Henrico Extension ready to help residents grow SMART Lawns

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension is enrolling residents in SMART Lawns, a program that provides customized plans for growing attractive, healthy lawns.

For a $20 fee, Master Gardener volunteers will visit a home, analyze the lawn and prepare a plan for improving its condition, appearance and health. Participants will receive recommendations for fertilizer and lime, as well as suggestions for environmentally friendly weed control, mowing and watering practices.

The SMART Lawns program follows the concepts of SMART — Soil test, Measure, Aerate, Right fertilizer and Trouble-free maintenance.

The deadline to enroll is Friday, Sept. 5. To sign up, go to henrico.us/extension or call (804) 501-5160.

Henrico meetings to highlight dangers of smoking

The Henrico County Health Department will hold four meetings in July to explain the public health risks associated with smoking and provide information on how smokers can quit the habit.

The meetings will be held 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Monday, July 21 at the Dumbarton Area Library, 6800 Staples Mill Road; Wednesday, July 23 at the Varina Branch Library, 2001 Library Road; Wednesday, July 30 at the Twin Hickory Area Library, 5001 Twin Hickory Road; and Thursday, July 31 at the Fairfield Area Library, 1001 N. Laburnum Ave. The meetings are free and open to the public.

Public health officials will discuss how firsthand, secondhand and thirdhand smoke can be harmful to smokers as well as nonsmokers who are exposed to smoke or the residue it leaves on clothing, furniture, carpet and other surfaces.

For information, contact Public Health Nurse Manager Rebecca Parsio at (804) 501-4954 or rebecca.parsio@vdh.virginia.gov.

Henrico wins National Association of Counties awards

Henrico wins National Association of Counties awards for 26 programs; Digital archive of zoning ordinance recognized Best in Category

Henrico County departments and agencies have earned 26 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), plus a Best in Category honor for an electronic library that chronicles changes to the zoning ordinance since its initial adoption in 1933.

Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Frank J. Thornton will accept the awards Sunday, July 13 at the 2014 NACo annual conference in New Orleans. The NACo Achievement Award Program recognizes groundbreaking programs and initiatives in 21 service categories, including children and youth, county administration management, parks and recreation, health, and human services.

Henrico’s 26 awards are the most of any county in Virginia for the ninth consecutive year and the fourth most nationally, behind Maricopa County, Ariz.; San Diego County, Calif.; and San Bernardino County, Calif. Each of those counties has at least 2 million residents, compared with Henrico’s about 318,000 residents. Henrico submitted 33 programs for awards.

“Henrico County employees perform exceptional work every day on behalf of our residents and businesses,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “The NACo awards reflect a commitment to public service within Henrico General Government and Henrico County Public Schools. Our employees are prepared to lead and encouraged to innovate in ways that help us provide the highest quality services at the lowest cost.”

The Department of Planning won an Achievement Award and a Best in Category honor for its Zoning Ordinance Digital Library, a searchable electronic archive of the county’s zoning ordinance.

With three spreadsheet indexes, the Zoning Ordinance Digital Library allows county staff to quickly research the zoning ordinance that was in effect at any point in its evolution. Such research, which can be helpful in determining the rights associated with the development and use of a particular property, previously required days sorting through worn, incomplete and poorly indexed paper copies of nearly 80 years of zoning ordinance records. Completed in 2012, the Zoning Ordinance Digital Library is updated with each amendment to the zoning ordinance.

Henrico has earned 524 NACo awards since 1985. Henrico’s awards in 2014 recognize the efforts of 11 general government departments as well as Henrico County Public Schools. The Division of Fire received or shared seven awards, more than any other county department or agency. The Department of Human Resources earned at least one award for the 28th consecutive year, a feat unmatched by any other human resources agency in the country.

Henrico’s award-wining programs and their submitting agencies are listed below. Detailed descriptions of the programs are available online at henrico.us/manager/programs/naco-awards.

