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Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

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

• Kathy Smith. The chairman of the Fairfax County School Board is facing an unusual challenge: a huge spike in the number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by school-district parents. Community members say the board isn’t transparent enough about decisions such as whether to close a local elementary school. And board members say they feel like targets, especially because the requests are costing the district tens of thousands of dollars in legal and processing fees.

• Himbert Sinopoli. The general manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville helped pioneer Maryland’s new program to allow slot-machine gambling, authorized by a voter referendum in 2008, when Hollywood opened as the state’s first slots site last September. It appears that Maryland’s move is paying off. Sinopoli’s casino generated $7.7 million in revenue in January. We’d be curious to learn more about what it takes to break into a new market and what it’s like to run a gaming business in a recession.

• Wale. The ambassador for Washington’s hip-hop scene just signed with Rick Ross’s Miami-based label. Critics speculate that the District’s biggest breakout rapper probably won’t leave the area. But they wonder if the other local emcees might start focusing more on incorporating national trends and themes in their music in pursuit of major-label success, rather than continuing to try to forge a distinctive Washington voice in hip-hop. We’ll be eager to see if where Wale leads, others follow, or if the signing means more attention for Washington’s rappers.

• Donna Scheeder. We imagine that the chair of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Commission is feeling pretty good right now. The National Trust for Historic Preservation just gave Eastern Market a National Preservation Award for its restoration after a devastating 2007 fire, calling it “gloriously restored.” We’re sure that seeing Eastern Market rise from the ruins is its own reward, but it’s always nice to have the restoration recognized as good not just for the neighborhood but for the cause of preservation in general.

• Ted Gibson. The New York stylist teamed up with Chevy Chase-based Hela spa—and landed himself a prime supporting role on The Real Housewives of DC. Now that he and Hela are splitsville—and the local Real Housewives franchise in limbo, awaiting word on whether there’ll be a second season—we can’t blame him if he wants to spend more time in New York (the Real Housewives there don’t appear to have a hairdresser-in-residence, so maybe there’s an opening). We’d love to dish with him on what Washington’s celebrity women are like when they go under the scissors and hair dryers.

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