Henrico Libraries helps Change a Child’s Story

 Henrico CASA and the Henrico County Public Library have discovered an affinity, their affection for stories. You may think of the library’s fondness for stories in the form of books. But their mission extends to not only promote reading, but to enrich community life. CASA’s devotion to story is different. Their work focuses on the stories of individual children who have experienced abuse or neglect. They can’t change the past for these children, but they can change their futures by advocating for their needs in the present.

This April, the Library hosted one of CASA’s Home for Good® playhouses at their Libbie Mill branch. Barbara F. Weedman, Director of the Henrico County Public Library, said, “Henrico County Public Library is honored to be a part of this wonderful project in support of CASA and Henrico’s children. What better, natural fit than “A Magic Treehouse” playhouse with a storybook theme created by youth at CTE at Henrico County Public Schools, for library visitors and families to see at Libbie Mill Library! We love being a part of this collaboration and hope it is of great benefit to CASA, kids, and the community.”  

And a great benefit it was! Through the Home for Good® event, Henrico CASA expects to meet its goal of raising $150,000, which funds court advocacy for 100 additional children this year. This funding is crucial because 223 children have already been appointed to CASA by Henrico’s judges in 2024. This is a 10% increase over last year and is expected to continue to grow as a result of challenges facing families in our community. The success of Home for Good® in terms of raising funds and recruiting volunteers allows CASA to meet these rising needs. Together we can ensure every child in Henrico County has a safe, healthy home.

Read More

Henrico County Employee Health: Cold vs Allergies

With flu season coming to an end, many are looking forward to warmer weather and less sick days. But we are often surprised when cold symptoms appear during the spring and summer months. The

all-too-familiar symptoms of cough, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat often threaten to ruin our summer plans. So how do you know when you are sick or when you have allergies? A cold is caused by a virus and may involve symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue, and green or yellow mucus. If you believe that you have a cold, you may choose to seek medical care or consultation. Treatment options will vary based on severity, but symptoms will typically resolve within 7-10 days. It is important to remember that if you are feeling unwell and have a fever, you should stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others around you. If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, you may also speak with a healthcare provider to discuss individualized treatment options. This may include over-the-counter medications for allergy relief such as Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra. Avoiding common allergens altogether might also be helpful in reducing the severity of symptoms. For example, wearing a mask while cutting grass may lessen the symptoms for someone who experiences outdoor seasonal allergies. Whether it is allergies or the common cold, Henrico County Employee Health Services are here to support you! We offer same day appointments for colds and seasonal allergies. Give us a call at 804-501-1600 to make an appointment or to speak with a qualified medical professional today.

Cold vs. Allergies

Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, can mimic cold symptoms but there are ways to tell them apart. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before heading to your medical provider or employee healthcare clinic.

  1. When did my symptoms begin? Allergy symptoms have an abrupt onset, while cold symptoms develop gradually over a few days.
  2. How long have I been feeling this way? If symptoms have persisted longer than ten days, then it might be allergies.
  3. What symptoms am I experiencing? Itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose are likely allergies, while aches, pains, and FEVER suggest a cold.

Read More

Five Tips to De-Stress

Are you experiencing too much stress in your life? Is it affecting your health, emotional wellness, or quality of life?

It is normal to experience the ups and downs of stress, and stress can even help us to learn and grow. But if our stress is greater than our ability to handle it, meaning that our stress starts to affect our mental, emotional, or physical wellbeing, it can be considered chronic stress and is something that we might want to address.

If you are experiencing chronic stress, there are likely many reasons, from social and environmental factors (like financial stress, employment issues, relationship stressors, or stressful living conditions) to personal factors (like physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual reasons). It can be important to acknowledge that many of our reasons for chronic stress may come from situations we have little control over, and have had little to no part in creating, like the current state of society or of the natural environment. 

When our world is out of balance, we become affected by it. And while changing the larger state of our world or society takes time and collective action, there is so much that we can do in the meantime within our own personal lives to help to reduce our stress and increase our happiness and quality of life.