  • After the Fire Program, Division of Fire
  • Relaunch of the Henrico Fire Safety House, Division of Fire
  • Central Virginia EMS Expo, Division of Fire
  • Intelligent Response: Data-Driven Fire Hazard Evaluation, Division of Fire
  • The Basic Special Services School, Division of Fire
  • Work Performance Evaluation, Division of Fire
  • Preparing for the Future: Promotional Process Feedback Program, Department of Human Resources, Division of Fire
  • Community Garden and Fresh Market: Growing a Service Learning Initiative, Henrico County Public Schools
  • Family Engagement through Family Advocates, Henrico County Public Schools
  • Wilder Middle School College Readiness Center, Henrico County Public Schools
  • Google Apps for Education, Henrico County Public Schools
  • School Forms Go Paperless, Henrico County Public Schools
  • From School Clinic Attendants to Licensed Practical Nurses, Henrico County Public Schools
  • Employment Readiness Program, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • The Weight Management Program, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • Crisis Intervention Team Crisis Receiving Center, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • Reimagine Training: Learning Through Conversations, Department of Human Resources
  • Police Division Fitness and Wellness Program, Department of Human Resources, Division of Police
  • Central Station, Virginia Center Commons, Division of Police
  • ESL Conversation Café, Henrico County Public Library
  • Transition from Bookmobile to Mobile Library Service, Henrico County Public Library
  • Online Construction Document Management System, Department of Finance
  • Zoning Ordinance Digital Library, Department of Planning
  • It’s Your Decision: Meals Tax Referendum Public Information Campaign, Department of Public Relations & Media Services
  • Who is Littering Henrico County?, Department of Public Utilities
  • Standing Water Initiative Mobile Application, Department of Public Works, Department of Information Technology

July 4 Holiday Schedule

Henrico County General Government offices, courts and libraries will be closed Friday, July 4 for Independence Day.

Refuse will not be collected Friday, July 4. Pickup is delayed one day with Friday routes scheduled for pick up on Saturday. Public use areas (landfills) will be CLOSED on Friday and will re-open Saturday at 7:30 am.

Henrico recognizes attractive residential, business properties

The Keep Henrico Beautiful Committee has selected the winners in its annual awards program that recognizes residential and business properties that are attractively landscaped and maintained.

The Board of Supervisors will recognize the 10 recipients of the 2014 Land Lover and Clean Business awards during its meeting Tuesday, June 24. The recipients, who represent a residential and a commercial property from each of Henrico’s five magisterial districts, also will be commended on signs placed at their properties.

The winners of the Land Lover award for residential properties are Linda Stephens of the Brookland District, Valerie Dingle of the Fairfield District, Marilyn Wayland of the Three Chopt District, Cheryl and Allyn Janney Jr. of the Tuckahoe District, and Debbie and Doyle Deaton of the Varina District.

The winners of the Clean Business award are Goodwill Industries, 6202 W. Broad St. in Brookland; Strange’s Florist, 3313 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Fairfield; Wawa, 11052 W. Broad St. in Three Chopt; Bon Secours Medical Facility at Reynolds Crossing, 7001 Forest Ave. in Tuckahoe; and Kingsland Reach Marina, 9680 Osborne Turnpike in Varina.

The Keep Henrico Beautiful Committee has presented the awards annually since 1995 to promote high standards for property maintenance. To be eligible for the Land Lover award, residents must perform their own landscaping and lawn care. Nominees for either award must participate in a recycling program, such as composting, curbside pickup or drop-off service.

Photos of winning properties will be posted online after Tuesday’s meeting at henrico.us/utility/keep-henrico-beautiful/awards/.

Henrico CASA seeks volunteers for training as child advocates

Henrico County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will offer a training program beginning Saturday, Sept. 6 for volunteers who would work in the court system on behalf of abused or neglected children.

The free, 14-session training course will include classes at the Henrico CASA office in suite A of the Hungary Spring Office Park, 3001 Hungary Spring Road. A swearing-in ceremony will follow Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer advocate must apply by Friday, Aug. 15, be at least 21 years old and have regular access to a computer. Applicants will be interviewed, fingerprinted and undergo criminal background and reference checks. Henrico CASA serves a diverse population and needs volunteers who can speak Spanish. For information, contact Jeannine Panzera at (804) 501-1673 or Jeannine.Panzera@henrico.us. Applications are available at www.henricocasa.org.

