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McDonnell signs ‘veteran-friendly’ laws

Gov. Bob McDonnell hopes that a package of 25 bills he has signed into law will make Virginia “America’s most veteran-friendly state.”

“I am pleased that the General Assembly passed these important pieces of legislation with broad bipartisan support,” McDonnell, a U.S. Army veteran, said during a signing ceremony last week at Fort Lee.

“The courageous Virginians who volunteer to keep us free and secure should be recognized for the sacrifices they, and their families, make on a daily basis in that effort.”

The legislation McDonnell signed included:

• Senate Bill 824 by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and House Bill 1861 by Delegate Richard Anderson, R-Woodbridge. This legislation waives the one-year residency requirement veterans and military spouses otherwise would need to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

• SB 959 by Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Richmond, and HB 1719 by Delegate James “Jimmie” Massie III, R-Richmond. Under this legislation, veterans and their spouses can get one copy of a vital record free if it’s being used to qualify for veterans’ benefits.

• SB 892 by Sen. William Wampler Jr., R-Bristol, and HB 1761 by Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights. These bills allow the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to offer TRICARE supplemental health coverage to state employees who are veterans of the armed forces.

• HB 1557 by Cox and SB 1399 by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton. This legislation maintains a ratio of one staff person at the Department of Veterans Services for every 26,212 veterans residing in the commonwealth.

• HB 2415 by Delegate Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville. It establishes a discounted hunting license for veterans who have a service-connected disability.

• HB 1535 by Delegate Donald Merricks, R-Chatham. It allows the Board of Medicine and Board of Nursing to consider military training and experience for certain licensures.

• HB 2279 by Delegate Mark Keam, D-Vienna. It requires the state health commissioner to consider relevant military experience, education and training completed by an applicant for certification as emergency medical services personnel.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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