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

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

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.

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.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


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.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘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.

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.

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