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PHOTOS: VCU vs. St. Louis

The Rams bested the Billikens 71 – 65, and also made a special presentation, giving a signed basketball to Kevin ‘Swiss’ and Rachel Woods, who recently lost their newborn baby, and whose story captured the hearts of the community.

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The Rams made a special presentation, giving a signed basketball to Kevin ‘Swiss’ and Rachel Woods, who recently lost their newborn baby, and whose story captured the hearts of the community.

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Richmond Flying Squirrels looking to recognize community all-stars making a difference during pandemic

The Squirrels are partnering with Elephant Insurance to recognize individuals in the area making a positive difference.

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The Richmond Flying Squirrels and Elephant Insurance have launched the Community All-Star of the Week program, and they are turning to fans for help in finding nominees. The Flying Squirrels want to recognize members of the local community, such as healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers, helping to ease the impacts of COVID-19.

The program is open to nominations of anyone who is making a positive impact around the greater-Richmond community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominations can be submitted here.

“While there is no action on the field at the moment, there are plenty of All-Stars working in our community keeping us safe and healthy,” Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “We appreciate Elephant Insurance joining in our program to showcase these Community All-Stars with this great program. Stay positive and we hope to be back together soon physically. In the meantime, we will continue to do all we can to bring our fans and community together any way we possibly can.”

“We really value our partnership with the Flying Squirrels and we are proud to support the team’s efforts to recognize our local heroes and support local businesses during this time,” said Alberto Schiavon, CEO of Elephant Insurance.  “This is a fun way that we can work together to give back to deserving community members and we’re looking forward to the weeks ahead.” 

The selected Community All-Stars will be recognized across the Flying Squirrels’ social media channels, and they will be presented with a gift card to a local restaurant as well as a Flying Squirrels prize pack.

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Sports Backers announce new ‘Firecracker 4-Miler’ virtual event in celebration of Independence Day

To celebrate the Fourth of July holiday in a fun and active way, Sports Backers has announced the new Firecracker 4-Miler, a virtual event that includes a variety of Independence Day-themed participant items and aims to make social distancing feel not quite as isolating.

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To celebrate the Fourth of July holiday in a fun and active way, Sports Backers has announced the new Firecracker 4-Miler, a virtual event that includes a variety of Independence Day-themed participant items and aims to make social distancing feel not quite as isolating. Registration is now open at www.sportsbackers.org.

To take part in the Firecracker 4-Miler, participants simply register, then run or walk four miles whenever they like (remembering to follow social distancing guidelines). Sports Backers will send the participant items to each registrant, and to guarantee delivery by Independence Day, participants must be registered by June 19. Each participant will receive the following items:

  • Official Firecracker 4-Miler tank top or t-shirt
  • Independence Day-themed finisher medal/bottle opener
  • Firecracker 4-Miler Koozie
  • Firecracker 4-Miler Race Bib
  • Printable Finisher Certificate
  • Virtual Event Badge

“We are always looking for fun and creative ways for people to stay active and this virtual event is a great way to do that,” said Meghan Keogh, Event Director for Sports Backers. “We know that people love to get creative with their Independence Day festivities and this provides a chance to celebrate in a unique and active way.”

The Firecracker 4-Miler is now the third virtual event Sports Backers has created in response to restrictions on large events and gatherings related to COVID-19, after the Taco Trot 5k in early May, which had over 1,700 registered participants, and the Great American 5000 virtual team run across America, which has already drawn more than 90 teams since launching on May 14.

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Belmont Golf Course renovations in motion in Lakeside

Site work started in early May as part of a $5 million project to revive Henrico County’s landmark public golf course in Lakeside.

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Site work started in early May as part of a $5 million project to revive Henrico County’s landmark public golf course in Lakeside.

The Board of Supervisors approved a 20-year lease in December, allowing The First Tee of Greater Richmond to upgrade and operate the facility. The agreement ensures Belmont will remain affordable and accessible to the community while freeing the county from operating losses due to years of declining play.

“We’re just thrilled to see the project move forward,” said Neil Luther, director of Henrico’s Division of Recreation and Parks. “The last thing we wanted to see was to have the lease take effect and the property sit fallow for months and months on end because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“With work underway, it’s evident that the project is moving forward and will be done this time next year.”

Belmont is being restored in the tradition of architect A.W. Tillinghast, who designed the course – then-known as Hermitage Country Club – in 1917. It hosted the 1949 PGA Championship, which was won by Virginian Sam Snead.

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Under its new design, Belmont will feature 12 championship holes created by restoring existing holes 7 through 18. Holes 5 through 6 will be converted into a 35,000-square-foot putting course plus a six-hole, par-3 “short course.” Each hole will range from 80 to 170 yards and be based on Tillinghast holes throughout the country.

Existing holes 1 through 4 will be turned into a driving range, wedge range and short-game practice area. The project also includes an upgraded pro shop, improved concessions and space for youth programs.

“The course, when it comes back, is going to be brand new in terms of quality,” Luther said.

Brent Schneider, CEO of The First Tee of Greater Richmond, envisions Belmont being an inclusive place “where the history of American golf meets the future of American golf.” The nonprofit is a chapter of The First Tee, a national organization that promotes youth participation in golf and values, such as honesty and integrity.

“Our vision is to strengthen the character of our community, and we feel like, with this property, we’re going to be able to do that,” Schneider said.

“Whether you’ve been playing all your life or you’re brand new and want to come try it out, there’s an entry point at this facility for everyone,” he added.

The First Tee of Greater Richmond expects to invest $4.25 million in Belmont, with Henrico contributing $750,000 previously set aside for course improvements.

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Established in 1998, The First Tee of Greater Richmond operates the Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course in Chesterfield County and the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range in Richmond.

The group enlisted MacCurrach Golf and Love Golf Design as the contractor and architect, respectively, for Belmont. The first phase of work is focusing on restoring the championship holes, with renovated greens, improved bunkers and better drainage and irrigation.

Scot Sherman, lead architect with Love Golf Design, said the underground systems will be “light years beyond what was here before.”

“You see the turf. You see the bunkers, but you don’t often see what’s underneath,” he said.

With its improvements, Belmont will be designed to challenge experienced golfers and nurture the next generation of players. In addition to the community, the facilities will be available to Henrico’s high school golf teams, the Henrico Police Athletic League and other community groups.

“This is obviously a historic golf course, but there wasn’t a lot of variety here,” said Mark Love, a principal with Love Golf Design. “There wasn’t an opportunity to hit balls on the driving range and take lessons. All of the programing that First Tee does involves all aspects of the game. I think the kids have an opportunity to learn in a nonintimidating environment and work their way up to the bigger golf course, and I think that’s a great opportunity.”

The First Tee of Greater Richmond detailed its plans and answered questions from the community in a presentation delivered in March via YouTube due to the coronavirus.

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