Don’t have much time? Don’t have much money? Here are things you can do that don’t take a lot of time or money to help with chronic stress:

  1. Take care of your body. Go for a daily walk. Even if it’s for 10 minutes, just walk, get some air, give your body some light movement, and your mind a rest. If possible, choose a place to walk with some nature or some beauty. Try this guided walking meditation today.
  2. Breathe. Sighing releases stress and tension. Try taking some deep breaths throughout the day, followed by a long, deep, audible sigh. It helps! Really want to take it deeper? Try sighing repeatedly until it makes you yawn. This is a great thing to do while lying in bed before sleep! Here’s a short video on breathing to calm stress and anxiety.
  3. Meditate. Taking 5 minutes out of your day for a simple meditation is a great way to destress. Try this podcast for an easy and effective place to start!
  4. Go to bed at a decent time. According to traditional Chinese medicine (my personal expertise), not only is having enough sleep important, but the times we sleep can make a big difference as well. Being in deep sleep between the hours of 11pm and 1am is important for getting deep restoration and repair. Here are our resource picks for better sleep.
  5. Release your day every night. Spend some time before you go to sleep every night reviewing and letting go of your day. When you are sitting in bed, or lying down, let your day come into your awareness. Is there anything that stands out, anything that is still causing you stress? Breath in, being present with the experience that’s causing you stress. As you breath out, visualize the experience drifting farther and farther away from you, until it disappears into the distance. Do this a few times, with whatever feels stressful for you, until your day feels neutral. Then, enjoy a restful sleep!

For even more resources, check out our list of stress relief resources.

Read More

Fight–the–Bite with Henrico’s Mosquito Division

Did you know that Henrico County has a mosquito division as part of its Department of Public Works? That’s right, as part of the more extensive Environmental Services Division, the mosquito division uses an integrated management approach to help employees and residents combat mosquito-related issues. This time of year, our staff is gearing up to begin the mosquito season, which starts in April and lasts through the end of October. Our division consists of just three full-time employees and up to 10 seasonal and intern staff working diligently to protect public health and reduce human discomfort. Our division monitors 100 surveillance locations each season, treats up to 600 sites monthly, and participates in as many public outreach and education opportunities as time allows.

The mosquito division uses data collected from our surveillance, inspections, and treatments to keep track of mosquito species that frequent here. Henrico County has seen up to 36 unique species of mosquitoes over the years, but only about 12-15 species are considered a significant nuisance to our residents. We also test the species collected for the presence of West Nile virus (WNv). West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States and is reoccurring in local mosquito populations each season. While not a reason to panic, it is essential for Henrico employees and residents to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves when spending time outside. Wearing light-colored, long pants and sleeves in combination with applying an EPA-certified repellant is one of the best ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites and disease.

So, how does the Mosquito Division protect you and your family? One of the ways is that we offer FREE mosquito inspections for all Henrico County residents. Inspections include an individual assessment where our staff visits the homeowner, inspects their property, and provides them with a consultation. With each consultation, the resident is provided with a written copy of the inspection results and is taught what they can do to reduce mosquito habitats in their yard. They are also taught how to combat future populations from moving back in. Any Henrico County employee who lives within Henrico County is eligible for this free service! This service is not exclusive to private residences. We are also available to inspect county buildings and job sites where you may be experiencing a mosquito problem.

Additionally, Henrico’s mosquito division inspects and treats standing water at over 600 county property and right-of-way areas (i.e., ditches) every 2-3 weeks. These treatments are completed using an environmentally friendly larvicide called Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, better known as BTi. When applied in accordance with the label directions, BTi is safe for people, pets, and plants. It is “target specific,” which simply means it is only toxic to mosquitoes, black flies, and fungus gnats, all in their larval forms. This also means it is only effective when applied to those standing water areas where mosquitoes grow and develop. Because the Henrico County mosquito division relies heavily on larval and environmentally safe treatments, we do NOT do any ultra-low volume adulticide spraying and/or fogging. 

Each year, our calls, complaints, and inspections are dominated by the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). The Asian Tiger mosquito is a tiny black mosquito with striped legs and a distinct white ‘racing stripe’ down its back (thorax). This mosquito is known for its aggressive biting behaviors and its ability to seek out a host any time of the day. This species is hard to manage because it only lays eggs in man-made containers, typically things left out and lying in the yard (flowerpots, corrugated pipes, trash, empty bins, tarps, etc.). Since they only need 1/10th of an inch of water (Think plastic water bottle cap!), many ‘hidden’ places can be easily missed even in the cleanest yards.

