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Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Chuck Domino is Stepping Down

Just a few days after announcing that there won’t be a Richmond Flying Squirrels season another big announcement from the Squirrels.

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Official Press Release:

Richmond Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Chuck Domino is stepping down from his role with the organization effective immediately, the team announced on Thursday.

As part of a baseball career spanning four decades, Domino was a founding member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels organization. He joined the franchise in 2009 to facilitate its move from Norwich, Conn., to Richmond, and he led the club’s effort to overhaul The Diamond and establish the team’s brand in Virginia.

In the franchise’s first season in 2010, Domino was named Eastern League Executive of the Year as the Flying Squirrels led the circuit in overall and average attendance. Over the last decade, the Flying Squirrels have been at the top of the league in average attendance six times and finished second four times. The team has also ranked in the top-two in the league in total attendance in nine of its ten seasons.

Along the way, the Flying Squirrels brand has become one of the most recognizable across minor league baseball and has established itself an impactful part of the Richmond-area community, while upgrades to The Diamond have enhanced the fan experience at games.

Statement from Chuck Domino
“I am very proud of what was accomplished since I first set eyes on the Diamond in the summer of 2009. To get it ready for baseball in a few short months on a finite budget, to build a front office, instill a culture from scratch and then to watch that staff and culture become a fabric of the Richmond community is something that I will always cherish. That whirlwind of months leading up to the first game in April 2010 as the Flying Squirrels alongside Parney and a group of other devoted professionals was a special time. We didn’t accomplish our goal of moving into a new stadium during my tenure but it many ways what we did without a new stadium is even more impressive. I’d like to thank Eastern League President Joe McEacharn for fighting to get us into Richmond and to Lou DiBella for giving me the opportunity which led to a decade of great memories and friendships in Richmond.”

Statement from Flying Squirrels President & Managing General Partner Lou DiBella

“Chuck was an integral part of our move to Richmond and the launch of the Flying Squirrels. He was an invaluable asset, particularly during our transition and renovations of The Diamond. Chuck leaves the management of the Squirrels in fine hands of our new Chief Executive Officer, Todd “Parney” Parnell, and General Manager Ben Rothrock, who will add Vice President to his title. I wish Chuck Godspeed in all that is ahead for him and Domino Consulting.”

Statement from Eastern League President Joe McEacharn

“Eleven years ago, Lou DiBella and I agreed on one very important thing: We needed a very special individual to build an organization that would exceed every expectation, unleash the GREAT people of Richmond and stand the test of time. I couldn’t be more proud of and appreciative to Chuck for under-promising and over-delivering to the people of Richmond. In short order, he and Lou ramped up an organization that started with excellence and continues to improve. The Squirrels have developed a root system here in the Richmond community that will produce Nuts for a very long time. He leaves the team poised to grow even further with the structure in place and that speaks volumes of the person I consider to be the very best there is in MiLB. Richmond should not be disappointed at his departure, but you should be thankful and celebrate his ever-lasting impact in your community. We look forward to many more years of wonderful accomplishments from the Flying Squirrels and will remain thankful for his everlasting impact. The good news is Chuck and I are close friends, so I can continue to call on him for advice. My very best wishes go out to Chuck in whatever he chooses to do!”

Statement from Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Officer Todd “Parney” Parnell
“Personally and professionally, I’m grateful to Chuck for our relationship that now spans five decades. He is a minor league baseball legend I will be forever thankful for his personal guidance and friendship.”

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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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4th District Small Business Virtual Town Hall

The meeting is tonight, November 23rd at 6 PM to discuss issues that local businesses face during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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City Councilwoman Kristen Larson is hosting a meeting tonight for small businesses in the 4th District.

Are you a small business owner living or doing business in the 4th District?  If so, please join me, the city’s Department of Economic Development, and other business owners at 6 pm tonight, November 23rd for a 4th District Small Business Virtual Town Hall meeting.  This is a time for us to hear from you about any issues you continue to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic so that we can learn how best to support you at this time. You can access the meeting through the below link or dial-in numbers. We will provide time for questions throughout the meeting.

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 804-316-9457
Conference ID: 423 691 949#

Please note that if you are accessing the meeting online, you will be asked to share your name before being accepted into the meeting. Please keep your video off unless you are addressing the speakers during a time for questions.  Also, note that the chat feature will not be used or monitored for the purposes of this meeting.

If you are accessing the meeting by phone, you must press *6 to unmute yourself before speaking.

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Diversity Richmond Providing Thanksgiving Day Drive-Thru

Food will be distributed by order of arrival, no early arrivals will be accepted.

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Thanksgiving Day Drive-Thru
Thurs., Nov. 26th
11:30 a.m. ’til 2:00 p.m.
Diversity Richmond parking lot
1407 Sherwood Ave., RVA 23220

You’re invited to swing by a pick up a free delicious hot Thanksgiving meal catered by Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen, courtesy of Black Pride RVA and the Laughing Gull Foundation.

Food will be distributed by order of arrival. We will not accept early arrivals. To ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and community members, we will adhere to COVID-19 CDC guidelines. Please remain in your vehicle and open the window of your vehicle when it’s your turn in line. All COVID-19 protocols are in place for all people preparing and handling the food. See you then!

