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Justice unserved

Judge erred in freeing mother who left two children in her car
A 23-year-old mother whose negligence caused the deaths of her two young children last year is a free woman, thanks to an unconscionable decision by a Henrico judge last week.

Judge Gary Hicks decided that 72 days in jail last year was enough for Chester resident Brittney Downing, who intentionally left her three-month-old daughter and 20-month-old son in her car last May, while she worked an eight-hour job at the Comfort Suites hotel at Virginia Center in Glen Allen.

Cemeteries: for reverence or recreation?


When the story broke recently about an uproar over an Easter egg hunt in a Norfolk cemetery, I took more than a passing interest.

You see, I spend a lot of time in a cemetery these days. My daughter Lanie is buried at Hollywood, and I visit her grave and walk the cemetery at least three times a week.

I am partial to the place -- you might even say possessive. I think of it as my cemetery, while realizing that I actually share ownership with thousands of area residents, tourists, and descendants and relatives of the interred.

Cooking for a vegetarian wanna-be

You know your 13-year-old child is truly growing up when he announces his plan to become a vegetarian, effective immediately.

“But you like meat,” I pointed out.

“True. But I don’t like the idea of eating animals.” He rubbed his belly sentimentally. “It doesn’t make me feel good.”

Apparently, meat of the porcine and bovine variety particularly bothers him. And poultry doesn’t sound too appetizing to him either. (Fish we can slaughter at will.)

Cross-country walker hits the lucky seven

During Memorial Day weekend, I imagine that many of you went to cookouts, ate hotdogs, visited the beach, boated on The River, attended memorial services and rode or walked in parades.

If not for a broken vase and a laceration requiring seven stitches, I might have done the same.

Instead, I spent part of my weekend involved in a personal memorial observance, and in a small, ragtag, but meaningful parade along the streets of Henrico.

My Memorial Day journey began when George Throop of Vancouver, Wash. – nearing the end of his own 4,500 mile, three-year walk across America – crossed the Huguenot Bridge into Henrico County and headed for Richmond along River Road.

‘Cromagnon Mom’ pleads for higher driving age


Among some of my parenting peers, I am sure I was considered overly permissive in my child-rearing.

I was not strict on bedtimes; I let my girls get crazy dirty, wear jeans and t-shirts and do other 'unfeminine' things. On occasion I even let them listen to rap music, or join me at Legend Brewing for movie night.

But to my own three kids, I was always Cromagnon Mom – especially on the topic of teen-age driving.

Coming to grips with postpartum depression

Sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, I warmed up a bottle and sat down to feed my son. At just four weeks old, my first-born had proven to be worth the wait. I glanced at the clock - it was 3 a.m. – and as I started to drift off, my eyes focused on the closet door.

I wonder what sound his head would make if I slammed him against the door?

I needed help.

End-of-day rituals create comfort, sense of belonging


If your New Year’s resolution is to slow down the pace of your family life, find some quiet moments and make more good memories, you may be in the market for some ideas about creating after-school and bedtime rituals.

In a back-to-school Family Forum column, we examined some ways that parents can build little rituals into the morning send-off routines, and suggested a couple of rituals to make the homecoming hours nicer as well, such as teatime and old-fashioned popcorn popping.

A time to give thanks – no joke

There is no good way to get the news that your daughter has died.

But looking back, I have to say I learned about Lanie’s accident in the best possible way.

I went to bed that Sunday evening around 10 p.m., and after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to drop off, I moved to the sunroom sofa to read. Although I can usually attribute trouble sleeping to late-afternoon caffeine, I was puzzled because I’d had none.

A family’s musical education

My husband and I enjoy live concerts, which for us usually entails a trip downtown to the National. We most recently went to see a critically acclaimed French electronic band called M83. I’d heard a few of their songs before, but I wasn’t sure what to expect of a live show. Lots of freaky lights, I guessed, and people a lot younger than us.

I was right on both counts. Even in the disco-ball darkness, I could tell that we were surrounded by a generation of people closer in age to our 12-year-old son than to us

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Community

Traveling tapestry exhibit opens at Cultural Arts Center

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen will host a touring exhibit from the American Tapestry Alliance during the next month and a half.

The Gumenick Family Gallery exhibition, Small Tapestry International 2: Passages, featuring small tapestries created by artists from around the world, opens Sept. 15 with a reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., which is open to the public. The exhibition will continue through Oct. 30. This is the only East Coast venue hosting this touring, biennial exhibition of the American Tapestry Alliance. > Read more.

Lewis Ginter hosts fall plant sale

Grace Harrison of the Henrico Master Gardeners' Association demonstrates vermi composting to a visitor during Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's fall plant sale Sept. 17.
> Read more.

Help CVFB win 30,000 pounds of protein

To boost hunger awareness in the U.S., Tyson Foods is launching a social media campaign enabling the public to choose three food banks to receive a 30,000-pound protein donation from the company. The donation will provide 120,000 meals for each chosen food bank. All food banks are located in counties with high rates of food insecurity. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Restaurant Watch: Oct. 7-20, 2010 Issue

SEPT. 13
Balkan Restaurant, 8905 Patterson Avenue – No violations reported.

SEPT. 14
Quizno’s Classic Subs, 8906-B West Broad Street – No critical violations reported and one non-critical violation reported.
Bogart’s, 443 North Ridge Road – No violations reported.
Country Day Care, 2312 Dickens Road – One critical violation reported (backflow device missing from outside faucet) and six non-critical violations reported.
Far East Cafe, 4801 Nine Mile Road – No critical violations reported and two non-critical violations reported. > Read more.

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Thomas the Tank Engine will be at the Children’s Museum of Richmond Central for live shows at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Join Thomas on a fun-filled, sing… Full text

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