A home of their own

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.”
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

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.
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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Libbie Mill Library will host a 3D Printing Workshop for students in grades 5-12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Learn how to create your own 3D designs, download pre-made 3D models, and see an object being printed on the library’s Ultimaker2 3D printer. Bring a thumb-drive so you can save your design. Registration is required. For details, call 501-1940 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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