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Off duty Henrico police officer hailed as hero after saving man’s life at Short Pump Cookout

An off duty police officer was in the right place at the right time and able to save a man’s life at the Short Pump Cookout location over the weekend.

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From WTVR:

A family is counting their blessings this Thanksgiving after an off-duty Henrico Police officer gave CPR to a 79-year-old man in the Short Pump Cook Out parking lot.

Lisa Gravitt took to social media just after midnight Wednesday in hopes of tracking down the officer who administered CPR and “helped save” her father, John Luck Jr., Tuesday evening.

Gravitt said the ordeal began when her parents parked after they had a mix-up at the drive-thru.

“My dad got out, my mom looked in the rear-view mirror and he wasn’t there,” she recounted.

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Henrico names new deputy county manager for community affairs

Smith-Callahan has served as assistant superintendent of policy, equity, and communication for the Virginia Department of Education since April 2019. She brings more than 20 years of experience in community engagement, public and media relations and event management in the public, nonprofit and business sectors.

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Henrico County has appointed Monica Smith-Callahan as its deputy county manager for community affairs, a newly restructured position focusing on community outreach.

Smith-Callahan has served as assistant superintendent of policy, equity, and communication for the Virginia Department of Education since April 2019. She brings more than 20 years of experience in community engagement, public and media relations and event management in the public, nonprofit and business sectors.

As deputy county manager for community affairs, Smith-Callahan will promote relationships with nongovernmental entities and will serve as a liaison to Henrico County Public Schools and other governmental entities. She also will provide expertise on federal, state and local regulations, legislation and policies affecting the county and will oversee or serve as a primary contact for various departments, agencies, and functions, including the Henrico County Public Library, Health Department, Capital Region Workforce Partnership, Electoral Board, Extension Office, and legislative affairs.

She will be Henrico’s fifth deputy county manager, joining others focused on administration and community services, community development, community operations, and public safety. Her appointment is effective Tuesday, Feb. 18.

She also has served as director of workforce programs for ChamberRVA, director of outreach and development for Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, community engagement director for Richmond 2015 Inc., chief of staff for U-Turn Sports Performance Academy and communications assistant to the vice president and public relations manager for Comcast Cable.

Smith-Callahan holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from George Mason University and a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University.

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Downtown

Senate advances bill allowing transgender people to change birth certificate

The Senate passed a bill earlier this week that would allow a person who changed their sex to have a new birth certificate issued, something that the transgender community said will help eliminate problems experienced when their legal identification doesn’t match their transition.

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By Rodney Robinson

The Senate passed a bill earlier this week that would allow a person who changed their sex to have a new birth certificate issued, something that the transgender community said will help eliminate problems experienced when their legal identification doesn’t match their transition.

Senate Bill 657 would allow a person to receive a new birth certificate to reflect a change of sex, without the requirement of surgery. The individual seeking a new birth certificate also may list a new name if they provide a certified copy of a court order of the name change.

“I just think it’s important to try to make life easier for people without being discriminated [against] or bullied,” said Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax. “Allowing an individual who is transgender to change their birth certificate without having to go through the full surgery allows them to live the life that they are due to have.”

The bill requires proof from a health care provider that the individual went through “clinically appropriate treatment for gender transition.” The assessment and treatment, according to Boysko’s office, is up to the medical provider. There is not a specific standard approach for an individual’s transition. Treatment could include any of the following: counseling, hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or a patient-specific approach from the medical provider.

A similar process is required to obtain a passport after a change of sex, according to the State Department.

Once the paperwork is complete, it is submitted to the Virginia Department of Health vital records department, Boysko said.

Boysko said her constituents have reported issues when they need to show legal documents in situations like leasing apartments, opening a bank account or applying for jobs.

This is the third year that Boysko has introduced the bill. Neither bill made it out of subcommittee in previous years, but Boysko believes the bill has a better chance of becoming law this year.

“I believe that we have a more open and accepting General Assembly then we’ve had in the past, where people are more comfortable working with the LGBTQ community and have expressed more of an interest in addressing some of these long-overdue changes,” Boysko said.

Vee Lamneck, executive director of Equality Virginia, a group that advocates for LGBTQ equality, said the organization is “really pleased that this bill is moving through.”

“This bill is really important for the transgender community,” Lamneck said. “Right now many transgendered people do not have identity documents … this is really problematic when people apply for jobs or try to open a bank account.”

There are 22 other states in America that have adopted legislation similar to this, including the District of Columbia, Boysko said. The senator said that “it’s time for Virginia to move forward and be the 23rd state.”

The Senate also passed Tuesday Boysko’s bill requiring the Department of Education to develop policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools, along with bill outlawing conversion therapy with any person under 18 years of age.

The bills now advance to the House, where they must pass before heading to the governor’s desk.

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Arts & Entertainment

Shakeup at the Byrd: General Manager and four board members exit as possible programming changes loom

The Byrd’s General Manager Todd Schall-Vess was dismissed from his duties with no warning at a November board meeting, prompting four of its members to step down as well.

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From Style Weekly:

For the past 21 years, if one person could be called the face of the historic Byrd Theatre, it would be its general manager, Todd Schall-Vess.

Not only was he in charge of the daily operations and part-time staff, but he was the booker for the Byrd’s programming and often the sweaty guy up onstage introducing films and special events, dealing with snafus and faulty microphones.

But after being fired during a Byrd Theatre Foundation board meeting Nov. 19 without a reason, he says, he’s now considering taking legal action, adding that he is distressed that the part-time employees he once considered like his children can no longer speak to him on orders of the board.

“If there was some sort of fundamental breakdown, you would think that would be preceded with a discussion of some sort,” Schall-Vess says. “There was absolutely nothing. [The board] has not commented on why.”

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