Henrico County VA
Features

Ruritans honor Varina students


The Varina Ruritan Club annually sponsors an environmental poster and essay contest for Varina Elementary School students each March. The club recently invited winners of this year's contest and their families to attend its monthly meeting, at which the students were honored and recognized.

Pictured are the winning students and Varina Elementary School Assistant Principal Terry Larkin.

Faison School offers holistic approach to autism care


The Faison School for Autism in Henrico offers a unique opportunity for autistic children through a continuum of care methodology that focuses on providing support and resources for students throughout their lifespan for the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation.

Founded in 1999 by Alan Kirshner and Flo Guzman, The Faison School was built in response to the lack of specialized services that were available locally for his granddaughter, Brittany Faison, who had been diagnosed with the disorder. Kirshner felt it was necessary for the community to have a school available for autistic children that was based upon proven techniques and philosophies.

Safe and sound


When Srabanti Gupta, 37, left India and moved to Henrico in 2012 to be with her husband of 10 years, she had no idea that within weeks she would feel helpless, scared and fearful for her life and that of her six-year-old son, Ishan.

Unsure of where to turn, Gupta found comfort and safety in Safe Harbor, a shelter that offers comprehensive services for survivors of sexual and/or intimate partner violence.

Robotics teams shine


Robotics teams from J.R. Tucker and Godwin high schools are on their way to the world championships in St. Louis after emerging as winners at the state level. The two Henrico County schools were among three Richmond-area winners at the Virginia Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition last month.

The J.R. Tucker “Sparky 384” team and Godwin's "Talon 540" team won in competition against other machines in front of more than 3,000 onlookers at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center. Both teams are returning to the world championships for the second year in a row.

In competitive robotics, teams create machines to compete at predetermined challenges, such as scoring goals or stacking objects. More than 1,500 students and 72 high school teams competed in more than 100 rounds of action during last month's event.

Finding a new way home


Editor's Note: This is the second in a three-part series about Bhutanese refugees living in Henrico County.

Hem and Chitra Bhattarai, two Nepali-speaking Bhutanese brothers now living in Henrico County, arrived at a refugee camp in Nepal in 1991. Although it was the land of their ancestors and they spoke the language, the refugees fleeing Bhutan in the early 1990s were not welcomed as Nepali citizens.

The Nepali-speaking Bhutanese could come into Nepal, but they had to stay in the camps until Bhutan and Nepal could figure out what to do with them. Exiled by Bhutan, not welcome in India or Pakistan, and merely tolerated in Nepal, Hem, Chitra, and the 100,000 other Nepali-speaking Bhutanese had become a stateless people.

The refugees moved into small huts, made of bamboo with plastic roofs.

Lewis Ginter named second-best public garden in the nation

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden finished second in USA Today’s 10Best Public Gardens contest. Twenty gardens nationwide were nominated, including some of the most stunning green spaces across North America.

The public was invited to vote for their favorite garden during March, and the top 10 were announced April 2.

“This has been the second most popular contest in the history of Readers’ Choice, so a top ten finish is really saying something!” said Libby McMillan, Content Manager and Senior Editor at USA Today. “America loves its gardens more than any of us knew.”

Powhatan offensive enacted at Henricus


The history of the early settlements at the James River came to life when Opechancanough’s offensive of 1622 was enacted recently at the Henricus Historical Park.

Attacks by Powhatan Indians had killed more than 300 men, women and children, representing a quarter of the total population, among the early settlers along the James River and in the Williamsburg area in March 1622. In the weeks after the “massacre,” the Powhatan Confederacy Indians, led by chief Opechancanough, continued their coordinated campaign against the settlers, who had to be evacuated from their farms and settlements to the fortified Jamestown settlement.

‘Beyond Barbie’ designed to empower women

Although Susan Singer’s life has handed her challenges, she was always able to prevail and find strength through art, which has inspired Beyond Barbie, Singer’s unique series at Crossroads Art Center that begins March 28. The series will feature performances and discussions from diverse, passionate females; it aims to instill the same strength and empowerment in other women.

Singer began the series in 2011 in conjunction with her art show Not Barbie, a series of paintings of female nudes of every size, shape, age and race to provoke society to expand its definition of beauty.

Student-run camp assists children of cancer patients

Barbie Quick, a 47-year-old data entry specialist, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She has been in remission four times since then and endured a long and expensive road to recovery – one that she hasn’t taken alone. Quick’s daughters Kristin, 12, and Rebecca, 15, have dealt with their mom’s cancer for more than half their lives, which hasn’t left them much opportunity simply to be kids.

That’s why Quick turned to Camp Kesem.

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