Henrico County VA
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Henrico wins 22 national awards for programs

Henrico County recently received 22 Achievement awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), more than any Virginia county and sixth-most nationally. The awards were announced at the 2011 NACo annual conference, held July 15-19 in Portland, Ore.  
 
The NACo Achievement Award Program recognizes groundbreaking county government programs annually in a broad range of service areas, including education, administration, parks and recreation, health and human services. 
 
Henrico now has led Virginia counties in NACo Achievement awards for six straight years. The county trailed only major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Miami Dade counties in the 2011 competition. Henrico programs have received 171 NACo awards since 2000.
 
NACo honored Henrico programs developed and implemented by 11 county agencies. Programs and agencies receiving awards were:
 
• “Victim Restitution Information Processing System (RIPS),” Community Corrections; an automated tracking system for restitution payments by criminal offenders, RIPS significantly reduced the time needed to deliver payments to victims and helped the agency collect a record amount of restitution last year;

• “Homeowners’ Enhancement Guide,” Community Revitalization; this comprehensive 138-page handbook — also available on disk and online — provides illustrations, diagrams, checklists and other resources to help homeowners modernize their aging homes;

• “Enhancing the Business License and Personal Property Audit Program,” Finance; this effort streamlined the process for reviewing business tax returns, enabling staff to conduct more audits and increase revenue by 160 percent over the previous year;

• “Managing Debt Service Expenditures During an Economic Downturn,” Finance; Henrico refinanced existing debt four times over a 15-month period, generating debt-service savings of more than $17.7 million at the height of the recession; 

• “Get Connected, Stay Connected,” Human Resources; this program assessed the technology skills of all 4,000 general government employees to facilitate implementation of the automated Human Resources Management System;

• “The Henrico County Games,” Human Resources; part of an ongoing effort to promote wellness among county employees, this interdepartmental competition included a tug-of-war, two-mile run and mental skills challenge with 13 teams of employees participating;

• “Supporting Employee Resiliency During Turbulent Times,” Human Resources; this initiative offered employees classes and other resources to help manage stress stemming from the recession;

• “An Approach for Reducing Telecommunications Costs,” Information Technology; staff developed a web-browser based system that created a telecommunications database, enabling detailed analysis of costs and saving more than $1 million last year; 

• "Innsbrook Area Study,” Planning; combining technology, public input and traditional land-use study methods, this project created a redevelopment plan for the Innsbrook Corporate Center to help it adapt to the recession and changing market conditions;

• “P.E.A.K. — Police, Educators and Kids,” Police; an educational and crime-prevention program for students grades K-5, this initiative also works to develop positive relationships between police officers and young people;  

• “The 400th Anniversary Notable Henricoans Database,” Public Library; part of the county’s quadricentennial commemoration, this online resource provides information about 130 deceased residents who played a key role in Henrico history;

• “Tourist Information Center,” Recreation and Parks; the opening of this state-accredited facility — Henrico’s first — was timed to promote the county’s 400th anniversary activities as well as the variety of Henrico attractions;

• “Accessing Health Care and Enhancing Education,” Schools; designed to boost student attendance by increasing the availability of health care, the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security program provides a variety of health services for up to 3,500 students;

• “Big Nurse, Little Nurse,” Schools; this mentoring program connects first-year and more experienced students in the Henrico County-St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing program to enhance learning opportunities;

• “Career Café,” Schools; this initiative provides high school and adult GED students access to extensive career information;

• “Certification of CTE Students: Ensuring a Competent Workforce,” Schools; the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department created Virginia’s first credential testing coordinator position to develop a testing process for its students;

• “Henrico 21: Training for Teaching in the 21st Century,” Schools; teachers submitted more than 600 lesson plans highlighting the use of technology in teaching and learning to an expert review panel; the top lessons were recognized and distributed online systemwide;

• “On the Sidelines with Sports Medicine,” Schools; students in sports medicine classes gained hands-on experience by working directly with coaches, athletic trainers and activity directors at their high schools;

• “Project Homeless Connect,” Schools; cosmetology students and teachers from Hermitage and Highland Springs technical centers provided more than 100 free haircuts for the area’s homeless residents at this annual support event;

• “Teachers for Tomorrow Annual Institute,” Schools; this one-day, countywide annual event introduces students in the honors-level Teachers for Tomorrow course to professional development and leadership-building activities;

• “Virginia Randolph Knights Give Back,” Schools; students learn about community service firsthand by participating in full-day field trips that support projects in the Henrico community;

• “Henrico DSS Title IV-E Quality Assurance Team,” Social Services; organized to provide oversight and quality-assurance review of federal and state funding of foster care programs for youth, this effort has significantly reduced Social Services’ exposure to financial risk.  
Community

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Journey to mediocrity

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ fails to capitalize on tasty concept
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a curious little Romeo and Juliet of a film. A family, forced out of their native India, begins a trek across Europe.

The family’s sole mode of transportation sputters and dies in a sleepy little French town, but the town’s food culture is high, and that’s a perfect place for a family of restaurateurs to settle down. There’s only one problem – the family’s rustic “Maison Mumbai” is right across the street (a hundred feet away, if the title didn’t clue you in) from a prestigious French bistro with a Michelin star, run with an iron fist by the dreaded Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, pictured).

It’s here that a particular Romeo and Juliet story begins to develop, with Hassan (Manish Dayal) on the Indian side and Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) on the French side. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

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Speaking Spirit Ministries, in collaboration with the Resource Workforce Centers, St. Joseph’s Villa, Bryant & Stratton College and Dress for Success, will present the Greater Henrico Job Fair from 9… Full text

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