(Written by Henrico County Public Relations & Media Services Director Tamra McKinney and presented by County Manager Virgil Hazelett (a.k.a. Santa Claus, pictured) during the Henrico Business Holiday Breakfast Dec. 8.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, a quarter past eight;
The traffic in Short Pump was making me late.
Cars filled with presents were leaving the mall,
As if there had been no recession at all.
Of course I knew better, it had been a tough year;
What the future would bring still wasn’t quite clear.
Had we hit the bottom? Were we on the mend?
Had we finally started an upward trend?
I had far more questions than answers this night,
And the longer I sat at that traffic light,
The more I questioned the economy’s health,
With rising foreclosures and dwindling wealth.
By the time I got home, I was depressed.
My mind was in turmoil, my body was stressed.
These past three years had been hard to take,
And our business community needed a break.
I pulled in the driveway and turned off the car,
And I noticed the front door was slightly ajar.
I ran into the house, and what did I see?
Santa Claus sitting there waiting for me.
“Merry Christmas, Virgil” he said with a smile,
“We need to sit down and talk for a while.
Don’t let this recession give you the blues;
Focus instead on Henrico’s good news.
Sales taxes are up, hotel taxes are too,
Unemployment is down in Henrico, it’s true.
Innsbrook’s mixed-use will be great when it’s done,
Plus the recent expansion of Capitol One.
Wellaware Systems will relocate here,
And Elephant Auto’s expanding this year.
Zeller and Gmelin’s move to Audubon Drive,
And Smurfit-Stone’s new plant kept more jobs alive.
Snag-a-job’s expanding and adding more staff,
All of this should give you reason to laugh!
This year’s been a struggle from coast to coast,
But Henrico’s still far better off than most.”
The thing about Santa, he tends to be right,
And I had new perspective on Henrico’s plight.
Yes the past three years had been really rough,
But the tough get going when the going gets tough.
Our business community will persevere,
When the economic forecast is still unclear.
We’ll stick to our plan and stay on the track
Until we’re out of the red and back in the black.
So as we balance our budgets and cut every cost,
Let’s not allow the good news to get lost.
It’s easy to focus on things that go wrong
And forget who we are and what makes us strong.
We are Henrico, and as Santa would say,
“You can’t go wrong with the Henrico way.”
We’ve gotten this far and we’ll get through the rest;
That’s what makes Henrico’s businesses the best.
As you leave here today, keep Santa alive
In your hearts and your minds, and together we’ll thrive.
May your holidays be filled with magic and cheer;
Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!
Citizen Staff Reports 12/16/2013
Virginia Blood Services (VBS), the sole supplier of blood for more than 20 hospitals throughout the state of Virginia, is in need of blood donors to help replenish the local blood supply over the holidays.
A decline in blood donations is typical during the winter months as people become busy with holiday activities and travel. Patient needs remain steady, however, making it important for people to visit a VBS donor site or mobile drive to give blood. > Read more.
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
Eastern Henrico’s annual “Holiday on Parade” event is back tomorrow. Family-friendly activities will take place at various locations in the east end. The festivities will culminate with the 21st annual James River Parade of Lights. Also, several churches throughout the county are hosting holiday celebrations including West End Assembly of God, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and The Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Estilo charms, with a stylish twist, in Henrico’s Near West End
If you're looking for something a little different from the standard, ho-hum restaurant experience, look no further than The Village shopping center. Among the recent success stories to put down roots in The Village is Estilo, created by the owners of the gastropub Toast (featured in a Feb. 21 review in the Citizen), only a few steps away.
Estilo – which translates to style – offers a taste of Peru, Chile and Bolivia, among other countries, and a menu that rotates regularly through the rest of Central and South America. > Read more.
Disney’s Frozen shines as an instant classic
Disney has spent the past few years in search of that certain something; that ‘Disney Magic.’ It’s been a slow process. From The Princess and the Frog to Tangled to Wreck-it Ralph, the studio took slow steps, welcoming its princesses and fairy tales and musical numbers back into the fold. Every film was an improvement on the last, but none of them had anywhere near the charm or lasting appeal of the early ‘90s highs of the “Disney Renaissance.”
Frozen, by far, is the House of Mouse’s best attempt at a new Little Mermaid. > Read more.
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