Henrico County VA
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School Board approves combination redistricting plan

Call it an adjustment to an adjustment.

The Henrico County School Board last night adopted boundaries for the new Kaechele Elementary School in Short Pump by creating a compromise plan that implements portions of two existing proposals. The board unanimously approved adoption of the new plan, which generally uses the portion of Option 2 north of West Broad Street and the portion of Option 1 (Adjusted) south of West Broad Street.

The compromise addresses concerns expressed by residents during a public hearing and online survey in the past week, Board Chair Diana Winston said. The plan, which Winston proposed during a work session several hours before the vote, will keep all elementary schools in the county beneath capacity, except for Ridge Elementary. Ridge's boundaries will remain unchanged for now – something that a number of Ridge parents had requested – so that the board can consider other ways to address its needs separately in the future.

The adopted plan will move about 1,300 elementary school students to new schools in the fall, including a projected 425 to Kaechele. In all, the boundaries of 14 elementary schools have been shifted.

Colonial Trail, Davis, Longan and Short Pump elementaries all will receive population relief as part of the redistricting plan. Rising fourth- and fifth-graders at all schools will be permitted to complete elementary school at their current schools if parents provide transportation, while no current middle-school students will be affected by the changes.

The compromise plan "really provides a balance for relief and seems like a no-brainer," Brookland District board member Beverly Cocke said during the work session.

Adoption of the compromise moves a group of students from the Hampshire neighborhood from Rivers Edge Elementary to Shady Grove Elementary but keeps them together at Holman Middle School (which Hampshire students currently attend). The result will cause Holman to be at 101 percent of its capacity next year, while Pocahontas Middle also would be near capacity. Board members discussed a desire to relieve crowding at both schools by creating new course offerings at Short Pump Middle School, which is projected to be at just 73 percent of capacity next year.

Forty-one residents of the Hampshire neighborhood responded to an online survey offered Dec. 10-12 through the school system's website to gauge opinions on Option 1 (Adjusted ) – the most respondents from any neighborhood.

Superintendent Pat Russo told the board that his staff would work to devise possibilities that might pull 200 or more students to Short Pump Middle from other middle schools.

Option 1 (Adjusted) was created earlier this week to address concerns vocalized by citizens at a Dec. 6 public hearing about the redistricting issue. Among other changes, that version recommended moving several pockets of students back into the boundaries of elementary schools that they currently attend.

To view the adopted redistricting map, click here: http://tinyurl.com/br4fbyo


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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