With all this said, we cannot effectively combat Henrico’s mosquito populations without the help of our fellow colleagues and residents. We want to encourage all our neighbors to Fight-the-Bite with us. Fight-the-Bite means picking one day a week, preferably the same day each week to make it a habit, walking your property or job site, and finding all the items holding water. DUMP IT! Don’t forget the very, very small hidden places like flowerpot trays, plastic trash, and those cracks and crevices in children’s toys! DUMPING IT discourages egg-laying and eliminates habitats quicker than treatments.

In addition to helping residents physically combat mosquitoes, we encourage our colleagues and neighbors to spread the word! We are happy to help here, too! The mosquito division is available to give community presentations and education sessions or provide informational flyers and pamphlets to any club, organization, group, or school within Henrico. The more neighbors we can get to join our mission, the more comfortable an outdoor experience for all of us.

For more information about group presentations or to request a mosquito inspection, email us at [email protected]!

Read More

2024 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

The Henrico Victim Witness Assistance Program with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is raising awareness on National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week from April 21-27, 2024. The purpose is to celebrate the accomplishments of the victims’ rights movement and reflect on how far we have come in achieving justice for victims of all types of crime.

The “Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act” (Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights) was made law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995. The purpose of this law is to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime:

  • Are treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity and that their privacy is
    protected where the law allows.
  • Have an opportunity to be heard at critical stages of the criminal justice process.
  • Have an opportunity to make the courts aware of the full impact of the crime.

How would YOU Help?

It is important that the entire community be informed on these rights in case they come across a coworker, family member, friend or find themselves dealing with victimization. Sometimes victims feel better after discussing their concerns and emotions with someone they trust; however, it is important to know that our program is designed to assist victims and witnesses with the complexities of the criminal justice system.

Our program may also be able to connect victims to other community programs that specialize in counseling, financial compensation or other resources that may be helpful.

Henrico County Victim/Witness Assistance Program – 804 501-1680

Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office – 804 501-4218

Henrico County Police Non-Emergency – 804 501-5000

In addition, join us in solidarity for National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week with the ColorMe Awareness Campaign. This campaign focuses on bringing awareness and support to victims of specific crimes. Each day of the week has an assigned color and crime, and we ask that you wear the respective color of the day. This is a great way for your department to support the cause and recognize that victims’ rights are important. We appreciate your support, & you may submit photos of your team wearing the color of support throughout the week at [email protected]
We will post them on our Henrico Victim/Witness Facebook page!

Read More

A Look Back at Student Government Day

This year 100 high school students had the opportunity to see first-hand what we do here at the County. As part of the 65th Student Government Day, students from ten area high schools and the Academy at Virginia Randolph worked alongside county officials, took tours, and participated in a mock Board of Supervisors and saw how their local government and public school system serve the community.

Student Government Day would not be such a success without the participation of so many departments and employees! Here is what they had to say about it:

“Observing students arrive on Student Government Day, fully engaged in their roles and responsibilities, is such a joy to watch! Each year, this day serves to provide our Henrico County students with a glimpse into their potential futures, guiding them toward diverse paths that also allow active participation in shaping their own community. Students also can create meaningful connections and weigh in by voicing their opinions. This allows us as Henrico County employees to listen attentively and anticipate the needs, concerns, and priorities valued by the next generation who will soon be joining us in the workplace.” -Kendall Johnson, Department of Human Resources

“Planning Department staff Todd Rigler and Rosemary Deemer were paired with Jonathan Logan, a senior from Hermitage High School who is also enrolled at the ACE Center at Highland Springs High School. The department is currently in the process of updating the county’s long-range comprehensive (land use) plan and has been looking for ways to increase awareness about our efforts. Because of his interest in technology, we asked that he create a way to engage students so we could obtain more input on our project. Using Google Forms, he created a survey that was provided to two senior level government classes. The students were asked to review a summary of the county and share their thoughts on how and where the county should grow in the future. Thanks to Jonathan efforts, Planning heard from approximately 30 students who otherwise may not have known about or participated in our process.” -Joe Emerson, Planning Department

