Henrico County VA
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Bills would repeal HPV vaccine requirement

In 2007, the General Assembly passed a law requiring girls to be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus before entering the sixth grade.

Now, two measures before the General Assembly would repeal that requirement: House Bill 95, proposed by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas; and HB 1112, sponsored by Republican Delegates Kathy Byron of Lynchburg and Timothy Hugo of Centreville.

“It’s strange that we would mandate this,” Marshall said.

Some parents object to having their daughters take the HPV vaccine, usually sold under the brand name Gardasil.

“You are putting parents against the power of the state,” Marshall said. “This is pressuring the parents, and I don’t think it should be done.”

Virginia’s HPV vaccination requirement has a lenient opt-out clause: Girls can forgo the vaccine if their parents make that decision after reviewing materials describing the link between HPV and cervical cancer.

But HB 95 and HB 1112 would take the HPV law off the books entirely. Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.

No action has been taken yet on Marshall’s bill.

But on Thursday, a subcommittee took up HB 1112 and voted 6-2 in favor of the measure. It now goes to the full committee for consideration.

HPV is spread by skin-to-skin and sexual contact. It can cause cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both men and women. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil as an effective vaccine against HPV. Medical experts recommended that girls receive the vaccine at ages 11 or 12 for the best protection.

Gardasil is given in three doses over six months. Each dose costs about $130, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, nearly 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 3,700 women die.

Byron opposed Virginia’s HPV vaccination law and has campaigned to overturn it. She said that the vaccine has not been adequately tested and that the General Assembly acted hastily in 2007.

If Virginia keeps its HPV vaccination requirement, Marshall has proposed another measure – HB 824. It would make the state liable for any injury caused by the vaccine.

Last year, Byron’s bill to repeal the HPV vaccination law passed the House but died in the Senate Health and Education Committee, which at the time was dominated by Democrats. This year, because of GOP gains in the Senate, Republicans control that committee.

How they voted
Subcommittee No. 1 of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions voted 6-2 on Thursday to recommend approval of House Bill 1112, which would repeal Virginia’s law requiring girls to get the HPV vaccine.

All five Republicans on the subcommittee voted for the bill: Delegates Richard Bell of Staunton, Scott Garrett of Lynchburg, John O’Bannon of Henrico, Christopher Peace of Mechanicsville and Margaret Ransone of Kinsale. They were joined by Democratic Delegate Algie Howell of Norfolk.

Voting against HB 1112 were Democratic Delegates Joseph Morrissey of Richmond and Lionell Spruill of Chesapeake.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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