Board of Supervisors - Varina District
JIM DONATI, REPUBLICAN
1. Why should residents of your district elect you? Voters in the Varina District know me. They know that I have the knowledge and experience to tackle issues and to bring resolution. They know that I might not always be able to accomplish everything in a manner that satisfies everyone. But they also know that I listen to what is said and try to bring consensus. The citizens know that I have committed myself over the past 20 years to improving our District. We no longer have dirt roads or one lane bridges, our schools have been renovated, we will soon have a new 40,000 square foot library, drainage problems have been addressed, and I could go on. I am a proven and knowledgeable leader who never forgets that I represent all of Varina District.
2. What will be your top focus if elected? My top focus will continue to be securing funding for a third high school in the Varina District. In 2003, I stood before the voters and pledged that a new middle school would be built. County-wide the voters approved funding in the 2005 bond referendum and the school was built. My pledge is the same dedication for a new high school.
3. What is the most critical issue: 1)facing your district? 2) facing the county as a whole? How do you propose to address these? I believe the most critical issue will remain the economy both district and county-wide. The Board of Supervisors and the Administration have been in front of the continued decreasing revenues by capping expenditures and revenue projections since 2001. These actions were one of the reasons that Henrico was the first county to have our Triple A Bond Rating reaffirmed earlier this year. There have been no lay-offs, increase in real estate tax rate, or decrease in the services to our residential or business citizens. Today, the two most critical unknown factors are the amount of the decreases in revenues from the state and federal government and the amount of the rate increase required to be paid by the county to the Virginia Retirement System for teacher pensions. Until these items are communicated, it will be impossible to set the county’s budget for the coming year.
4. How will you involve citizens in matters government? I will continue to hold regular Varina District Town Meetings, to meet with associations and individual citizens. Over the past 20 years, I have always believed that working as a team brings the best results. When I consider appointments to boards and commissions, I look at the strengths and interest that a potential appointee will bring to that position.
5. What’s your favorite way to spend the weekend? I enjoy being home and outdoors if the weather permits or doing woodcrafts if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Being with my family is a treat.
6. What personal or professional clubs or organizations are you a member of? Varina Lions Club, American Legion (Life Member), The Conservation Club, Italian-American Societa, Eastern Henrico Business Association.
7. Additional information: Serving the citizens of Varina District has been my greatest honor. I respectfully ask for your support by voting to re-elect me on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
REESE HALLER, INDEPENDENT
1. Why should residents of your district elect you? The residents of the Varina District should elect me because the current Board has been together for 16 years with no exit date in sight. That continuity is great for maintaining the status quo but doesn’t provide much hope for growth in the future. Incremental change is preferential to wholesale change. I am honest, committed and passionate about the district that I have lived in all my life, and would serve with the same dedication that I exhibited while serving as a police officer for 26 years.
2. What will be your top focus if elected? My top focus, if elected, will be to secure the necessary funding for the new high school, and get it under way. Secondarily, but related, is to ensure that all of the rest of the schools in the district have the necessary resources to give each child the best education possible.
3. What is the most critical issue: 1)facing your district? 2) facing the county as a whole? How do you propose to address these? The most critical issue in the district is the perception that exists about Varina “not getting its fair share” and always being behind everyone else. Whether it is true or not, the majority of people in the district believe it, so that makes it real. I will address this issue by ensuring that the residents of Varina have their voices heard and that they receive the most spirited representation possible. The larger picture, for the county, is the decreasing revenue that is being received from the federal and state levels and the unfunded mandates being passed to us. Creative thinking, public/private partnerships and exploration of new streams of revenue will be necessary to keep the county going.
4. How will you involve citizens in matters government? If elected, I will involve citizens by continuing the “town hall” meetings, with a slight change. Instead of always having the meeting on a specific day of the week and in one specific location, I will vary the meeting date and location, moving to all areas of the district. I also hope to establish a district office, with specific (even if limited) hours, where I would be available to meet and talk with my constituents.
