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VHS honors nine for significant contributions to museum, its mission

The ceremony recognized those making significant contributions to research, education, and the mission of the museum.

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At a luncheon on July 13th, the Virginia Historical Society presented awards to nine individuals who have made significant contributions to research, education, and the mission of the museum.

Samuel Lichtman, a student at George H. Moody Middle School in Henrico County, was presented the Anne R. Worrell Middle School Student Award. This award is given to a student who exemplifies distinction in historical research and scholarship in middle school. The award is named in honor of Charlottesville resident Anne Worrell, a former member of the board of trustees, current honorary vice chairman, and long-time VHS supporter. For his project, Sam researched and developed a website on the cultural exchange between Virginia Indians and the English settlers at Jamestown and other early seventeenth-century Virginia settlements. In the process, he interviewed historians and museum professionals. His bibliography lists a number of primary sources, including early accounts by John Smith, Gabriel Archer, and William Strachey.

The Bobby Chandler High School Student Award was presented to Kelsey Vita, a student at Rockbridge County High School. Made possible by the Kip Kephart Foundation, this award is given to a secondary school student who demonstrates intelligence, creativity, and research skills using primary source materials. Kelsey received the award for her AP Government class paper, “The Marshall Court’s Establishment of a Strong Central Government.”  In her paper, Kelsey analyzed a number of cases, including Marbury v. MadisonMcCulloch v. MarylandCohens v. Virginia, and Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, to explore the establishment and expansion of the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review.

Kathryn K. M. Hershberger, a sixth-grade teacher at George H. Moody Middle School, was presented with the Brenton S. Halsey Teaching Excellence Award. This award alternates annually between elementary and secondary school teachers. Ms. Hershberger is a mentor, trainer, and leader at her school. This year, she started a National History Day club at Moody, and two of her students participated at the state finals. She loves history and in her spare time works as a historical interpreter at Henricus Historical Park. According to Ms. Hershberger’s supervisor, “her passion for history and for teaching is reflected in everything she does.” The social studies specialist for Henrico County adds that she turns “sixth-grade students into historians.”

The William M. E. Rachal Award was presented to Dr. Jeff Broadwater, a professor of history in the School of Humanities at Barton College. Honoring the long-time editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the Rachal Award was established in 1985 to recognize the overall best article to appear in the journal. This year, the committee gave the award to Dr. Broadwater for his article entitled “James Madison and the Constitution: Reassessing the ‘Madison Problem,’” which appeared in volume 123, number 3, of the Virginia Magazine. The prize committee commented, “we thought [the article] was beautifully written, persuasively argued, and significantly added to our understanding of that complex political thinker.”

The Richard Slatten Award for Excellence in Virginia Biography was presented to Diane Kiesel for her book, She Will Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer. In 1998, the estate of Kathleen Littlejohn Slatten made a generous bequest, in memory of her son, to The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. In 2012, family friend Edgar MacDonald established the Slatten-MacDonald Fund at the Community Foundation to complement the support the Society receives from the Richard Slatten Endowment for Virginia History. In partnership with the careful stewardship of The Community Foundation, the award encourages and recognizes distinguished contributions to Virginia biography. Ms. Kiesel is an acting New York State Supreme Court Justice, presiding over domestic violence cases in the Bronx County criminal term. In She Can Bring Us Home, she examines the life and accomplishments of an under-appreciated champion for women’s advocacy and racial justice. Often poignant, the book chronicles the life of a woman who made choices that sacrificed personal happiness for her profession and life’s passion: civil rights.

The Patricia Rodman and Martin Kirwan King Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Maryan Smith. Named in honor of Tish and Martin King, the volunteer of the year award was established in 1994. Ms. Smith has been a VHS volunteer since 2007, when she and her mother donated the business collection of her father, Verlin W. Smith Sr., to the newly opened Reynolds Center for Virginia Business History. As a lifelong resident of Fairfax County, she has utilized her personal and professional connections to help the VHS fulfill its mission in northern Virginia. In 2015 she established the VHS/George Mason University History Department NoVA Banner Lecture Series. Ms. Smith is also facilitating the identification and capture of oral histories and private collections in the northern counties.

Three VHS employees were presented the 2015 President’s Award for Excellence: Caroline Legros, School Program Coordinator; Elaine McFadden, Senior Grants Officer; and Laura Stoner, Associate Archivist for Business Collections. The President’s Award for Excellence is given for outstanding performance and special achievement. The recipients were nominated by their VHS peers.

