Henrico County VA
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United Way celebrates ‘Read Across America Day’


Read Across America Day, or Dr. Seuss’s birthday, was celebrated March 2 by more than 60 members of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, who fanned out across the region to read to toddlers and preschoolers. Their mission was to foster a love of books and reading with children and to raise awareness for the importance of early literacy.

The goal of early literacy is the natural development of skills through the enjoyment of books, the importance of positive interactions between youngsters and adults and the role of literacy-rich experiences.

Above, Kings Dominion employee Raquel Goodson reads Green Eggs and Ham to some eager listeners at Antioch Learning Center in Henrico’s East End.

‘Theirs by the sword’


Next month, Henrico could play host to as many as 1,000 reenactors and 5,000 tourists and spectators from across the country, as history buffs and heritage-seekers visit Henrico for one of the most highly anticipated commemorations of the Civil War sesquicentennial. To mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Market Heights, reenactors will stage a re-creation of the historic conflict, complete with presentations by historians and accompanied by educational programs and live concerts of period music.

Among the spectators sure to be looking on with more than casual interest is James S. "Jimmy" Price, author of a book about the battle published in 2011, and a former employee of Henrico Recreation and Parks.

Let’s go racin’

On Sept. 6, Henrico County will play host to one of the most pivotal races of the NASCAR season: The Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

The behemoth that is a NASCAR race – drivers arriving in helicopters, pit crews in tractor trailers, fans in RVs and media in droves – will descend upon Henrico for 48 hours, beginning Sept. 5 with the Virginia529 College Savings 250 Nationwide Series race.

For the uninitiated fans – the ones who every year are bothered by the traffic and the noise and don’t understand why people get so excited about “guys driving in circles" – here are five reasons to take a closer look at the race in our backyard:

Just winging it

Famed actors Corbin Bernsen and Shirley Jones were in Henrico recently for several days, filming On The Wing, a family-friendly movie whose screenplay was a finalist at the International Family Film Festival and quarter-finalist at the Richmond International Film Festival. The movie filmed for several days at St. Joseph's Villa in Henrico, then moved to the Virginia State Capitol and Doswell. Filming will wrap up Aug. 25, and the movie is expected to be completed by January, then marketed in the U.S. and internationally through RedBox and on Netflix.

The crew of two dozen is composed almost entirely of Richmond-area residents, and the lead actor (19-year-old Brennon Tolbert) is from Virginia Beach.

Into the fire

Teen Summer Fire Academy participants practice removing a body from a burning building.

The stage was set for an exercise at the Henrico County fire training facility last month. A three-story cinderblock structure represented the burning building. Traffic cones stood in each window, and dummies were hidden in the dark recesses within. Sirens could be heard in the distance.

Three fire trucks filled with trainees pulled up to the imaginary scene. Firefighters hopped out of one truck and initiated a search and rescue mission, soon emerging with one dummy and reentering to find another. Crew members from the second truck set up hoses, charged the lines and entered the building, expertly knocking down the cones with the water.

Redskins running back visits children in Henrico therapy center


Following the final practice of Washington Redskins training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, running back Alfred Morris visited with children at the Richmond Hope Therapy Center in Glen Allen. Morris, pictured above at right, is one of the Bon Secours Community Health Ambassadors. He signed autographs and took selfies with the children and families at the center.

The center is part of Bon Secours Virginia and is Virginia’s first pediatric intensive therapy center. The intensive therapy model of three hours of therapy a day, five days a week for three weeks, is designed to help patients suffering from cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders achieve milestones that outpatient therapy cannot.

ChildFund’s influence spreads globally


In 1938, a Presbyterian minister from Richmond, Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke, created a campaign to help Chinese children orphaned during the Second Sino-Japanese war. He connected donors on a one-to-one basis with children through “adoptions.”

Today, his model has grown into an international organization – ChildFund International – that serves 18.1 million people in 30 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Acting on its growing understanding of what works for children, ChildFund moved from running orphanages to helping families and communities fight poverty at its roots.

United they run


It may have seemed as if there were the usual number of runners on the Hermitage H.S. sprint medley relay team that won the national championship in June.

But behind the foursome of Jaylen Banks, Dallas Carter, Edwin Mejia and Devin Barnes, there were a number of unseen hands and supporters helping to clear their path to the championship and propel them over the finish line in first place.

In a run that their coach called "amazing," the boys led the field from the very beginning of the race and claimed the title with a margin of 1.6 seconds. According to Milestat.com, which compiles high school meet results, the boys "attacked" the event, and only one team ever had a chance of catching them.

Living history

Henrico filmmaker Kevin Hershberger has transformed the "birthplace" of Jesus into the Hanoi Hilton.

Hershberger, the CEO of LionHeart Film Works, modified the Salem Baptist Church in Manakin (best known as the site of a living nativity scene each Christmas) to replicate the notorious Vietnamese Hoa Lo prison camp for a Vietnam prisoner-of-war documentary he's currently filming for the Smithsonian. Adding shackles and torture hooks to the walls where holiday visitors will line up in December seems morbid, but this is what Hershberger does. As a documentary filmmaker dedicated to filming historical documentaries in and around Henrico County, the VMI graduate is forced to get creative with his sets.

LionHeart is based out of a nondescript storefront in the West End.

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