Henrico County VA
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Kaechele named Community Leader of the Year

The Henrico Business Council of the Greater Richmond Chamber recently named Three Chopt District Supervisor Dave Kaechele as its 2015 Henrico Community Leader of the Year. The annual award honors a Henrico citizen who has made a positive difference in the community and demonstrates support, dedication and enthusiasm for the betterment and growth of the county.

Kaechele has served Henrico County and the Richmond region in elected office for almost 36 years. He will retire from his position at the end of the year. Even before holding elected office, Kaechele was active in the community. While working as an engineer for Reynolds Metals Company, he was involved with the Boy Scouts, Jaycees, Parent Teacher Association, Booster's Club and his church, where he is still a member, deacon and elder.

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.

Villa celebrates expansion

Five years of various construction projects have transformed and enhanced the 178-year-old campus of St. Joseph’s Villa into a modern, vibrant facility that serves as a safe and efficient community resource for families.

Earlier this month, Villa officials gathered with clients, volunteers, students, Henrico County Manager Virgil Hazelett and Fairfield Supervisor Frank Thornton to celebrate the campus’ transformation.

There was a strong sense of excitement and accomplishment in the air during the June 6 event at the Villa, where the changes will ensure that it remains a vital resource for needy families – 82 percent of them from Henrico. The improvements have helped the Villa build new partnerships, increase capacity, improve efficiency and expand the scope of its services.

Hollybrook resident finally getting closure

As disabled residents of the Hollybrook Apartments on St. Joseph’s Villa property south of the main campus navigate to cross Brook Road, many face difficulties with traffic and are fearful for their safety. Resident Brian Montgomery has been fighting for enhancements for the Brook Road corridor along the Villa’s property since 2000, when he was struck by an SUV while on his way to get groceries. His chair wound up under the vehicle and he barely escaped breaking his neck. Twelve years later, he is finally seeing plans put in motion to make the corridor a safer area for residents and pedestrians.

Henrico native seeks Orlando mayorship

Mike Cantone
In the city where dreams come true, the son of a Henrico County elementary school teacher is hoping to realize one of his own.

Mike Cantone, the son of Colonial Trail Elementary School Principal Philip Cantone, is running for mayor of Orlando, Fla. The election is being held today.

Cantone attended Short Pump Elementary School while growing up in Henrico's Far West End and graduated in 2001 from J.R. Tucker High School.

His interest in politics was sharpened during his participation in the Presidential Classroom in Washington, a nonprofit civic organization that provides high school students with educational training to help prepare them for leadership roles in public and private service.

Henrico Extension accepting applications for expanded gardens program

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for Gardens Growing Families, a community garden program for county residents.

For a nominal fee, individuals and families will receive expert help as they grow their own vegetables in plots at the Lakeside Garden, at Vale Street and Michael Avenue, near Lakeside Avenue; and at the Alma Avenue Island Garden, near Alma and Laburnum avenues. For the first time, a new garden on West Jerald Street in Highland Springs will be available.

LOVE comes to town

LOVE has officially arrived in Henrico County. The Virginia Tourism Corporation and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden celebrated the arrival of the VTC's giant "LOVE" artwork at the garden Nov. 22 as part of the Dominion GardenFest of Lights, which officially opened Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9.

The LOVE sign is 16 feet long and more than 6 feet tall. It is part of the "Virginia is for Lovers" marketing campaign and will be on display throughout the GardenFest of Lights event. Lewis Ginter is the first attraction in the state to display the artwork, which previously has been displayed only at Virginia welcome centers statewide.

Short Pump Town Center kicks off holidays

Hundreds of people visited Short Pump Town Center Nov. 18 to celebrate Santa’s arrival with a parade and magical tree lighting, which were followed by performances by the Salvation Army Band and Susan Greenbaum.

Short Pump mall suspends cell-phone tracking program

Short Pump Town Center and another shopping mall in California have stopped tracking shoppers' cell phone signals temporarily, following a request from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York. CNNMoney was first to report the announcement.

Short Pump Town Center and the Promenade Temecula in southern California (both Forest City Enterprises properties) began tracking the cell phone signals of shoppers on Black Friday in an attempt to cull information about their habits. Though the tracking was done anonymously, it raised concerns among some shoppers and other observers who felt it still was a violation of privacy.

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