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

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.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

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.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

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