HCPS 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.

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.
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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.

House panel shoots down ban on guns in libraries


A House subcommittee shot down a bill Thursday to allow libraries owned or operated by local governments to ban firearms from their premises.

On a 4-1 voice vote, Subcommittee No. 1 of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee recommended tabling HB 1418. The bill, proposed by Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, sought to allow localities to adopt ordinances to prohibit the carrying firearms in public libraries.

“The (library) staff strongly feels that a library should be used as a reading circle and that schools and libraries are inappropriate places to openly carry firearms,” McQuinn said. > Read more.

Attorney General seeks to expand hate crime definition


Attorney General Mark Herring, backed by Democratic legislators and interfaith leaders, said Friday he will seek to broaden the state’s definition of “hate crime” to cover gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

“Too many Virginians and folks all around the country have been targeted by a criminal simply because of who they are,” Herring said at a press conference.

State law defines a hate crime as “any illegal act directed against any persons or their property because of those persons’ race, religion, or national origin.” > 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


If the snow last weekend had you stuck at home, then you will appreciate free admission all weekend long at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! Other free options this weekend include a Classic Family Film series at Varina Library, “Crafternoon” at Libbie Mill Library and the tenth annual Richmond Jewish Food Festival taking place Sunday and Monday at the Weinstein JCC. Concert options include the 8th annual Djangoary Music Soiree at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen and Flight Risk, performing at The Tin Pan. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will offer free admission to all visitors Jan. 13-15. Garden hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Garden Shop and Garden Café will be closed during this time. For details, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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