(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!
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.
The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.
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.
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.
A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.
Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.
The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.
Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.
The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.
Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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