Henrico County will close all of its public libraries, parks and recreation facilities at 7 p.m. today due to inclement weather.
Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Monday, Jan. 27 to highlight programs and services of the Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The Fairfield meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. Thornton and representatives of Henrico Extension will lead the discussion, which will include a question-and-answer period.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. It offers information and educational programs to individuals, families, organizations and communities in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development and family and consumer sciences.
For information, call (804) 501-4208.
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday elected Patricia S. O’Bannon chairman and Frank J. Thornton vice chairman for 2014.
This year will mark O’Bannon’s fourth service as board chairman, a position she held most recently in 2010. She first was elected Tuckahoe District supervisor in 1995 and currently is serving her fifth term on Henrico’s board. She replaces Three Chopt District Supervisor David A. Kaechele as chairman.
“Henrico County will remain steadfast in our role as a leader in this region (in 2014),” O’Bannon said. Henrico will continue to work hard to maintain its business-friendly climate, a trait for which the county is “noticed nationally,” she said.
O’Bannon also discussed Mental Health First Aid, a new initiative that is training frontline county employees to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness when working with the public.
“This program is a new way to help save lives and assist people who may be experiencing mental health crises,” she said. “It is one example of how Henrico County works very hard to provide excellent customer service to everyone.”
O’Bannon serves on a variety of national, statewide and regional governmental organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), Virginia Executive Council for Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families, Virginia Coalition for Open Government, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Greater Richmond Partnership and the Henricus Foundation.
O’Bannon is a past recipient of the Patrick Henry Award for Government Service to the Commonwealth of Virginia and of Good Housekeeping magazine’s Women in Government award. A Richmond native, she is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and a former English teacher, news editor for a local publication and development associate for public television.
Thornton, who first was elected to represent the Fairfield District in 1995, also is serving his fifth term on the Henrico board. He holds appointed positions with a number of organizations, including NACo, VACo, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area MPO and the Maymont Foundation.
Thornton, a Richmond native, 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 works as an assistant professor of French at Virginia Union, where he has received the university’s Teacher of the Year award. He also is a recipient of the John Jasper Trailblazer Award from Richmond’s Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Henrico County General Government, Courts and Public Libraries will be closed Friday, Jan 17 for Lee-Jackson Day and Monday, Jan 20 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Refuse collection is on a normal schedule for Friday. Refuse will not be collected Monday, Jan 20 with a one day delay for the remainder of the week. Public Landfills are open both holidays. Recycling pickup is on a regular schedule with no delay.
Henrico County is adjusting the schedule for its 2013-14 free and paid leaf-collection programs, eliminating pickup periods that have had low participation and could interfere with snow removal efforts.
Henrico will provide free curbside collection of bagged leaves from Nov. 4 to Jan. 26. Crews will make two pickups per street during the collection period. Most county streets are included in the service.
Traditionally, the curbside collection effort extended into March and featured a third pickup. County officials noted that crews typically have picked up few bags during the final collection but were required to travel each street included in the program.
“This wasn’t very efficient,” said Melvin Slough, community liaison for the Department of Public Utilities. “Because of the low participation in the third pickup, we believe we can reduce the schedule for bagged-leaf collection and continue to provide the same level of service.”
Henrico also is streamlining the schedule for its leaf-vacuuming program. The service, which costs $30 per order, will be available from Nov. 12 to Jan. 3 and again from March 3 to 28. The shorter schedule will allow the county to direct resources to the removal of snow and ice in January and February.
Slough noted that the Department of Public Works uses the same trucks to vacuum leaves as it uses to plow and treat roads following a snowfall or freezing rain. The time required to remove vacuum equipment and install plows and salt spreaders could slow the county’s response during a winter storm.
“These schedule changes will help Public Works focus on removing snow during the winter without spending time changing equipment on the trucks,” he said.
Adjustments to the leaf-collection programs will save the county $75,000, officials said.
Residents can place an order for the vacuum-collection service beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 by completing a form at www.henricodpu.org/leafpub or by calling (804) 501-4275.
Residents do not need to contact the county to have their bagged leaves collected. A pickup schedule, listing of streets and other program details are available at the website.
Henrico County officials have identified May 1 as a potential start date for a 4 percent meals tax that was authorized by voters in a Nov. 5 referendum.
Before a meals tax could apply in Henrico, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve an ordinance establishing an effective date and other details, such as parameters for what purchases would be taxed. The board is expected to receive a proposed ordinance and hold a public hearing in the coming weeks.
“At this time, a meals tax has been authorized for Henrico, but it has not been formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “As we move forward, we want the public to understand where we are in the process. We also want to work closely with restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores to answer their questions and to help them prepare to begin collecting the tax.”
The Henrico Department of Finance has fielded questions in recent weeks about whether a meals tax has taken effect. Officials emphasize that only Virginia’s 5.3 percent sales tax should be charged currently in Henrico on purchases of prepared food, such as a meal in a restaurant.
If adopted by the board, a 4 percent meals tax would provide an estimated $18 million annually for operating and capital expenses of Henrico County Public Schools.
Henrico County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will offer a training program beginning Saturday, March 1 for volunteers who would work in the court system on behalf of abused or neglected children.
The free, 10-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 2 at the Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer advocate must apply by Friday, Feb. 14, 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 email@example.com. Applications are available at www.henricocasa.org.
Henrico CASA is a private, nonprofit organization that works closely with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. 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 11,006 hours and served 346 children in fiscal year 2012-13.
Refuse collection is delayed one day with Friday routes scheduled for pick up on Saturday.
The Keep Henrico Beautiful Committee and Henrico County Department of Public Utilities is accepting Christmas trees for recycling into mulch from now through Sunday, Jan. 12.
The free service, which preserves landfill space and the environment, is available to Henrico residents only. Trees will be accepted at the following locations:
• Henrico Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road, in the lower parking lot;
• Eastern Government Center, 3820 Nine Mile Road, in the front parking lot;
• Springfield Road Public Use Area, 10600 Ford’s Country Lane, near Nuckols Road and Interstate 295; and
• Charles City Road Public Use Area, 2075 Charles City Road.
Trees can be brought anytime to the Henrico Government Center and Eastern Government Center and from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days per week to the Springfield Road and Charles City Road public use areas. Trees must be free of tinsel, lights, ornaments, tree stands and water bowls.
Mulch is available to Henrico residents at the public use areas. For information on the tree recycling program, call (804) 501-4502.
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors will meet again Tuesday, Jan. 14, following its scheduled break in late December.
The board usually meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the Government Center Board Room, at 4301 E. Parham Road.
In keeping with its traditions, the board’s schedule for 2013 has excluded a meeting on the fourth Tuesday in December. For information, call (804) 501-4318 or go to www.co.henrico.va.us/supervisors.