5. What’s your favorite way to spend the weekend? I enjoy spending my weekends with my wife and 13-year-old twin daughters. During the winter months, we are usually at gymnastics meets, or hanging out at home, watching TV. During the summer months we hang out in the pool, or go camping. When they are too busy for Dad, I enjoy college sports and NASCAR racing.
6. What personal or professional clubs or organizations are you a member of? I am a charter member (1982) and twice past president of the Richmond Battlefield Park Lions Club; member since 1981 and past president (1991-2000) of the Henrico Lodge No. 4, Fraternal Order of Police, and still serving on the Board of Directors; member of the Henrico Retired Police Officers Association; professional member of USA Gymnastics; and active member of Fort Lee Baptist Church.
7. Additional information: I have spent the majority of my adult life as a public servant. Four active duty years in the U.S. Marines and 26 years as a Henrico Police Officer gave me a great perspective on what is required to be a community leader. When I retired in 2005, I knew that my service was not done, just interrupted. I am now ready to continue that service, and would consider it an honor and privilege to represent the Varina District on the Board of Supervisors.
TYRONE NELSON, DEMOCRAT
1. Why should residents of your district elect you? I am asking for the votes of my fellow Varina citizens because, for too long, Varina has usually been last for the good things and first for the bad things. It’s time to put Varina first and make certain that we have services and facilities that at least match those of the western part of the county.
2. What will be your top focus if elected? My focus, if elected, will be to make sure Varina is no longer left behind. I want to bring to Varina top notch facilities and services and ensure that our citizens have outstanding schools, libraries, stores, restaurants and recreational facilities for seniors and young adults. We need a movie theater, a range of stores, and a variety of restaurants. We should preserve our green spaces and ensure smart growth. In addition. I want to clean up the East End landfill that scars the horizon. Even as it is cited for violations, it keeps on growing. This is unacceptable.
3. What is the most critical issue: 1)facing your district? 2) facing the county as a whole? How do you propose to address these? The most critical issue facing Varina is that our critical services are lacking. Although the 2005 bond allocated resources for both a new high school and a new library, six years later, neither has been built. Our high schools are out of date with poor facilities. We want our children to get the best education, to be prepared for college or for a skilled job, so we must offer them the education that allows them opportunities to succeed. We need libraries with adequate computers, parking spaces and meeting rooms. We also need to be creating and retaining good paying jobs right here in Varina. Our citizens’ health must be protected and not endangered by the East End landfill. The county as a whole needs to focus on economic development and ensuring that, during these perilous economic times, good paying jobs are available here in Henrico. We need to be promoting economic development so that citizens can make a living and support their families. We need to plan ahead to ensure that, years from now, our county will be best prepared for the future. I will fight for Varina. I will make sure the school and libraries are up to date and first class. I will invest time, energy and resources in job creation and retention.
4. How will you involve citizens in matters government? I will hold town hall meetings all over the district. I will attend community association meetings. I will provide a newsletter for citizens.
5. What’s your favorite way to spend the weekend? I enjoy watching NFL football and cheering for my favorite team. Most of all, I like to spend time with my wife and three children. Every Sunday, we have a weekly Monopoly game with family and friends.
6. What personal or professional clubs or organizations are you a member of? I am a member of several ministerial organizations including board member, Baptist General Convention of Virginia, Second Vice Moderator, Shiloh Baptist Association and First Vice President, Baptist Ministers Union of Richmond and Vicinity. I am also the co-president of RISC (Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities) and a board member of the following community organizations: Culture Works, Henrico County Department of Social Services, Historic Jackson Ward Association, Boaz & Ruth and The Shops at White Oak Village Community Development Authority.
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.
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.
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.
Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.
But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.
That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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ClassifiedsPart Time Custodian/Supervisor - perform janitor work, manage Church’s cleaning staff. Flexible hrs. Exp req’d. Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Mechanicsville. http://www.shadygroveumc.org/employment.
CalendarInnsbrook After Hours will present the Under the Sun Tour at 6 p.m. at the Snagajob Innsbrook Pavilion. Blues Traveler, Smashmouth, Sugar Ray and Uncle Kracker are performing. Gates open… Full text