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PPD Expansion to Bring 190 New Jobs to Henrico

PPD, Inc., a global contract research organization providing drug discovery, development and lifecycle management services, announced today that it plans to invest $28 million to expand its Lab Services Division in Henrico County during the next three years, creating an estimated 190 new jobs during that time. The operation provides research and development services and clinical trial services for drug development.

“This major expansion will continue to position PPD as a strong player in the life sciences industry, a target industry for Henrico County, the Greater Richmond region and the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. "Not only will the company create 190 new jobs, the average salary for those jobs will be higher than the prevailing average wage for the region. I look forward to PPD’s continued success in Virginia.”

“PPD chose to expand at its Henrico County facility due to the quality of the current employees and the skilled workforce available in the region,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia secretary of Commerce and Trade. “With this significant investment and new job creation, PPD ensures that its future business prospects are bright and further growth is likely.”

PPD's clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations. With offices in 42 countries and more than 10,500 professionals worldwide, PPD applies innovative technologies, therapeutic expertise and a commitment to quality to help clients and partners accelerate the delivery of safe and effective therapeutics and maximize the returns on their R&D investments. The company's worldwide headquarters are in Wilmington, N.C.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Henrico County to secure the project for Virginia. McDonnell approved a $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Henrico County with the project. The Governor also approved $500,000 in a performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies.

“PPD’s decision to establish their Dabney Road facility as a ‘Center of Excellence’ and add 190 professional jobs is wonderful news,” said Patricia S. O’Bannon, Chairman of Henrico Board of Supervisors. “In such a competitive economic environment, this announcement confirms that Henrico County offers a high-quality workforce and a pro-business climate in a community with the quality of life necessary to attract talent from anywhere in the world.”
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > 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.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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