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

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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