Henrico CASA is a private, nonprofit organization that has worked closely with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for 20 years to serve children in the community. Working typically 10 to 15 hours per month, volunteer advocates gather information on a child’s circumstances to supplement information provided to the court.

The training program prepares volunteers to interview children and others involved in their cases, submit reports to judges and assist case attorneys. Henrico CASA volunteers have worked 7,614 hours and served 315 children in fiscal year 2013-14.

Road repaving underway across Henrico

Henrico County is in the midst of a blitz to repave and resurface roads following a harsh winter of abuse.

Early this year, the Department of Public Works launched a series of projects to improve about 92 miles of high-volume secondary roads and 114 miles of neighborhood streets.

The amount of repaving and resurfacing represents increases of 115 percent and 55 percent, respectively, over totals for 2013.

Crews are scheduled to work through the fall. Because of this, Public Works is asking drivers to be alert for temporary lane closures and to be patient as projects progress.

At times, residents may notice a break in activity between stages of work.

Most repaving or resurfacing projects can be completed in three to six weeks if weather conditions are acceptable and crews available. The time to complete a project also depends on the method of repaving or resurfacing used.

For higher-traffic secondary roads, such as Hungary Road, the process generally takes three to four weeks. The improved road conditions typically last 10 to 15 years.

These projects proceed as follows:

  • The road is milled to remove about 2 inches of damaged or distressed asphalt
  • About one week later, a layer of new asphalt is applied
  • After two weeks, new striping is added.

For neighborhood streets, one of two methods of resurfacing is used. Each usually takes four to six weeks to complete and provides five to seven years of optimum use.

In the “chip seal” method:

  • The pavement is sprayed with an asphalt binding material
  • Small stones, or chips, are spread across the area to be patched
  • A roller compacts the area to compress the stones into the pavement cracks
  • After two to four weeks of settling, a power sweeper makes two passes to remove loose stones and prepares the surface for a sealant, called “slurry seal.” This coating fills in slight imperfections, seals out water and gives the road a smooth, uniform color, texture and surface.

paving2Another method of resurfacing effectively recycles the pavement in place before sealant is applied:

  • The road surface is heated, which allows it to be reshaped to a proper slope and grade
  • While hot, the recycled asphalt is rolled to its final compaction before a coat of slurry seal is applied.

For more information on road maintenance and other Public Works projects, go to henrico.us/works or call (804) 727-8300.

Want to learn more? Watch our HCTV program Paving Ahead.  


Varina District meeting to discuss state of Henrico County Public Schools

Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold a Community Conversations meeting Monday, June 23 to discuss trends, initiatives and issues of Henrico County Public Schools.

The meeting, organized in partnership with the Eastern Henrico Business Association, will be held at 6 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road.

Nelson will lead the discussion with School Board Vice Chair John W. Montgomery Jr., of the Varina District; Superintendent Patrick C. Kinlaw; and Director of Secondary Education Omega W. Wilson.

For information, call (804) 501-4208.

Henrico changes web address to henrico.us

Henrico County has a new, simpler Internet address at henrico.us.

The switchover took effect June 12 and applies to web pages and the email addresses of general government departments and employees.

Residents, businesses and others who interact with departments and employees are encouraged to update their bookmarks, contacts and other links.

The henrico.us address replaces www.co.henrico.va.us and provides a basis for the web pages of departments and agencies. For example, information about the Division of Police is available at henrico.us/police.

Henrico.us works with or without the www. prefix that is used in many web addresses.

Similarly, the email addresses of departments and employees now end with @henrico.us instead of @co.henrico.va.us. For example, Police can be contacted about nonemergencies at police@henrico.us.

All old website links and email addresses should continue to work, but the changeover could temporarily disrupt search functions while the website is indexed under the new address.

If you have questions about the changes, call (804) 501-4357 or go to henrico.us/contact-us.