Republicans, Democrats ready to race to fill open House seat


When Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, announced on March 18 that he would not run for re-election, local Republicans and Democrats prepared for a fight, ready for the race to fill his seat.

Massie, who said in his announcement on Facebook that his time in the House of Delegates had been “the greatest honor of (his) professional life,” had served the 72nd House district since 2008. He said he prayed before making a difficult decision.

Eddie Whitlock, the chairman of the Henrico County Republican Party, praised Massie’s record in the House. > Read more.

HCPS wins national honor for overhaul of Code of Student Conduct, supports


Henrico County Public Schools recently was recognized by the National School Boards Association for a sweeping overhaul of the school division’s approach to student supports. HCPS was one of five large U.S. school systems recognized with a first-place honor in the 2017 Magna Awards, presented Saturday in Denver at the organization’s annual conference. The awards recognize school divisions and leaders “for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities,” according to the group.

The award recognizes Henrico Schools’ efforts of the past several years, from re-examining its policies to implementing more support systems. After a two-year conversation with the community through public hearings and other feedback, HCPS adopted a revised Code of Student Conduct for the 2015-16 school year. > Read more.

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Governor outlines ‘opportunity’ agenda


In a move he said would boost the state’s economy, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is asking legislators to remove the requirement that Virginia women get an ultrasound before having an abortion and to “create a more inclusive environment for LGBT Virginians and business owners.”

McAuliffe announced his “full equal opportunity agenda” on Monday, calling on the General Assembly to:

· Remove references to “husband and wife” or “man and woman” in Virginia laws about marriage. Such terms would be replaced with the word “spouse” now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state. > Read more.

McAuliffe sets the stage for General Assembly


Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on Virginia legislators Wednesday to address the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses and to make it easier for some undocumented immigrants to attend public colleges and universities.

McAuliffe laid out those goals in his State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the General Assembly, which kicked off its 2015 session earlier in the day.

McAuliffe, who is beginning his second year as Virginia’s chief executive, wants the assembly over the next six weeks to pass several measures concerning education. > Read more.

Business in brief


University of Richmond and Secure Futures, a solar energy developer based in Staunton, Va., have reached an agreement to install solar panels on the roof of UR’s Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness. Once complete, the 204-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array will allow the university to have the capacity to generate more than 226,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, potentially offsetting the emission of more than 344,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to the average annual electricity use of 21.5 American homes, or the annual electricity needs for one campus residence hall. Installation is expected to begin in July 2015, and the panels will begin generating electricity for the university before students arrive back to campus for the 2015 school year. A PPA, or Power Purchase Agreement, is a critical financial instrument for solar energy development. Under the arrangement, Secure Futures will install, maintain and own the solar array – and its associated tax benefits – and will sell the electricity generated by the array to the University of Richmond at a set rate over a 20-year period. > Read more.

Panel rejects bill to expand hate crimes law


A Senate committee on Wednesday defeated a bill to include sexual orientation and gender identification in the state’s definition of hate crimes.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 7-6 against Senate Bill 799, which was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington. All six Democrats on the committee supported the measure; all seven Republican committee members opposed it.

SB 799 would have expanded the definition of “hate crime” to include offenses committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification. It would have required law enforcement agencies to report such crimes to State Police. > Read more.

‘Public service is a privilege,’ House Speaker says

As the Virginia House of Delegates convened Wednesday for the General Assembly’s 2015 session, House Speaker William Howell welcomed newly elected delegates, set out the chamber’s goals and reminded legislators of their position as public servants.

“It is said quite often – public service is a privilege. None of us are entitled to the seats we hold in this body,” said Howell, a Republican from Fredericksburg.

He told lawmakers to live up to the standards expected by their constituents. > Read more.

Morrissey reclaims his House seat

Embattled lawmaker wins special election despite serving jail time
Joe Morrissey
UPDATE: Jan. 13, 9:15 P.M. – Embattled – and imprisoned – former Delegate Joe Morrissey tonight won back the 74th District House of Delegates seat that he resigned late last year, defeating Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton in a special election that was necessitated by his resignation.