“My student was the most self-directed student I have met.  Jordan was already planning her service in the US Marine Corps, using her service to get her college education and ultimately to become a lawyer.  It was a pleasure to meet such a highly motivated young lady.” -Steve Yob, Deputy County Manager for Community Operations

“I had the honor of participating in Student Government Day a few weeks ago. The students were very informative and very polite. I walked them around Finance, and they did tours of Finance offices including Revenue, Real Estate and Risk Management. The students asked questions and the feedback was that they really enjoyed it. 2 of the students also participated in the mock Board Meeting which included a topic on raises for bus drivers.  In attendance was the County Manager and other board officials. The students really enjoyed the mock Board meeting. I truly enjoyed being a part of the student government day and look forward to working with the future students on Student Government Day.” -Brian Hicks, Department of Finance

“This was a great opportunity to spend the day discussing Henrico County and the structure of the Fire Department with our developing leaders.  The students were able to network and leave with several connections that they reach out to as they move towards their future careers.” -Jason Wood, Division of Fire

“The Department of Emergency Communications enjoyed, and appreciated, having the opportunity to interact with future leaders of Henrico County. We were able to show the behind-the-scenes activities it requires to run a 24/7 911 agency that processes over 500,000 calls per year. In addition, we were able to leverage the thoughts and ideas of our local students regarding communication methods and styles and dovetail that information into our communication strategy.” -Kevin Pond, Department of Emergency Communications

“Student Government Day provides a window into the future of our community.  The students who took the time to engage each brought a unique perspective on what a better future looks like for Henrico County.  For many this was their first visit to Henrico County’s offices and our hope is that students will continue to engage as citizens, employees, or partners to shape the future of their community.” -Matt Chafin, Department of Finance

“I’ve been involved with Student Government Day for many years in one way or another, but this was by far the most time I’ve spent with a participant. I was in frequent contact with our student, Anooshka Pendyal, in the weeks leading up to Student Government Day. Anooshka, who is a senior at Deep Run High School, was awesome to work with! For her project, she chose to address voter registration and eligibility with a slideshow and two short videos. She had great ideas and was engaged from the start. We bounced ideas back and forth, and she periodically updated me on her progress. Her presentation came together very well and got a good response at the mock board session. She was also enthusiastic about everything that unexpectedly came her way during the day. In keeping with the flexibility that we need to have in Public Relations, she embraced the idea of recording a PSA about the reflective WOAH! vests, as well as recording a Henrico Happenings podcast about her experience. Since she plans to major in AI/Data Science in college and wants to work on ethical uses of artificial intelligence, she asked me to put her in touch with Information Technology Director Travis Sparrow so she can get involved in Henrico County’s AI usage committee. Travis’s response was very enthusiastic, so I think we’ll be hearing more from Anooshka in the future!” -Ryan Eubanks, Public Relations

 

Henrico County Student Government Day 2024 Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0MDeZfeBOM

Read More

Henrico County Volunteer Program

In 1984, Henrico County created the Volunteer Services Program. A coordinator was assigned to establish guidelines for effectively using volunteers in county government departments. A department coordinator, or primary volunteer supervisor, was also identified in most departments. At the program’s start, about 500 volunteers worked in as few as ten departments in the county. Since then, the opportunities available to volunteers and the services provided by non-paid staff members have grown significantly.

The term “volunteer” has taken on many meanings. Specifically, to Henrico County, a volunteer is a person who has chosen to give their time and talent to a worthwhile group or cause without concern for monetary profit. The county has come to rely more and more upon volunteers to: 

  • Enrich and extend the programs now being offered through various county agencies
  • Gain skills and practical experience through personal development 
  • Perform and support direct services that impact the community by encouraging civic engagement 
  • Afford residents and employees an opportunity to affect the environment in which they live, work, and play

Community support and interest are essential in providing quality services for County residents. Volunteers’ contributions, dedication, and commitment are vital to the county’s growth. Each opportunity is different and contributes an essential part to the organization.  

In the last few years, the county has expanded volunteer programs to serve volunteer opportunities with county employees, residents, and students. The county aims to provide a practical and rewarding experience to engage with public service and community organizations.  

