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Fairfax County Region [Fairfax BGCGW Club].

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Vienna Veteran Campaigns for Commander of American Legion

Mardi Gras fundraiser benefits Dan Dellinger’s campaign.

Other than time he spent in the service of the U.S. Army, Dan Dellinger lived most of his life in Vienna. He went through Vienna schools, as his children did. He served as a Vienna Town Council member and as an officer of Vienna’s American Legion Post 180. He’s active in local civic clubs. Now, Dellinger is stepping out into the national spotlight, traversing the country in his campaign to be elected the American Legion’s next national commander.

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Winter Fun Abounds in Vienna

Area hosts events to chase away the chill.

The Vienna-area hosts a variety of fun indoor events during the cold season. From live theatre to live music, from food and gaming to Washington’s most revered political satire, there’s a bit of something for every interest.

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Neil Simon’s ‘Proposals’ Presented in Vienna

Vienna Theatre Company presents a light-hearted glimpse into family relationships

At home in the Vienna Community Center, the community theatre draws local thespians and artistic and technical crew

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PostNet Business Center Opens in Vienna

Print shop supports businesses and non-commercial needs.

When James Cudney turned his back on the road warrior life a couple of years ago, he turned inward to the community that his family lived in, loved and supported. If he was going to downshift a speed, he was going to center his professional life in Vienna.

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Family Remembers Life and Legacy of Kidnapped Libyan Human Rights Activist

Mansur Rashid Kikhia’s family lives in McLean and Vienna area.

Nineteen years ago, on Dec. 10, 1993, Libyan human rights activist and lawyer Mansur Rashid Kikhia, was kidnapped from his hotel room in Cairo, Egypt and spirited out of the country. Last month—December, 2012—Kikhia’s death in Tripoli was confirmed to his family, now living in the Vienna and McLean areas. On Saturday, Jan. 12, Kikhia’s family and friends celebrated the life of a man dedicated to human rights for all.

Author Reminds Children All Animals Need Sleep

“Animals Need Zzzs, Too” looks at the ways different animals sleep.

When Vienna resident Patricia Britz worked at the National Sleep Foundation, she fielded calls from parents wanting information on sleep needs of their children. Sleep, Britz observed, is not as valued as it deserves to be.

Aging with a Digital Connection

Local specialist guides seniors through the social network maze.

There’s a digital revolution blowing through Fairfax County and Vienna resident Cherie Lejeune is fanning it. And it’s not the tech-savvy young ones Lejeune is reaching out to now … it is the aging population who will use social media and networking software to maintain social networks and family relationships.

Viewpoints: What are your plans for 2013?

The main event of 2013 will be to commemorate the unveiling of the plaque honoring the Freeman Store's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. This is scheduled for Saturday, April 6. The Freeman Store is the only building in the Town of Vienna that is on the National Trust's register.

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Vienna’s Top Stories of 2012

From devastating wind storm to parking garage, Vienna saw diversity in its news stories of 2012. Trees toppled on houses and cars during the June 29 derecho that ravaged the region and thousands of Vienna-area residents were without power for days as emergency crews worked to repair downed power lines. Vienna heard business news, as well, with the founding of a new Vienna Business Association and the proposed Church Street parking garage.

Vienna in 2013

A look at the new year through the vision of elected officials, citizens.

Q: What are the most important issues or challenges facing Vienna businesses today? What is the Town Business Liaison Committee doing to promote Vienna businesses?

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Christmases Past

Neighbors share traditions and memories of the holiday season.

Some Vienna neighbors shared their recollections with Vienna-Oakton Connection readers.

Viewpoints: What do you like most about the holiday season?

Residents answer the question, "What do you like most about the holiday season?"

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Marshall High is the Face of Fairfax County

Upwards of 90 countries represented by student population.

The schools that feed into George C. Marshall High School are the academic home to children from all over the world.

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Art & Craft Showcase Attracts Crafters, Shoppers

Many of the artisans at the 30th Annual Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild Art & Craft Showcase over Thanksgiving weekend are regulars at the show at the Vienna Community Center.

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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.