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COVID-19 amplifies struggles with mental health, substance abuse – what Henrico County is doing about it

Since the pandemic started in mid-March, communities across the country have seen sharp increases in drug overdoses, suicides and requests for services. The trends have played out locally, with Henrico County already recording 41% more drug overdoses this year than in all of 2019.

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The stresses and strains of the COVID-19 pandemic have been enough to test anyone’s well-being.

But the inescapable challenges – from social isolation and financial uncertainty to concerns about one’s health – can quickly overwhelm those struggling with substance use and mental health, said Leslie Stephen, a program manager with Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services (MH/DS).

“There have just been compounding issues,” she said. “When there are so many issues to deal with, a person’s capacity to take on more is reduced.”

Since the pandemic started in mid-March, communities across the country have seen sharp increases in drug overdoses, suicides and requests for services. The trends have played out locally, with Henrico County already recording 41% more drug overdoses this year than in all of 2019.

“These numbers understate the full problem because many overdoses are not reported,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said in a recent letter to the Board of Supervisors on plans to open a detoxification and recovery center. “In recent years, there have been more deaths in Henrico from overdoses than from car accidents, homicides or suicides – and this trend will be true again in 2020.”

Similarly, the number of individuals prescreened for hospitalization because of mental health concerns was up 13% from July through September compared with the same period last year.

In addition, orders to place someone in emergency custody rose by 15%. One of every five individuals held on temporary detention orders was later admitted to state facilities, instead of treated locally. That’s higher than normal, in part because fewer beds are available due to the pandemic’s need for physical distancing.

MH/DS bolsters mental health, substance use services during COVID-19

MH/DS, which serves Henrico, New Kent and Charles City counties, has been working to ensure its services remain available and accessible during the pandemic while the county also develops an enhanced treatment model for substance use.

Staff have been conducting appointments mainly by phone or video, although in-person meetings are available if necessary. For more information, go to henrico.us/mhds or bouncebackhc.com. To access services, call (804) 727-8515.

The challenges from COVID-19 have been particularly acute for those who rely on regular, face-to-face support from clinicians and peers. Now, many of those sessions are held virtually.

“You think about folks in recovery, it really is that interaction that makes a difference,” MH/DS Executive Director Laura Totty said. “It’s that daily support that they get. The isolation necessitated by COVID-19 has been a real challenge.”

For many, the pressures and strains will only intensify as the state has imposed tighter measures following a surge in coronavirus cases ahead of the holiday season, which is often a difficult time for those with mental health and substance use challenges.

“I worry that many people may struggle when they’re unable to engage in activities that have given them comfort and support in the past,” Stephen said.

William Pye, a peer specialist with MH/DS, leads a
virtual REVIVE! training session on the administration
of Narcan, a drug that can temporarily reverse the
toxic effects of opioids and save the life of someone
who has overdosed.

In September, the agency also began offering rapid access to medication-assisted treatment for individuals addicted to opioids. After their same-day access assessment, clients are connected with a prescriber for treatment with Suboxone, which curbs symptoms of withdrawal during detoxification.

MH/DS also is offering nine virtual trainings per week on REVIVE!, a free program on how to administer Narcan to save someone after an opioid overdose. Participants receive the medication by mail. To sign up, call (804) 727-8515.

To enhance its mental health services, MH/DS has partnered with the National Counseling Group to provide mobile support to individuals in crisis and avoid hospitalizations whenever possible.

Henrico advances new strategies to help those in recovery

Apart from its work in the pandemic, Henrico continues to look for new and better ways to help those struggling with substance use.

The county recently established a program to cover two weeks of housing costs for qualified individuals when they are admitted to a certified recovery home. So far, 13 recovery residences have applied for the program, which is known as CHIRP or Community-based Housing for Individuals in the Recovery Process.

“This gives the individual a chance to live in a safe, sober environment while they start to work on their recovery,” Totty said.

In addition, Henrico is advancing its plans to build a 24-hour detoxification and recovery center that would provide voluntary, medically supervised recovery services for adults.

The estimated 17,000-square-foot facility is planned on Nine Mile Road, near MH/DS’ East Center, and would have initially 12 to 16 beds. It would be licensed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and managed by MH/DS with support from public and private partners.

The center was recommended by the Recovery Roundtable, a county work group that spent eight months looking at ways to reduce overdoses and strengthen recovery resources in the community.

“The Recovery Roundtable concluded the lack of access to detoxification is a significant gap and a barrier to recovery,” Vithoulkas said in his recent letter to the Board of Supervisors. “In fact, our jail has become the default provider of public detox in the County, having performed nearly 2,000 detoxes last year.”

Henrico has issued a request for proposals for consulting services as part of its planning for the detoxification and recovery facility. Funding for design and construction are expected to be considered as part of the county’s fiscal 2021-22 budget.

With the pandemic causing so much disruption, Stephen said it has been inspiring to see MH/DS staff confront each challenge and find innovative ways to provide the services the community desperately needs.

“It’s also amazing to see our clients so committed to working on their recovery,” she said. “Even with all that COVID-19 has thrown at them, they are determined to clear the hurdles that are in their way.”

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