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College affordability bills now in Senate


After clearing the House of Delegates, two bills aimed at making college more affordable in Virginia have now moved to the Senate.

The bills, both sponsored by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, received unanimous approval from delegates on Friday.

House Bill 1895 would give small and medium-sized public institutions of higher education in Virginia more flexibility in areas such as information technology, procurement and capital projects. HB 1897 would put a cap on the athletic fees that colleges and universities can charge students.

Capping athletic fees would generate meaningful cost savings for students and their families, Cox said. > Read more.

Budget amendment would boost guards’ pay


Joined by a group of prison guards, two legislators Tuesday called for a budget amendment to increase the salaries of correctional officers in Virginia.

Democratic Dels. Patrick Hope of Arlington and Kaye Kory of Falls Church said officers at the state’s correctional facilities deserve a pay increase and better working conditions. The lawmakers said their proposed amendment to the state budget would boost correctional officers’ salaries by 5 percent.

The last pay increase officers received was in 2007, Hope said at a press conference. He said he has seen firsthand what the officers must endure and the dangers they face dealing with potentially violent offenders. > Read more.
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2 Henrico citizens named to Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence

Two Henrico citizens are among the 30 members of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's new Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence, whose membership was announced Sept. 22.

Henrico residents Jean A. Cheek (a registered nurse and forensic nurse examiner at Virginia Commonwealth University) and Nancy Oglesby (Deputy Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney) were named to the task force, which will be chaired by Attorney General Mark Herring and will hold quarterly meetings to focus on finding common solutions to building safer, more educated college communities in Virginia.

The appointees include a variety of experts in the field of sexual assault from law enforcement to educators, forensic nurses, Title IX coordinators, advocates, and others. > Read more.

HCPS to host five meetings on proposed Code of Community Conduct

Henrico County Public Schools has scheduled a series of public meetings to receive feedback and new ideas on the proposed Code of Community Conduct for the 2015-16 school year. The proposed Code of Community Conduct outlines the roles and responsibilities of students, parents and guardians and school employees in order to maintain a safe, supportive environment that encourages citizenship.

The public meetings listed below will be attended by the district’s representative on the School Board, Superintendent Pat Kinlaw, and school division administrators. > Read more.

Totty named director of Henrico MH/DS

Laura S. Totty has been named director of Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services (MH/DS), effective Sept. 20. Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas announced the appointment today.

Totty has more than 31 years of experience with MH/DS, having served as a residential counselor, residential service specialist, program coordinator, program manager and director of the Clinical and Prevention Services division. She has served as acting director since August, when Michael D. O’Connor retired as director. He had served MH/DS for more than 35 years, including 10 years as director. > Read more.

Moving on up

Henrico County has seen a surge in the high-end housing market, with about 100 homes priced at more than $750,000 being bought or built in the last year, specifically in the Three Chopt and Tuckahoe magisterial districts.

HHHunt, a home developer based in Henrico, sold multiple homes in its new Ellington Woods community for more than $1 million recently, a trend that George Moore, vice president of development for HHHunt Communities, believes isn’t going to stop any time soon.

“When you talk about higher-priced homes, these areas are very desirable,” Moore said. “The schools in this area of Henrico County are ranked some of the highest in the state of Virginia; there is quality development, and people are looking for attractive communities with landscaping, high end amenities and the nearby services.” > Read more.

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Community

Earth Day Challenge helps homeowners conserve energy

The Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA) and the state’s Virginia Energy Sense program recently launched the Earth Day Challenge with 16 other organizations to help Richmond-area residents make their homes more energy efficient.

To enter the challenge, which runs through Earth Day on April 22, homeowners will conduct a free online energy assessment that will instantly recommend ways they can save energy at home. Participants in the Earth Day Energy Challenge will be entered into a drawing to win one of five free in-home professional energy assessments donated by RREA’s pre-qualified contractors.

Professional home energy assessments, which can cost between $300 and $400, will help identify potential energy wasters in a home — especially those in tough to spot or difficult to access areas like crawl spaces and heating and cooling ducts. The home energy assessment allows the homeowner to prioritize the most cost-effective energy improvements to lower energy bills and live in a more comfortable home. > Read more.

Art ‘ReFined’ in Lakeside

Local artist Kris Taylor (above) was among the visitors at a March 31 open house held at the relocated women's consignment shop ReFinery, formerly of the Bellevue area and now in Lakeside. Among the artist's oil paintings and framed etchings now on display at the shop is this favorite, "Second Sighting of the Sacred White Cow," which was inspired by a field full of cows that Taylor spotted while driving through the Colorado countryside near Ute Mountain. Taylor's work will be on display through May at ReFinery, located at 5402 Lakeside Avenue. > Read more.

NEW awards eight grants

The Network of Enterprising Women (NEW) recently announced its 2012 grant recipients, which include: the James House ($1,500), St. Joseph’s Villa ($1,500), Strategies to Elevate People ($1,500), National Alliance on Mental Illness ($1,500), Court Appointed Special Advocates ($1,000), Hospital Hospitality House ($1,000), Art 180 ($1,000) and YWCA ($1,000). > Read more.

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Entertainment

A community ‘Kaffeehaus’ in Henrico’s Far West End

Born and raised in good old Europe, I am quite familiar with the traditional Austro-Hungarian tradition of the Kaffeehaus, an institution that represents a lifestyle of relaxing and thinking in a familiar environment with coffee, pastry, news, good service, marble tables, subdued sounds like the click-clack of the coffee machine, mugs and plates, conversations among patrons and with staff and a bit of low volume Johann Strauss music.

And so it was a thrill to find a modern version of a Kaffeehaus right here in Henrico County: The Daily Grind, near Short Pump Town Center. > Read more.

Oklahoma tornado victims to benefit from Innsbrook concert

The Innsbrook Foundation will present a special concert June 19 at the Innsbrook Snagajob Pavilion to raise funds benefiting the victims of the Moore and Shawnee communities of Oklahoma.

The Innsbrook After Hours RVA Cares event will feature five bands and a family festival in recognition of the many families devastated by the Oklahoma tornadoes on May 20, which killed 23 people, injured 377 others, and left destroyed and damaged homes affecting 33,000 residents. > Read more.

Food trucks arrive in the West End

West End residents no longer have to pick between fighting the summer mall crowds for a quick bite or breaking the bank to eat at a fine-dining spot because one Richmond group is bringing both to them.

RVA Street Foodies, the organization behind the outdoor food truck courts at the Virginia Historical Society and Hardywood Brewery, debuted its new Henrico food truck court at All Saints Episcopal Church on River Road May 22. > Read more.

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