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The Bikes are Back – Save the Date for the Forest Hill Spring Classic

A series of bike races for the younger set will take place in April but registration opens on February 1st.

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A great event for the smaller rad riders in your family. There will be races and events for kids all the way from two to thirteen. The focus is on fun, bikes, and friends, not competition and trophies.

Friends of Forest Hill Park and Virginia Outside will sponsor the 3rd Forest Hill Spring Classic, a series of bike races for children, ages 2-13, on April 19th, 2020. Registration begins online on Feb. 1 at
friendsofforesthillpark.org.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Reedy Creek
Common Name:  White-Throated Sparrow
Scientific Name: Zonotrichia albicollis
Body Length: 5.9 to 7.5 in
Wingspan: 9.1 in
Weight: 0.78 to 1.13 oz

Quick Facts

  • White-throated sparrows breed in central Canada and New England.
  • Alongside some other species such as the cardinal, dark-eyed junco, song sparrow and chickadees, this species ranks among the most abundant native birds during winter in eastern North America.
  • Numerous mammalian carnivores prey on the White-Throated Sparrow and at least ten avian predators often hunt them and they are among the most regular prey species for some smaller raptors, i.e. the sharp-shinned hawk and eastern screech-owl.

Not So Slim Shady at RACC

Weight: 14
Age: 3yrs 10mths 3wks
Sex: Male
Pet ID: 83575

Adopt Not So Slim Shady at RACC

Learn more about their Adoption Process or how to Foster A Pet.

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Downtown

INTERACTIVE: Groups split over proposed overdose immunity bill

Groups, including former drug users, are split over a Senate bill that would give immunity to both someone reporting or experiencing an overdose. In a recent unanimous vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill 667, introduced by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax. The bill expands on the current protection offered only to the person reporting the overdose, who can be charged but has an affirmative defense which leads to dropped or reduced charges when proven they reported an overdose.

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By Joseph Whitney Smith

Groups, including former drug users, are split over a Senate bill that would give immunity to both someone reporting or experiencing an overdose.

In a recent unanimous vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill 667, introduced by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax. The bill expands on the current protection offered only to the person reporting the overdose, who can be charged with a crime but has an affirmative defense, which leads to dropped or reduced charges when proven they reported an overdose.

This new bill would offer immunity to both the person reporting the overdose and experiencing the overdose, meaning no charges would be filed. The bill protects individuals from arrest or prosecution for the unlawful purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol, controlled substances, marijuana or having drug paraphernalia.

The legislation also states that no officers acting in good faith will be found liable for false arrest if it is later determined the individual arrested was immune from prosecution because they overdosed or reported an overdose.

“In Virginia, friends often do not call for help for fear of being arrested,” Boysko said at the committee hearing for the bill.

Boysko told Senate members that every second matters in an overdose and that data show bystanders are three times more likely to call 911 when there is a safe reporting law such as her proposed bill. She also said that the state needs to stop criminalizing individuals that are attempting to seek urgent help for themselves or others.

“Virginia’s death toll from opioid overdoses continues to rise despite state and local government spending millions of dollars to make naloxone available,” Boysko said. “More than 1,500 died just in 2019 in Virginia from drug overdoses.”

According to the Virginia Department of Health, overdose is the leading cause of unnatural death in the state since 2013, followed by motor vehicle related and gun deaths.

“With the new law we’re looking at a healthcare solution for a healthcare crisis,” said Nathan Mitchell, who said he was previously addicted to drugs. Mitchell now serves as the community outreach and advocacy coordinator at the McShin Foundation. Mitchell said the proposed bill does not provide protection for crimes such as distribution or a firearm at the scene of the overdose, only drug and paraphernalia possession.

According to Mitchell, drug incarceration is inconsistent in the commonwealth. He said after his first drug-related arrest he wasn’t introduced to a recovery program. But, after his second arrest, he received treatment through the help of the McShin Foundation. He said that inconsistency is an example that not all individuals who overdose will have access to the same treatment.

Drug courts are specialized courts where individuals plead guilty and agree to complete the drug court program. Not every locality in the commonwealth has a drug court, though state law authorizes any locality to establish one with the support of existing and available local, state and federal resources.

