Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.

Assembly poised to OK state budget on Friday


Finishing a day early, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a budget Wednesday that includes employee pay raises and more money for K-12 education and mental health.

The negotiators presented their budget to their fellow lawmakers in time for the required 48-hour review, which could be completed by Friday night with a chance to adjourn their 2017 session before Saturday’s target date.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate praised the spending plan’s conservative fiscal policies. > Read more.
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Glen Allen ES teacher to appear on Wheel of Fortune Jan. 23

Page Almond has an addiction, and she's not afraid to talk about it.

It reared its head as early as second grade, when her teacher gave the class a free writing assignment and she chose to write about. . . the rules to her favorite TV game show, Wheel of Fortune.

A confessed "Wheel watcher," Almond has tuned in religiously since childhood.

"That shows what a nerd I am," she said with a laugh at the childhood memory, "but I've always loved the show and it's always been a dream of mine to be on the show."

Or, perhaps more appropriately: it always had been a dream. > Read more.

Former Three Chopt District supervisor Kaechele dies


JAN. 20, 9:25 A.M. – Former Three Chopt District Supervisor David A. Kaechele – who served nine terms and nearly four decades on the Henrico Board of Supervisors, overseeing a time of significant growth in his district – has died. He was 85.

Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas announced Kaechele's death in a countywide e-mail this morning. Kaechele retired from the board at the conclusion of his ninth term in 2015. David A. Kaechele Elementary School in the Three Chopt District bears his name.

All Henrico County flags will fly at half-staff in Kaechele's honor through Jan. 27, Vithoulkas said. Funeral arrangements are incomplete. > Read more.

Muthusamy captures fourth straight HCPS spelling title


Moody Middle School eighth-grader Tejas Muthusamy won Henrico Schools’ Divisionwide Spelling Bee Jan. 18 – his fourth consecutive title and his sixth year as a finalist. It is the final year that he was eligible to compete in the annual event, which matches spelling champions from each of the county's 45 public elementary schools and 12 middle schools.

Muthusamy will advance to the Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee March 11, which he was won each of the past three years on his way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. > Read more.

Vithoulkas to give ‘State of the County’ address twice Jan. 23


Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas will give his 'State of the County' address twice Monday, Jan. 23.

Vithoulkas will address members of the Henrico Business Council, Henrico Business Leaders and Eastern Henrico Business Association at an event for members of the three organizations at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen beginning at 7 a.m. > Read more.

Groups criticize panel for not hiking minimum wage


Advocacy groups for low-paid workers blasted a Virginia Senate committee for killing two bills that would have raised the minimum wage incrementally over the next three years.

“It is a sad day when politicians prioritize corporate profits over hardworking Virginia families,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia and a member of the Women’s Equality Coalition. “$7.25 is not enough to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head at the same time, and no one who works a full-time job should be living in poverty.”

Supporters of the legislation had hoped Virginia would become the 30th state with a minimum wage above the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 an hour. > Read more.

Democrats seek to protect reproductive rights


In an effort to protect and expand women’s health care in Virginia, House Democrats said Tuesday they have introduced three bills to ensure easier access to abortion and contraceptives.

The bills represent a contrast to Republican measures such as the “Day of Tears” resolution that encourages Virginians to mourn abortion, Democratic legislators and their allies said at a news conference.

Progress Virginia Executive Director Anna Scholl said the General Assembly has seen more than 75 proposals to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care since 2010. She urged legislators to stop making women’s health care political. > Read more.

HCPS Divisionwide Spelling Bee scheduled for Jan. 18


Champions from each of Henrico County Public Schools’ 45 elementary schools and 12 middle schools will square off Jan. 18 in the 2017 HCPS Divisionwide Spelling Bee at Hungary Creek Middle School.

The winner of the HCPS bee will advance to the Richmond Times-Dispatch regional spelling competition March 11 for a chance to represent a large swath of Virginia in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Scripps contest features more than 280 regional champions from around the nation, and is televised by ESPN. > Read more.

Dreaming big

School Board votes to create new ‘academy’ at Highland Springs ES

It was, perhaps, fitting that days before the nation paused to honor the life of a man known in part for his powerful dream (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), the Henrico County School Board voted to approve a program whose design could help some of the county's most at-risk students realize their own dreams.

The board Jan. 12 unanimously approved a five-year, $2.16-million agreement with An Achievable Dream Certified Academies, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Newport News that will begin operating its acclaimed educational program at Highland Springs Elementary School this fall.

The aim of the program is simple: to engage the most vulnerable students – whose family situations, economic levels or discipline issues might otherwise prevent them from achieving academically. > Read more.

Capitol is site of dueling gun allies


Unified by their desire to preserve safety, but divided on ways to do so, both sides of the Virginia gun debate rallied on Capitol Square on Monday.

“Hello deplorables. Are you ready to take back the Commonwealth of Virginia?” Corey Stewart, a Republican candidate for governor, asked as members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League rallied in the morning.

Stewart cautioned the crowd that while it is possible to lose a battle and win the war, that means it is also possible to win the battle and lose the war. He said they won the battle for the presidency with Trump’s 2016 election.
> Read more.

Poll finds support for workforce training


Most Virginians said they are willing to pay more in taxes to keep programs for workforce training and development at their current levels, according to a statewide poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University. The survey, conducted by the VCU’s Center for Public Policy, said 58 percent of adults statewide felt that way. That view was more prevalent among Democrats, among people who don’t have children in the public schools, and among Virginians 65 and older.

“Economic development and workforce development are important topics nationally as well as statewide, and they will certainly be at the forefront of this year’s General Assembly session,” said John Accordino, interim dean of VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, which oversees the center. > Read more.

Advocates for rape survivors applaud grant


Organizations that help rape survivors see benefits from Virginia receiving a $2 million federal grant to improve the commonwealth’s handling of sexual assaults. They say the money will help the state train sexual assault investigators, test rape evidence kits and provide services to rape survivors.

“At YWCA Richmond, we acknowledge that all survivors respond differently to trauma and to news involving sexual assault. News of this continued testing may provide comfort to survivors and their families that justice will be served to the perpetrator of the assault,” Rachel Solomon, the Y’s development and relations coordinator, said Thursday. > Read more.

Anti-abortion group wants ‘Day of Tears’ commemoration


An anti-abortion organization called Day of Tears is urging the Virginia General Assembly to pass a resolution declaring a day of mourning to mark the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Joined by a dozen Republican colleagues, Dels. Benjamin Cline of Amherst and Richard Bell of Staunton have introduced the resolution – HR 268. It would declare Jan. 22 as the Day of Tears in the state and encouraged Virginians “to lower their flags to half-staff to mourn the innocents who have lost their lives to abortion.”

Jan. 22, 1973, was a monumental day for both pro-life and pro-choice advocates. > 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

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Deep Run High School PTSA will host its 10th Annual Summer Camp Fair from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fair is coordinated for elementary and middle school parents to find out more about upcoming summer camps. Representatives from camps throughout the area will be available to answer questions and accept registrations. Admission is free. For details, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit http://www.deeprunptsa.com/events.html. Full text

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