Henrico County VA
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Firefighters train in vacant hotel

Capt. Gary Samuels (left) and Chief Dale Harris (right)
Henrico firefighters have had a unique opportunity to train in a vacant hotel in the Near West End in recent days. Firefighters are conducting a variety of exercises at the former Ramada Plaza Richmond West (on West Broad Street near Glenside Drive) which went out of business last year and was purchased by adjacent Genworth for $3.8 million.

Genworth allowed the Henrico Division of Fire to use the empty building for several weeks of fire training, and Henrico in turn invited agencies from Hanover, Chesterfield, Richmond, New Kent, Colonial Heights and Fort Lee to join them.

Genworth's purchase has impacted a number of local residents, because it decided to donate all the furniture and other items inside the hotel to CARITAS, a faith-based organization that assists those who are homeless, hungry and unemployed. The inventory, valued at about $1.5 million, filled more than 40 tractor trailers and was the largest donation ever received by CARITAS. The organization expects to serve more than 450 households and 1,000 at-risk individuals as the result of the donation.

Genworth also donated the hotel's baby grand piano to nearby Johnson Elementary School.

Lt. Jeff Mitchell

Lt. "Pork Chop" Greene

Genworth Real Estate Manager Sarah Bagby (left) and Capt. Jim Mellon

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Members of the Chesterfield Fire Department participate in what they termed a "once-in-a-lifetime" training opportunity.

Members of the Henrico Division of Fire practice "forced entry" techniques.

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Capt. Gary Samuels


Community

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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