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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

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

Equestrian clinic planned July 7-8 in Henrico

Henrico equestrians interested in deepening the bond between themselves and their horses have the opportunity to attend a two day clinic, held at Steppin’ High Stables on July 7-8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic, “Become Partners with your Horse,” will be taught by multiple world champion equestrienne Terry Preiser and will focus on how riders and horses can work together to achieve more. > Read more.

Henrico school bus driver honored

The Henrico-based Hephaestus Society recently awarded its first annual community heroes award (the Hephaestus Award) to Hicham Elgharouch (pictured, center) for what it termed his "selfless acts of caring" in his duties as a Henrico County Public Schools bus driver. Henrico County Director of Pupil Transportation Josh Davis, joined Hephaestus Society President Travis Gardner, in presenting the award and an accompanying $1,500 check to Elgharouch last month.

Elgharouch was selected for his clear and demonstrated patience and for his infectious positive attitude, according to the society. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Grab the kids and check out these fun family-friendly events taking place this weekend! Speed over to the Henrico Theatre for the film “Turbo” or watch “Dumbo” under the stars at Clarke-Palmore House Museum. Little ones can meet Thomas the Tank Engine at CMOR-Central or play at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Don’t party too hard on the Fourth because a whole weekend of fun events await! Enjoy a classy date night without the kids at James River Cellars Winery’s second annual Smoke and Vine Festival. Another date night option is at the Richmond Funny Bone, where comedian April Macie will perform all weekend. The kids have their own options this weekend as well. Choose from storytime at Tuckahoe and Twin Hickory libraries or family-oriented karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House – I hear they have hits from Disney’s “Frozen.” 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.

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