Henrico County VA
Henrico County Opinions

All hail to mothers and the hardest job of all


I once thought that raising my children was the hardest work I had ever done or would ever do.

Raising my three daughters was so physically, mentally and emotionally taxing that I often fell asleep at 9 p.m. when they were young – the instant I had them tucked in bed.

By midmorning, I was always drained of mental and physical energy (quite literally "drained" in the days of nursing infants on demand), and almost crazed with exhaustion by nighttime. There was never enough sleep, and there were never enough breaks.

Bored senseless

“Short Pump is too boring.”

Ever heard anyone say that?

Unless “b-o-r-i-n-g” is a new way to spell “congested,” I never had.

That is, until this week, when an email from Movoto (a website that exists) arrived in my inbox, alerting me to the stark reality that Short Pump is, in fact, the second most boring place in all of Virginia. Well, technically it tied for second with another bastion of boredom – Loudoun County’s South Riding, whose poor residents suffer through sad lives that involve sitting around all day counting how many racehorses and Aston Martins they own.

Announcing Henrico Restaurant Week

Henrico County is home to more than 500 restaurants, and it always seems as if a few new ones are opening each month. Included among their numbers are eateries for just about any taste – from Indian to French, Mexican to Greek, Japanese to Mediterranean – oh, and American too, along with plenty of options in between.

We have wine bars, brewpubs, neighborhood barbecue joints and elegant seafood restaurants. So isn’t it about time we celebrated the unique spots that make Henrico a feast for our tastebuds?

We thought so.

That’s why we’ve created the first-ever Henrico Restaurant Week, which will take place this spring (April 11-19, to be exact). Technically it’s more than a week, because we think you’ll need five weekdays and two full weekends to sufficiently stuff yourself and appreciate the offerings that abound right here in Henrico.

An actual holiday spirit


There are three kinds of people when it comes to Christmas – those who love it; Scrooges and Grinches; and those who fall somewhere in between.

The Christmas-lovers are the ones who hum Christmas jingles year round; who start trying out new holiday cookie recipes in July and beginscouring Christmas stores for decorations in August; who love to flip through holiday-themed magazines; who are thrilled when stores hang ornaments in September; who like to wear those jingly, blinking sweaters; and who savor Christmas shopping as their favorite sport. I have even heard of Christmas lovers who go shopping on Christmas Eve – despite having everything on their lists – just because they want to be part of the "hustle and bustle."

Clearly, these people are certifiable.

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.

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Community

Deep Bottom trail enhanced


The James River Association and Henrico County partnered April 25 to improve a primitive hiking trail at Deep Bottom Park in Eastern Henrico County. Alumni from St. Christopher’s School volunteered to improve the primitive trail that runs alongside Four Mile Creek, a tributary of the James River. The volunteers removed overgrowth and resurfaced the trail with mulch to improve accessibility.

The park has a boat ramp and canoe launch and is a popular destination for paddling, fishing, and other recreational activities. > Read more.

Your trees, please

With a nod to Arbor Day, Citizen seeks photos, descriptions of significant Henrico trees

Do you have a favorite tree in Henrico?

Do you know of a tree with an interesting story?

Do you live near an especially large, old, or otherwise unusual tree – or do you pass by one that has always intrigued you?

Arbor Day 2015 (April 24) was last week, and though the Citizen has published stories about a few special trees over the years (see sidebar) we know that our readers can lead us to more. > Read more.

Henrico’s most famous tree


Henrico's most famous tree, known as the Surrender Tree, still stood for more than a century near the intersection of Osborne Turnpike and New Market Road -- until June 2012.

It was in the shade of that tree on April 3, 1865, that Richmond mayor Joseph Mayo met Major Atherton Stevens and troops from the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry and handed over a note surrendering the city to Federal troops. Evacuation had already begun. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Dance Studio plans performances May 15-16


The Dance Studio will present: “Dance Makes the World Go ‘Round” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16, at The Scottish Rite Temple, 4204 Hermitage Road. Tickets are $13 apiece and may be purchased at the door beginning at 7 p.m. each day.

For details, visit http://www.thedancestudiorichmond.com or call Brenda West at 746-4463.

The Dance Studio is celebrating its 32nd year on Lakeside Avenue. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


It’s Mother’s Day weekend and Henrico has a lot to offer moms and their families. Spend some time on the farm at Lavender Fields Herb Farm’s annual Herb Faire & Open House. Take her to a show – Griffin House is performing tonight at The Tin Pan and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “The Case of the Dead Flamingo Dancer” continues at CACGA. If mom is more of a foodie, then she will love the Central Virginia Wine Festival or the "War Between the Tastes: Civil War Food Festival" taking place at Meadow Farm. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Henrico HS student selected as student playwright for ‘New Voices for Theater’ program


A Henrico High School student was one of eight students from Virginia selected as a 2015 student playwright as part of the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community's 26th annual New Voices for the Theater Festival of New Works, which will be held July 10-11 at VCU.

Elaina Riddell of the Center for the Arts at Henrico HS will join the other students and bring her original one-act play to life on stage at the event. In total, 150 plays were submitted to SPARC. Riddell and the other winners will work closely with New York City-based professional playwright Bruce Ward for the event. > Read more.

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