Henrico County VA
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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.




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

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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The Sophie House Collaborate to Eradicate 5K run/walk, a fundraiser to help eradicate breast cancer, will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 11220… Full text

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