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Richmond Flying Squirrels to donate $40,000 from recent fundraisers to local charities providing COVID-19 relief

Last week’s “500 Bases of Love” and “Bring it Home” fundraisers by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Sports Radio 910 The Fan raised more than $30,000 for COVID-19 relief. With an additional $10,000 contribution from Flying Squirrels Charities, more than $40,000 will be distributed to local organizations combating needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Holli Fund, The Community Foundation, Robins Foundation’s Family Crisis Fund through RVA Strong, Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, Nourish Henrico and Chesterfield Food Bank. 

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Last week’s “500 Bases of Love” and “Bring it Home” fundraisers by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Sports Radio 910 The Fan raised more than $30,000 for COVID-19 relief. With an additional $10,000 contribution from Flying Squirrels Charities, more than $40,000 will be distributed to local organizations combating needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Holli Fund, The Community Foundation, Robins Foundation’s Family Crisis Fund through RVA Strong, Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, Nourish Henrico and Chesterfield Food Bank.

On Thursday, April 16, the date originally scheduled as the team’s home opener, Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell walked 125 laps around the basepaths at The Diamond, touching 500 bases, as part of the “500 Bases of Love” fundraiser. Each lap and each base touched were representative of donations made to the fundraiser. Parney’s walk totaled more than 8.5 miles.

Later on Thursday afternoon, Parney joined Wes McElroy on Sports Radio 910 The Fan for “Bring it Home,” a four-hour live fundraiser with celebrity guests and prize opportunities for donors.

The double-header of events resulted in more than $30,000 raised.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Flying Squirrels Charities will be contributing an additional $10,000.

“We miss our fans terribly, so the ‘500 Bases of Love’ was a great way for us all to connect positively, raise some money to fight COVID-19 and tell our fans we appreciate them, love them and can’t wait to make memories again soon,” Parney said. “Each of these organizations will work diligently to make sure this money helps people in need because of this pandemic. We pray we can be together soon in safe and happy surroundings.”

The money from the fundraisers will be distributed to organizations assisting families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as groups helping those who are combating the outbreak.

Holli Fund offers grants to individuals in the food service industry experiencing an economic crisis. Grants help pay for rent, transportation, mortgage payments, and/or utilities. Holli Fund supports individuals in the Richmond-area food service industry who are experiencing an economic crisis such as injury, illness, death of an immediate family member, loss of income due to coronavirus restrictions, or other emergency.

The Community Foundation is a leading partner and advocate for philanthropy and service in the Richmond region. Founded in 1968, they’ve built a strong legacy of helping people and institutions give back with passion and purpose.

“You can always count on Parney and the Flying Squirrels organization not only to entertain us, but also to give back in meaningful ways,” Community Foundation CEO Sherrie Armstrong said. “At a time when many of our community members are particularly hard hit by this crisis, a donation to the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund will directly support local organizations that are working hard to fulfill basic needs such as food, healthcare and shelter. Their generosity also sends a powerful statement that we can do more good when we come together.”

The Robins Foundation in partnership with the City of Richmond launched The Family Crisis Fund earlier this month to assist families with children in direct and immediate need of support due to job loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has partnered with Family Independence Initiative to work with families across Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico.

Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that partners with the school district to improve student learning and achievement in preparation for success in college, career, and community. Their role is to seek private sector philanthropy to support new and existing evidence-based programs and enrichment activities.

“We are incredibly grateful for this donation from the Flying Squirrels,” Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation Executive Director Ty Toepke said. “At a time when so many of our local businesses are facing their own challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis, their generosity towards the students of Richmond Public Schools is inspiring.”

Nourish Henrico supports locally owned restaurants in Henrico by buying meals for police officers, firefighters and other county employees who are working the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the county’s program, 700 to 900 employees are eligible to receive meals valued at $15 or less from about 100 approved restaurants. In addition to its own support, Henrico welcomes contributions from the community. Donations for Nourish Henrico may be made through the Henrico Police Foundation and the Henrico Firefighter Foundation.

“The Nourish Henrico Program is about giving back – giving back to one of the most impacted industries and to our frontline employees,” Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said. “This effort has also shown me how strong and supportive our community is during times of difficultly, and the Flying Squirrels are an integral part of our community.”

Chesterfield Food Bank strives to stop families in the community from going to bed hungry every night. They proudly serve a variety of neighbors, a majority of whom do not qualify for government assistance. In cooperation with local Social Services, they locate and help those families and individuals that would not have been helped otherwise and serve 1,800 people a week.

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Crime

Victim identified in Arthur Ashe Boulevard homicide

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

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The Richmond Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred last night on the city’s north side.

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:55 a.m.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Bailey at (804) 646-6743 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or www.7801000.com or the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Northside

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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Government

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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