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Henrico mechanic to represent Virginia at national competition

Henrico County’s Jason Sharpe recently outperformed mechanics from around the state to capture first place in the Virginia’s Best School Bus Technician Competition, held by the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation (VAPT) in Spotsylvania County. Now he’s making travel plans for San Antonio, Tex., where he will represent the commonwealth at the national School Bus Technician’s Training and Skills Competition in September.

Sharpe, who was recognized by Henrico’s Board of Supervisors at its June 14 meeting, has worked as an automotive equipment mechanic at the county’s Central Automotive Maintenance facility since 2008.

“Jason is truly gifted and dedicated to his work and is a popular member of our staff,” said Automotive Fleet Manager Charles Gibbens. “He will do a great job representing Henrico County and Virginia in San Antonio.”

The VAPT competition consisted of a written exam as well as a timed hands-on segment that tested contestants’ problem-solving skills under pressure. Participants were presented with several buses requiring repair and then were evaluated on their diagnostic ability, speed and application of safety measures. Sharpe said he diagnosed repairs ranging from drivability issues to electrical malfunctions.

“There are times when you need to work quickly, such as when a bus is broken down on the road,” he said. “You pay attention to everything under the bus — that’s when experience comes into play.”

Sharpe, 28, holds an associate’s degree in automobile science from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He said he grew up around people working on engines and vehicles.

“School buses are very sophisticated, especially in terms of electronics,” he said. “There is something new every day, and that keeps things interesting.”
Sharpe said the upcoming national competition will present an additional challenge — the flight to San Antonio will be his first trip aboard an airplane.

“There’s a little anxiety but I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.


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

‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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