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.
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Applications for Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2018 now open

Applications for the Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) flagship program Leadership Quest are now open at http://www.lmronline.org until May 1. Community leaders from Ashland, Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan and the City of Richmond are encouraged to apply.

All interested candidates are encouraged to attend a recruitment reception March 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Markel Corporation, 4501 Highwoods Parkway in Glen Allen. The reception will give candidates the opportunity to meet current LMR members and learn more about the organization. > Read more.

Reynolds CC 4-week, 8-week classes start March 7


Classes start March 7 for Reynolds Community College’s second 8-week and third 4-week spring semester sessions. Registration for both sessions is currently open and runs through the start of classes. Students can register 24 hours per day online by visiting http://www.reynolds.edu. Students can also register in-person in Enrollment Services located on each campus. > Read more.

Public comment sought for plan to reduce impacts of natural disasters

The joint Hazard Mitigation Technical Advisory Committee for the Richmond and Crater regions is seeking public comment on the draft update of the Richmond-Crater Multi-Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the potential impact of future disasters. The 26 localities of the Richmond and Crater regions maintain the plan to collaboratively identify vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and develop long-term strategies to reduce or eliminate long-term risks. > Read more.

Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Lakeside Moose Lodge 1714, located at 1207 Hilliard Rd., will host a Chili Cook-off at 9 a.m. Entrance fee is $20 through Feb. 15, $30 through March 3 and $40 on the day of the event. Judges tickets are $10 – there will be both popular judging and double blind judging. Both will be awarded cash prizes and are based on participation and attendance. Popular vote tickets are five for $5. For details, including full contest rules, email John Compton at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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