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Science Museum of Virginia Names Position After Long-Time Supporter

Employees knew that to memorialize Virginia Ellett properly, her name must be connected to a part of the organization that — literally — lives and breathes inspiration, curiosity and discovery, so they decided to name the Director of Education position after her.

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Press Release from the Science Museum of Virginia:

When Virginia Celeste Ellett passed away in January at 93 years young (as her obituary stated), Science Museum of Virginia staff began brainstorming ways they could honor the long-time supporter for her generous bequest of $2.4 million. Placing a plaque somewhere in the building didn’t seem like a fitting tribute to the vibrant, creative and visionary Ellett. Employees knew that to memorialize her properly, her name must be connected to a part of the organization that — literally — lives and breathes inspiration, curiosity and discovery, so they decided to name the Director of Education position after her.

Timshel Purdum will serve as the Museum’s first Virginia C. Ellett Director of Education. Since September 2018 when Purdum joined the Science Museum, she has led a group of dedicated staff and volunteers who help audiences of all ages discover their inner scientist. Through demos, videos, activities, camps, workshops and programs, Purdum’s collaborative team helps audiences of all ages connect to, and enjoy, the science all around them.

“Timshel shares Virginia’s belief in the wonder of science,” said Ellett’s cousin and close friend Carol Beam. “While Virginia was very humble, I know she would be so proud to have her name associated with someone helping nurture life-long learners who engage with the rapidly changing world around them in hands-on ways.”

Ellett was passionate about inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders. She was a decades-long financial supporter to the Science Museum’s annual fund. Her $2.4 million gift to the organization as a bequest is the second-largest singular donation the Science Museum has ever received.

Ellett worked in the field of education in various capacities for nearly four decades, including at the Mathematics and Science Center for 19 years. She was also very active with the Virginia Academy of Science, where she assisted director Dr. Roscoe Hughes with lobbying efforts to establish the Science Museum. Ellett was also a jewelry and glass artist. She donated nearly 20 pieces to the Science Museum over the years, one of which is on display in the Virginia innovators section of The Forge makerspace.

After graduating from Beaverdam High School, Ellett attended Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, where she received a bachelor of science in biology and mathematics. She also attended the University of Virginia, receiving a M.Ed. in guidance, and did post-graduate work at Union College, Bowdoin College, Cornell University and the University of Virginia.

Purdum has been active in the museum community for more than 25 years. Before coming to the Science Museum, she served as Assistant Vice President of Public Experience at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Vice President of the Museum Council of Philadelphia. She is a peer reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is a Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute board member. The Virginia native has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William & Mary and a master’s degree in Environmental Education from the New Jersey School of Conservation, Montclair State University. An expert on a number of life and biological sciences topics, such as animals, plants, fungus and arthropods, Purdum’s passions are paleontology and cephalopods.

“The Science Museum’s strength lies in its ability to enrich and inspire, and that is just what Virginia did,” said Purdum. “Having a title that bears her name will remind not just me, but all of us, of the lasting impact one person can have.”

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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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Road Closures Around Capitol on Friday for Protests

Some closures are for a march but other roads will be from 6 AM – 4 PM.

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For approximately one hour, 1 – 2 p.m. on Friday, September 17, several roads around Capitol Square will be closed to accommodate the March for Life demonstration march. Three roads will not be available for street parking.

The planned beginning and end location of the march is East Main and 12th streets. The following streets will be closed as needed:

  • East Main Street between North 9th and North 14th streets
  • North 9th Street between East Main and East Broad streets
  • East Broad Street between North 9th and North 14th streets
  • North 14th Street between East Broad and East Main streets

The following roads will have no parking zones in effect from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.:

  • Southbound lane of North 14th Street between East Broad and Bank streets
  • East Main Street between North 8th and North 12th streets
  • North 12th Street between Bank Street and East Main Street

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Suspect Sought in Westover Hills Boulevard Commercial Robbery/Aggravated Assault

At approximately 10:32 p.m., Friday, September 10, a male suspect wearing a black ski mask entered the business, located in the 1200 block of Westover Hills Boulevard, wielding a large edged weapon and demanding cash from the register.

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the individual in the attached photos who is a suspect in a commercial robbery and aggravated assault at a business on Westover Hills Boulevard last week.

At approximately 10:32 p.m., Friday, September 10, a male suspect wearing a black ski mask entered the business, located in the 1200 block of Westover Hills Boulevard, wielding a large edged weapon and demanding cash from the register. The suspect assaulted and stabbed an employee before stealing cash and fleeing on foot.

The employee was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Anyone with information about the identity of this suspect is asked to contact Third Precinct Detective R. Bailey at (804) 646-3912 or call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Pipeline Still Closed but Work has Begun

The guesstimate for the reopening of the trail is two weeks.

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Update from RVA H2O

Weekly Pipeline Update because our construction work has begun! 🎉👏🙌🙏🥳
First and foremost, a reminder that, as of August 2nd, all sanitary (wastewater) flow has been diverted upstream at Tredegar, so any flow you may see leaking from Pipeline is river water that’s seeping in from Haxall Canal, groundwater, and/or stormwater from Richmond’s summer rain.
Now for the good stuff: The scoop on the repair process! ⤵️
All materials and supplies needed for repairs have arrived, and CSX gave us the green-light to start working on the pipe on Monday (09.13.2021), so our crews got to work! 💪
This week our team is using a cement substance to fill in those pesky leaking holes along the pipe.
Then, next week, our team will layer an epoxy and a mesh on the bottom and surrounding the entire pipe’s external circumference.
Following the completion of all this work, our team will once again CCTV (closed-circuit television) the pipe to get an internal look at how we did. Only after we check our work and give it the good ol’ thumbs up 👍 will the trail and beaches alongside it be reopened. (We think we’re about two weeks away from that point.)
Until then, Pipeline trail and its adjacent beaches are closed from Brown’s Island (under the 9th Street bridge) to the downstream, eastern end of the trail behind Virginia Street and Vistas On The James.
More soon, folks—stay tuned!

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