Mitchell said that individuals may not report an overdose to help protect the individual overdosing from being charged with a crime. He said that’s why a bill granting immunity to both parties is important.

John Shinholser, president and co-founder of the McShin Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on recovery education and recovery, testified in favor of Boysko’s bill.

“This is evidence-based, data-driven proof that this bill will reduce deaths in Virginia during this crisis,” Shinholser said.

Goochland County resident Micheal McDermott spoke in opposition of Boysko’s bill during the Senate committee meeting. McDermott said he’s been in recovery from substance abuse disorder for over 28 years. The bill has good intentions but immunity should only be given to the person reporting, not overdosing, McDermott said.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

There’s no guarantee that an overdose victim treated by paramedics will find recovery, McDermott said. If the person overdosing is on probation, they should receive a probation violation, and perhaps get the needed court-mandated treatment.

Westmoreland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Julia Sichol spoke last month at a House subcommittee in opposition to similar legislation that failed to advance, on behalf of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Sichol said she thinks a bill offering immunity “can also cause harm to lives” because it keeps the person overdosing from being charged with a crime and could possibly prevent them from receiving court-mandated treatment.

“Drug treatment is extremely expensive and sometimes the only way to get the treatment for the individuals is through the court system,” Sichol said. “If you take away the ability for individuals to be charged who have overdosed they are not eligible to participate in drug treatment program, they are not eligible to go through the court system under mandated treatment.”

On Friday, SB 667 was assigned to a House subcommittee.

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Downtown

Time Travelers Weekend will provide free admission to 24 area historic sites March 14-15

Explore some of the area’s most historic and interesting landmarks all weekend – free of charge.

RVAHub Staff

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Locals and tourists alike are invited to enjoy unique history, fascinating stories and a journey into the past during the biannual Time Travelers weekend, March 14-15.

Explore new participating sites and old favorites this year as 24 historic homes, churches, museums and more open their doors to visitors across the Richmond Region. Each site will offer free admission to those visitors presenting a Time Travelers Passport available via download on participating locations’ websites. Additionally, several participating sites have developed new programming in observance of Women’s History Month.Download the passport, explore local history and get to know the Richmond Region, free of charge.

Participating locations include (new participating sites are highlighted):

Agecroft Hall & Gardens

Agecroft Hall was built in England in the 1500s, then rebuilt in Richmond in the 1920s. Today it is a museum furnished with art and artifacts from 17th century England. Take a 30-minute guided tour with a St. Patrick’s Day theme, stroll the gardens overlooking the James River, explore the Sunroom Exhibit, get hands-on in the Tudor Kitchen and shop in the museum store. Agecroft Hall & Gardens is open Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun. 12:30-5 p.m. For more information, visit www.agecrofthall.org. To reserve a specific tour time, call 804-353-4241.

The American Civil War Museum’s White House of the Confederacy

Explore the Civil War and its legacies in microcosm at the White House of the Confederacy, owned and operated by the American Civil War Museum (open daily from 10am to 4pm). It was home to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, place of labor of enslaved and free African Americans, and epicenter for society and politics in wartime Richmond. After the war, the house was also part of the U.S. Reconstruction headquarters, one of the first public schools in Virginia, and opened as a museum in 1896. More information: www.acwm.org.

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design

The John Kerr Branch House is a Tudor Revival Style structure designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope. Visitors can enjoy guided tours every hour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and free admission all weekend. For questions, call 804-655-6055 or visit www.branchmuseum.org. 

The Chesterfield County Museum

The Chesterfield Museum is a reproduction of the colonial courthouse of 1749. A special changing exhibit highlights Chesterfield during WWI. The museum will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the County Museum and Historic Jail at (804) 768-7311 or visit www.chesterfieldhistory.com.

The Chesterfield County Historic Jail

Upstairs, visitors may view cells as they were when they housed their last prisoners in 1962. The Old Jail, built in 1892, includes a changing exhibit “Chesterfield Remembers WWI” on display. The jail will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the County Museum and Historic Jail at (804) 768-7311 or visit www.chesterfieldhistory.com.