The Volunteer Program has been a vital resource to the county’s community and workforce for forty years. Throughout the past few years, Henrico volunteers have contributed hundreds and thousands of hours of volunteer work in several ways. 

  • 2018, 1,232 volunteers contributed 147,530 hours
  • 2019, 960 volunteers contributed 146,263 hours
  • 2020, 806 volunteers contributed 90,289 hours
  • 2021-2022, no data due to COVID-19
  • 2023, almost 618 volunteers per month contributed 104,928 hours

Henrico honors its volunteers for their commitment to serve, and we encourage all agencies to take time to recognize their volunteers and all the work they do throughout the year. Every year, a national organization shines a light on the individuals inspired to serve and lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in our community during National Volunteer Week (NVW). NVW was established in 1974 to host thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week to celebrate the power of people who actively support their communities through volunteerism. This year, NVW will be observed April 21-27, and Henrico County will participate by hosting various community service activities from Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27. From food pantries and clothing closets to beautification projects and community partner events for kids, there will be something for everyone. Stay connected with General Notice messages to sign up for all the activities.

The Board of Supervisors will also proclaim that week as Volunteer Week for Henrico County at its April 9 meeting. 

Thank you again for your support of the Volunteer Program. We look forward to continuing the rich tradition of volunteerism here in Henrico County! 

Read More

Meet The Board of Supervisors

Did you know Henrico County was one of the first localities in Virginia and the nation to adopt the County Manager form of local government? This consists of a Board of Supervisors, the policy-making body of the County, and a County Manager, the administrative head of the County. The five Board members are elected to four-year terms, and each represents one of the magisterial districts of Henrico County: Brookland, Fairfield, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe, and Varina. 

In November of 2023, with the retirement of two long-standing board members, a new Board of Supervisors was elected. The new Board, which took office the first of this year, consists of two returning members and three newly elected members. Here are a few things the new Board wants you to know about them:

 

  1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

“Of course! My background is a bit of a winding road. I was born in the Philippines but grew up mostly in Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg, NC, because my mom was in the U.S. Army. I experienced a lot of trauma in my childhood and ended up having my daughter when I was 15 years old. I managed to graduate high school at 16 and enlisted in the U.S. Army myself at 17. I served both domestically and abroad for about five years. Then, I relocated to Henrico, Virginia, where I attended VCU for undergraduate studies while working and raising my growing family. I graduated summa cum laude from VCU and accepted a full merit scholarship to William and Mary Law School. After getting my law degree, I worked for a big law firm downtown for a few years before deciding to start my own practice where I could pursue more meaningful work. I’ve had my own practice for over 16 years; I’m a trial lawyer focusing on domestic relations, criminal defense, juvenile justice, and social justice advocacy. My daughter is 31 and is in the wellness industry in Maryland, my oldest son is 24 and is a probation officer in the City of Richmond, and my youngest is nine and in the 4th grade. I have an incredibly supportive and patient life partner who is active duty military as a Special Agent with the U.S. Army.” -Ms. Whitehead, Three Chopt

“My wife and I moved to the Richmond/Henrico region 20 years ago and absolutely love it here! We have three kids in Henrico County Public Schools (two at Douglas Freeman and one at Tuckahoe Elementary), and we enjoy going to sporting events, the theater, traveling, riding bikes, and enjoying the many parks in Henrico. I have a Masters degree in Public Policy and have spent the past 25 years working in state government as an I.T. project manager.” -Mr. Rogish, Tuckahoe

“I was reared, educated, and have resided in Eastern Henrico County for over 35 years. After graduating from Henrico High School, I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from Virginia Union University, where I graduated with honors. I earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. I continued my post-graduate work at the Chicago Theological Seminary. In 2013, I was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Richmond Virginia Seminary.

