Henrico County VA
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‘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

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

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Calendar

Innsbrook After Hours will present O.A.R. and Phillip Phillips, with Saints of Valory, at 5:30 p.m. at the Snagajob Innsbrook Pavilion. Gates open at 5 p.m. General admission is $21.… Full text

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