Henrico County VA
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Board OKs additional preschool classes

The demand for public preschool in Henrico County has grown so fast that the waiting list for the county’s program – more than 500 students – nearly exceeds the number of students being served by it.

But some help is on the way.

The Henrico School Board voted unanimously at its Jan. 13 meeting to add eight preschool classes (144 students) beginning this fall.

Its vote authorized the inclusion of $283,000 in its 2011-12 budget to help hire eight teachers and eight assistants; matching funds will come from the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

It’s unknown where those eight classes will be located. They could all be placed at the New Bridge School in Eastern Henrico or spread across several schools in the county. Officials also are considering leasing space at the new Children’s Museum of Richmond location at West Broad Village in Short Pump, among other spots.

“Our preschool staff is always looking for opportunities for space,” said Gail Jones, the school system’s federal programs coordinator.

Henrico’s preschool program currently serves students in 30 classes at 22 schools countywide, and Jones expects more than 1,000 students to register for the 2011-12 school year. The school system received 245 calls about the program on Jan. 12 alone, she said.

Three Chopt District School Board member Diana Winston praised the preschool program as an effective way to instill proper conduct, discipline and ideals in youngsters.

“We’re going to impact our overall graduation rates, and schools will definitely improve because of it,” she said.

Jones concurred, telling the board that the schools that have had preschool programs for several years have seen the difference it makes and many now want to add more classes.

Winston suggested that the school system consider using space at Short Pump Middle School for the new classes, since that school has only 800 students and plenty of vacant space since the opening of Holman Middle School last fall.

Varina District representative John Montgomery suggested the Mathetmatics and Science Center – operated jointly with seven other school districts – as a possibility, and Tuckahoe District representative Lisa Marshall suggested incorporating students from the teaching center at Glen Allen High School into the preschool program.


Community

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.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


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.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

Henrico native to appear on Travel Channel show


A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”

The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.

The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.

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Innsbrook 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

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