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GRTC picks up awards at state’s annual transit conference

GRTC Transit System picked up the Virginia Transit Association’s Unsung Hero and Outstanding Public Transportation Marketing Awards, with an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Community Program, as announced last week at the 2019 Annual Transit Conference in Portsmouth, VA hosted by the Virginia Transit Association.

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GRTC Transit System picked up the Virginia Transit Association’s Unsung Hero and Outstanding Public Transportation Marketing Awards, with an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Community Program, as announced last week at the 2019 Annual Transit Conference in Portsmouth, VA hosted by the Virginia Transit Association.

GRTC Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Adams says, “These accolades are well-deserved by our team for their incredible efforts in Greater Richmond in customer engagement, responsiveness to the needs of the communities we serve, and communication.”

GRTC’s Travel Training Instructor Kelsey Calder is recognized with the Unsung Hero Award for her outstanding work teaching a variety of riders with varying abilities how to use public transit safely and independently. Through travel training people can develop the skills necessary to travel with flexibility and self-reliance within the community. Kelsey has been particularly helpful for introducing public transit to people with disabilities, youth or older adults who are hesitant to try transit alone. It is also estimated that Kelsey’s efforts have saved GRTC $125,280 from paratransit customers transitioning to traditional fixed route bus service.

Kelsey has her Travel Training Instructor Certification through Easterseals and the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research and was also the first nationally certified travel trainer.

GRTC’s Outstanding Public Transportation Marketing campaign “GRTC Pulse: More Time For Life.” was a multilayered and multimedia marketing effort supporting the successful launch of the new GRTC Pulse (Bus Rapid Transit – BRT) service in the City of Richmond and Henrico County during Summer 2018. The Pulse links to many exciting and essential destinations along its 7.6-mile route and is jointly sponsored by Bon Secours Richmond Health System and VCU Health System.

The goal of the GRTC Pulse marketing campaign was to inform, educate and energize people about the new service. This award-winning campaign translated technical BRT features into understandable and relatable messaging, placed in targeted locations to reach riders and Greater Richmond residents. GRTC Pulse had an astounding debut week, welcoming nearly 57,000 riders aboard.

GRTC also received an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Community Program for its “CARE On-Demand” service, which provides GRTC’s paratransit (CARE) customers the option to use a same-day, direct, non-stop trip. This premium, innovative program responds faster to service needs by tapping into the flexibility of the on-demand transportation market, matching available drivers with customers when they want to travel with little notice.

Because the cost to GRTC for a CARE On-Demand trip is less than traditional paratransit, GRTC estimates it has saved approximately $382,000 since launching in August 2017. With on-time-performance consistently higher than 95% on this premium, direct service, customer satisfaction with On-Demand is understandably high. GRTC now exceeds its monthly goal of completing at least 10% of its CARE trips through On-Demand, shifting more than 2,000 CARE trips per month to On-Demand.

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Tethering bill adds new protections for animals kept outside

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

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By Ada Romano

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

Senate Bill 272, introduced by Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, would increase the required length of the tether from 10 feet or three times the length of the animal to 15 feet or four times the length of the animal. Under the bill, pets can’t be tied during a heat advisory or if a severe weather warning has been issued, including hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warnings. The bill outlaws tethering in temperatures 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and when an owner is not home. Last session, a bill expanded the law from a 3-foot tether to 10 feet. That bill, introduced by Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, originally carried the same language as Bell’s current bill, but it was amended by a Senate committee.

Robert Leinberger, animal control supervisor for Richmond Animal Care and Control, said that some parts of the bill may be difficult to enforce. Still, if the legislation gets passed, Leinberger said, it will make a difference because people will be forced to be more aware of the law. He said more people will call to report instances of animals being improperly tethered.

“For example, if it’s inclement weather when it’s really super cold or really super hot, then we do occasionally see more calls for service because of the animals left out,” Leinberger said.

