Henrico County VA

‘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

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Brews and bites done right

Urban Tavern’s big, bold themes impress

The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.

Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.

On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar. > Read more.

A terrible, horrible movie. . . that’s actually pretty good

‘Alexander’ provides uncomplicated family fun
It’s not surprising in the least that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn’t much resemble the book it’s based upon.

Judith Viorst’s 1972 picture book isn’t exactly overflowing with movie-worthy material. Boy has bad day. Boy is informed that everyone has bad days sometimes. Then, the back cover.

In the film, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad-ness is blown up to more extreme size. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has a bum day every day, while the rest of his family (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey) exist in a constant bubble of perfection and cheery optimism – to the point that the family is so wrapped up in their own success that Alexander’s being ignored.

So on the eve of his 12th birthday, Alexander makes a wish: just once, he’d like his family to see things from his perspective; to experience the crushing disappointment of one of those no good, very bad days. Once he has blown out the candle on his pre-birthday ice cream sundae, his family’s fate is sealed: one full day of crippling disasters for all of them. > Read more.

Deep Run HS plans fall musical

Tickets for Deep Run High School’s fall musical production – Aida – will go on sale Nov. 3. The Elton John-Tim Rice pop opera, inspired by Verdi’s classic opera, tells the story of enslaved Nubian princess Aida, who falls for captain of the guard Radames, who is betrothed to the Egyptian princess.

Performances will be held Nov. 13-15 at 7 p.m. each day. > Read more.

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Three Lakes Park, 400 Sausiluta Dr., will host Pumpkin Palooza from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be pumpkin decorating, a seed spitting contest, fall crafting, cider and roasted… Full text

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