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.

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Theme for this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter announced

The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.

This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.


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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will host October Oddities Oct. 1-31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Refresh your “garden spirit” with displays and activities for all ages throughout the month of October. Enjoy vignettes designed to provoke a sense of curiosity and wonder using underappreciated oddities of nature and “horti-torture.” Pick up a Gourd Quest at the admissions desk before heading down to the Children’s Garden. Included with regular admission which is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 55+ and $8 for children 3-12. For details, visit Full text

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