Redistricting commission holds first meeting

Now that new census data for Virginia have been released, the process of redrawing the state’s political districts can begin in earnest.

The Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting is tasked with revising Virginia’s congressional and legislative districts by April 1. The commission, created by a Jan. 10 executive order issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell, held its first full meeting last week on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

In his address to the group, McDonnell said the commission is “bipartisan by definition.” He stressed the importance of working across party lines.

The governor called the commission’s task both important and historic. Political boundaries have never been redrawn in Virginia by a politically divided General Assembly, he said. Currently, the House of Delegates is Republican-controlled, while the Senate has a Democratic majority.

The advisory panel will work independently and present its findings and recommendations by the April deadline. Legislators should not give input or direct the commission, McDonnell said.

The Virginia Constitution requires that congressional and state legislative district lines be redrawn every 10 years. The lines must reflect new population data collected in last year’s federal census.

Districts must be “contiguous and compact” and, according to the executive order, “drawn in a way that maximizes voter participation and awareness.” The order also recommends that lines “reflect commonsense geographic boundaries and strong communities of interest.”

The bipartisan commission is chaired by Bob Holsworth, founder of Virginia Tomorrow, a company that examines emerging trends in politics, society and business. Holsworth, a former political science professor and administrator at VCU, has served on several advisory groups for state government and the city of Richmond.

He said the redistricting commission will seek input from the public. Meetings will be held across the state in the coming months to ensure citizens have the opportunity to participate.
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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May 2017
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The Greater Richmond Multiple Myeloma Support Group meets the third Monday of each month (except July and August) from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Forest Campus, Forest Conference Room Side B. For details, visit http://www.richmond.myeloma.org. Full text

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