‘Twas the Night Before Henrico’s Christmas

(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!

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Theme for this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter announced

The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.

This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.


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The American Legion Post 233, 8088 Recreation Rd., will host a country/gospel/bluegrass Music Jam at 6 p.m. every fourth Thursday of the month. Anyone is welcome to play or sing. Admission is free. Food and drinks are available. Doors open at 5 p.m. Full text

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