Henrico County VA

Vithoulkas sworn in as county manager

JAN. 16, 7:50 P.M. – As one era in the history of Henrico County ended today, another began.

John Vithoulkas, a 16-year-county employee and nearly lifelong county resident, was sworn in as Henrico's eighth county manager, replacing Virgil Hazelett, whose retirement took effect today after his 21 years in the position and more than 40 with the county.

Vithoulkas' financial knowledge and work as Henrico's director of finance is credited with helping the county maintain its fiscal edge through the recent recession.

During an address to elected officials, family members, business leaders and others during an investiture ceremony at the western government center, Vithoulkas said that he would enter his new role with a "profound sense of humility and excitement."

He vowed to continue the "Henrico way," a dedication to customer service that he said has defined the county for years.

"This is what sets us apart," he said.

Vithoulkas also said he would work to enhance the strong business climate the county enjoys and to attract more corporations to Henrico, while finding ways to fund the county's critical needs – including education and public safety.

"We will meet the near-term economic challenges that are before us – I can assure you of that," he said. "We will leave a better future for the generation that follows us."

Board of Supervisors Chairman Dave Kaechele said that the county would be in good hands moving forward.

"Unlike the federal government, John knows how to balance a budget," Kaechele joked, turning to Vithoulkas. "I know you will try to squeeze blood from a turnip – or better yet, dollars from the General Assembly."

Hazelett received a standing ovation as Henrico Circuit Court Chief Judge L.A. Harris, who presided over the ceremony, recognized him during the event. Hazelett praised Vithoulkas as a dedicated public servant who would adapt to his new role well.

"John's potential as a leader was evident to me," Hazelett said. He told Vithoulkas: "You will face many, many challenges in the months and years ahead, but you will undoubtedly enjoy many, many successes."

Vithoulkas thanked Hazelett for providing him with guidance and friendship through the years.

"You have been a mentor to me, and you will always be a friend," Vithoulkas said. He praised Hazelett's wisdom and willingness to give advice, as well as his intense work ethic.

"Many nights, I'd leave [the government center] thinking I was the last one there, but then I'd see Virgil's office light still on," Vithoulkas said.




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Community

MADD to host candlelight vigil Dec. 2 at UR

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.

Tournament supports adoption efforts

Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.

Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.

A.C. Moore to host winter craft day for kids

Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The Dominion GardenFest of Lights Grand Illumination takes place tonight at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! This year’s theme is “A Legacy in Lights: 120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” which celebrates the Garden’s history. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving again – tomorrow at Henricus Historical Park. More great events – Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Wilton House Museum will both host their holiday open house events this weekend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A hero is born

Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6,’ lovable robot Baymax delight
It may be time for Olaf to step down as our nation’s reigning cartoon character. Big Hero 6, the latest animated feature from Disney, contains a challenger to the throne: Baymax (Scott Adsit), another lovably chubby white wonder, who will bring joy to children’s hearts and invade every home in America inside a six-foot pile of Disney merchandise.

Big Hero 6 (based ever so slightly on a Marvel comic of the same name) is the story of Baymax – and also his closest companion Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). And then also their four friends, all of whom join together to form the titular superhero team.

At first, though, it’s only Hiro, a young boy and an engineering prodigy, who’d rather spend his time in underground robot fight clubs than do something productive with his gifts. > Read more.

Authentically Italian

Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.

In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)

For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > Read more.

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