Henrico County VA
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A home of their own

Henrico mother, son move into renovated house
On the sweltering afternoon of July 7, Lachesia Turner and her son went home – for the first time.

During a dedication ceremony on Reynolds Road in Eastern Henrico, Turner and her son, Corion, celebrated the completion of their new home – the third built locally as part of the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

The project was set forth by Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity (RMHFH), in partnership with Dominion and the Dominion Foundation, in an effort to restore and revamp homes to increase their environmental sustainability.

Previously, the Turners were living in an unsafe area; they frequently heard gunshots, and one day Corion found a gun in the bushes outside their apartment. In an attempt to improve both their lives, Lachesia Turner submitted an application through Habitat for Humanity for the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

Upon being selected to receive a new home, Turner had to commit to completing 350 hours of sweat equity. At the end of the seven-month building period, Turner had clocked more than 359 hours. “She truly embodies the willingness to partner,” said Lynda Barone, RMHFH Director of Family Services.

The project required a tremendous amount of time and effort. It began in December and was made possible thanks to more than 200 Dominion volunteers. A $70,000 grant and additional Habitat for Humanity funds were used to rehabilitate the home and ensure its environmental sustainability.

While the house may resemble an average suburban residence, it is actually anything but ordinary. It is equipped with solar hot water and radiant heat, which heats the home using special tubing and heated water below the wooden floors.

This process alone will save the Turners approximately 50 percent on energy bills. Low flush toilets have also been installed; according to the Federal Energy Management Program, upgrading to one of these water-conserving toilets can reduce the average person’s water use from 27,300 gallons to 12,500 gallons.

This home has also been insulated with increased R-value insulation. An R-value is the measurement of thermal resistance used in the construction industry: the higher the R-value, the more effective the building’s insulation. Better insulation translates to drastically reduced heating and cooling costs.

The laminate floors are environmentally friendly due to their durability and the fact that they have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – harmful and unstable compounds that are released into the air over time. The paints used on the house also have low VOC emission levels, which will minimize these environmental toxins.

“Environmentally compatible processes like these are important because they set a good example for other home owners,” said Mary Doswell, Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions senior vice president.

When asked how Habitat for Humanity and Dominion got started with the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project, Doswell’s reasoning was very straightforward: “We love to do things in the community that will bring about long lasting, important results.”

A brand new, environmentally sustainable home certainly qualifies as “long lasting” and “important” to the Turner family.

“This is the best day ever,” said Lachesia. “It’s a huge change – like moving from someplace good to someplace better.”
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

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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