Scenes from Irene
Two days after Hurricane Irene, Henrico residents were displaying not only their ingenuity, but their sense of humor in the aftermath of the storm. The Henrico Citizen visited neighborhoods in the particularly hard-hit Tuckahoe District Monday and found widespread damage but positive attitudes as well.
On Sweetbriar Road in Westham, near the University of Richmond, the owner of a home partially collapsed by the weight of a huge fallen tree displays the sign, "Scratch and Dent Sale."
On Lakewood Drive in Westham (above), F. Claiborne ("Jay") Johnston, Jr., brought his car to a stop next to a reporter taking pictures and said jokingly, "I hope you're my adjuster!"
Although a crew was busily at work on their damaged roof – and a crushed car sat in the driveway – Johnston and his wife Carolyn considered themselves "extremely lucky."
They heard their tree come down at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, as Johnston was upstairs and his wife was downstairs.
"It was like a hand grenade going off," said Johnston. He speculated that the noise was the result of the tree hitting his wife's car, which appeared to take most of the blow.
"It's almost like the tree forked when it hit the house," he said, tracing the paths of the two tree-top pieces.
The glancing blow left a small hole in the corner of his roof ("You could go up in the attic and see daylight") but there was no water damage and not a single broken window.
"It went down one side of the house and killed the crepe myrtle and holly in the front. But hell, we can live with that."
With a smile, Johnston noted that his wife was inclined to look at the bright side of the destruction as well. He quoted her reaction upon seeing her clobbered automobile as a delighted, "I get a new car!"
Three trees fell within a half-block radius on Lakewood Drive; one of them totaled a Henrico County Department of Public Works truck that had responded to an earlier call, according to Henrico Fire spokesman Chris Buehren. It was the only damage to a county vehicle reported from the storm.
After seeing the damaged truck, Johnston marveled, "It was crushed! If those guys had been in it...."
Johnston's neighbor on Lakewood, Julie Black, lost her landscaping and a flower bed when county crews dragged a neighbor's hickory tree off her lot in order to clear the street.
"They have a lot of nuts!" she said of hickory trees, tossing handfuls into the pile of debris she had collected. "You never realize it until they fall."
But Black also considered herself fortunate.
Home from her job at the darkened downtown offices of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, Black said Irene was much kinder than Hurricane Isabel, which dropped a tree on her home in 2003.
She offered nothing but praise for Dominion Power and the county utility crews, who responded quickly after both storms.
"A lot of people complain about Dominion Power," she said, "but I always defend them."
She waved to a neighbor driving by, and the neighbor opened her window to tell Black excitedly, "Dominion [Power] is here!"
As she drove off, the neighbor called out with a laugh, "We must have someone powerful in the neighborhood!"
A beach ball lies squashed – but remarkably, still inflated – between an uprooted tree and a now undulating fence on Glendale Road (above). Nearby, a BBQ grill tilts dangerously off kilter.
On Cedarbrooke Lane off Ridge Road (above), a fallen tree lies sprawled across the front yard.
An upended mailbox still rakishly clings to its pole on Cedarbrooke Lane (above), open to the sky, as if belatedly begging for mercy from the storm.
A car lies crushed beneath a huge tree felled by the storm on Cedarbrooke Lane (above).
On Baldwin Road at Stuart Hill, a tree blocks the road (above).
A tree lies across a yard on San Juan Drive off Forest Avenue (above).
On University Boulevard off Patterson Avenue (above), a falling tree had a domino effect on a utility pole and strands of wire are everywhere.
A fallen tree blocks the sign at Cheswick Park on Forest Avenue (above).
A tree at this home on Sweetbriar Road (above) was uprooted during the storm, taking out others as it fell
A neighbor on Sweetbriar Road (above) jokingly erected this sign, which read "Scratch and Dent sale" in the aftermath of the storm's damage.
On Tarrytown Road in Sleepy Hollow (above), the damage was similar.
On Cedarbrooke Lane, a tree flattened a barely-recognizable basketball goal.
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.
Tix 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.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
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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Sep. 18, 2014Click here to read the print edition.
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