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

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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