Henrico County VA

‘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!
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


It’s Halloween! Ghosts and goblins are everywhere…especially at Dorey Park’s Monster Mash and the annual Pumpkin Festival at Gayton Crossing Shopping Center. But don’t let the fun stop on the 31st – the Latin Ballet of Virginia will present El Dia de los Muertos Family Festival on Nov. 1. And if you need a break from the candy, enjoy some classical music at the University of Richmond and the Weinstein JCC on Sunday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Brews and bites done right

Urban Tavern’s big, bold themes impress

The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.

Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.

On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar. > Read more.

A terrible, horrible movie. . . that’s actually pretty good

‘Alexander’ provides uncomplicated family fun
It’s not surprising in the least that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn’t much resemble the book it’s based upon.

Judith Viorst’s 1972 picture book isn’t exactly overflowing with movie-worthy material. Boy has bad day. Boy is informed that everyone has bad days sometimes. Then, the back cover.

In the film, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad-ness is blown up to more extreme size. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has a bum day every day, while the rest of his family (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey) exist in a constant bubble of perfection and cheery optimism – to the point that the family is so wrapped up in their own success that Alexander’s being ignored.

So on the eve of his 12th birthday, Alexander makes a wish: just once, he’d like his family to see things from his perspective; to experience the crushing disappointment of one of those no good, very bad days. Once he has blown out the candle on his pre-birthday ice cream sundae, his family’s fate is sealed: one full day of crippling disasters for all of them. > Read more.

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