Kate Riviello, a New York-based animal rights activist who also works in Virginia, supports that the bill outlaws outdoor tethering when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Virginia law currently requires that an animal must have access to water, but the water doesn’t make a difference if it freezes, she said.

Riviello also supports “Tommie’s Law,” legislation passed last year that made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. The law is named after a pit bull that died after he was set on fire. Riviello said she is happy to see the changes Virginia is making to protect the rights of animals but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to continue in the right direction.

“With ‘Tommie’s law,’ I think it was really tremendous that they took that step,” Riviello said. The key also is to enforce animal rights’ laws, Riviello said, which isn’t always the case.

Leinberger said implementing animal rights’ legislation is important because it enables people to better care for their pets. Tethering is just one issue that needs to be addressed, he said.

The bill is awaiting action by the Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

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PHOTOS: Switch’s new concept, 84, takes things back to 1984

The restaurant with quarterly rotating themes is kicking it in the ’80s for the foreseeable future.

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Better start with ellipses as Pac-Man can come eat them! Or spots on a Lite-Brite Board waiting to be filled in with whatever colors and shapes you want.

@thenightowl Mikael Broth has brilliantly painted murals depicting pop culture in 1984: Prince & Purple Rain, Madonna, and the material girl, Michael Jackson as the zombie in Thriller eating popcorn (which seems totally hilarious and wrong across from Gizmo who will undoubtedly be up after midnight).

Stools between seats are painted as Rubix cubes awaiting solving. A bloodied Dr. Indiana Jones watches over the bar on one side while Tetris pieces fall on the other side.

Underneath the seats is Pinky, no Blinky, no maybe that’s Clyde chasing those pellets.

Immerse yourself in memories or if you are younger, dive straight into the tank that is Pop Culture of 1984 on display at Switch.

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The Valentine announces 2020 Richmond History Makers

Today, the Valentine announced the six honorees that will be recognized at the 15th Annual Richmond History Makers & Community Update. This program promotes and celebrates the bold, innovative and often unsung work of individuals and organizations who strive to improve their communities.

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Today, the Valentine announced the six honorees that will be recognized at the 15th Annual Richmond History Makers & Community Update. This program promotes and celebrates the bold, innovative and often unsung work of individuals and organizations who strive to improve their communities.

On Tuesday, March 10th at Virginia Union University, the honorees will be celebrated in a room full of family, friends, local leaders, community advocates, non-profit representatives and more.

“After 15 years recognizing the best the Richmond Region has to offer, we are more excited than ever to celebrate our 2020 honorees,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Our new partnership with the Community Foundation, our return to Virginia Union University and our incredible group of winners are all a part of the Valentine’s wider goal of supporting and strengthening this program through continued community engagement.”

The 15th anniversary of this program also marks the first time the Valentine has partnered with the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond to provide an update on the progress being made across the region.

“Celebrating the Richmond History Makers honorees is a perfect way to reflect on the progress we’ve made as a city as well as the issues that continue to require unified effort,” said Community Foundation Chief Community Engagement Officer Scott Blackwell. “By providing an update on where we are as a region, we can celebrate the honorees while inspiring others in the community to take action.”

The honorees were nominated by members of the Richmond community according to six categories and chosen by a Selection Committee made up of LMR (Leadership Metro Richmond) graduates and former Richmond History Makers Honorees.

“We received nearly 100 nominations this year, and from that large pool of impressive candidates, six incredible honorees were chosen,” said Myra Goodman Smith of Leadership Metro Richmond. “LMR is honored be a part of this program for the 15th year in a row, and we look forward to joining with members of the Richmond community in recognizing these groundbreaking individuals and organizations.”

The 2020 Richmond History Makers and their categories include:

  • For Creating Quality Educational Opportunities, ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation
  • For Championing Social Justice, Tanya Gonzalez, The Sacred Heart Center
  • For Promoting Community Health, Jeannette Cordor, Faces of HOPE
  • For Improving Regional Transportation, Charles Rasnick
  • For Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions, BLK RVA Action Team
  • For Advancing our Quality of Life, Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia

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