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Henrico County Opinions

Mi-‘Steak’-en anger

A seemingly popular West End restaurant closed this week without warning, leaving its staff unexpectedly jobless and plenty of fingers pointed angrily at its owner.

This was the angle most commonly reported during coverage of the closing of Quaker Steak and Lube on West Broad Street, and while it’s certainly a difficult situation coming a few weeks before the holidays, there’s also another angle that doesn’t get coverage – perhaps because it doesn’t fit the broadcast narrative.

The common cry here is “How could someone do this to his employees – and just weeks before Christmas, no less?! How dare he!”

Letters to the Editor


School overcrowding causes foundation problems

Editor:

I believe the article “Henrico School Board weighs projects” by Citizen Editor Tom Lappas is important to those of Henrico County. I am originally from Henrico but I am currently a student at James Madison University. In my current sociology class, education is a big topic of discussion.

I am sure that it is common sense that a bad foundation of knowledge leads to later struggles with education; however, what some may not realize is overcrowding, like what is occurring at the four elementary schools in Brookland District, is one of the leading causes in a weak foundation. Based on research, boys struggle with verbal skills early on.

The immigration complication

When he was 14 years old, my grandfather left the tiny mountaintop village in Greece where he’d spent his entire existence and walked with several other teens and young men down the mountain – a journey that must have taken a week or more – to the nearest port to board a ship to Athens, then another to New York City.

He never returned to Greece, never saw his parents or three younger brothers again.

I never knew my grandfather, because he died when my dad was just 15, so I never had the chance to ask him: Why?

Why was he willing to make such a painstaking journey at such a young age, giving up everything that he knew in exchange for so many things that he did not. A language. A country. A history. A family.

Heroes of the classroom

The highlight of my eighth-grade year at my Northern Virginia middle school was landing in the social studies class of the incomparable Mr. Hart, a teacher whose reputation for pure awesomeness was well-established long before I entered his classroom for the first time.

Middle-schoolers seem, on average, to be less than enthralled with history, for reasons I never fully understood when I was one. Me? I couldn’t get enough of it.

And as I quickly learned, everything I’d heard about Mr. Hart was true.

School calendar overhaul long overdue


It's a 19th-century anachronism, and long ago stopped serving its intended purpose.

It has failed to keep up with social change, continues to stifle progress, and acts as a major obstacle to growth and improvement.

It makes no sense whatsoever in the 21st century, yet continues to exist because of bureaucratic inertia, resistance to change, and the attitude "we've always done it that way."

It wastes space, time, manpower and – most of all – it results in the waste of millions of young minds.

Yes, I'm talking about our antiquated and inflexible school calendar.

The right to vote – or not

Another election is in the books. Did you vote?

If you did, you’re to be congratulated.

If you didn’t, you’re to be castigated automatically as a thoughtless jerk and a horrible citizen.

Or so it seems in certain circles.

I don’t happen to hold membership in those circles, however.

At a crossroads

A pedestrian attempting to cross West Broad Street at Gaskins Road was struck by a car and seriously injured on Monday night. Immediately afterward, some in the community began calling for increased safety measures at the busy intersection, which serves some 36,000 vehicles a day.

But is fixing the problem of frequent accidents at a busy intersection as easy as that? And in this case, is there truly a discernible and recurrent problem that needs to be fixed at all?

A shot in the dark

A man was shot and killed in Canada on Wednesday, and his death brought the entire nation of 35 million to an emotional standstill.

A man was shot and killed on Laburnum Avenue in Henrico County Monday, and this may be the first you’ve even heard about it.

As a nation, we long ago became numb to the impact of gun-related violence and homicide. It’s simply an expectation now – one that hardly surprises us even when it is particularly awful and cruel, as a host of school shootings have proven in recent years.

The crisis that isn’t

Getting run over by a cow.

Receiving a bite from a poisonous spider.

Becoming infected with MRSA.

Suffering a bunk bed accident.

Being legally executed.

No, these aren’t all just things I’d rather do than watch Dancing With the Stars – they’re actually things that are, statistically, far more likely to kill you than Ebola.

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Community

Theme sought for inaugural ‘Dogwood Classic’

Colonial Downs is seeking nominations for a theme for the inaugural "Dogwood Classic" (formerly the Strawberry Hill Races) racing and tailgating event that will take place at the track April 6, 2013.

Submissions will be accepted through Dec. 9 at http://www.colonialdowns.com and http://www.richmond.com. > Read more.

RABA to donate bikes to Christmas Mother programs

Members of the Richmond Area Bicycle Association recently contributed $13,000 to buy 198 new bicycles and helmets for donation to area Christmas Mother programs.

The bicycles were assembled on Nov. 3 by more than 50 volunteers from RABA and will be distributed to area Christmas Mothers Dec. 1. Volunteers will load up trucks & trailers and deliver the bikes to Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, Chesterfield, Powhatan and Charles City counties. The Christmas Mothers will give them to needy families who have applied for help. The club worked to match appropriate bicycles to the needs of the children in the various counties. > Read more.

Tuckahoe YMCA receives $7k donation from Kiwanis Club

The Tuckahoe Family YMCA recently received a $7,000 donation from the Tuckahoe Kiwanis Club. The money was raised during the group’s eighth annual golf tournament and will help the Y continue its programs for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

The donation is the organization’s way of giving back to the community it serves, Kiwanis Club of Tuckahoe Tournament Director Bland Weaver said. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Khumba-ya? Not quite

But animated South African film has its moments

You might have seen something called Khumba while clicking through a Redbox recently (or perhaps it was nestled in some hidden corner of a DVD sale shelf). And chances are, you passed it by without much of a thought. Makes sense; that goggle-eyed cartoon zebra on the cover (a zebra that’s dangerously close to becoming Madagascar copyright infringement) doesn’t inspire much confidence.

But when Khumba starts up, it looks nothing like you’d expect. The camera gazes across the savannah and the soundtrack swells with triumphant South African vocals. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


If you’re looking for a date night with someone special, Henrico is the place to be! Check out a classic 90s movie, “My Girl,” at Henrico Theatre; Circa, an innovative circus from Australia, will dazzle at the University of Richmond; and celebrate TGIF at Keagan’s Restaurant where the PJ Bottoms Band is performing. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Abstract emotion

Abstract paintings of Inge Strack (pictured) are on display through March 9 at the Gumenick Family Gallery at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Strack, a Chestefield painter of German origin, often paints in bold colors with a deep sense of emotion, focusing on brushstrokes, texture and form to find a balance. Strack’s painting is routed in the European tradition of expressionism but has found its own, unique language in following the American dream.

“I am not attempting to abstract the physical world," she said. "I draw my subject matter from inside of myself hoping to create a constant conversation between the viewer and the painting, especially since abstracts do not seem to answer but ask.” > Read more.

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Southern Season, 2250 Staples Mill Rd., will present the class “Southern Biscuits” at 11 a.m. Staff will teach traditional biscuit techniques in this hands-on workshop. Menu includes biscuits two ways,… Full text

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