Law aims to help domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence and abuse would get more protection from defendants under a bill passed unanimously by the Virginia House of Delegates this week.

House Bill 2106 would allow judges to require Virginians who are facing criminal charges, have violated a protective order or are on probation to wear GPS tracking devices.

The tracking devices would alert law enforcement agencies and/or the victim if the defendant comes too close to the complainant or the complainant’s house or workplace, according to the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville.

He dubbed HB 2106 the Linda Bostwick Act in memory of a Collinsville resident killed by her estranged husband in 2007.

Bostwick had obtained a protective order against the man, and he had violated the order previously, Armstrong said. He said the estranged husband shot Bostwick to death at her workplace and then killed himself.

Bostwick’s death prompted Jeff and Kim Adkins to ask Armstrong to propose legislation allowing judges to require Virginians who violate protective orders to wear tracking devices.

Jeff Adkins was Bostwick’s employer when she was killed; his wife Kim is the mayor of Martinsville.

“Jeff and Kim came to me and said they had been looking over the Internet where they saw GPS technology being used to track persons in a criminal context, and it would be a good idea if we could implement (the technology) in a protective order situation,” Armstrong said.

If such a law had been in effect in 2007, Armstrong said, “Linda Bostwick could have been given some advanced notice coming to her place of employment – she would have had time to get away.”

Armstrong proposed similar legislation last year, but the bill was referred to the Virginia State Crime Commission for study. The commission reviewed and approved HB 2106 before this session.

Last week, the House Courts of Justice Committee unanimously endorsed the measure. The House followed suit on Tuesday by voting 99-0 in favor of the bill.

Some legislators had concerns about who would pay for the tracking technology. Under HB 2106, the violators of protective orders required to wear the devices will pay for the devices, Armstrong said. He said that’s only fair.

“You’re getting not just someone that has a protective order against them, but it is someone who’s demonstrated a propensity to thumb their nose at the court or the judicial system and not abide by the law,” Armstrong said. “In that situation, they ought to pay for it.”

After the House passed the bill, Armstrong said, “Although this was a terrible tragedy, the death of Linda Bostwick has spurred legislation that will save other victims who find themselves in her situation. My appreciation goes out to Jeff and Kim Adkins for suggesting this important way to fight domestic violence.”

Kim Adkins said the legislation might spare other people from Bostwick’s fate.

“Prior to this legislation, Friends for Linda had been advocating for a new law requiring habitual offenders of protective orders to wear GPS tracking devices,” Kim Adkins said.

“We are convinced this new law will do more to help victims of domestic violence and stalking. Our intent was to put a name and face with the positive impact this law may have on these victims and their families. The Linda Bostwick Act is going to save lives.”

HB 2106 is now under consideration by the Senate.

To track or comment on House Bill 2106, visit: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb2106
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New conservation easement creates wooded buffer for Bryan Park

Five years ago, members of the Friends of Bryan Park were facing the apparently inevitable development of the Shirley subdivision in Henrico, adjacent to the forested section of the park near the Nature Center and Environmental Education Area.

As part of the Shirley subdivision, the land had been divided into 14 lots in 1924, but had remained mostly undisturbed through the decades. In 2012, however, developers proposed building 40 modular houses on roughly 6.5 acres, clear-cutting the forest there and creating a highly dense neighborhood tucked into a dead end. > Read more.

Meet the men running for governor


Virginia will elect a new governor this year.

The governor’s position is one of great power and influence, as the current officeholder, Terry McAuliffe, has demonstrated by breaking the record for most vetoes in Virginia history.

However, during the last gubernatorial race in 2014, the voter turnout was less than 42 percent, compared with 72 percent during last year’s presidential election. > Read more.

RISC to address reading, childhood trauma, job training at assembly

On May 1, more than 1,700 community members representing Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities will gather at St. Paul’s Baptist Church (4247 Creighton Road) at 7 p.m. to address elementary reading, childhood trauma and job training in the greater Richmond region. Community members will speak about each issue and proposed solution.

For three years, the organization has sought implementation of a specific literacy program in Henrico County that it believes would help children who struggle with reading. > Read more.

Henrico to begin update of zoning, subdivision ordinances April 26


Henrico County is beginning a comprehensive update of its zoning and subdivision ordinances — the first such effort in six decades — and will introduce the project as part of the April 26 meeting of the Henrico County Planning Commission.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Board Room of the Henrico Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. The ordinance update project will be featured as the final item on the agenda. Project consultant Clarion Associates will give a presentation, and meeting participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments. > Read more.

HCPS to present three-day ARTS Festival, beginning April 21


Henrico County Public Schools’ annual spring arts festival will celebrate its fourth year with a weekend of music and fine art. ARTS Festival events – the acronym stands for Artists, Residents, Teachers and Students – will kick off with a musical performance Friday night, April 21 and events will run through Sunday, April 23. This year’s festival will be held at Henrico High School, 302 Azalea Avenue.

Friday night at 7:30 p.m. the Center for the Arts at Henrico High School will hold the first of two weekend performances of its Musical Theatre Showcase, a selection of musical numbers performed by Center for the Arts students. > 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

Weekend Top 10


For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Henrico County Public Library will host New York Times bestselling author Sy Montgomery at 7 p.m. at Glen Allen High School as part of its annual All Henrico Reads program. Her novel and the featured All Henrico Reads title, “The Soul of an Octopus,” explores the emotional and physical worlds of the octopus – a surprisingly complex, intelligent and spirited creature – and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. Books will be available for sale and the author will autograph books following the program. Admission is free and open to the public; no tickets required. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org/ahr. Full text

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