Henrico County VA
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Taylor, Nelson lead Democratic revival in Henrico

Party claims Commonwealth's Attorney, Varina District Supervisor seats
In a race that pitted Henrico County's Republican Party against itself, a Democrat walked away with the victory.

Democrat Shannon Taylor surprised Republican nominee Matt Geary and Republican-turned-independent favorite Bill Janis to claim the Commonwealth's Attorney's seat tonight, winning a race that she didn't enter until the candidate filing deadline in August.

Taylor earned 45 percent of the vote to defeat Janis (38 percent) and Geary (16 percent).

Taylor's win was one of two impressive victories for Democrats in the county; Tyrone Nelson also won a three-way race, unseating five-term incumbent Republican Jim Donati in the race for Varina District Supervisor. Nelson (53 percent of the vote) defeated Donati (35 percent) and independent Reese Haller (10 percent). Nelson will join fellow Democrat Frank Thornton of the Fairfield District on the board. The two men also are the only two African-Americans ever elected to the board.

In the Commonwealth's Attorney race, Taylor was the beneficiary of party infighting among Republicans, who gave Geary their nomination, then demanded he give it back following his admission of an extramarital affair. When he refused, party leaders convinced Virginia Delegate Bill Janis to enter the race as an independent, and many party officials switched allegiances.

While Geary, who spent nearly three years in the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, and Janis, who had no professional prosecutorial experience, spent much of the campaign trading barbs, Taylor instead focused on her 12 years of experience as a prosecutor. She only became critical of Janis late in the campaign, after he made what she termed an erroneous claim about her past service.

In the end, the two Republican Party favorites split enough of the vote to give Taylor a surprising win – and a moderately embarrassing one for U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who also had pulled his support of Geary and given it to Janis.

In the Brookland District race for the School Board seat being vacated by two-term member Linda McBride, longtime district PTA volunteer Beverly Cocke (47 percent) defeated retired school system administrator and teacher Darrell Jenkins (36 percent) and Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District member Herb Dunford (16 percent).

Two new members – Nicole Anderson Ellis and Lynn Wilson – were elected to the Henricopolis Board – joining returning member Robert Brewster in a five-candidate field.

Nelson's win in the Varina District seemed to underscore frustration among many voters in the district, who have perceived that it has not received equal treatment from the county's leaders in recent years. Though Donati campaigned with statistics that indicated the opposite, public perception – highlighted by the growing demand for a planned new high school – tilted the scales in Nelson's favor.


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

‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.

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


Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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The Fairfield Middle School Fresh Market will be held every Wednesday at the school, 5121 Nine Mile Rd., from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., through Aug. 13. All produce is… Full text

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