Chimborazo Medical Museum (Richmond National Battlefield Park)

Chimborazo became one of the Civil War’s largest military hospitals. A museum on the same grounds as the old hospital contains original medical instruments and personal artifacts. Other displays include a scale model of the hospital and a short film on medical practices and the caregivers that comforted the sick and wounded. The site is located at 3215 East Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia and is open for free, Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (804) 226-1981 or visit www.nps.gov/rich.

Clarke-Palmore House

The Clarke-Palmore House Museum is located atop historic Marion Hill in Henrico County. The museum interprets the lives of the Palmore family who lived on this small farm in 1930. Like other families living through the Great Depression, the Palmore family struggled to make a living during tough economic times. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 904 McCoul Street. For more information call (804) 652-3406 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

Courtney Road Service Station

The 1920s were the boom years for the construction of gas stations in the United States due to an increase of cars, improved roads and low gas prices. Many were built in the “House with Canopy” design like the Courtney Road Service Station, a style that was a 1916 Standard Oil Company prototype. In 1938, the Barlow family owned the station. The station was operated by Mr. Millard G. Wiltshire and sold Sinclair Gasoline and Oil Products. The station is located at 3401 Mountain Road and will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information call (804) 652-1455 or visit www.henrico.us/rec. 

Dabbs House Museum

The Dabbs House, built in rural eastern Henrico in 1820, gained attention as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the summer of 1862. Learn about the history of the house from its use as a residence for the Dabbs family to its tenure as Henrico’s police headquarters and then as a police station. Visitors can tour the 1862 field headquarters and browse the exhibit galleries. Dabbs House Museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 3812 Nine Mile Road. For more information call (804) 652-3406 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

Deep Run Schoolhouse

This two-room schoolhouse opened in 1902. The school was in use until 1911, offering seven grades of instruction. By folding the movable center wall the space converted into one large room for weekly square dances for the community. Henrico County moved the school to its current location, 3401 Pump Road, from Three Chopt Road in 1996. The museum will be open noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information, call (804) 652-1455 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

Henricus Historical Park

Voyage back in time 400 years to the Citie of Henricus, the second successful English settlement in the New World! In 1611, 300 musketeers led by Sir Thomas Dale arrived in the struggling Virginia colony to establish a new capital far from the unhealthy swamps of Jamestown. Henricus Historical Park re-creates this historical journey and highlights the major benchmarks that took place here over 400 years ago. Historical interpretation pays tribute to the colonists who desperately struggled to establish a foothold in England’s western frontier and the Virginia Indians who encountered them. www.henricus.org.

Historic St. John’s Church

A year before drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson attended the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church. Alongside George Washington, Richard Henry Lee and other figures of the American Revolution, Jefferson heard Patrick Henry deliver his now-famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. This speech ignited the American Revolution, making St. John’s a landmark for the universal struggle for human rights. It is now a National Historic Landmark. The Church, Visitor Center and Gift Shop will be open Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, call 804-648-5015 or visitwww.historicstjohnschurch.org. 

The John Marshall House

John Marshall is best known as the “Great Chief Justice” for his role in creating the modern Supreme Court. His influential decisions, such as Marbury v. Madison, helped shape the principle of judicial review. With the largest collection of original Marshall family pieces, his home offers an in-depth look at the formation of American government through the lens of the federal judiciary. The John Marshall House will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and is located at 818 East Marshall Street. Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy Quoits, cornhole yard games and open house tours. For more information, call (804) 648-7998 or visit www.johnmarshallhouse.org.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Businesswoman. Leader. Civil rights activist. Maggie L. Walker was all of these things, and more.  A tour of her home highlights her achievements and reminds us of the obstacles she overcame to emerge as an inspirational figure in the early twentieth century.  The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is located at 600 N. 2nd Street, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tours of her home available daily, and is free of charge.  Reservations are suggested for groups of six or more. For more information and for tour times, call (804) 771-2017 ext. 0 or visit www.nps.gov/mawa. 

Magnolia Grange

Magnolia Grange, built in 1822 and located in Chesterfield County, is a Federal-style plantation house and is noted for its distinctive architecture. Magnolia Grange will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call Magnolia Grange at (804) 748-1498.

