Indoor shooting range coming to Henrico

An indoor shooting range billed as the largest such facility in the nation is coming to Henrico County.

Colonial Shooting Academy is expected to open in February at 6020 West Broad Street near Willow Lawn, in the former Colony House Furniture building. The facility will be open seven days a week and house 39 shooting stations for use by members or the general public, as well as 11 stations for law enforcement training and a "shoot house," in which officers can practice various scenarios.

"It's real exciting for us, because there's a huge need," said general manager Ed Coleman, "and we feel like we're meeting that need."

In Central Virginia, there are three outdoor ranges and one indoor range. Coleman has been affiliated with one of the outdoor ranges – Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in Hanover County – for nearly four decades and said the new facility will appeal to a range of customers.

"We've been all over the country looking at indoor ranges," he said. "Typically what we've found is professional people or tradesmen who are interested in shooting and need a place to shoot, or people who are interested in shooting competitions, which we'll have some of."

The facility earned plan of development approval from the Henrico Planning Commission late last month, clearing the way for demolition and renovation work to begin inside the structure. Investors in the shooting academy expect to spend $6 million or more outfitting the building during the coming months, Coleman said.

The building, owned by the real estate firm Spotts and Carneal, has been vacant since Colony House Furniture closed several years ago. Spotts and Carneal principal Courtland Spotts is the academy's managing partner and a primary investor. (Ed Lacy, another real estate official, is the other primary investor.)

The facility will offer memberships – beginning at $35 a month with a $100 initiation fee – but also will accept walk-in customers and offer gun rentals. One hour of shooting time will cost $20, Coleman said. Twenty-yard and 25-yard shooting ranges will be available, and the facility intends to offer some firearms for sale.

All customers and members will be required to take an on-site safety course prior to their first use of the facility and once every 12 months thereafter, Coleman said.

The academy is expected to employ 25 to 30 people, Coleman said. Among the facility's instructors will be recently retired Henrico Police Chief Henry Stanley.

The firearms industry as a whole has shown steady growth in recent years – including growth of more than 15 percent annually in the past few among first-time firearm owners, according to Coleman.

But many of those new owners lack formal training or the opportunity to access it nearby, he said. That's a void that the new facility will seek to fill locally, he said.

"There are very few facilities where you can go to learn," Coleman said. "Our primary purpose is to create a good, safe place for people to learn to shoot. We'll have a safe, secure environment where people can come and take classes and learn proper shooting techniques."

Coleman also expects that the academy's role with local law enforcement agencies will expand over time. Because of its vast amount of space, it will be able to offer local police departments training opportunities that many of them – even larger ones – may lack, he said.

Colonial Shooting Academy will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

More details about the facility will be available during the coming months on its website (http://www.colonialshooting.com) and by phone (804-266-AMMO).
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Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.

McAuliffe vetoes 6 more bills; GOP calls him ‘disengaged’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed six bills, including three Republicans said would help prevent voter fraud but the Democratic governor said would create barriers to voting.

McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly’s 2017 session – and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing any of his predecessors.

Republican legislative leaders say McAuliffe has broken his promise to be bipartisan, calling his office “the most disengaged administration we have ever worked with.” > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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The Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association will host the RVA Career Expo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Over 100 employers will be on hand to recruit for internships, full-time and part-time jobs in healthcare, engineering, information technology, finance, insurance, hospitality, education and more. You do not need to be a Hokie to participate. Pre-registered candidates benefit from having their resumes stored in a searchable database from which employers are already screening and will continue to access after the event is over. For details, visit http://www.richmondhokies.org. Full text

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