Firefighters train in vacant hotel

Capt. Gary Samuels (left) and Chief Dale Harris (right)
Henrico firefighters have had a unique opportunity to train in a vacant hotel in the Near West End in recent days. Firefighters are conducting a variety of exercises at the former Ramada Plaza Richmond West (on West Broad Street near Glenside Drive) which went out of business last year and was purchased by adjacent Genworth for $3.8 million.

Genworth allowed the Henrico Division of Fire to use the empty building for several weeks of fire training, and Henrico in turn invited agencies from Hanover, Chesterfield, Richmond, New Kent, Colonial Heights and Fort Lee to join them.

Genworth's purchase has impacted a number of local residents, because it decided to donate all the furniture and other items inside the hotel to CARITAS, a faith-based organization that assists those who are homeless, hungry and unemployed. The inventory, valued at about $1.5 million, filled more than 40 tractor trailers and was the largest donation ever received by CARITAS. The organization expects to serve more than 450 households and 1,000 at-risk individuals as the result of the donation.

Genworth also donated the hotel's baby grand piano to nearby Johnson Elementary School.

Lt. Jeff Mitchell

Lt. "Pork Chop" Greene

Genworth Real Estate Manager Sarah Bagby (left) and Capt. Jim Mellon

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Members of the Chesterfield Fire Department participate in what they termed a "once-in-a-lifetime" training opportunity.

Members of the Henrico Division of Fire practice "forced entry" techniques.

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Capt. Gary Samuels


Patient First to offer free Halloween candy x-rays

Patient First will offer free digital X-ray imaging of Halloween candy at all neighborhood medical centers from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29 through Oct. 31.

While an adult should always inspect candy before allowing a child to enjoy their trick-or-treating rewards, the free X-ray offer gives parents an additional precaution to consider and to provide peace of mind. X-rays may detect objects such as glass, metal or plastic; however, parents still need to provide supervision, since some foreign materials may not appear in x-rays. > Read more.

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.

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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Knights of Columbus Council 395 will hold a Brunswick Stew sale from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbian Center, 2324 Pump Rd. Prices are $8.50 for one quart and $16 for two quarts; additional quarts are $8 each. Proceeds will benefit the charitable projects of the Council. To pre-order, call Tom Giannasi at 355-3866. Full text

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