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Vienna writer named Playwright-in-Residence at First Draft

Writer and actor Chris Stezin of Vienna has been named playwright-in-residence for 2014 at First Draft, a Washington, D.C.-based theatrical organization devoted to developing new plays.

The First Draft Reading Series will highlight Stezin’s work throughout the year. His newest play, “The Amateur – A Screenplay for the Stage,” debuted Jan. 14 at the Arts Club of Washington. A second reading is planned for Feb. 11 at Theatre on the Run, a black box space at 3700 S. Four Mile Run in Arlington.

Stezin is First Draft’s fourth Playwright-in-Residence, a position created to support and promote playwrights living and working in the D.C. metropolitan area.

“I believe the D.C. metro area is the nation’s hotspot for playwrights and vibrant playwriting,” said Leslie Kobylinski, First Draft’s artistic director. “We are delighted to have Chris as our ambassador to the Washington community and audiences throughout the region.”

Stezin’s plays have been produced at several local theaters, including Arlington’s Charter Theatre, where he served as associate artistic director for 10 years.

He has received commissions from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, the University of Minnesota and the Guthrie Theater, and twice has been nominated for the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play in Washington, D.C. Stezin is head of the writing department at WILL Interactive in Potomac, Md., where many of his screenplays have been produced.

First Draft partners with theaters looking to produce new work. For more, visit

McLean arts center chooses new leaders

Krista Vita, who has worked in nonprofit development for more than 10 years, is the new development director at McLean Project for the Arts. Vita is a member of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and manages a volunteer writing workshop for high school seniors.

MPA also elected four new board members. Longtime McLean resident Debbie Jardot is the former MPA development director and was manager for government relations for the Walt Disney Co. Derrick Swaak, supervising broker for the McLean office of TTR Sotheby’s, is involved in McLean community affairs. George Swygert Jr., a regional executive in local distribution for Capital One Bank, also serves on the Board of the Phillips Collection. Brittany Yam is a former director at Project 4 Gallery and administrative coordinator for Arlington Arts Center.

McLean Project for the Arts is a nonprofit visual arts center founded in 1962 to exhibit the work of emerging and established regional artists. MPA also offers art classes for children and adults and presents the Art Reach program for area schools, gallery talks, and day trips to area museums and galleries.

State’s engineers applaud Rust

ACEC Virginia – the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia – has named Del. Tom Rust (R-Fairfax) and Sen. John Watkins of Midlothian as Legislatures of the Year for their support of causes important to the Virginia engineering profession.

Rust is the only professional engineer in the Virginia General Assembly and is recognized as one of the leaders in the success of the road funding legislation. Herndon’s former mayor has held a seat in the House of Delegates since 2002.

“The Transportation Bill was a very important piece of legislation for all of Virginia,” said Nancy Israel, executive director of ACEC Virginia. “The leadership of both Del. Rust and Sen. Watkins was essential to its passage. They were able to reach across the aisle and bring together legislators of both parties to support this important legislation.”

Dance for healthy hearts in February

“Dance Your Heart Out” is the rallying cry for National Heart Month at the Metropolitan School of the Arts of Lorton and Alexandria.

The school will donate 10 percent of fees from special “Dance Your Heart Out” classes to the American Heart Association. Included are all adult dance and fitness classes: hip-hop, hot hula, jazz, tap, contemporary, ballet, yoga and MetroBarre. The February program provides unlimited access to adult classes for a special rate of $110.

According to the American Heart Association, one in 2.4 women dies as a result of heart disease and stroke – the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women.

“Dance is one of the best ways to keep your heart in tip-top shape, and we’re thrilled to be able to give back to the American Heart Association as they continue to raise awareness about heart disease,” said Melissa Dobbs, founder of Metropolitan School of the Arts.

Schedules can be viewed at

Local tree proceeds address global hunger

Thanks to the efforts of Clint O’Brien, tree sale coordinator, Vale United Methodist Church sold 410 Christmas trees in December, up from 317 a year ago, according to Communications Coordinator Susan Estes.

The proceeds – up 70 percent from previous years – were used to purchase 50,000 meals for the global anti-hunger organization STOP Hunger Now. The church at 11528 Vale Road in Oakton is now reaching out to volunteers to help package meals Jan. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Children age 8 and up and accompanied by a parent are welcome to participate.

“We would love to get as much participation from the community as possible,” Estes said.

To sign up for a session, visit or email program coordinator Steve Miska at For more about the anti-hunger program, visit

College scholarships available

The Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute offers $500 college scholarships to full-time students and $250 scholarships to part-time students enrolled in a Virginia college or university and pursuing a degree in criminal justice.

As part of the application process, Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid must submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. To obtain a letter, call Lt. Steve Elbert at 703-246-3251 or email

Kincaid is a member of the VSI and participates in scholarship fundraising efforts.

For more information on the VSI Scholarship Program and to download an application, visit

Vienna, nominate your favorite volunteer

Town of Vienna Mayor Jane Seeman invites Vienna-area residents to nominate an outstanding volunteer in recognition of his or her service to the Town. Mayor Seeman will honor those volunteers at a special ceremony April 8, at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.

Nomination forms are available at Vienna Town Hall, 127 Center St. S., online at and in the January and February Town newsletters. Completed forms must be submitted by March 3 to the Mayor’s Office.

For more, call 703-255-6311 or e-mail

Hot coffee in exchange for warm coats

Michael Amouri, owner of Caffe Amouri at 107 Church St. in Vienna, is offering a free cup of coffee to anyone who drops off a warm coat for a homeless resident this winter.

The “Coffee for Coats” campaign has collected 35 coats so far, according to the Rev. Randy Beeman of Vienna’s Antioch Christian Church. The coats were delivered Jan. 21 to The Lamb Center, a homeless day center on Old Lee Highway in Fairfax. For more, visit