Morrissey earned 42 percent of the vote, to Sullivan’s 33 percent and Walton’s 24 percent. Slightly more than 6,700 of the 53,000 registered voters turned out for the special election. The district encompasses a wide swath of northern and eastern Henrico, all of Charles City County and a portion of Richmond.

For now, the win means that Morrissey will serve the final year of the two-year term and be sworn in Wednesday morning when the General Assembly convenes in Richmond. But Virginia Republicans and Democrats have vowed to do whatever they can to remove him from office, following his conviction last month on a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. > Read more.

Feeling handcuffed

State inmates overcrowding Henrico’s two jails, costing county taxpayers $6.5 million annually
One-fourth of the inmates in Henrico’s jail are under extended temporary custody from the state, costing county taxpayers an estimated $6.5 million per year.

The state reimburses seven times less than what Henrico officials say it costs to house the inmates, and the sheriff’s department will have to repay the state under Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s plan to balance the budget shortfall. County officials worry the problem is likely to get worse following the closing of Powhatan correctional facility.

The county jail, designed to house offenders up to the date of their trial or sentencing and for no longer than one year, is functioning instead partially as a state prison. > Read more.

Melting Pot to donate to Children’s Hospital through Jan. 31

Through the end of January, in honor of The Melting Pot of Richmond’s 20th year in business, it will make a $20 donation to Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU from the sale of each special three-course anniversary package.

The period began Jan. 11 and will continue through Jan. 31 with a Daddy-Daughter Date Day, during which the restaurant, located in Gayton Crossing in Henrico's Far West End, will be open early (from noon to 4 p.m.). Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling (804) 741-3120). > Read more.

Adams announces she will seek Farfield School Board seat

Community advocate Tara Adams has announced that she will seek the Fairfield District School Board seat in November's election. The seat is currently held by Lamont Bagby, who intends to seek the Democratic nomination for the 74th District seat in the House of Delegates this June. Bagby has not announced whether he would seek a third term on the School Board should he fail to earn that nomination.

The entire School Board will be up for election in November, along with the Board of Supervisors. > Read more.

Henrico seeks public input on community development priorities

The Henrico County Department of Community Revitalization will hold a series of public hearings to help guide the county’s use of federal housing and community development funds over the next five years.

The meetings will be held:

• Saturday, Jan. 24, 9:30 a.m. at Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue;

• Monday, Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m. at Tuckahoe Area Library, 1901 Starling Drive;

• Thursday, Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m. at Belmont Recreation Center, 1600 Hilliard Road. > Read more.

GRTC bus rapid transit public meetings scheduled

The GRTC Transit System was awarded a grant of $24.9 million to develop the GRTC Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, which will serve a 7.6-mile route from Rocketts Landing to Willow Lawn. The overall cost of the GRTC BRT Project will be supported with matching funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Phase I engineering and design activities are underway with on-the-street operation scheduled to start in October 2017.

The GRTC BRT Project team will present a status update, startup activities and long range timeline for the Project at two public meetings later this month. > Read more.

Henrico Fire conducting 3-day training exercise at Westminster Canterbury

Henrico Fire officials are conducting a comprehensive three-day training exercise this week (Jan. 12-14) at the Westminster Canterbury Richmond continuing care retirement community in northern Henrico.

Though many fire trucks and emergency response vehicles are converging upon the site, there is no actual emergency. WCR is the home of nearly 900 residents and employs 700 people.

The exercise involves many fire units from throughout the county. The training will last all day each of those days to engage three shifts of firefighters. > Read more.

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Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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The 2017 Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis will take place at Innsbrook’s Northshore Commons, 4951 Lake Brook Dr. Take Steps empowers patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and provides a safe and welcoming environment for patients and their families to connect and inspire one another. Walk Day is filled with music, food, kid's activities, local entertainment and most importantly, the company of hundreds of people who truly understand the impact of IBD. Check-in and festival start at 3 p.m. and the walk will begin at 4 p.m. For details, visit http://tinyurl.com/2017TakeSteps. Full text

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