Fairfield, Varina meeting Sept. 8 to spotlight upcoming Civil War reenactments

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton and Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold a community meeting Monday, Sept. 8 on upcoming Civil War battle reenactments to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Market Heights.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nile Mile Road. Officials with the Division of Recreation and Parks will discuss plans for the reenactments and related festivities, which will include living history exhibits and Civil War-era music, food and games.

The reenactments will take place Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 28 at the Runnymede property, which is adjacent to the Malvern Hill site of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, 8750 Willis Church Road, between Darbytown Road and state Route 5/New Market Road. Admission and parking are free.

For details on the reenactments, including directions and maps, go to civilwarhenrico.com and visithenrico.com. For information on the community meeting, call (804) 501-4208.

Fourteen African-American soldiers and two white officers serving in the U.S. Colored Troops received the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award — for heroism in combat during the Battle of New Market Heights. Their actions helped dispel the notion, widely held at the time, that black soldiers were unfit for combat.

Henrico Extension to offer lawn-care workshops in September

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will conduct two workshops in September to help residents use environmentally responsible methods to grow attractive, healthy lawns this fall.

A Do it Yourself: Lawn-Care workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 at the Belmont Recreation Center, 1600 Hilliard Road. The cost is $6 per participant.

The class, sponsored with the Division of Recreation and Parks, will provide an overview of soil testing and preparation, the selection of grass and when to apply fertilizer. To register, go to connect.henricorecandparks.com or call (804) 501-7275 by Monday, Sept. 8.

A free workshop — I Have a Lawn Nutrient Management Plan. Now What? — will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 at the Extension office in the Henrico Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive.

The workshop is open to anyone, but it will explain how to implement a nutrient management plan, a yard-care plan prepared for each participant of the SMART Lawns program. For information on the workshop or to register, call (804) 501-5160. Participants also may register on-site.

Extension continues to accept registrations for SMART Lawns. The cost is $20. Sign-ups are requested by Friday, Sept. 5. The program follows the concepts of SMART — Soil test, Measure, Aerate, Right fertilizer and Trouble-free maintenance. To register, go to henrico.us/extension or call (804) 501-5160.

Henrico prepares for heavy traffic during NASCAR races Sept. 5-6

The Henrico County Department of Public Works will temporarily alter traffic patterns on roads around Richmond International Raceway (RIR) to accommodate fans attending the NASCAR races Friday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 6.

Motorists are advised to expect heavy traffic and delays in the area on both days, especially from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., before the races, and from 10:15 p.m. to 1 a.m., afterward.

Henrico Police officers will direct motorists before and after the races. Race fans and other motorists are encouraged to check traffic updates on message boards along interstates and other roads approaching RIR. Police also will post updates on its Twitter account, @henricopolice, and its Facebook site.

The following traffic patterns will be in effect Saturday, Sept. 6 during peak hours:

• Carolina Avenue between Laburnum and Azalea avenues will be one-way outbound after the race. Access to businesses along Carolina Avenue will be maintained from Laburnum Avenue.

• Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road from the Henrico/Hanover county line to Azalea Avenue will be one-way southbound from about 1 p.m. until the race starts. Sections of Meadowbridge Road farther north in Hanover County will continue to accommodate two-way northbound and southbound traffic at all times.

• After the race, Laburnum Avenue from Carolina Avenue to Mechanicsville Turnpike will be one-way eastbound. Eastbound Laburnum Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Carolina Avenue will be closed until race traffic disperses. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Laburnum Avenue west of Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road.

• After the race, beginning at about 10 p.m., Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road north of Azalea Avenue will be one-way northbound to Atlee Road in Hanover County. Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road will be restored to two-way traffic when race traffic disperses.

• After the race, three lanes of Azalea Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Henrico High School will be routed westbound; one lane will be routed eastbound. This change will require all median crossovers on Azalea Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Henrico High School to be closed from about 10 p.m. until race traffic disperses. Police will assist motorists turning from Azalea Avenue onto Thrush Lane and Pony Farm Drive.

While the traffic modifications are in effect, median crossovers on Laburnum Avenue will be closed from North Avenue to Mechanicsville Turnpike, except at Alma Avenue, Pilots Lane and Austin Avenue. Only right turns will be permitted to and from Laburnum Avenue. Police will be at these intersections before and after the race to assist motorists turning onto or crossing Laburnum Avenue.

On-street parking on major routes to RIR will be prohibited each day. Parking will be available for $6 on Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Richmond Coliseum parking deck at 501 N. Seventh St. in downtown Richmond. Free shuttle bus service to and from RIR will begin at 1 p.m.

The Henrico Police Division recommends the following routes for traffic approaching the raceway:

From the east (Hampton Roads area) — Follow Interstate 64 west to Interstate 295 north (Exit 200). Follow I-295 north and exit onto Mechanicsville Turnpike west (Exit 37B).  Follow Mechanicsville Turnpike to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.

From the east (U.S. Route 360) — Follow Route 360 west (Mechanicsville Turnpike), cross I-295 and continue west to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.

