Henrico County VA
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Top Teachers: Emily Mason

Baker E.S., third grade
Emily Mason felt a simple calling to life as a teacher.

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life,” she said.

As a third-grade teacher at Baker Elementary School in Varina for the past four years, she’s been able to do just that.

Mason focuses on messages of positive reinforcement for her students and rewards achievement by taking students to dinner or for ice cream after school. She holds afterschool tutoring groups and makes frequent use of her Promethean interactive board during class lessons.

In one nomination, the mother of one of Mason’s former students described her daughter as a shy student who normally wouldn’t have gotten involved in many activities. But with Mason’s encouragement, the girl signed up for a school dance performance.

“At first, [the student] was nervous, but as she practiced each week, she got better, she made more friends, and her confidence grew,” the mother wrote. “She started to try more things that used to intimidate her, such as reading much more complicated chapter books. Her confidence in [her] least-liked subjects, such as math grew. [The student] would walk around before a test saying, “ I am going to kick math’s butt”!

The girl continues to demonstrate the confidence Mason instilled in her, the woman wrote, and she even ran for office in the school’s SCA election.

“She did not win, but she felt like a winner,” the woman wrote.

Mason, whose father and grandmother both were teachers, said she feels at home with third-graders.

“I really love teaching this age,” she said. “They are still very eager to learn. They have a little more independence, and they are very creative. They’ve pretty much mastered the art of reading, but there are still light bulbs that come on every day.”

With the Promethean board, Mason has seen a difference in the way her students prepare and in their excitement levels during class.

“They’re just so eager,” she said. “They come to the carpet, where we normally sit, and it’s not a struggle. They’re just ready to learn, very excited about interacting with it. Every day we have a new activity up there, and they just can’t wait to see what we’re going to do.”


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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The SPARC SummerStarz Touring Ensemble, comprised of 30 talented actors ages 9-15, will take the stage in “All Shook Up!” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre,… Full text

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