As the pastor of Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church (located in the Fairfield District), I humbly serve God and the community through the various ministries at RMZBC. I am the recipient of numerous honors and awards and have served on several boards and commissions, ranging from current Board member of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, former Board Chairman of Capital Area Health Network, former member of the Religious Advisory Committee of U.S. Senator Mark Warner, and past President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Richmond and Vicinity. I was elected as the Fairfield Representative of the Henrico County School Board in 2015 and was re-elected for a second term in 2019. I am married to Candice Carter-Cooper and am the proud father of three sons–two HCPS graduates and one current HCPS Middle Schooler.” -Reverend Cooper, Fairfield 

“My name is Tyrone Nelson. I am a lifelong RVA resident and have lived in Henrico for over 30 years. My ancestors and family have generally been eastern Henrico residents for multiple generations.” -Mr. Nelson, Varina

“I was born and raised in the New Jersey/New York area and graduated from the University of Richmond in 1996. My wife, Sharon, and I began RMC Events in 1999, which currently employs over 2200 team members in the Commonwealth of V.A. and will celebrate 25 years this year. Our oldest child, Taylor, is a Glen Allen High School and Elon University graduate. Our youngest, Carter, is playing baseball at Randolph Macon College. My entire family and I began getting involved in our community in the early 2000s through our volunteerism with Glen Allen Youth Athletics. This spirit of service has been ingrained in our family fabric ever since and has continued through my last five years of service to the residents of the Brookland District since 2018.” -Mr. Schmitt, Brookland

 

  1. Why did you decide to run for the Henrico Board of Supervisors?

“I was a poli-sci major, so I’ve always had an interest in the ability to achieve good through politics. There wasn’t much room on my plate until more recent years, as my kids got older and my career gained security. Like many, the events of 2020 were life-changing for me, and I felt more compelled than ever to try to use my strengths and skill sets for a greater positive impact. I began to experience and understand the heavy role local government plays in our day-to-day lives and decided that I would run. I believe we all have a responsibility to use our experiences to effect positive change within our particular spheres of influence. Otherwise, it’s hard for me to justify why bad things happen in our lives. This is my way of doing that.” -Ms. Whitehead, Three Chopt

“I have always enjoyed working in state /local government and giving back to the community. I believe the citizens of Henrico are looking for someone who will put Henrico County issues first. Our County has been extremely successful over the past several hundred years, and I want to continue on that path. We campaigned on a “Team Tuckahoe” theme, and I hope to unite our community and continue the success of our team.” -Mr. Rogish, Tuckahoe   

“I decided to run for the Henrico Board of Supervisors because I am a proven leader for Fairfield Families. I believed that I was the best person qualified for this role, and I was the only candidate ready from day one. I bring over 30 years of experience living and working in the Fairfield District and have a proven track record of advocating, collaborating, and delivering for our community. For the past eight years, I fought on Henrico School Board to build stronger schools, invest in our classrooms, raise employee pay, and provide the resources needed for students to succeed.” -Reverend Cooper, Fairfield 

“I was encouraged by persons in my community.” -Mr. Nelson, Varina

“Helping and supporting others has always been important to me since I witnessed my parents’ entrepreneurial efforts as a kid and then through the growth of our business. 

Translating that to the opportunity to serve my neighbors and fellow community members was appealing to me from the start. Henrico County is a special place, and I have a strong desire to do my part during this window of opportunity to both maintain and further strengthen this great County. Leaving things better than we found them has always been a hallmark purpose of our family’s service.” -Mr. Schmitt, Brookland

 

  1. What would you like Henrico County Government Employees to know about you or your platform?

“Well, first – don’t believe everything you’ve heard! Just kidding (mostly), but truly, I very much value the opportunity to get to know folks personally so that you all can form your own opinion based on actual interaction. I don’t shy away from being a loud voice because I have too often experienced what it’s like to feel silenced, and that can sometimes lead to false/over-simplified narratives or impressions. Advocating for those who are limited in their ability to effectively do it for themselves is my guiding passion. I am a lover of knowledge, and I say all the time that while I am loud, I try never to be loud and wrong! My military and legal experiences have taught me how to navigate and lead folks with all kinds of different viewpoints, distill the relevant information, and arrive at a decision that is sound and just. That is how I hope to serve the County of Henrico for as long as voters permit me.” -Ms. Whitehead, Three Chopt

“I am so appreciative of the work each of you does to make Henrico a great place to live, work, and visit. As government employees, I believe we are all in the customer service business of helping the citizens of Henrico. Whether that is mental health, parks, public safety, public works, or one of the many other departments, I want us all to be proud of the work we do and the commitment we make to our community. Our most valuable asset in the County is YOU, and I want to support each of you as we work to serve the various needs of the public.” -Mr. Rogish, Tuckahoe

