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

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

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