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Henrico County Opinions

Getting schooled

'Tebow Bill' is a mistake
Just when you thought Tim Tebow was finally out of the public spotlight, his name is back in it.

The Virginia Senate this week passed the "Tebow Bill," which would allow homeschooled students the opportunity to participate in public school extracurricular activities such as sports and band, among others. The House had previously endorsed the bill as well.

But the bill, much like the short NFL career of the former quarterback whose name it bears, is a disappointment.

Henrico’s best

Next week, the Citizen’s third annual Henricopedia magazine will appear in print copies of the paper and elsewhere throughout Henrico County.

The magazine is designed as a resource about all things Henrico – a handy reference whether you’re looking for the number of a county agency or seeking a community organization to volunteer with. . . whether you want to register your child for youth baseball or find a new Italian restaurant to try on a Saturday night. . . whether you’re seeking a senior living community for your parents or a church to attend nearby.

The Henrico that most don’t know

Significant portions of the history of this nation were written, erased and written again in parts of Henrico County that most Henrico residents have never visited.

If you’re among them, this weekend presents an opportunity to change that.

The county will host what Henrico officials are calling the largest event they've ever staged – a reenactment of the Civil War Battle of New Market Heights in Varina, which took place almost exactly 150 years ago.

The Citizen at 13


Thirteen years ago tomorrow, the Henrico Citizen published its first print edition. It was nine days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and in retrospect, probably the absolute worst time to start a business of any type.

Of course, I hadn’t planned to launch the Citizen nine days after unimaginable national tragedy. The truth is, I never expected to own a newspaper, or any other business for that matter – much less to start one from scratch.

But the simultaneous beauty and uncertainty of life – for better or worse – is that there are some things you simply don't plan for.

Peeling off the labels

We live in a society that increasingly seems to demand that all actions, thoughts, beliefs and individuals be labeled in no uncertain terms, one way or another.

It wasn’t always this way. What changed? When did we become so dependent upon – and determined to identify – finite labels for everything and everyone? It’s truly not our best look. And not the healthiest way to exist.

A messy food fight

Ten people were arrested yesterday on Mechanicsville Turnpike in Henrico County while protesting working conditions for fast-food industry employees. The arrests were among more than 700 nationwide as part of a movement called “Fight for $15” designed to call attention to the issue, as workers seek improved conditions, the right to unionize and $15-per-hour wages.

Unfortunately, the method by which they chose to make their point was as misguided as their key demand.

Let’s all go back to school

School will be back in session in Henrico County and throughout Metro Richmond on Tuesday, which apparently means that not only has summer started, but now it’s also over.

That was fast.

The public school system is a source of pride in Henrico and should be. It’s one of the best in the state by many measurements. But it’s not perfect – no system is.

The death of a journalist

I didn’t know James Foley, the American journalist who was brutally executed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) this week.

I had not read any of his coverage from Syria, where more than 170,000 people have been killed in a brutal Civil War. I had not watched any of his video reports from Afghanistan, where he was embedded with US troops during combat, or from Libya, where he spent 44 days in captivity after being taken by troops loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

I didn’t know James Foley, but I do know one of his cousins.

Henrico supervisors erred in reviving public prayer

Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors recently resumed its practice of permitting religious leaders to engage in a moment of public prayer prior to its twice-monthly public meetings.

This is an unfortunate mistake – and one that is surprising, given Henrico’s progressive nature.

The board reintroduced the invocation practice – which it had eliminated in 2012 and replaced with a moment of silence – following the U.S. Supreme Court’s May decision that the Town Board of Greece, N.Y. was not violating the Constitution by allowing similar prayer offerings prior to its public meetings.

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Community

CCC seeks donations for food pantry

Commonwealth Catholic Charities is in desperate need of food donations for its community food pantry that serves the region’s low-income families, according to officials with the Henrico-based nonprofit.

After moving into its new location this past summer, the agency has dedicated a larger space for the pantry but the shelves are practically empty.

“As we head into the holidays and the weather turns colder, the need for food becomes even more critical, but unfortunately our cupboards are nearly bare,” said Jay Brown, the agency’s director for the division of housing services. “Donations of food will allow us help provide.” > Read more.

Hands-on duties

More than 1,000 volunteers from throughout the region gathered last month as part of HandsOn Greater Richmond to complete more than 60 projects.

The event is a program of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence.

In Henrico, a group of Target employees (pictured) undertook a project at Fairfield Middle School to help re-plant the school's community garden and paint the outdoor shelter. > Read more.

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Environmental Film Festival films to be screened at Tuckahoe Library

The Tuckahoe Area Library, in conjunction with the RVA Environmental Film Festival, will present films of local and planetary interest on Wednesday, Feb. 4, beginning at 5 p.m.

Screenings include short films from the RVA Environmental Film Contest entries at 5 p.m., followed at 5:45 p.m. by Stripers: Quest for the Bite, a film for anglers. The main feature film, Slingshot, will begin at 6:50 p.m.

SlingShot focuses on Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world’s water crisis. SlingShot is about a man whose innovative thinking could create a solution for a crisis affecting billions – access to clean water. Kamen lives in a house with secret passages, a closet full of denim clothes and a helicopter garage. His latest passion: the SlingShot water purification system created to obliterate half of human illness on the planet. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Art, dancing and music – what more could you want for the weekend? Crossroads Art Center will host an Indoor Art Walk and Artist Reception tonight; American Legion Post 125 will provide dancing and a live band; and the Djangoary Music Soiree will take place tomorrow at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. If you’re looking to learn something new, check out workshops on feng shui and gemmotherapy! For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

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Calendar

HATTheatre, 1124 Westbriar Dr., will present “The Whale” Feb. 27 to March 8. The play tells the story of Charlie, who, driven by grief to a state of morbid obesity,… Full text

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