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Governor signs six bills to combat cancer

In a celebration last week at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center, Gov. Bob McDonnell ceremonially signed six pieces of legislation that will further cancer-related research, treatment and education throughout the state.

“While we can celebrate that more and more Virginians are surviving cancer today because of the work of cancer organizations like Massey, we must continue to work to find a cure,” McDonnell said.

State support to the Massey Cancer Center rose from $1 million to $7.5 million in the past two years, and with House Bill 1182 – one of the measures signed Monday – the center will now be able to apply for research grants from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Fund.

“Massey serves on the front lines of the war on cancer, and the work done here exemplifies VCU’s laser focus on research that makes a difference and our unwavering commitment to human health,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “What you do inspires everyone.”

Rao expressed delight in hosting McDonnell as well as gratitude toward the state government “for investing additional resources in Massey’s ground-breaking and valuable research.”

“Every year, more than 35,000 Virginians are diagnosed with cancer,” said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. “That’s why it is so important for us to do everything we can to combat this disease and promote effective programs to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. We can accomplish this goal by promoting healthy living, investing in cancer research and treatment, and advancing legislative solutions like those the governor is signing today.”

McDonnell also signed:

• HB 83, sponsored by Delegate Robert Orrock, R-Thornburg, and Senate Bill 544, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke. These companion bills require doctors to tell women having mammograms whether they have dense breast tissue that could hide cancer.

• HB 1273, sponsored by Delegate Christopher Peace, R-Mechanicsville, and SB 450, by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Winchester. These bills require health insurers to pay the same for orally administered cancer chemotherapy drugs as they do for intravenous therapy.

• House Joint Resolution 120, sponsored by Mark D. Sickles, D-Franconia. It establishes Sept. 26 in Virginia as Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in the protective lining that covers the body’s internal organs. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

House Speaker William Howell of Stafford and various legislators attended the bill-signing ceremony.

Also present were representatives of the Women’s Clubs of Virginia, the Medical Society of Virginia, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Dr., will present a hands-on workshop on Pinterest at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required by calling 290-9100. Full text

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