Taxi fares from airport may increase by $2 per trip

Airport Taxi and two other taxi companies are using brand new vehicles, like this one, to transport passengers to and from Richmond International Airport.
It may soon cost a little more to grab a taxi from Richmond International Airport, but airport officials believe the extra fee will be worth it.

The Capital Region Airport Commission is asking Henrico and three other localities in the region to approve an additional $2 fee for taxi service that originates at the airport. Henrico's Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Oct. 23 to consider a change to its county code that would permit the fee.

Earlier this year, CRAC officials created new, stricter standards for walk-up taxi service at the airport and invited bids from taxi companies willing to meet them. Officials selected the proposals of three companies – Airport Taxi, Galaxy Cab and Richmond Flyer Taxi, which as of July 1 are the only three permitted to transport walk-up passengers. (Other taxi companies can pick up passengers on a pre-arranged basis only.)

The new standards required that each of the three companies:

• use only vehicles that are new as of this year;

• provide uniformed drivers who speak English as a second language, at a minimum, and who have completed a mandatory training program

• accept credit cards.

Each of the three companies is required to pay a $2-per-trip fee to CRAC for the right to provide pick-up service. Companies that provide pre-arranged service pay a $2.60 fee per trip to CRAC.

Because each of the three walk-up service companies invested heavily in order to meet the new standards, allowing them to recoup that $2 fee from passengers would help defray their costs, airport President and CEO Jon Mathiasen told the Henrico Board of Supervisors Sept. 25.

"We're trying to improve the overall appearance of ground transportation at Richmond International Airport," he said. "It is the front door and the last door that many visitors see [of Greater Richmond]."

The new standards make the airport one of few in the nation to offer an entire fleet of brand new vehicles (41 in total, including 5 that are fitted for disabled passengers), Mathiasen said. Each vehicle makes an average of 15 trips per day, Mathiasen said.

Taxi fares from the airport last increased five years ago this month.

Three Chopt District Supervisor Dave Kaechele said he had noticed a difference since the new standards took effect.

"The improvement is dramatic out there," he said. "It's very professional. I think it's got to make a big impression on visitors."

The airport is investing several hundred thousand dollars on a new queuing system that will help taxis conserve gas while they wait for passengers, Mathiasen said. It should be active within about two months.
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HCPS wins national honor for overhaul of Code of Student Conduct, supports


Henrico County Public Schools recently was recognized by the National School Boards Association for a sweeping overhaul of the school division’s approach to student supports. HCPS was one of five large U.S. school systems recognized with a first-place honor in the 2017 Magna Awards, presented Saturday in Denver at the organization’s annual conference. The awards recognize school divisions and leaders “for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities,” according to the group.

The award recognizes Henrico Schools’ efforts of the past several years, from re-examining its policies to implementing more support systems. After a two-year conversation with the community through public hearings and other feedback, HCPS adopted a revised Code of Student Conduct for the 2015-16 school year. > Read more.

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > 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

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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The Midlothian Junior Women’s Club will again sponsor the Cinderella Dreams Project to help young women attend their high school proms by providing gowns and accessories for free to any girl who, like Cinderella, needs help obtaining a gown for the ball. Shopping hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 11 and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 at Westchester Commons, 301 Perimeter Dr., in Midlothian. A $5 donation helps cover the annual costs of the project. Shopping is first-come, first-serve. For details, visit http://www.cinderelladreams.net. Full text

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