Henrico County VA
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Board OKs additional preschool classes

The demand for public preschool in Henrico County has grown so fast that the waiting list for the county’s program – more than 500 students – nearly exceeds the number of students being served by it.

But some help is on the way.

The Henrico School Board voted unanimously at its Jan. 13 meeting to add eight preschool classes (144 students) beginning this fall.

Its vote authorized the inclusion of $283,000 in its 2011-12 budget to help hire eight teachers and eight assistants; matching funds will come from the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

It’s unknown where those eight classes will be located. They could all be placed at the New Bridge School in Eastern Henrico or spread across several schools in the county. Officials also are considering leasing space at the new Children’s Museum of Richmond location at West Broad Village in Short Pump, among other spots.

“Our preschool staff is always looking for opportunities for space,” said Gail Jones, the school system’s federal programs coordinator.

Henrico’s preschool program currently serves students in 30 classes at 22 schools countywide, and Jones expects more than 1,000 students to register for the 2011-12 school year. The school system received 245 calls about the program on Jan. 12 alone, she said.

Three Chopt District School Board member Diana Winston praised the preschool program as an effective way to instill proper conduct, discipline and ideals in youngsters.

“We’re going to impact our overall graduation rates, and schools will definitely improve because of it,” she said.

Jones concurred, telling the board that the schools that have had preschool programs for several years have seen the difference it makes and many now want to add more classes.

Winston suggested that the school system consider using space at Short Pump Middle School for the new classes, since that school has only 800 students and plenty of vacant space since the opening of Holman Middle School last fall.

Varina District representative John Montgomery suggested the Mathetmatics and Science Center – operated jointly with seven other school districts – as a possibility, and Tuckahoe District representative Lisa Marshall suggested incorporating students from the teaching center at Glen Allen High School into the preschool program.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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Registration ends today for the Henrico NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner on Sept. 27 at Quioccasin Baptist Church, 9011 Quioccasin Rd. The speaker will be Ms. Clayola Brown, president of A.… Full text

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