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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

• Chris Cooley. The Redskins tight end just read through more than 1,000 fan letters dating back to 2008, sent back responses to a lot of soon-to-be-surprised fans, and blogged about it. In a town hungry for appealing sports heroes, it’s a great gesture. And for future fans, real-estate agents, prison inmates who love the Redskins, and brides and grooms who are inviting their favorite stars for the wedding just for kicks, Cooley has written an invaluable guide about how to reach out to pro athletes.

• Brian Blickenstaff. The Frederick County farmer is at the center of a debate that could shake up the area’s agricultural community. Blickenstaff bought farmland with county loans in 2008, just before the property’s value tanked. Under the terms of the loan, Blickenstaff is supposed to keep the land from being developed­—but he says to be able to pay back the county, he has to explore developing it to raise its appraised value. County officials see him as a speculator who could open the floodgates to other farmers selling preserved land for development. Blickenstaff says he’s just trying to protect himself and pay back his loans. Either way, the end result could have a major impact on Frederick.

• Leah King. The technical leader of the chemistry lab at the Montgomery County Police Department’s Forensic Services Section is pushing back against the vision of easy crime-solving that shows such as CSI put on screen. Her lab handles 4,700 drug cases a year, rather than tackling one at a time like crime-scene scientists do on television. And drug and DNA results aren’t instantaneous, but with tight resources, King and her forensic-lab colleagues are left trying to prioritze cases to bring justice to Montgomery County.

• Thomas Caplan. In a season when authors are trying to make bank by writing fictionalized accounts of actual or almost-presidents, this Maryland author went for the real thing: His former college roommate at Georgetown, former President Bill Clinton, blurbed his new spy novel, The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen. Clinton’s weighty autobiography, My Life, sold 2.25 million copies—if even a little of his publishing magic rubs off on his college buddy, Caplan should do just fine.

• Melissa Lavinson. The PG&E lobbyist is about to prove her toughness with lawmakers in a whole new forum: she’ll be the only woman playing in the annual hockey game that pits Congressmen against advocates. Washington may be a boys’ club in some ways, but women will always find their way in.

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