Henrico County VA
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‘Twas the night before Henrico’s Christmas

(Written by Henrico County Public Relations & Media Services Director Tamra McKinney and presented by County Manager Virgil Hazelett during the Henrico Business Leaders' breakfast meeting Dec. 12.)

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
the full moon was bright,
I hadn’t slept much the previous night.
I kept thinking about the budget spreadsheet,
And the reality that the ends did not meet.

The staff was exhausted but kept up the pace,
When trying to put this budget in place.
We knew we would solve it, someway or somehow,
But we’d hoped this recession would be over by now.

I kept thinking about better days gone by,
When the market was up and earnings were high.
Real estate was a solid investment back then,
And I believe in my heart it will be again.

All of us here now are in the same boat,
The bottom line is we either sink or we float.
With the right combination of good luck and skill,
We’ll get through this together, I know that we will.

In Henrico we have good reason to boast,
With a business community stronger than most.
These times have been tough, but the things that you’ve done
In this year alone are second to none.

SnagAJob! Fareva! Wells Fargo! PPD!
Bank of America! QTS! Capital One and G.E.!
You’ve all added jobs, weren’t afraid to expand,
And you gave our economy a big helping hand.

Our small businesses play an essential role too,
The strength of Henrico’s due largely to you.
We’re one solid county, and our history is long,
Four-hundred and counting, we’re old but we’re strong.

In August more good news came our way,
When our bond rating was reaffirmed triple, triple-A.
Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and of course Fitch,
All agreed we belonged in this elite niche.

Henrico’s not really in such a bad place,
Considering what other localities face.
The services you expect, we’ll continue to give,
To make this the best place to work and to live.

Looking at the big picture made me smile,
And that hadn’t happened for quite a while.
Relatively speaking, everything was really all right,
So I had one final call to make that night.

I grabbed my phone and punched the number in quick,
1-800-4-ST. NICK.
His voice mail picked up, he said “I’m not here,
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m busy, call back next year!”

“Santa, it’s Virgil,” I said after the tone,
“If you’re there, please, pick up the phone.”
With that, the phone beeped once again and went dead,
So I sent him an instant text message instead.

“Santa, it’s me again, I just wanted to say,
Merry Christmas from all of us in Henrico, V-A.”
Within moments I received a reply from S. Claus,
And I anxiously read every word without pause.

“Virgil bear with me, I’m trying to fly,
It’s not easy to text from a sleigh in the sky.
I’m glad you’ve come to your senses and see
That Henrico’s the best place in the world you could be!”

As I see all of your faces today in this crowd,
I am very humbled, and so very proud.
And I hope you all know I am truly sincere,
When I say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Community

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.

Equestrian clinic planned July 7-8 in Henrico

Henrico equestrians interested in deepening the bond between themselves and their horses have the opportunity to attend a two day clinic, held at Steppin’ High Stables on July 7-8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic, “Become Partners with your Horse,” will be taught by multiple world champion equestrienne Terry Preiser and will focus on how riders and horses can work together to achieve more. > Read more.

Henrico school bus driver honored

The Henrico-based Hephaestus Society recently awarded its first annual community heroes award (the Hephaestus Award) to Hicham Elgharouch (pictured, center) for what it termed his "selfless acts of caring" in his duties as a Henrico County Public Schools bus driver. Henrico County Director of Pupil Transportation Josh Davis, joined Hephaestus Society President Travis Gardner, in presenting the award and an accompanying $1,500 check to Elgharouch last month.

Elgharouch was selected for his clear and demonstrated patience and for his infectious positive attitude, according to the society. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Grab the kids and check out these fun family-friendly events taking place this weekend! Speed over to the Henrico Theatre for the film “Turbo” or watch “Dumbo” under the stars at Clarke-Palmore House Museum. Little ones can meet Thomas the Tank Engine at CMOR-Central or play at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Don’t party too hard on the Fourth because a whole weekend of fun events await! Enjoy a classy date night without the kids at James River Cellars Winery’s second annual Smoke and Vine Festival. Another date night option is at the Richmond Funny Bone, where comedian April Macie will perform all weekend. The kids have their own options this weekend as well. Choose from storytime at Tuckahoe and Twin Hickory libraries or family-oriented karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House – I hear they have hits from Disney’s “Frozen.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > 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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