Fairfield meeting April 20 to feature Elegba Folklore Society, Recreation and Parks

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Monday, April 20 to highlight the Elegba Folklore Society and opportunities available through the Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave.

Janine Bell, founder and artistic director of the Elegba Folklore Society, and representatives of Recreation and Parks will join Thornton for the discussion and will answer questions.

For information, call (804) 501-4208.



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Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition to host April 30 forum on youth

The Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition will hold its third-annual It Takes a Village Community Forum on Thursday, April 30 to discuss ways to promote good health and wellness among youth in Henrico County.

The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Strawberry Hill Ballroom of the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. The event is open to the public and intended for youth, parents, professionals and others interested in making a positive impact on local youth.

The Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition also will recognize an outstanding youth, a community champion and a prevention professional for their support to the organization. The Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition promotes health and wellness in Henrico and focuses on reducing substance abuse by youth.

To register for the forum, contact Kathy Johnson at kjjohnson@henrico.k12.va.us by April 19. For information, go to toosmart2start.com.



Henrico Extension to offer lawn care workshop

The Henrico County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension will offer a free workshop at three locations of the Henrico County Public Library this spring to explain how to grow a healthy lawn without harming the environment.

The Get SMART with Lawn Care workshop will be held Monday, March 30 at North Park Branch Library, 8508 Franconia Road; Tuesday, March 31 at Sandston Branch Library, 23 E. Williamsburg Road; and Thursday, April 2 at Twin Hickory Area Library, 5001 Twin Hickory Road. Each session will start at 7 p.m.

The SMART Lawns program is designed to share practical ways to control weeds, increase turf density and prevent diseases using organic or conventional products. The workshop will explain the five concepts of SMART turf management — Soil conditions, Measuring, Aerating, Right fertilizer and Trouble-free maintenance.

Each workshop session is open to the public, but registration in advance is encouraged. Extension also will be accepting applications for its SMART Lawns program, which provides Henrico residents with customized plans for growing attractive, healthy lawns.

To register for a workshop session or to receive an application for the SMART Lawns program, call (804) 501-5160 or send an email to cmitchell@vt.edu. For information, go to www.henrico.us/extension.



Henrico salutes accomplishments of individuals with developmental disabilities

Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services will sponsor an ice cream social Friday, March 27 to recognize Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to celebrate the achievements and successes of people with developmental disabilities.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. at Hermitage Enterprises, 8247 Hermitage Road. Festivities will include presentations highlighting individuals and their talents, hopes, dreams and accomplishments.

Hermitage Enterprises works with local employers to promote the hiring of individuals who have developmental disabilities and live in Henrico, New Kent and Charles City counties. The individuals also serve various organizations as volunteers. For information about Hermitage Enterprises and its programs, call Shirley Lyons at (804) 262-6665, ext. 8803.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Virginia. Nearly 150,000 adults and children across the state have developmental disabilities.

As part of the statewide observance, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services supports greater awareness of people’s abilities and similarities, and promotes employment and residential opportunities that more fully integrate individuals with developmental disabilities into the community.



Henrico 4-H team repeats as LifeSmarts state champions, will compete nationally

A Henrico County 4-H team will compete in the national LifeSmarts consumer education competition for the second consecutive year after winning the state championship this week in Glen Allen.

The 4-H team — called WYSIWYG, an abbreviation for “What You See Is What You Get” — consists of students Joshua Hyde, Stephen Baker, Curtis Cantwell, George Evans and Emily Royster. Karie Dawkins coaches the squad, with assistance from Kathleen Cantwell and Sheila Hyde.

WYSIWYG earned its second state title after scoring better than five other teams in the Virginia LifeSmarts Competition, held March 9 at the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Virginia Housing Center in Glen Allen. The team will represent the state in the National LifeSmarts Championship, scheduled for April 17-20 in Seattle. It will be the fifth team from Henrico’s 4-H program to compete nationally since 1995.

A program of the National Consumers League, LifeSmarts is a consumer education competition that challenges students in ninth through 12th grades with questions about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Henrico 4-H is a comprehensive youth development program that offers hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of 4-H agents and trained adult or teen volunteers. Program offerings include recreational camps and a variety of contests and clubs.

For information, go to www.henrico.us/extension.

Henrico 4-H LifeSmarts Team
Henrico 4-H LifeSmarts Team


Henrico sets final hearing on community development needs for March 26

Henrico County will hold a final public hearing Thursday, March 26 to help guide the county’s use of federal housing and community development funds over the next five years.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in room 2031 of the Henrico County Training Center, 7701 E. Parham Road. The hearing had been scheduled for Feb. 26 but was canceled due to winter weather.

