Henrico County VA

Schools to go tobacco-free

Henrico County public schools and school-sponsored events soon will be entirely tobacco-free, following the School Board's 4-1 vote Sept. 27 to enact a tobacco-free policy.

The policy likely will not take effect officially for a period of at least a few months, so that staff members and visitors who smoke or use tobacco have time to become adjusted to it.

Board member Lisa Marshall of the Tuckahoe District cast the dissenting vote.

More than 30 other school systems in the state – including Hanover County – already have similar tobacco policies. Henrico school officials believe the policy will promote healthier environments for students, staff members and visitors alike while encouraging healthier lifestyles at the same time and serving as a reinforcement to students about the dangers of tobacco.

Existing HCPS policy allowed individual principals to set their own conditions for tobacco and cigarette use on their campuses by adults, staff members and visitors. Twenty-four elementary schools in the county, three middle schools, five high schools and two specialty facilities already banned all tobacco use on their campuses prior to
the board's vote last week. Other schools and specialty centers allowed smoking in designated areas.

The change is not without detractors. About a third of the 1,263 faculty members who responded to a school system survey last month said they favored the existing policy, while two-thirds said they favored the new one.
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HandsOn Day set for Oct. 17

HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.

Online tool helps identify best native plants for pollinators

Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.

Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.

Growlers to Go opens in Short Pump; opening celebration Oct. 15

Growlers to Go has opened its second area location – in Short Pump, next to Trader Joe's.

Unlike the flagship store on the Boulevard in Richmond, this location is equipped with a Tasting Room, offering customers the opportunity to drink pints or tasting wheels as well as order snacks on premises. > Read more.


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