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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

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

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Calendar

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave., will present Flowers After 5 on Thursday evenings through August. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy wine, music and dining al fresco. There… Full text

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