Library dedicated as symbol of ‘new Varina’

JUNE 1, 10:40 P.M. – Even without the late afternoon sun, which splashed its rays across nearby wheat fields, passing cyclists and hundreds of anxious citizens, this was bound to be a bright day in Varina.

Henrico County officials joined more than 2,000 spectators to dedicate the new $28.1-million Varina Area Library, a long-anticipated facility whose arrival was met with lots of smiles and nearly as much awe.

“Tonight, we celebrate a library and a facility that is an example of the new Varina – of what is possible within great communities,” Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas told the crowd during the dedication ceremony.

Dominion requests 3-month deferral in Varina substation case

A Dominion Virginia Power rendering shows what the view of power lines might look like from Osborne Turnpike if a substation were built 725 feet back from the road.
UPDATE: MAY 23, 1:50 P.M. – Plans for a Dominion Virginia Power substation in Varina could be delayed for three more months, after company officials today requested a deferral of their scheduled June 9 case before the Henrico Planning Commission.

The company is seeking to build a substation in Varina to improve service reliability in the region and wants to locate it on a 1.5-acre portion of a 10-acre site at 7000 Osborne Turnpike.

Company officials now are asking that the case be delayed until September so that they may consider input they received during a public meeting May 17 at Varina High School. Specifically, they intend to consider the possibility of purchasing a portion of an adjacent 477-acre parcel on Osborne Turnpike, which was listed for sale recently. Several speakers at last week's meeting urged Dominion representatives to consider that option.

Lost in time

On the site that one day will tell the history of Henrico County under a single roof, a small wooden hut serves as an unofficial welcome center for guests.

“And over there is the restroom,” says Henry Nelson, chuckling as he points to a single portable toilet across the parking lot.

Nelson, clad in a signature black cowboy hat and black leather jacket, surveys the landscape on an overcast morning here, at Four Mile Creek Park in Varina, with eyes that can see into the future, thanks to a vision of the past.

For 40 years, Nelson has led the push for Henrico County to fund and build a history center – a facility that would recount the county’s 405-year story to citizens and tourists alike.

Dominion to host meeting about proposed Varina substation

MAY 16, 7:30 P.M. – A proposed Dominion Virginia Power substation in Varina will be the topic of a community meeting at Varina High School Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

The substation, proposed on a 10-acre parcel at 7000 Osborne Turnpike, is needed to improve service reliability in the Varina area, according to Dominion officials. Within the area that would be served by the new substation, there have been 13 power outages during the past two years – including six that lasted one hour or longer, Dominion records show. Those figures exceed typical outages experienced by most Dominion customers elsewhere, according to the company.

UCI cyclists train for team time trial

Cyclists trained this morning in Varina for the team time trial event tomorrow as part of the UCI Road World Championships. Here, they turned from Mill Road onto Battlefield Park Drive.

Parading through

The Christmas spirit was alive in Varina Dec. 13, as the Varina Toy Parade rolled along Osborne Turnpike (featuring Henrico Christmas Mother Becky Goshorn, above) to the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of spectators then gathered to watch the James River Boat Parade of Lights.

Mondelēz International to expand Nabisco plant in Varina

UPDATE: MAY 8, 12:01 P.M. – Mondelēz Global LLC, the U.S. operating company of Mondelēz International, Inc., will invest more than $40 million to expand its biscuit bakery in Varina, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today.

The facility manufactures a variety of Nabisco crackers and cookies, including Ritz, Wheat Thins and Premium crackers, Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies, and Nilla wafers. The expansion will enable the addition of a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing line for Ritz crackers and add 38,000 square feet to the existing bakery.

Storm fells historic Varina tree

Friday night's ferocious thunderstorm toppled dozens of trees throughout Henrico County, but perhaps none more significant than the one it felled on Route 5 in Varina.

The oak tree that stood for some 150 years there, at the entrance to scenic Tree Hill Farm near the split of New Market Road and Osborne Turnpike, arguably was the most historic tree in the region.

It was known as the Surrender Tree because nearly 150 years ago, beneath its fledgling branches, Richmond Mayor Joseph Mayo surrendered the City of Richmond to Union forces during the Civil War. Six days later, on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in Appomattox, essentially ending the war.

Road improvement project begins at Richmond National Battlefield Park

Improvements to more than eight miles of roads and parking areas throughout the Richmond National Battlefield Park's battlefield units are beginning this week. The $2.2 million project will involve repaving and upgrading roadways that serve around 200,000 visitors to the park per year, as well as residential areas in Henrico and Hanover counties. A Richmond area contractor, Lane Construction, is slated to do the work, which will support more than 50 jobs in the region.

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The Shady Grove Coffeehouse at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, 11105 Cauthorne Rd., continues its 16th season with Bob Zentz at 8 p.m. A Bob Zentz concert is a smorgasbord of contemporary, traditional and original songs, tunes and chat, linked by the artist's philosophic perspective, thematic logic and a strong “sense” of history, humanity and humor. Tickets are $15 to $20; teens are admitted at half price and children age 12 and under are free. Net proceeds benefit UUCC. For details, call 323-4288 or visit Full text

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