Maymont

Experience the upstairs, downstairs world of Maymont, a restored 1893 Gilded Age mansion given to the City of Richmond by James and Sallie Dooley. Guided tours reveal the amazing furnishings in the Dooleys’ home – including Tiffany stained glass and a swan bed – while intertwining the story of remarkable women like Sallie Dooley, renown hostess and horticulturist, and Frances Walker, the African American mother of eight who worked as the Dooleys’ head cook. Located at 1700 Hampton Street, Maymont Mansion will be open Sat.-Sun. 12-5 pm; last tour begins at 4:30. For more information, call 804-358-7166 ext. 310 or visitwww.maymont.org. Saturday-Sunday, March 14-15, 12-5pm 

Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park

Meadow Farm is an 1860 living historical farm focusing on rural Virginia life just before the upheaval of the Civil War. Interpreters provide insights into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, his family and those who were enslaved at the farm. Meadow Farm Museum will be open 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 3400 Mountain Road. For more information call (804) 652-1455 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown

Scotchtown turns 300 this year! It is the only original standing home of Patrick Henry, patriot and orator of the American Revolution, open to the public. He conceived his most influential revolutionary ideas here, including his famous “Liberty or Death” speech.  Built around 1720 by Charles Chiswell, Scotchtown is architecturally unique, featuring eight large rooms and a central passage below a large, undivided attic. The house is surrounded by reproduction outbuildings and gardens for you to explore.Scotchtown will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and is located at 16120 Chiswell Lane, Beaverdam, VA. For more information, call (804) 227-3500 or visit www.patrickhenryscotchtown.org

The Poe Museum

The Poe Museum is illuminating Poe for everyone, evermore. Many cities claim Edgar Allan Poe, but Poe claimed Richmond as his home. We house and display the largest museum collection of Poe memorabilia in the world. Visit www.poemuseum.org for more information.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

In 1843, a committee from Monumental Church on Broad St. was commissioned to establish a new church as the city moved westward. When it opened in 1845, St. Paul’s Episcopal became the largest Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia and is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture.  Later renovations added stained glass windows including ten by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  A portion of the church was used as a hospital during the Civil War and by the USO during World War II.  St. Paul’s is on the Virginia Landmarks Register, the National Register of Historic Places and continues to be an active parish. The church is located at 815 East Grace Street and will be open Sunday, March 15, from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m. Visit www.stpaul’srva.org for more information.

Virginia Randolph House

The Virginia Randolph Museum honors Randolph’s work as a pioneer educator for 50 years, a humanitarian and a creative leader in the field of education. The structure, built in 1937, was declared a National Historic landmark in 1976. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 2200 Mountain Road, Glen Allen. For more information call (804) 652-1475 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

The Valentine and Wickham House

A National Historic Landmark built in 1812, the Wickham House challenges guests to explore aspects of life in the early 19th century. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. This historic home allows the Valentine to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more. The Valentine and the 1812 Wickham House will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 1015 East Clay Street. The Valentine’s current exhibitions, Valentine Garden, Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio and the Valentine Store will also be open. For more information, call (804) 649-0711 or visit www.thevalentine.org.

The Valentine First Freedom Center

The Valentine First Freedom Center delves into America’s experience of religious liberty from its European antecedents through today. It is located on the site where Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom was enacted into law in 1786. Outside, a 27-foot spire, a wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute, and a banner of a seminal Jefferson quote imprint the importance of the “first freedom” on all who come upon that busy corner. The Valentine First Freedom Center is located on the corner of South 14th & Cary streets and will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Parking is available on the street or in public pay lots. For more information, call (804) 649-0711 or visit www.thevalentine.org/firstfreedomcenter.

The Wilton House Museum

The c.1753 Wilton house was home to members of the Randolph family and four generations of enslaved African American families for more than 100 years and the centerpiece of a 2,000 acre tobacco plantation. Today, Wilton continues to serve as an example of Georgian architecture, headquarters to the Virginia Dames, and host to public programs and educational exhibits. To find out more about Wilton House Museum’s events and opportunities, visit http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org

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