• From the east (local traffic) — Follow I-64 west and take the Laburnum Avenue exit (Exit 195). Turn right and proceed to the raceway.

• From the north — Follow Interstate 95 south to the I-295 south interchange (Exit 84A: “Rocky Mount NC-Norfolk”). Follow I-295 south and exit onto Meadowbridge Road west (Exit 38B). Follow Meadowbridge Road (Richmond-Henrico Turnpike) and proceed to the raceway.

• From the north (local traffic) — Follow U.S. Route 1 (Brook Road) to Azalea Avenue. Turn left onto Azalea Avenue and proceed to the raceway.

• From the west — Follow I-64 east to the I-295 south interchange (Exit 177). Follow I-295 south and exit onto Meadowbridge Road west (Exit 38B). Follow Meadowbridge Road (Richmond-Henrico Turnpike) and proceed to the raceway.

• From the west (local traffic) — Follow I-64 east to the Laburnum Avenue/Powhite Parkway exit. Take the Laburnum Avenue exit, turn left and proceed to the raceway.

• From the south — Follow I-95 north to the I-295 interchange south of Petersburg. Follow I-295 north and exit onto Mechanicsville Turnpike (Exit 37B). Follow Mechanicsville Turnpike to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.

• From the south (local traffic) — Follow I-95 north to the I-64 east interchange (Exit 75). Follow I-64 to Route 360 east (Mechanicsville Turnpike). Follow Route 360 east to Laburnum Avenue. Turn left and proceed to the raceway.

Henrico set to mark 150th anniversary of historic battles Sept. 27-28

Civil War buffs and novices alike can get a front-row seat at the remaking of a key moment in American history when Henrico commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Market Heights with reenactments, living history exhibits and other activities Sept. 27-28.

The event will be held at the Runnymede property adjacent to the Malvern Hill site of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, 8750 Willis Church Road, located between Darbytown Road and Route 5/New Market Road. Gates open at 9 a.m.

Admission and parking are free. Handicapped parking will be available at the site. Other visitors will be directed to off-site parking and then shuttled to the event. Visitors should plan to arrive at least one hour prior to a battle reenactment.

Directions, maps and other information are available at www.civilwarhenrico.com and www.visithenrico.com.

The event also will include educational programs for 4th and 5th grade students on Sept. 26. Public, private and home-school students are welcome; classes can register by calling (804) 652-3409.

Authentic experience

The weekend will feature reenactments of three battles fought in Henrico — New Market Heights and Fort Harrison, both of which took place on Sept. 29, 1864, and the Second Battle of Deep Bottom, which stretched Aug. 14-20, 1864.

More than 1,000 reenactors from across the country are expected for the battles, which are being coordinated and choreographed by Rear Rank Productions. Battle reenactments are set for 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27 (Fort Harrison and New Market Heights, respectively) and 1 p.m. Sept. 28 (Deep Bottom).

When they aren’t watching a reenactment, spectators can take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Civil War camp life. Activities will include:

  • String and brass bands, drummers and buglers performing soldiers’ camp songs and music from the era
  • Fashion show highlighting clothing from the era
  • Demonstrations of baseball as it would have been played in the 1860s
  • Historians discussing the military significance of the campaign for Richmond, the impact of the war on local civilians and other topics
  • Period crafts and games for kids
  • Food, beverages and merchandise from the era (a variety of 21st-century food and drink will be sold as well)

One-of-a-kind reenactment

Spectators literally will be part of the action during the reenactment of the Battle of New Market Heights, as they will watch from a viewing area in the middle of the battlefield. The simulated combat will swirl around them as they listen to a narrator describe the battle unfolding before them.

The sightlines at the battlefields will be free of contemporary intrusions, such as power lines. The soldiers will look the part as well. Everything reenactors wear and use — from the insignia on their uniform and the weapon on their shoulder to their eyeglasses, watches, footwear and camp paraphernalia — will be appropriate for 1864.


The Battle of New Market Heights was part of a broader Union assault against Confederate defenses southeast of Richmond. Several regiments from the U.S. Colored Troops, which had crossed the James River at Deep Bottom the night before, spearheaded an attack on elevated, entrenched Confederate positions along New Market Road near Four Mile Creek. At the same time, additional Union forces moved against Fort Harrison a little more than 2 miles to the west.

USCT units suffered heavy casualties in the attack but dislodged Confederate forces from New Market Road; simultaneously, Union troops captured Fort Harrison.


Fourteen African-American soldiers received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, for their heroism in combat at New Market Heights. Two white officers serving in the USCT earned the award that day as well (black soldiers were barred from holding commissioned ranks of lieutenant and above). Over the course of the Civil War, 18 Medals of Honor were earned by black soldiers.

The actions of the USCT units at New Market Heights helped dispel the notion, widely held at the time, that black soldiers were unfit for combat.

Following the New Market Heights reenactment, Henrico will hold a ceremony honoring the Medal of Honor recipients. The descendants of three medal winners — Sgt. Alfred Hilton, Sgt. Edward Ratcliff and Lt. Nathan Edgerton — will attend and will be recognized as part of the ceremony.