“History has always been one of mankind’s greatest tools,” said board chairman and interim President and CEO of the VHS John R. Nelson. “It humbles us, inspires us, helps us understand the present, and provides the key to the future. Above all, history is meant to be shared. The individuals here today understand that. Whether through research, writing, teaching, or volunteering, they have helped bring history to others in new and exciting ways.”

John R. Nelson concluded the luncheon by remarking: “These individuals have produced outstanding work that reflects the mission of the VHS. The VHS could not accomplish its goal of linking past with present and inspiring future generations without the passion and dedication of the people we recognized today.”

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

History

StoryCorps encourages Richmonders from different backgrounds to take “One Small Step”

In these challenging times, StoryCorps’ One Small Step program is working to help mend the fraying fabric of our nation–one conversation at a time.

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Today, in our divisive political landscape, some nine out of ten Americans say they’re exhausted by our political divisions and looking for a way out. In these challenging times, StoryCorps’ One Small Step program is working to help mend the fraying fabric of our nation–one conversation at a time.

The One Small Step program is working intensively in three “Anchor Communities,” including Richmond, to bring strangers with different political beliefs together–not to debate politics–but to have a conversation about their lives. In the process, the hope is that they both discover their shared humanity.

To date, over 3,000 people across more than 40 U.S. states have participated. Anyone anywhere can be matched for a conversation. Click here to learn more.

In one recent conversation, Richmonders Jerome and Warren learned they had more in common than they thought, even though they’re on different sides of the political aisle.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Outdoors

Sports Backers kicks off ‘Building a Vibrant Community’ fundraising campaign

The $3 million, five-year campaign has raised more than $1.5 million to date.

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Sports Backers, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people to live actively, kicked off their ‘Building a Vibrant Community’ campaign with the announcement that the campaign has already raised more than $1.5 million towards its $3 million, five-year goal.

“The Building a Vibrant Community campaign will raise funds to make a lasting impact on the Richmond region,” said Jon Lugbill, Executive Director of Sports Backers. “This campaign will help us grow and create major events, expand the number of group fitness and youth activity programs we offer, build world-class bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and empower volunteer leaders and our region’s best and brightest scholar-athletes. As a result, our region will be a healthier and more vibrant place to live, work, and play.”

The initial success of the Building a Vibrant Community campaign is thanks to contribution pledges from corporations, foundations, community leaders, and regional governments. The campaign is led by Chairman Daniel Gecker, Chair and Partner for Urban Development Associates. Members of the Campaign Committee include the following community leaders:

  • Carrie Roth, Chair of Sports Backers Board of Directors, Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission
  • Neil Agnihotri, Surgeon, Agnihotri Cosmetic Facial Surgery
  • Lashrecse Aird, Richard Bland College of William & Mary
  • Neil Amin, CEO, Shamin Hotels
  • Bob Blue, CEO, Dominion Energy
  • Suzanne Gardner, Banking Relationship Manager, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Roy Grier, Community Volunteer
  • Burke King, Community Volunteer
  • Kim MacLeod, Finance Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Sam Mintz, Financial Advisor, Truist
  • Clark Mercer, Community Volunteer
  • Ken Shepard, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Portfolio Strategy, Bank of America
  • Bobby Ukrop, CEO & President, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods
  • Tom Vozenilek, Executive Vice President, Colliers International

An investment in this $3 million campaign benefits the Richmond region by:

  • Energizing the Richmond community by reinvesting in significant events, expanding the goal-setting impacts of all events, and creating new events
  • Advocating for active living infrastructure, including the Fall Line trail, and creating an active living hub for the region
  • Hosting group fitness programs, including weekly fitness classes, youth fitness clubs, and training teams, as well as a scholar-athlete leadership program

“My confidence in the impact Sports Backers will continue to have on the health and vibrancy of our community has never been stronger,” said campaign chairman Daniel Gecker. “Sports Backers’ ingenuity and dedication to their mission has helped keep our entire community moving during one of the most challenging periods of our lives. This campaign will build on that and provide even more opportunities to get us moving, which is something we all have a renewed appreciation for.”

