Henrico County VA
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Top Teachers: Mesa Hinkle

Glen Allen E.S., first grade
Mesa Hinkle found her inspiration as a student inside a Henrico County elementary school. Today, she shares it with her own students inside a Henrico County elementary school.

Hinkle has spent 29 years as part of the county’s public school system – 13 as a student at Trevvett, Brookland Middle and Hermitage High and 16 as a teacher.

Now in her sixth year as a first-grade teacher at Glen Allen Elementary, following one year at Dumbarton E.S. and nine at Carver E.S., Hinkle is as excited as ever about what she does and about the children she teaches.

“It’s really special to watch them grow from September though June,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the progress that they make with their reading and writing. They’re so enthusiastic, and they get excited about everything and anything.”

Hinkle recalled being called to a career in teaching when she was a first-grade student herself, in Suzanne Boswell’s class at Trevvett Elementary years ago.

“She had a love of learning and was able to present things in different ways for different learners,” Hinkle said. “She made learning fun.”

Now, Hinkle is the one passing on those lessons to her own first-graders.

“She is a loving, guiding, nurturing teacher and it shows in her daily instruction and interactions with her students,” one nominator wrote. “She makes learning fun while challenging her students to be the best they can be.”

Said another: “Her high expectations and dedication to the success of each student has impacted my son, who is currently in her class. She is willing to try new things and use a variety of approaches to meet his needs.”

Hinkle stays in regular contact with the parents of each student and uses small-group differentiated instruction as a way to effectively reach students who learn at different speeds or who have different needs. Her positive attitude and frequent encouragement to her students were cited by several nominators as strengths.

“As a former teacher, I recognize how positive she is in her dealings with children - accentuating the positive every day,” one nominator wrote of Hinkle. “The reaction of my grandson is obvious.  All teachers should have the commitment to their profession and respect for children that Mesa has.”


Community

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.

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.

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Entertainment

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.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

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Virginia Blood Services will hold a blood drive from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Village Shopping Center, Three Chopt Road and Patterson Avenue. All walk-ins are welcome and donors… Full text

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