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New ramen spot opens in former Best Friends Forever space in Carytown

A new Japanese ramen concept from the co-owner of Home Sweet Home down the street is saying “Hai, Y’all” to Carytown diners.

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From Richmond BizSense:

Where Best Friends Forever once dined, a new restaurant has risen.

Hai Y’all, which serves ramen noodle dishes, among other offerings, is now open for dinner at 2915 W. Cary St.

The new concept is a second restaurant for Andrew Friel, who with a business partner also owns Home Sweet Home at 3433 W. Cary St. further down in Carytown.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Elephant Insurance to give $300,000 to organizations impacted by COVID-19

Elephant Insurance announced that the company is launching a new initiative, known as the Helping Herd, that will donate $300,000 to organizations and programs that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or who are providing COVID-19 relief to their community.

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Elephant Insurance announced that the company is launching a new initiative, known as the Helping Herd, that will donate $300,000 to organizations and programs that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or who are providing COVID-19 relief to their community. The program will launch in June and gifts will be distributed between June and December 2021.

Through the Helping Herd, Elephant’s hope is to reach at least 50 organizations or programs with the funds, with gifts ranging in size from $2,000 to $20,000. Elephant team members will be involved in the selection process, either by nominating deserving groups or participating in the voting process to finalize the recipients.

The program was made possible by Elephant’s parent company, Admiral Group, which shares in Elephant’s mission of making a positive impact on local communities during challenging times.

“We know the Helping Herd initiative will be able to make a significant impact on individuals and communities that are hurting due to COVID-19, and Elephant is grateful to be in a position to step up and give back in this way,” said Alberto Schiavon, CEO. “The Elephant team – our herd – is eager to be a part of this important process, and we’re so appreciative of the support of Admiral Group to make this possible.”

To be considered to receive funds, applicants must serve the community in at least one of three areas: mental health, physical health, or community health. Interested organizations or programs will be able to apply to receive funds at https://www.elephant.com/contact/helping-herd-submission, where more details on eligibility are available.  Applications will be accepted through August 1, 2021.

In addition to the submission form, nominations will be collected from Elephant employees by survey.  A large portion of the funds are anticipated to be distributed in Virginia, where Elephant is headquartered, but Helping Herd funds will also go to organizations in other states where Elephant services are offered, including Texas.

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Governor Northam drops COVID restrictions as Virginia fully reopens

All capacity and gathering restrictions are now lifted as Virginia fully reopens. Businesses can still make their own rules about whether patrons must wear masks, however.

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Governor Ralph Northam today dropped all distancing and capacity restrictions, two weeks earlier than planned. Northam’s office says Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of “increasing vaccination rates, dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rate, and revised federal guidelines.”

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” said Governor Northam. “That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so—the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. The message is clear: vaccinations are how we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we have missed.”

The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.

The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.

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City’s Casino Evaluation Panel recommends ONE Casino + Resort as preferred operator

The city’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel has recommended that the ONE Casino + Resort move forward as the city’s preferred casino gaming operator at the proposed site on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. The Evaluation Panel’s recommendation is supported by Mayor Stoney.

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The city’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel has recommended that the ONE Casino + Resort move forward as the city’s preferred casino gaming operator at the proposed site on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. The Evaluation Panel’s recommendation is supported by Mayor Stoney.

“ONE Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “The project will create over 1,000 good-paying jobs, generate a significant amount of new revenue for the city, and establish an additional economic engine in South Richmond. I applaud the work of the Evaluation Panel in their vetting of the proposals and engaging the entire city throughout this project.”

ONE Casino + Resort was proposed by Urban ONE in partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment. Urban ONE is a publicly traded integrated media company.  Peninsula Pacific Entertainment owns and operates several casinos and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Virginia.

“ONE is thrilled the Richmond casino selection committee has chosen the best project with the best location and best team to develop a world-class entertainment destination in Richmond’s Southside,” said Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One. “Urban One and our diverse group of local investors are fully committed to creating good paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees, pathways to successful careers, and generating significant new tax revenues that can improve Richmond’s schools and fund community programs and infrastructure.”

The Evaluation Panel made its recommendation based on factors including the project’s feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact, and community benefits.

Mayor Stoney will introduce the proposed ONE Casino + Resort project to City Council on Monday, May 24, 2021. Per legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly, City Council will be asked to petition the court so that a referendum on casino gaming in the City of Richmond can take place during the November 2, 2021 election.

Information on the city’s resort casino process can be found at https://www.rva.gov/economic-development/resort-casino.

The city will host a public meeting on the decision on Tuesday, May 25 at 6 p.m. The link to join will be posted on the informational webpage.

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