Redistricting could cost Virginia $10 million
Now that the governor has approved the General Assembly’s redistricting plans, the State Board of Elections must find millions of dollars to implement the new maps.
“They split over 500 precincts, and we have to equip them,” said Charles Judd, chairman of the State Board of Elections. He estimates that it would cost about $20,000 to equip each of the 500-plus new precincts. That would put the total price tag at more than $10 million.
“This is what you’d call an unfunded mandate,” Judd said.
He said federal funds may be available to help localities prepare for the fall elections, when all 100 delegates and 40 senators in the General Assembly are up for election. If the federal funds don’t come through, localities will have to raise the money themselves.
For the past month, legislators have been trying to redraw political boundaries to account for population changes reflected in the 2010 census. For example, because of population growth in Northern Virginia, that region merited an additional Senate seat and three more House seats.
The General Assembly approved plans last month, but Gov. Bob McDonnell vetoed them, saying they split too many communities. So the assembly took another crack.
On April 28, lawmakers passed House Bill 5005, containing revised maps. The following day, McDonnell signed the bill.
“It is a great improvement over the previous plan that I vetoed,” the governor said in a statement.
Voting on HB 5005 was delayed after the unexpected death of the House clerk, Bruce Jamerson. After memorializing Jamerson in a series of commendation bills and recessing until April 27, the House voted 90-8 to pass the bill. The next day, the Senate approved it on a 32-5 vote.
The General Assembly still must redraw congressional districts.
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.
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.
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.
The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.
“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”
The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.
Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.
Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?
Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.
Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space
A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.
Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.
Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.
Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.
“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.
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CalendarBon Secours Richmond Health System will host “Support Your Girls,” a Cancer Care Fund fundraiser, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Short Pump Town Center. Enjoy wine and food… Full text