Henrico will use the input of residents and others to prepare the Fiscal Year 2015-2020 Consolidated Plan and an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. The plan will establish priorities for the use of federal Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Emergency Solutions Grant Program funds. Henrico will submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this summer, pending approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Henrico receives more than $2 million in the federal funding annually for services, programs, facilities and other assistance to low- and moderate-income residents, as well as people who are homeless or have other special needs. The funds have supported a variety of initiatives, including housing improvements, home purchase assistance, neighborhood recreation facilities and after-school programs.

For information, call (804) 501-7640 or go to www.henrico.us/revit. The webpage includes a link to an online survey. To request a special accommodation at the meeting, call (804) 501-7640 by March 24.



Free tax-preparation service for qualified residents

Families and individuals who earned less than $53,000 last year can receive free assistance with their 2014 income tax returns at locations in Henrico County and throughout the metropolitan region.

Metrocash, a coalition of local nonprofit, business and government organizations, is hosting 12 sites, including two in Henrico. IRS-certified tax preparers and other volunteers will help qualifying taxpayers prepare and file their federal and state returns at Dumbarton Area Library, 6800 Staples Mill Road, 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 9; and Fairfield Area Library, 1001 N. Laburnum Ave., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays Feb. 7-March 14. A complete list of sites and their operating hours is available at metrocash.org.

To receive assistance, participants should bring photo ID, Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number cards, copies of tax returns from 2013, W-2 and 1099-R forms, and any other income tax-related documents.

In addition to getting help with their taxes, participants will learn if they are eligible for the Earned Income Credit (EIC), a tax benefit that could boost a federal refund by more than $6,100 for families with at least three children and nearly $500 for individuals. EIC eligibility is based on income.

Last year, Metrocash volunteers helped area residents file more than 3,000 tax returns, generating nearly $995,000 in EIC funds and $2.7 million in federal refunds. Metrocash estimates the free service saved its clients more than $600,000 in preparation fees.

More information is available at the Metrocash website and by calling 211.



Henrico Extension to offer free vegetable gardening workshop April 4

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold a workshop Saturday, April 4 to help residents start or improve a vegetable garden.

The Vegetable Gardening Jumpstart Workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Extension Office’s demonstration kitchen in the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The workshop is free and open to the public. To register, call (804) 501-5160 by Friday, April 3.

The workshop will show new and experienced gardeners how to reduce their grocery costs and eat a healthier diet. Home gardeners and participants in Henrico’s community garden program, Gardens Growing Families, are welcome.

The Henrico Extension Office also is accepting applications for Gardens Growing Families. Applications are available at the Extension Office and at henrico.us/extension/gardens-growing-families.  Individuals and families may grow their own vegetables in plots at the Lakeside Garden, at Vale Street and Michael Avenue, near Lakeside Avenue.  Fees range $10 to $65 per year based on household size and income.

For information on the workshop or community garden program, call (804) 501-5160 or go to henrico.us/extension.



Registration for Henrico Junior 4-H summer camp begins with March 28 open house

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold an open house Saturday, March 28 to begin accepting registrations for the 2015 Henrico County Junior 4-H Camp.

The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Extension office at the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The residential camp, which is open to boys and girls ages 9 through 14, will be held July 20-24 at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center, near Williamsburg.

Early registration is strongly encouraged because space is limited and many classes fill quickly. The cost of the camp is $242 and includes a T-shirt, lodging, meals, programs, instructional class materials and transportation by chartered bus. Scholarship assistance may be available. Registration forms are available at henrico.us/extension and may be submitted at the open house or by mail.

The Junior 4-H Camp provides youths with a fun learning environment while they make friends and discover the outdoors. Activities include swimming, archery, sailing, canoeing, basketball, forestry, marine science, volleyball, shooting sports, fishing, robotics, campfires and crafts. The camp’s theme for 2015 is “Road Trip!”

The Jamestown 4-H Educational Center occupies 16 acres of woods and open spaces along the James River. Amenities include air-conditioned lodges and cabins, archery and rifle ranges, a swimming pool, a floating dock, a ropes course and an amphitheater.

Accredited by the American Camp Association, the camp is operated by adult and teen counselors and a staff that includes lifeguards, recreational leaders, a dietician and a medical attendant. Parent volunteers are needed. For information, call (804) 501-5160, send an email to henrico4-h@vt.edu or go to henrico.us/extension.