Henrico County VA
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Vithoulkas to succeed Hazelett as county manager

John Vithoulkas
Deputy Henrico County Manager for Administration John Vithoulkas will succeed Virgil Hazelett as county manager when Hazelett retires in January, following a unanimous vote by the county's Board of Supervisors at its meeting tonight. Vithoulkas, 44, will begin his new position Jan. 17.

Vithoulkas will become the eighth county manager since Henrico adopted the form of government in 1934.

The county manager serves as Henrico’s chief administrative officer, responsible for implementing policies established by the Board of Supervisors and for overseeing the daily operations of the county and more than 35 agencies with approximately 4,000 general government employees (the county’s total workforce, general government and Henrico County Public Schools, is more than 10,400). Duties include preparation and oversight of the county’s annual budget, which tops $1 billion in operating and capital expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and preparation of the county’s annual legislative program before the Virginia General Assembly.

Vithoulkas, a Henrico employee since 1997, rose through the ranks of the Department of Finance, joining the agency as a budget analyst and also working as budget director. He became acting director of Finance in September 2007 before taking over as director in January 2008.

In September 2009, Hazelett named him to the additional position of special economic advisor as Henrico confronted revenue declines and other challenges stemming from the national recession. In December, he was named a deputy county manager.

Vithoulkas has been key in helping to establish Henrico's to fiscal policies that have enabled the county to balance its budget throughout the recession and the lingering problematic economy. The county has absorbed revenue declines of more than $92 million the last two years without laying off employees, cutting services or raising taxes. He was the architect of a series of bond sales during the recession that yielded $17.7 million in debt-service savings for the county.

In August 2011, Henrico was the first locality nationwide to have its debt reaffirmed as triple-AAA — the highest available for a governmental entity — by the three international credit-rating agencies following the downgrade of U.S. government debt by Standard and Poor’s.

Vithoulkas played a leading role in the effort that established Henrico, Va. as an official mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service in October 2008. The address-change initiative is saving the county more than $5 million annually in tax revenues that previously had been misdirected to other localities.

Vithoulkas, a naturalized citizen, is a native of Greece and immigrated to Virginia as an infant with his parents. A product of Henrico County Public Schools, he is a graduate of J.R. Tucker High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989 and received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1992. Before joining the Henrico County staff he worked as a police planner and assistant budget director for Gaston County, N.C. and as a budget analyst for Chesterfield County.

Vithoulkas lives in Glen Allen with his wife, Jenny, and their three children.

He has keyed the ongoing “Changing the Way Henrico Does Business” initiative, an internal project launched in response to the recession. It has led to streamlined, more-efficient operations in departments countywide, producing permanent savings of more than $50 million. He also has spearheaded efforts such as the Henrico Advantage Card, working with the local business community to boost sales for Henrico retailers.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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