Henrico County VA
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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.
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

Tix 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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Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. The meeting will provide an update… Full text

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