Tax break for spouses of military killed in action

Surviving spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces who were killed in action can qualify for a tax exemption on their home that took effect Jan. 1.

Henrico County is encouraging any residents who qualify to apply with the Department of Finance. For information, call (804) 501-5335 or go to

Homeowners should have received details about the exemption with their 2015 real estate assessment notices. Information also will be included with the May mailing of the year’s first-half real estate tax bills.

To qualify for the new exemption, a homeowner must be the spouse of an armed services member who was killed in action as determined by the Department of Defense.

The spouse may qualify for exemption as long as he or she does not remarry and continues to use the property as a primary place of residence.

A home qualifies only if the assessed value — including the property on which it’s located — does not exceed the average assessed value of single-family homes in the county.

In 2014, the average value of a single-family home in Henrico is $227,600, according to Finance’s Real Estate Assessment Division.

Because an exemption depends on ever-changing property assessments, it is possible that a homeowner could qualify in some years but not in others. Regardless, a homeowner will have to file only once to be considered for exemption.

If a home qualifies, the exemption applies to as many as 10 acres of land.

Officials have no estimates of how many homeowners might qualify or what the impact on real estate tax collections could be.

Virginia voters overwhelmingly approved the exemption in November as a state constitutional amendment. In Henrico, the measure passed with 89 percent support, which compared with 87 percent support statewide.

In 2010, Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment granting a tax exemption on the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent and total disability. The value of that exemption is unrestricted.

Henrico to offer rabies vaccinations for pets

The Henrico County Police Division will provide rabies vaccines for dogs and cats from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road.

Pet owners must register and pay at the cashier’s office in the Administration Building before seeing a veterinarian on the first level of the adjacent parking deck.

Each vaccine costs $10 and must be paid in cash. A rabies tag and certificate of inoculation are included. Pets from all localities are welcome. Cats must be in carriers.

Under Virginia law, dogs and cats 4 months of age and older must be vaccinated for rabies.

Henrico dog licenses will be available for $10, for a one-year license, and $15, for a three-year license. Officers will be available to discuss license options and vaccination requirements.

For information, call the Animal Protection Unit at (804) 727-8801.

Henrico supervisors, deputy county managers appointed to Virginia Association of Counties committees

All five members of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors and three deputy county managers will serve on steering and operational committees of the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) in 2015.

Members of the Board of Supervisors received the following appointments:

  • Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton, Education Steering Committee;
  • Vice Chairman and Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson, Transportation Steering Committee (vice chair) and Resolutions Committee;
  • Brookland District Supervisor Richard W. Glover, Economic Development and Planning Steering Committee;
  • Three Chopt District Supervisor David A. Kaechele, Finance Steering Committee; and
  • Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon, General Government Steering Committee. She also represents Region 3 on the VACo Board of Directors.

Henrico administration officials who received appointments are:

  • Deputy County Manager for Administration Joseph P. Casey, Finance Steering Committee;
  • Deputy County Manager for Community Development Randall R. Silber, Environment and Agriculture Steering Committee; and
  • Deputy County Manager for Community Services Jane D. Crawley, Health and Human Resources Steering Committee.

VACo’s 11 committees review legislative requests from member counties, recommend an annual legislative program and provide policy guidance to VACo staff. The association represents local governments at the state and federal levels and provides a resource network for planning and implementing ideas and technologies.

Henrico berry plant sale benefits 4-H youth programs

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension is selling a variety of berry plants to support its 4-H Youth Development program.

Blackberry, raspberry and blueberry plants are available for $5 each. A bundle of 25 strawberry plants is $7.

Order forms are available from the Extension Office, in the Human Services Building at 8600 Dixon Powers Drive, and any location of the Henrico County Public Library. They also are available online at To receive a form by fax, call (804) 501-5160.

All orders received by Tuesday, March 17 will be filled. Those received later will be filled while supplies last.

Plants will be distributed from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 1 and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 2 at the Virginia Randolph Recreation Center, 2175 Mountain Road.

The berry plant sale is a fundraiser for the 4-H Youth Development program, which is a diverse, volunteer-led program that provides a safe and nurturing environment for youth to develop confidence, leadership and other life skills.

Leaf Vacuuming Program

Vacuum program available:  Call (804) 501-4275 to have your leaves vacuumed or request online here. The $30 service is available from March 2 to 27.

