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Cuccinelli backs human trafficking legislation


Legislation to curtail human trafficking in Virginia has gathered bipartisan support early in the General Assembly’s 2013 session.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the offense one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the country. He said Tuesday that Virginia was feeling the effect.

“Traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of children and adults – taking victims by threat, force, or coercion to exploit them for forced labor or sexual servitude. And it is happening right here in our commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said at a press conference.

Additionally, Cuccinelli announced a series of two-day training sessions for law enforcement and prosecutors across the state over the next six months. The first session starts today (Wednesday) in Northern Virginia.

The attorney general has a history of supporting measures to curb human trafficking. He introduced bills to combat the crime during his stint as a state senator and served on a human trafficking advisory group.

Cuccinelli pledged his support to the four bills and urged legislators to pass them:

HB 1606, sponsored by Delegate Timothy Hugo, R-Fairfax, and Senate Bill 1015, by Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston: These measures would increase the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor from a misdemeanor to a Class 5 or Class 6 felony, depending on the victim’s age.

HB 1870, sponsored by Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville: This bill would alter Virginia’s basic human trafficking statute to include “receiving money for procuring a person” as an offense punishable by a multijurisdictional grand jury. Jurisdiction would not be an issue in prosecuting human traffickers operating across county lines.

HB 1826, sponsored by Delegate Ronald Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach: This measure would also address issues in jurisdiction when investigating human trafficking. It would allow officers to keep pursuing an investigation into human trafficking outside of their own jurisdiction.

Both Republicans and Democrats joined Cuccinelli to express support for the legislation. They included Howell, Hugo and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly.


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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