 “I want Henrico County Government Employees to know that on the Board of Supervisors, I will fight to:

  • Ensure our schools receive the full support they need to thrive
  • Promote economic development to attract businesses and expand job opportunities
  • Increase investments in transportation infrastructure to improve safety and accessibility
  • Expand affordable housing options for residents
  • Improve public safety for our neighborhoods and schools”-Reverend Cooper, Fairfield 

“I have served as a BOS member for over 12 years. I love this County and its residents. I am focused on an equitable community.” -Mr. Nelson, Varina

“First and foremost, I would like for them to know that while I am an elected official to serve the residents of my district, I also feel strongly about my obligation to support the employees of this County who serve those whom I represent.

Secondly, I would like County employees to know that I serve with a genuine purpose. To me, this role is about nothing more than making our community, our County, the very best that it can be for families to live, work, and raise a family.

Finally, my key priorities have been, and always will be, public safety, education, strong community amenities, and fiscal prudence. With those four core pillars, I remain fully confident that Henrico County can and will continue to lead the region, the Commonwealth, as well as the Nation.” -Mr. Schmitt, Brookland

 

  1. What are you most looking forward to while serving on the BOS?

“My favorite part already is the people, hands-down. I always knew Henrico had great personnel, but I have been truly blown away by the folks I have met and worked with thus far. As a business owner, I know how hard it can be to find people who are invested in the common goal, and I truly see that quality in our people here. We are incredibly blessed as leadership to be able to rely on such quality work by good people to make our jobs so much easier. You guys make us look good! So, I’m looking forward to continuing to meet and work with our folks. The other four Board members and I share a great rapport and chemistry, and while we are each different in many ways, we are similarly motivated to move Henrico forward in extraordinary ways. So I look forward to jointly surpassing even our grandest visions for the County!” -Ms. Whitehead, Three Chopt

“Solving problems. I love a good challenge, and whether it’s picking up leaves, paving roads, trimming trees, or putting out fires, I want to help equip our Henrico County employees with the tools needed to solve problems.” -Mr. Rogish, Tuckahoe

“I look forward to ensuring that our County Government Employees have all the resources they need to effectively serve our Community and work for our community every day.” -Reverend Cooper, Fairfield 

“Continuing to see progress.” -Mr. Nelson, Varina

“Primarily and since day one, I have most enjoyed putting my 25 years of business experience to work for the citizens of this County. This County has historically blazed its trail of success via fiscal prudence and a strong conservative fiscal approach. I plan to remain laser-focused on maintaining such fiscal strength in order to directly benefit the residents, businesses, and visitors of this County by being able to continue providing for those strong priorities that I have listed above. Keeping our tax rate low and our services high has proven to be a solid guiding principle, and I look forward to the next four years maintaining that vision.” -Mr. Schmitt, Brookland

 

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add?  

“I sincerely hope to foster an open dialogue with residents and employees so that I can best advocate for you. I will be as transparent, communicative, and accessible as I know to be, and I hope you all hold me to that! While I cannot ever guarantee a particular outcome, I can guarantee a fair process and that your voice will be heard. Thank you all for all you do!” -Ms. Whitehead, Three Chopt

 “Over the past two months in office, one of the benefits is speaking to many of my counterparts across the region and Commonwealth, and a consistent theme is how great we do things in Henrico. But as with any business or government, we constantly must adapt and work towards improvement; so, if you see or think of something we can do better to serve the people of Henrico, please reach out to me at [email protected] or my personal cell phone is always available. I am always looking to improve on the great things we are doing in Henrico! Thanks, and I am looking forward to meeting and working with each of you.” -Mr. Rogish, Tuckahoe 

“I’m humbled by this opportunity to serve and will be a great steward of it.” -Reverend Cooper, Fairfield 