A few tips:

  • Loose leaves should be accessible from the road’s edge.
  • Leaves should be free of trash, sticks and other debris.
  • Leaves should not block traffic lanes, parking or drainage ditches.

Public-use areas available: Henrico’s two public-use areas (2075 Charles City Road and 10600 Fords Country Lane) offer another option. You can deliver bagged leaves free of charge through Feb. 8 to these sites (a $3 charge will apply after Feb. 8).

The public-use areas accept unbagged leaves and vegetative waste at no cost throughout the year.

Questions? (804) 501-4275

Read brochure here

Fairfield meeting Feb. 16 to feature Elegba Folklore Society, Recreation and Parks

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Monday, Feb. 16 to highlight the Elegba Folklore Society and opportunities available through the Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 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.

Henrico CASA to celebrate 20th anniversary with Feb. 6 musical event

Henrico Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will present an evening of musical entertainment Friday, Feb. 6 to commemorate its 20 years of working on behalf of abused and neglected children.

The event, Bluebird at the Hipp, will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd St. in Richmond. The evening will feature performances by singer-songwriter Dane Ferguson, country duo James & Emma and bluegrass band The Woodshedders, as well as a full bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, raffles and silent auctions.

Guests are encouraged to wear denim. Tickets are $125 per person and may be purchased at the door. Proceeds will benefit Henrico CASA, a private, nonprofit organization that works with the Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to advocate for children who have been abused or neglected.

For information, call (804) 501-1671 or go to

Henrico CASA seeks volunteers for training as child advocates

Henrico County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will offer a training program beginning Saturday, Feb. 28 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, April 1 at the Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer advocate must apply by Friday, Feb. 13, 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 has a particular need for male volunteers, but all are welcome. For information, contact Jeannine Panzera at (804) 501-1673 or Applications are available at

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 worked 8,000 hours and served 316 children in fiscal year 2013-14.

Henrico supervisors elect Thornton chairman, Nelson vice chairman for 2015

The Henrico County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton chairman and Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson vice chairman for 2015.

Their election marks the first time that African-Americans will hold both leadership posts on Henrico’s Board of Supervisors.

Thornton is beginning his fourth service as board chairman, a position he held most recently in 2011. He first was elected to represent Fairfield in 1995 and currently is serving his fifth term on the county’s board. Thornton, who served as vice chairman last year, succeeds Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon as chairman.

FrankThornton.jpgThornton said that Henrico’s reputation as a premier local government has been “diligently earned” and is the result of an operating principle known as the “Henrico Way.”

“The Henrico Way is our way of serving our citizens in which they are receiving optimal and positive results in government service,” he said. “It is my hope and our challenge that we take the Henrico Way to an even higher level during the upcoming year.”

Thornton noted that expectations for the county in 2015 include continued low taxes, improved financial growth, improved accountability in all government agencies, recognition that Henrico has become more urbanized and eradication of the “east versus west syndrome” in the county.

“As Henrico is on the precipice of a new era of renewed growth and expansion, it must also be poised to be a beacon of leadership and hope in the metro area,” he said. “Henrico will be moving forward.”

Thornton holds appointed positions with national, statewide and regional governmental organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Maymont Foundation.

A Richmond native, Thornton is a co-founder and past president of the Henrico County Civic League. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University and a master’s degree from American University. He recently retired from full-time teaching at Virginia Union, where he worked for more than 40 years as an assistant professor of French and received the university’s Teacher of the Year award. Thornton also is a recipient of the John Jasper Trailblazer Award from Richmond’s Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Nelson, who was elected Varina District supervisor in 2011, is serving his first term on Henrico’s board. He said it has been an honor to represent Varina for the past three years and is “now an even greater honor” to become the second African-American to serve as the board’s vice chairman.

“It was not long ago that persons who look like me were not able to vote in the United States,” he said. “I do not take this lightly that I am able to serve in this leadership capacity in this great county.”

TNelson_000.jpgNelson serves on a number of governmental and community organizations, including the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, the Capital Region Airport Commission, the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the board of directors of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority.

A native of the Varina District, he earned an associate degree from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, a bachelor’s degree from VCU and a master’s degree from Virginia Union. Nelson is the pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond.

Water main repairs to limit travel on Three Chopt

The left westbound lane and left turn lane from Three Chopt Road to Forest Avenue will close beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14  while crews repair a 12-inch water main.

Three Chopt’s right westbound lane in front of Tuckahoe Creek Apartments will reopen to traffic.

Repairs are expected to continue through Friday, Jan. 16.