Call Henrico Recreation and Parks at (804) 501-7275 for more information. 


Watch a sneak preview of the event in the video below!



Henrico welcomes Babe Ruth Baseball 13-Year-Old World Series on Aug. 14-22

Henrico County will welcome about 350 youth baseball players, coaches and family members for the Babe Ruth Baseball 13-Year-Old World Series on Aug. 14-22 at Glen Allen Stadium at RF&P Park.

The Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association (GAYAA) will serve as tournament host and will field a team to compete with teams from Northern Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, Arizona and Montana.

All teams will check in Thursday, Aug. 14 and will gather for a banquet and opening ceremony Friday, Aug. 15. Play will begin Saturday, Aug. 16 and continue through Friday, Aug. 22. All games are open to the public. A live video stream of the action will be available by following links at VisitHenrico.com.

“Henrico County is thrilled to welcome back the Babe Ruth Baseball 13-Year-Old World Series,” said Neil Luther, director of the Division of Recreation and Parks. “This tournament does more than feature exciting play on the field. It supports the local economy, with spending in restaurants, hotels and other businesses. It also highlights Henrico’s sports tourism program and showcases county athletic facilities as among the best in the nation.”

In Henrico, GAYAA has hosted more than two dozen premier baseball tournaments, including district, regional and state tournaments, and two previous World Series.

The Glen Allen team will play its first game of the 2014 World Series at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 against Nederland, Texas. A full schedule is at GlenAllenSports.com.

Henrico Board of Supervisors adjourns until Sept. 9

The Henrico County Board of Supervisors will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9, following its scheduled break in late August.

The board typically meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in the Board Room at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road.

In keeping with its traditions, the board’s schedule for 2014 excludes a meeting on the fourth Tuesday in August. For information, call (804) 501-4318 or go to henrico.us/supervisors.

Henrico Today Summer Edition Online

In the Henrico Today Summer Edition read the details on an upcoming Civil War battle reenactment, Virginia’s new voter ID law, paving projects, Henrico’s NACo Awards, new mobile offerings and more! Read it here.

Henrico programs honored by Virginia Association of Counties

Henrico County has been recognized by the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for programs that help nonnative-English-speaking residents assimilate to the community, informed residents about a meals tax proposal and promoted a better understanding of the workplace culture within the county’s government.

Henrico was one of 12 counties to receive a 2014 Achievement Award from VACo in recognition of a model local government program. Henrico and Loudoun County each received three awards, the most of any county. Overall, VACo recognized 18 programs among 61 entries.

VACo announced the awards Aug. 5 and will salute the winners at the 2014 Annual Conference in November. The Achievement Awards program is in its 12th year.

Henrico received an award for the ESL Conversation Café, a program of the Henrico County Public Library that allows nonnative-English-speaking adults to practice English, gain a better understanding of American culture and meet others. The ESL, or English as a second language, program was developed in response to Henrico’s growing diversity and as an extension of more-structured ESL programs. More than 29,000 Henrico residents were born in other countries, according to the 2005-2009 American Community Survey.

Henrico also won an award for the “It’s Your Decision” campaign to inform residents and voters in the months leading up to a meals tax referendum, held Nov. 5, 2013. The Department of Public Relations & Media Services managed the public information campaign with support from the County Manager’s Office and Department of Finance.

Using a website, social media, television programming, brochures and news releases, the campaign explained Henrico’s reasoning behind the proposed 4 percent tax on prepared meals and beverages, highlighted the county’s record of sound fiscal management and outlined how revenues from the tax would help maintain the high quality of Henrico County Public Schools. Voters ultimately approved the measure, making Henrico the first Virginia county with a population greater than 200,000 to authorize a meals tax by referendum.

Henrico also earned an award for “Re-Imagine Training: Learning Through Conversations,” a series of interactive forums developed by the Department of Human Resources to promote the exchange of organizational wisdom within county government. The focus on institutional culture came in response to a wave of retirements of longtime, high-ranking officials.

The effort included panel discussions in employee-training classes, group discussions of leadership and employee meetings hosted by senior managers. More than 600 employees participated in the sessions, with 81 percent reporting having gained a better understanding of how the county operates.

Henrico Extension to offer classes for home gardeners beginning Sept. 9

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Henrico Master Gardeners will offer a series of 10 classes this fall to teach the basics of home gardening using environmentally sound and sustainable practices.

The Henrico Horticulture Series will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday from Sept. 9 through Nov. 4 and on Nov. 18. The classes will be held in the demonstration kitchen in the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The $25 registration fee covers the cost of class materials and may be paid at the first session.

The classes will cover such topics as improving soil; creating compost; establishing and maintaining lawns; selecting annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs; growing fruits and vegetables; and managing insects and diseases.

For information or to register, call (804) 501-5160.

Henrico to offer rabies vaccinations for pets Aug. 16

The Henrico County Division of Police will offer rabies vaccines for dogs and cats from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road.

Pet owners must register and make their payment 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 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.