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.




Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.

McAuliffe vetoes 6 more bills; GOP calls him ‘disengaged’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed six bills, including three Republicans said would help prevent voter fraud but the Democratic governor said would create barriers to voting.

McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly’s 2017 session – and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing any of his predecessors.

Republican legislative leaders say McAuliffe has broken his promise to be bipartisan, calling his office “the most disengaged administration we have ever worked with.” > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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Volunteers are needed to help clean East End and Evergreen Cemeteries from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. These cemeteries are the eternal sacred grounds for thousands of African American historical figures. Decades of neglect has obscured their graves and thousands of others beneath tangles of ivy, brush, and illegally dumped trash. Since June 2013, a small group of regular volunteers, along with many students and Richmond-area residents, have been working to reveal them, slowly uncovering not just long-buried headstones but an entire community. Lunch will be served. For details, visit http://www.facebook.com/EastEndCemeteryProject. Full text

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