Read More

Henrico Spread the Love

Spread the Love 2024 marks the fourth year of the county’s Valentine’s Day Card drive, aimed at sharing our love and appreciation with senior adults in Henrico. The Advocate for the Aging Office received approximately ten thousand cards from across Central Virginia and distributed them to nearly forty senior living communities. Thousands of beautiful cards came from Henrico County Public Schools. Thanks to our students, we distributed pop-up cards, stamps, and beautifully crafted clay hearts! We also really appreciate the several General Government departments that created wonderful cards as well, including Varina Library, Human Resources, Department of Finance- Accounting, Department of Public Works – Standing Water Initiative,  County Clerk’s office, My Henrico Academy, and individuals from Hermitage, IDD Group Homes and Lakeside Center. Families, seniors participating in Senior Connections’ Friendship Cafés, and countless other groups contributed to this large-scale project. It was such a joy to sort the thousands of cards that included a variety of languages, images, and styles. The cards were nearly as diverse as Henrico County! Community members who donated cards and those who received cards shared that Spread the Love brings smiles to their faces. We are so grateful for those who participated in this project in and can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Read More

From Fads to Fiber: Rethinking Weight Loss Strategies

In the relentless pursuit of weight loss, the allure of fad diets and their compelling promises often leads us astray. Internet searches related to weight loss inquiries have increased immensely over the years, so it is safe to say that many are interested in making some changes but need guidance. This guidance often comes from social media and our interpersonal relationships. However, the truth is that consuming a high-fiber and plant-predominant diet is a simple approach to weight loss because it is more sustainable and backed by substantial scientific evidence.

Fad diets are trendy dietary patterns known to be a quick fix for long-term problems. Three key characteristics can quickly identify them: they promise rapid weight loss, focus on one food group or eliminate entire food groups, and provide limited scientific evidence to support their claims. It is also important to note that even if there is available scientific evidence, these studies have not been conducted often or long enough to understand long-term health effects and usually fail to mention high dropout rates. The reason behind these high dropout rates is that the strict regimes of fad diets make them unsustainable long-term, and participants usually revert back to their previous eating habits, regaining the weight they already lost, plus more.

Instead of relying on “quick fix” diets, do yourself a favor by making small but substantial changes to your diet like including more fiber and plant-based foods. Dietary fiber makes you feel full, so consuming more will cause you to eat fewer calories overall. Most meat contains unhealthy fats, so reducing the amount of it you consume will aid you in managing your weight as well. We know that the all-or-nothing approach is only sometimes realistic, so instead of cutting out meat entirely, try a plant-forward diet with a mixture of meat and non-meat protein sources like beans, nuts, and lentils. The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume daily. Making these minor changes to your eating habits and regularly exercising are far more efficient ways to reach and maintain your goal weight than participating in fad diets. 

If you are the type of person who likes to follow a diet plan, consider the Mediterranean diet. This diet is not a quick fix; it’s a complex of dietary choices followed by people living in the Mediterranean region who derive most of their calories from fish and plant-based foods. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish, and nuts are key components of this diet, with moderate allowances of alcohol, dairy products, and meat. The Mediterranean diet is the most extensively studied diet to this day and is proven to be suitable for weight-loss-oriented people.

The Fitness and Wellness Division of the Human Resources Department is committed to helping you ditch the gimmick diets and improve your eating habits by offering an eight-session nutrition program called Full Plate Living. This program will help you understand how to alter your meals to add as much fiber as possible without relying on an all-or-nothing approach. If you, your department, or work group are interested in participating in this program, please contact the Fitness and Wellness Division to get started!

 

 

References

Khawandanah, J., & Tewfik, I. (2016). Fad Diets: Lifestyle Promises and Health Challenges. Journal of Food Research, 5(6), 80. https://doi.org/10.5539/jfr.v5n6p80

Nancy C. Howarth, Edward Saltzman, Susan B. Roberts, Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 59, Issue 5, May 2001, Pages 129–139, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb07001.x

Slavin, J. L. (2005). Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition, 21(3), 411–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2004.08.018

Spadine M, Patterson MS. Social Influence on Fad Diet Use: A Systematic Literature Review. Nutrition and Health. 2022;28(3):369-388. doi:10.1177/02601060211072370

Tahreem A, Rakha A, Rabail R, Nazir A, Socol CT, Maerescu CM, Aadil RM. Fad Diets: Facts and Fiction. Front Nutr. 2022 Jul 5;9:960922. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.960922. PMID: 35866077; PMCID: PMC9294402.

Read More