The following foundations, individuals, companies, and jurisdictions have already made significant contributions to the Building a Vibrant Community campaign: 

  • Lashrecse Aird
  • Allianz Partners
  • Astrya
  • Bank of America
  • Bob & Liz Blue
  • Margaret & Al Broaddus
  • Cameron Foundation
  • Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond
  • Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer
  • Davis Elkins Charitable Foundation Trust
  • Susan & Lennart Freeman
  • Don & Betsy Garber
  • Suzanne Gardner
  • Matt & Kirsti Goodwin
  • Greater Richmond Partnership
  • Roy & Charlotte Grier
  • Hanover County
  • Henrico County
  • Heritage Wealth Advisors
  • Hunton Andrews Kurth
  • Dorothy Jaeckle
  • John Randolph Foundation
  • Chris & Nancy Jo Kantner
  • Burke & Gay King
  • KPMG
  • Maria (Keech) leGrand
  • David Lyons
  • Kim MacLeod
  • Clark Mercer
  • Sam Mintz
  • Randy & Mary Lloyd Parks
  • Frank & Caren Payne
  • P.D. Brooks
  • Maria Purcell
  • City of Richmond
  • Richmond Region Tourism
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Road Runners Club of America
  • RMC Events
  • Sam & Nikki Young
  • S.B. Cox
  • Scott* and Karen Schricker
  • Shamin Hotels
  • Ken & Brooke Shepard
  • Bob & Melinda Sledd
  • Buck Stinson
  • Barbara J. Thalhimer & William B. Thalhimer, Jr. Family Fund
  • Jayne & Bobby Ukrop
  • Tom & Betty Baugh Vozenilek
  • Tamara Wagner
  • Lee & Margie Warfield
  • Craig & Anita Waters

(* Denotes deceased)

To learn more about Sports Backers and the Building a Vibrant Community campaign, visitwww.sportsbackers.org or contact Megan Capito, Director of Development, at 804-285-9495 or[email protected].

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Government

Early voting nears 1 million mark in Virginia

Thousands of Virginians used a warm November Saturday to cast ballots on the final day of early voting. Over 1 million absentee ballots were issued in the 45-day stretch of early voting that ended Nov. 5, and over 940,000 have been returned.

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Chloe Hawkins

Thousands of Virginians used a warm November Saturday to cast ballots on the final day of early voting.

Lawmakers passed a series of election reform measures in recent years that expand the voting period and allow for no-excuse absentee voting, or early voting.

Virginia voters will elect a member to the U.S. House of Representatives in all of the state’s 11 congressional districts, with varying districts also voting on local candidates and initiatives. Over 1 million absentee ballots were requested, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. Over 940,000 ballots have been received as of Nov. 7. Over 680,000 ballots were returned in person, and over 226,000 ballots were mailed.

Polls were open on weekdays except for the two Saturdays preceding the election. A steady line of people waited five to 10 minutes outside the Henrico County Western Government Center to vote Saturday. Some people waited longer than they might on Election Day, but appreciated the convenience of checking voting off their to-do list.

Henrico County general registrar Mark Coakley has held the position for 18 years, he said. Coakley, who studied political science in college, said he chose to be a part of the political process because it’s been a passion of his since he was a young adult.

“I’m really excited for voters showing up,” Coakley said. “Today, and on Election Day.”

Voters are happy with this shift, he said.

“With early voting, the voters get to choose to wait in line at 8:30 on a Saturday morning,” Coakley said. “It’s their choice — they’re not forced to vote on a Tuesday after a long workday.”

Alan Wagner is a voter who lives in Henrico County, parts of which are in congressional District 1. Wagner is concerned about crime, and the economy—especially the rising costs of items due to inflation, he said.

“I’m afraid to go into downtown Richmond sometimes,” Wagner said. “And the gas and food prices are outrageous.”

This is the first year Wagner voted early, in four decades of voting, he said. He decided to vote early due to the uncertainty of his work schedule on Election Day.

“I’m really busy working 10-hour shifts,” Wagner said. “I don’t know what the lines will look like at the precinct after 5 o’clock on Tuesday.”

Virginia residents have more of a voice in elections such as midterms, Coakley said, when they choose representatives to speak on their behalf in Congress. But, turnout is always higher in a presidential election. Almost 2.7 million early votes were cast in 2020 in Virginia, according to the state’s Department of Elections. For the gubernatorial election last year, over 1.1 million people voted early, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP.

Although voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election was historic, an expanded time frame for early voting did not exist, Coakley said, which makes turnout comparisons more difficult.

“These laws weren’t put in place in 2018,” Coakley said. “But they have caused an increase in early voting.”

For example, over 330,000 early votes were cast in 2018 in Virginia, and that number will likely be at least three times higher this year, according to data from the Virginia Department of Elections. But, 1.2 million more people voted in 2018 than the previous midterm election. It remains to be seen if turnout this year will reach similar participation.

There is a 70% return rate of absentee ballots overall in Virginia as of Nov. 7, with the lowest district return rate at 64% and the highest at 76%, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Election Day is Nov. 8. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by that date and received by noon three days after the election to count. Voters can find their polling place on the Virginia Department of Elections website. Voters can also register to vote on Election Day, though they will be given a provisional ballot.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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