Henrico County VA
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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.

Yes, Henrico, we have slow kids

Thank you. My faith in parents has been restored.

I was beginning to think that all 21st-century children were growing up tethered to electronic toys from birth, cutting their teeth on Baby Einstein videos and graduating from diapers straight to Gameboys – and that parents today popped techno-gadgets into toddler hands the way we once popped pacifiers into their mouths.

So it was heartening to hear the response to "Raising Slow Kids" (March 1 Citizen), and to learn that there are plenty of parents out there who are members of the resistance. Moms from Sandston to Short Pump wrote about the constant struggle to unplug their kids – and about their belief that doing so is better for them.

‘Restful’ vacation quickly turns to purgatory

We just got back from a week-long trip to Orlando, Fla.

The kids had a blast, but my husband and I would be content if we never visited another amusement park for the rest of our lives.

On the third or fourth day of our “vacation,” we knew ourselves to be trapped in some sort of amusement park purgatory. Similar to Sisyphus, forced to endlessly push a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll down again, we were compelled to forever push a stroller and herd two other children through a maze of people and attractions, to stand in long lines only to ride neck-jarring roller coasters, to stand in long lines to buy expensive but poor quality food, to wait
in long lines and pay ridiculous amounts of money just to park our over-priced rental car.

Raising ‘slow’ kids no small feat today

By now most of you have heard of the slow food movement – the growing trend to support local farms and foods and sustainable growing methods.

I’m all for the slow foods movement, but I believe there’s another national treasure – yes, even more important than food – that could benefit from a slowdown.

I say it’s high time we start a slow kids movement.

I’m not advocating that we raise kids who aren’t bright. I mean we should raise them the old-fashioned way, with access to less technology and fewer gadgets.

Hearing through the noise

Senseless chatter is my new pet peeve.

Even as I set foot from my bedroom in the morning, I am subjected to the verbal pull of my children. Always a chipper early riser, my 11-year-old son seats himself at the kitchen island and proceeds to talk at (not to) me.

As he monologues, I feel my brain sluggishly turning about, still covered up and dreaming. I respond zombie-like as I try to get breakfast on the table, but it doesn’t deter him from talking a blue streak about anything that comes to mind: a rabbit warren he’s designed, a Mario strategy he’s perfected, a koala’s receding habitat, his top-five favorite fish (not mammals) that live in the sea.

The son also writes

Forgive me, readers. It’s been six years since my last confession, by which I mean a column for the Henrico Citizen.

I took some time off from column-writing to pen a novel, never believing it would be published. But the historical novel, entitled The Outer Banks House, was published by Crown in June of 2010.

I made the whole business look too easy, I’m afraid, for now my eleven-year-old son believes that he too will be a published author, most likely in the next couple of years.

A significant year fades into history

This issue, our final of Henrico County's 400th anniversary year (and this newspaper's 10th year), also concludes our yearlong series profiling the most significant moments in Henrico's illustrious history.

Were you surprised by some of the events on our list? Did you learn about some that were unfamiliar to you? We hope so. Did you disagree with some and agree with others? That's ok, too. This endeavor was designed not only to celebrate the county's past turning points and momentous occasions but also to generate discussion among readers and members of the community about the county, its past and how these events and others have shaped our future.

92001 Memory Lane, Henrico VA

As the Henrico Citizen enters its second decade, I can’t help but spend time looking backward and reminiscing about the first.

Not only is it fun to recall our early days from a “look how far we’ve come” perspective -- remembering, for instance, how I played “papergirl” and rode my bike around Lakeside tossing copies of the Citizen’s first issue (Sept. 20, 2001) into driveways; it’s also satisfying to think back to the memorable stories I have covered -- stories that have moved me, changed me, and introduced me to unforgettable people.

It’s people, after all, who make the Citizen a paper that people want to read.

Reflections on 10 years in print

The Henrico Citizen turns 10 years old with this issue – a reality that amazes me for conflicting reasons.

Has it really been 10 years?

Has it only been 10 years?

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Community

Henrico PAL honors seven community members at annual banquet


The Fifth Annual Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) Award Banquet, held Feb. 6 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, honored HPAL’s top volunteers and employees, including Morgan Lewis, Youth of the Year; Dale Alexander, Volunteer of the Year; Lowell Thomas, Employee of the Year, and Victor Williams, Board Member of the Year.  Also honored for their support were Jim and Christi Dowd of Richmond BMW and Josh Davis of Henrico County Public Schools Pupil Transportation.

Keynote speaker for the banquet was Tim Hightower, a University of Richmond alumnus and former NFL running back. Hightower was introduced by Billy McMullen, former NFL player and a Henrico PAL board member. > Read more.

DAC chapter donates $1.3M in coupons

The Pocahontas Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, based in western Henrico, last year donated more than $1.3 million worth of manufacturers coupons to U.S. military personnel overseas. Throughout 2013, members and friends of the chapter clipped 952,349 manufacturers’ coupons valued at $1,350,630, which Program Chairman Carole Featherston shipped to U.S. military bases abroad. Military personnel can use the coupons when shopping in base stores.

The National Society Daughters of American Colonists is a women’s genealogical and patriotic society whose members are descended from a man or woman who rendered civil or military service in any of the American colonies prior to July 4, 1776. > Read more.

Feeding those in need

For two days recently, hundreds of eager volunteers packed more than 140,000 meals for malnourished kids in the developing world. Through a partnership with the non-profit organization Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), volunteers from the Short Pump area scooped, bagged, weighed, sealed and boxed life-saving fortified rice and soy protein meals at Gayton Baptist Church.

The 387-gram “Manna Pack Rice” packs were shipped to the FMSC warehouse to be distributed to countries where children are malnourished or simply do not have enough food to survive. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Northside comfort

Brookside offers many local options, but lacks some flavor
Brookside Grille and Bar comes with a simple mission in mind: to provide great dishes prepared with the finest ingredients using as many local products as possible. When I hear “local products,” I get excited; I’m a native Richmonder, and it’s important to me.

Located far north on Brook Road, Brookside Grille & Bar takes over what used to be Lucille’s Southern Cuisine. Advertised as “coastal comfort food,” I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting something healthy.

I had glanced at the menu online before heading to the restaurant hungry on a Sunday night. I knew my choices were broad – burgers, soups, seafood, and more. > Read more.

Magnificence on display

Jolie sparkles in Disney’s otherwise odd combination film
Maleficent is not Sleeping Beauty. It’s not a remake; not a prequel; not a version of the same story but from the point of view of the lady with the big horns. It’s not Wicked with a Disney sparkle.

It’s some odd combination of all of them, a film that starts out a straight-ahead Sleeping Beauty prequel, then decides to just be Sleeping Beauty itself and then abruptly yanks away the back half of Sleeping Beauty (boy meets girl, boy murders dragon-woman, boy kisses girl) for something new and different and very Maleficent-heavy. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


It’s a great weekend to have fun and support several local charities. Turning a tragedy into a fundraiser, the Hockey Fights Hunger Campaign will present Jeremy’s Game at SkateNational Plus in Short Pump. The Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center will host its annual spaghetti dinner on Saturday. And let the canines in your family in on the fun too! Dogtopia West End will hold a charity dog wash on Sunday to benefit Paws With A Cause. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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