Local officials weigh in on ‘Tebow’ bill

Henrico Del. Jennifer McClellan said home-schooled children could have an unfair advantage over other students under a bill that would let them participate in public school sports.

“It doesn’t create a level playing field because public school kids have a lot of regulations they have to live by,” said McClellan, who voted against the bill that passed the House last week. “Home-schooled kids could spend two hours in the morning at the gym. You have two different sets of kids competing for spots on the same team.”

Patrick Russo, superintendent of Henrico Public Schools, also said the popularly named “Tebow” bill, HB 947, was not a good idea.

“It really comes down to the fact that when parents make a choice to home-school, we don’t think that there should be that choice provided for that child to partake when they don’t meet the same requirement for testing,” he said.

The bill has the potential to cause problems, Russo said. One concern is that a public school student who goes to class everyday and is governed by the rules of the school would be competing for the same spot on a team against someone who doesn’t, he said.

“If a parent wants to home school I respect that,” Russo said, “but it doesn’t give them the right, if you make that choice, to have the option to participate in a public school activity.”

Henrico Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-74, disagrees.

Since the parents who home-school their children still pay taxes to support the public schools, their children should be able to participate in sports in the district that they live in, Morrissey said. He said he has supported this bill since it first appeared in the assembly in 2008.

“I think that home-school students should be able to participate in debate, drama, music, band and everything else,” Morrissey said, “just as long as they make the team like everyone else.”

Del. John Cox, R-55, said that the issues that this bill addressed would clearly make some people happy and some people angry, but that he had voted to support it.

“I fell on the side with the homeschoolers,” Cox said. “I don’t really believe that they are going to undermine the athletic programs in schools.”

Del. Riley Ingram, R-62, said that he had always been a strong supporter of home schooling, but if students wanted to play sports then they needed to be enrolled in the school system.

“The schools can’t stop them from playing sports because of grades like they can for children who are enrolled in the system,” Ingram said. “Where is it going to stop? Are home-school children entitled to be in the science club?”

Other local votes on the bill: In favor: Christopher Peace (R-97), James Massie (R-72), John O'Bannon (R-73), Roxann Robinson (R-27), Kirkland Cox (R-66), Manoli Loupassi (R-68). Opposed: Rosalyn Dance (D-63), Lee Ware (R-65), Betsy Carr (D-69).
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RVA Polar Plunge raises $40k for Special Olympics


More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.

“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.

Fundraiser bags more than $50k


CancerLINC's 11th annual "It’s in the Bag" event raised more than $50,000. The event, presented by Virginia Cancer Institute, was held at The Westin Richmond in Henrico Feb. 2 and was attended by more than 200 people.

“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.

A date with states


Above, Varina’s Andre Watkins drives to the basket during the Blue Devils’ 52-51 win against Hampton in the Group 5A third-place game at Hermitage High School Feb. 25. Below, Tyrese Jenkins drives to the basket during the game. The Blue Devils (21-6 on the season), who earlier last month defeated Hermitage, 53-34, to earn a spot in the 5A state tournament, next will face Albemarle in that tournament. It is the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 2001 and first under fourth-year coach Andrew Lacey, who has turned around a team that was 6-14 during his first season. > Read more.

Future public servants observe lawmaking firsthand


For the past two months, they showed up every day at the state Capitol, dressed in matching blazers and carrying pen and paper at the ready – the next generation of public servants carefully observing their superiors.

These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.

The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.

CRLC seeks donations for Malvern Hill Farm


The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is seeking to raise $100,000 in 30 days to cover due diligence and closing costs associated with the historic Malvern Hill Farm. These include boundary survey, Phase I ESA, title search and insurance, recording fees, taxes, and legal work as well as a Section 106 review.

CRLC is scheduled to close on the purchase of the property May 31, and is asking community members to help support the site's acquisition. All donations will help CRLC leverage $1 million in matching funds. > 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


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Richmond Area Moms of Multiples (RAMOM) Spring and Summer Yard Sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Chickahominy Middle School, 9450 Atlee Station Rd. in Mechanicsville. Items for sale include clothes, shoes, swimwear, baby gear, toys, strollers, cribs, car seats and more. Full text

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