1,500 attend governor’s Easter egg hunt

Annabelle and Elise Nee romp over the grounds of Richmond's Capitol Square Wednesday at the first "Governor's Easter Egg Hunt." (Photo by Alex Wiggins of Capital News Service)
The lawn around the state Capitol was hopping with about 1,500 egg-collecting children Wednesday as Gov. Bob McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell held Virginia’s first “Governor’s Easter Egg Hunt.”

Just as the U.S. president traditionally opens the White House grounds for an Easter egg roll, the McDonnells invited children to participate in their free event at Capitol Square.

The McDonnells formally greeted their guests after exiting the Executive Mansion accompanied by the Easter Bunny, Smokey Bear, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rodney the Ram, the Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot Nutsy and several other costumed characters.

“I want to especially thank the first lady and her staff – all of the people from the First Lady’s Initiatives Team Effort – for their great planning,” Gov. McDonnell said.

He singled out “Sarah Scarbrough, the mansion director, who’s been putting Easter eggs together for about three months, I think.”

After the event, Scarbrough called the egg hunt a success. “We’d love to see it become another Virginia tradition,” she said.

Eight thousand plastic eggs had been placed all over the lawn of Capitol Square, designated for children of different ages – with some eggs apparently containing more impressive treasures than others.

The eggs for the event had been donated by the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bow-Tie Cinemas and other organizations, according to a press release issued by Mrs. McDonnell.

Students from The Steward School, a college preparatory school in Henrico County, painted the faces of egg-hunters for free. Music and mild weather accompanied the late-afternoon and early-evening festivities as the governor and the first lady mingled with a long line of guests and friends. They included VCU President Michael Rao, his wife Monica and their two children.

Some attendees were displeased, however, with the first-time jamboree.

“It was unorganized,” said Delethia Agyeibi, a mother of two. “When the governor said, ‘Go!’ or whoever said, ‘Go!’ everybody went – and they didn’t acknowledge the times and the ages for each set area.”

Agyeibi’s children expressed disappointment at not having won any special “prize eggs.” But they smiled at the eggs they did manage to gather.

As part of the first lady’s Serving Our Service Member Families effort, the McDonnells encouraged guests to bring “baby shower gifts for expectant military moms.” Mansion staff and volunteers set up boxes for these items around the Capitol grounds, and most of them were full by the end of the two-hour-long event.

Children were able to write thank-you cards to members of the military at a booth provided by the United Service Organizations, as well as create bracelets with supplies provided by the Science Museum of Virginia.

“We all agree that trying to come together and do what’s best for Virginia, trying to solve problems, is the thing that makes Virginia really a great state,” Gov. McDonnell said.

“Enjoy this time with your family. Have a celebration for the great blessing that God has given us as Virginians and Americans and do the things that you want to do to have fun.”

Several state agencies helped with the event. They included the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Tourism Corp. and the Virginia Egg Council.
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Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.

McAuliffe vetoes 6 more bills; GOP calls him ‘disengaged’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed six bills, including three Republicans said would help prevent voter fraud but the Democratic governor said would create barriers to voting.

McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly’s 2017 session – and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing any of his predecessors.

Republican legislative leaders say McAuliffe has broken his promise to be bipartisan, calling his office “the most disengaged administration we have ever worked with.” > Read more.

HSWCD to give away tree seedlings Thursday and Friday


Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District will hold its annual tree seedling giveaway March 30 at Dorey Park Shelter 1 from 2:30 to 6 p.m., and March 31 at Hermitage High School from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Studies show that mature trees increase property value, decrease summertime cooling costs by providing shade, slow erosion and reduce flooding. They also provide homes for birds, food for countless creatures, and playgrounds for children. > Read more.

Dog rescued, no one injured in Northside townhouse fire


MAR. 27, 11 A.M. – No one was injured by a townhouse fire that occurred early Monday morning in the 200 block of Knightsmanor Court, near the intersection of Azalea Avenue and Richmond-Henrico Turnpike.

The first Henrico Fire officials were on scene in less than four minutes and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the two-story townhouse. Firefighters from the first-arriving fire engine and ladder truck made their way to the townhome involved in fire and searched for victims through high heat and reduced visibility. > Read more.

Walk, ceremony to observe Crime Victims’ Rights Week

In observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 2-8), and to honor victims of crime in Henrico County and raise awareness about crime victims' rights and issues, Henrico County Victim/Witness will hold a commemorative ceremony and informative walk April 5. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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Innsbrook After Hours opens its 32nd year with country rocker Kip Moore. Armed with a live show that mixes the bombast and wild desperation of Bruce Springsteen with the rootsy stomp of Merle Haggard, Moore has a sound built on space and swagger. Special guest TBA. Gates open at 5 p.m. Show begins at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $15. Net proceeds from the concert series benefit the American Constitution Spirit Foundation and the Innsbrook Foundation. Rain or shine. For tickets and more information, call the IAH Hotline at 423-1779 or visit http://www.innsbrookafterhours.com. Full text

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