Henrico County VA

Student helps sprout ‘STEM’ growth


Disappointed by the fact that women are under-represented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career fields – often because they have lacked other women in the disciplines to emulate – J.R. Tucker High School senior Sierra Semel was motivated to address the issue.

Semel, who is part of the Advanced College Academy specialty center at Tucker, became interested in engineering in the eighth grade and quickly began to realize her interest was a rarity amongst other girls her age. After completing a research paper on the lack of women in STEM fields for Robert Meister’s AP composition class, she decided to do something about it. > Read more.

Grapevine access opens

Bridge builders
River lovers gathered Nov. 6 to celebrate the grand opening of a new public access site at the Grapevine Bridge on the Upper Chickahominy River in Eastern Henrico.

Part of the larger Chickahominy Water Trail and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the river segment will now be easily accessible at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) gravel parking lot adjacent to the Grapevine Bridge on North Airport Drive.

In addition to its historic significance as part of Captain John Smith's explorations and the nation's colonial beginnings, the Grapevine Bridge played an important role in the Civil War during the Battle of Seven Pines. > Read more.
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Construction moves Henrico Arts Fall Showcase to CenterStage

Renovations at Henrico High School are not quite finished, so the Henrico County Public Schools Center for the Arts has moved its Nov. 14-15 Fall Showcase to Richmond CenterStage. The free event features an exhibition of works by visual arts students, followed by a show by performing arts students.

“We are thrilled to give our students the opportunity to perform at CenterStage in honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Center for the Arts,” said Stephanie Poxon, director of the center. “The anniversary is in 2015, but we are starting the celebration early by showcasing our visual arts students in Rhythm Hall and our performing arts students in the Carpenter Theatre.”

The center is also canceling a performing arts dress rehearsal scheduled for Nov. 13. > Read more.

Celtic Festival showcases culture, competition

The Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games returned to the Richmond Raceway Complex Oct. 25-26, showcasing Celtic heritage, food and fun, as well as unique athletic competitions, such as the caber toss, sheaf toss, stone put and Scottish hammer throw. > Read more.

Henrico School Board weighs projects


Relief for four crowded elementary schools in the Brookland District is on the horizon, but it likely won't come until all four schools are operating at well above their student capacity levels.

Henrico County Public Schools planners are recommending that the School Board add plans to its five-year Capital Improvement Program for multi-classroom additions at Holladay, Glen Allen and Longan elementaries that would total nearly $29 million. Those plans would join existing plans for a $12.7-million classroom addition at Johnson Elementary.

In total, the projects would add 33 new classrooms – eight each at Glen Allen, Johnson and Longan and nine at Holladay – to help relieve anticipated crowding at each schools and at Dumbarton Elementary. > Read more.

Miles of smiles

Organization created by Henrico teen earns national recognition

On Friday nights, a group of about 15 Henrico girls can be found sitting in a circle with balls of variously colored yarn sprawled around them. This designated knitting night has become a tradition for the girls known as Miles of Scarves, a group created in 2009 that knits scarves to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The group recently was named the 2014 Bob Carter Companies Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Group by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

“When I started this group, I had no idea that this would grow this much,” said Meredith Polk, the founder of Miles of Scarves. > Read more.

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Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Marine life made human

Dolphin Tale 2 provides innocuous, feel-good story
Dolphin Tale 2 is not a complicated film. Far from it – the story can be summed up in just three short words: “Aquarium seeks dolphin.”

A little elaboration wouldn’t hurt, though.

The sequel to 2011’s Dolphin Tale (about the real-life dolphin, Winter, who lost her tail in a crab trap and learned to swim with a prosthesis), Dolphin Tale 2 follows the same cheerily blended family in the same marine hospital/aquarium we saw them in last time. Only, one of their dolphins (not Winter, don’t worry) succumbs to old age, leaving a hole in this sea-life-inclusive Brady Bunch.

Losing a dolphin is a big deal – in captivity, it’s required that they live in pairs. > Read more.

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > 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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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will present the Dominion GardenFest of Lights nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 28 to Jan. 12 (closed Dec. 24-25). This holiday tradition features… Full text

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