3 Henrico hotels honored

Three Henrico County hotels are among 10 in the Central and Western Virginia regions being honored today at the AAA Mid-Atlantic 2011 Diamond Awards luncheon. The Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa in Short Pump; the Wyndham Virginia Crossing Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen; and The Westin Richmond each will be recognized as an AAA Four Diamond Award hotel during the event, which will be held at The Westin. The award will be the first for the Hilton, the second award for The Westin and the seventh for the Wyndham Virginia Crossing.

The awards are designed to honor hotels that consistently deliver a memorable experience, quality amenities and an unforgettable ambiance, according the AAA Mid-Atlantic. Three restaurants in the region – Fossett’s, Keswick (for the seventh year); Lemaire, Richmond (for the first year); and The Old Mill Room (The Boar’s Head), Charlottesville (for the 24th year) – earned Four Diamond Awards. Only 3.6 percent of the 59,000 Diamond-rated hotels and restaurants won the award this year.

Only one hotel in the region – The Jefferson in Richmond – earned the organization's Five Diamond Award. It is the 18th such award for that property.

Other Four Diamond Award winners among hotels are: The Berkeley Hotel, Richmond (for the 22nd year); The Boar’s Head, Charlottesville (for the 10th year); The Homestead, Hot Springs (for the 7th year); Keswick Hall at Monticello, Keswick (for the 10th year); The Martha Washington Inn and Spa, Abingdon (for the 13th year); and The Oaks Victorian Hotel, Christiansburg (for the 16th year).

“Properties honored today offer guest consummate service, amenities and an overall experience that is truly wonderful. The attention to detail and high quality that these elite properties give to everything from food and service to décor and ambiance is exquisite,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It is especially impressive for Richmond to be welcoming its second new Four Diamond property since 2009. The Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa in the Short Pump area is the region’s newest addition to the ranks.”
 
“Sustaining quality which pleases the most discriminating guests/patrons is never easy. The properties celebrated today truly understand the dynamics of being outstanding in every way offering guests distinctive dining experiences with complex menus and an array of amenities and services. All of the properties are to be congratulated for their dedication and success,” said Meade. “We are pleased that so many establishments in our area have reached this level of service, and we are honored to present them with the Five or Four Diamond Award designation for 2011.”
 
AAA rates more properties than any other rating entity and is the only rating system that covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is one of only two that conduct physical, on-site evaluations. AAA Approved lodgings and restaurants are assigned a rating of One to Five Diamonds. AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937 and introduced a formal rating system for accommodations in 1963. The early rating system evolved into the Diamond Rating System for lodgings in 1976 and was rolled out for restaurants between 1986 and 1991. Professionally trained AAA/CAA inspectors use published guidelines to evaluate and rate properties as a service to members.
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Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.

Assembly poised to OK state budget on Friday


Finishing a day early, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a budget Wednesday that includes employee pay raises and more money for K-12 education and mental health.

The negotiators presented their budget to their fellow lawmakers in time for the required 48-hour review, which could be completed by Friday night with a chance to adjourn their 2017 session before Saturday’s target date.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate praised the spending plan’s conservative fiscal policies. > Read more.

Section of Charles City Road to close beginning Feb. 26


A section of Charles City Road, from Lewis Road to South Airport Drive, will be closed beginning Sunday, Feb. 26 as part of a project to widen and improve the road.

The Henrico County Department of Public Works expects the closure to last for a few weeks.

Westbound traffic on Charles City will be detoured around the work zone by way of South Airport, Seven Hills Boulevard and Laburnum Avenue. > Read more.

ACLU urges McAuliffe to veto anti-immigration bills


Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday to veto Republican-backed legislation banning local governments in Virginia from designating themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. They also said they plan to fight federal and state policies that they believe violate immigrants’ rights.

At a news conference, representatives of the ACLU of Virginia and other civil rights organizations criticized anti-immigrant measures passed by the General Assembly. They also condemned the recent spike in deportation raids on immigrant communities in Virginia by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. > 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

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The J.R. Tucker High School Drama Boosters will host the “Race to the End” Color Run from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the school, 2910 N. Parham Rd. Participants of the event will be rewarded with post-race events on campus including vendors, concessions and kid activities. Race registration includes bib, color packet and t-shirt (guaranteed to participants that register by May 4). Cost is $25 for students, $35 for adults and $30 for groups of five or more. Proceeds from the race will benefit the J.R. Tucker School String Players’ trip to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform in The Fringe. To register, visit http://bit.ly/JRTcolorrun. Full text

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