Tara Spencer stands on her porch in the Creighton Court public housing community each school day and watches as her 12-year-old daughter, Japria, waits about 20 yards down the street to catch the bus to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School where she is a sixth-grader.
The family of Linwood Lambert Jr. and other community members will mark the third anniversary of the former Richmond resident’s death with a march for justice Wednesday, May 4, in South Boston, where he died after three police officers stunned him 20 times with Tasers while he was in their custody.
That’s the amount state gives city for jail costs
That’s how much cash-strapped Richmond has received from the state for reimbursement of costs related to the construction of the six-story, $134.6 million Richmond Justice Center in Shockoe Bottom, Tammy Hawley, a spokesperson for Mayor Dwight C. Jones, told the Free Press last Friday.
“I had a good time tonight,” Bobby Brown said to his family as they left The Diamond after attending a recent Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball game.
An interfaith group of more than 1,600 people are expected to gather 7 p.m. Monday, May 2, at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Henrico County.
More than 200 demonstrators call for more school funding
Kevin Lauray resolutely marched across the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge late Monday afternoon with his 4-year-old daughter, Aiyanna Lauray, on his shoulders as she held high a sign, “Support Our Schools.” His girlfriend, Shaira Maravilla, and their four other children walked the distance — from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in the East End, across the bridge, to City Hall — with a crowd of about 200 to demand more money for Richmond Public Schools.
About 30 members of the city’s homeless community, advocates for homeless people and other concerned residents gathered behind the city’s old Public Safety Building early last Friday evening for a rally and sleep-in protest at the entrance of the emergency overflow shelter.
Five-time cancer survivor and Richmond resident Steven Wentworth is bringing the Greater Richmond Holistic Expo to the Richmond Raceway Complex in Henrico County.
When leaders at Centenary United Methodist Church in Downtown were searching for a temporary site for their Friday feeding program for the homeless and working poor, little did they know the answer to their prayers was only a few yards away.
City Council offers amendments to add millions of dollars to RPS while School Board approves cost-cutting measures
Community members are becoming increasingly angry and concerned about the future of Richmond Public Schools, especially after the Richmond School Board voted Monday to cut costs by shutting down two North Side buildings and implementing a new bus transportation system in the fall of 2016 that will make it more difficult for some students to get to their schools.
Patricia Fitzpatrick enthusiastically pitched the UZURV ride reservation service website and app that she and other entrepreneurs created to a three-member judges panel resembling the popular product pitch TV show “Shark Tank” at the Aging 2.0 Global Startup Search competition last week in Henrico County.
A university president with a comedic touch. A burlesque performer on a mission to continue the revival of her craft.
Richmond City Council President Michelle R. Mosby pledged “to renew a sense of trust in government.” Jack Berry, former director of Downtown booster group Venture Richmond, said, “I will make sure that the first dollar goes to the schools, not the last dollar.”
Seattle Seahawks All-Pro quarterback Russell Wilson scored a touchdown with a hometown crowd of 4,500 people at the Richmond Forum, where he was the special guest and speaker Saturday night at the Altria Theatre.
Dr. Robert J. “Pastor Rob” Rhoden said he has seen a sprinkling of former members of the Richmond Outreach Center return over the past few months to attend worship services since he quietly was named as the church’s new senior pastor in January.
“It’s ridiculous.” That was the response Wednesday from Jakela Cannon, the mother of a John B. Cary Elementary School kindergarten student in the West End, to a cost-cutting plan introduced this week by the Richmond Public Schools administration that seeks to close Cary, three other elementary schools and Armstrong High School. The proposal would move those students to other existing schools in the district and consolidate three unidentified alternative schools into one.
The city is looking for a new director to lead its anti-poverty effort through the city Office of Community Wealth Building. Thad Williamson announced he is resigning as the director to return to his position as associate professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond.
Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matters, said she and other leaders of the movement consider slogans, marches and rallies for just treatment for African-Americans to be critical, but it’s more important “to move to systems that protect and affirm black life.”
The Richmond Chapter of Concerned Black Men is looking for more men interested in mentoring youths. The program is holding its next orientation sessions for mentors Thursday, April 7, and Thursday, May 5, at the organization’s office, 2025 E. Main St. Both sessions will be 6 to 8 p.m.
Richmond Public Schools’ leadership team is undergoing a major makeover. Ralph Westbay, who helped craft the school system’s current budget plan as the assistant superintendent for financial services, is retiring May 1.
Evangelist Michelle Turner of All Saints Episcopal Church in Henrico County held a wooden cross that she made as she walked with 50 others in the Stations of the Cross community walk Downtown to mark Good Friday. “It’s my way of giving back my love to the Lord,” Ms. Turner said.
Flying Squirrels bringing their AA game
As the Richmond Flying Squirrels leave spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., later this week and fly to Richmond on Sunday to prepare for their new Eastern League baseball season, their roster will include two players who are former first round draft picks, a third flame-throwing closer who consistently throws 100 mph fastballs and a new manager who spent the past three seasons at the helm of the Diablos Rojos in the Mexican League, leading the team to the 2014 league championship.
Throngs of visitors are expected to view exhibits chronicling the enslavement and emancipation of hundreds of thousands of Africans and African-Americans in the United States when the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opens this fall on the National Mall in Washington. And they will see displays about President Obama’s historic election and leadership as the nation’s first African-American president.
As Henrico schools officials launch the process to rename the former Harry F. Byrd Sr. Middle School, the names of several African-Americans who have notably served the community have emerged as possibilities. Among them:
Grammy Award-winning Jamaican reggae singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert suffered head pains and memory loss and was diagnosed with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after a drunk spectator threw a liquor bottle that hit him in the head while he was performing with his band Toots and the Maytals at the 2013 Dominion Riverrock Festival in Downtown.
Fraternal twins Kimberly Ketter and Shaun Rivers share a deep faith and a desire to help others. And they aspire to live life to its fullest.
Richmond Circuit Court Chief Judge Clarence N. Jenkins Jr. encouraged his fellow congregation members to get “a spiritual tuneup” during a Men’s Day address Sunday at Garland Avenue Baptist Church on North Side. His remarks were delivered on Palm Sunday, which Christians annually celebrate in marking Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion at Calvary.
Jordan Chapman wore a broad smile. Her mother, Amy, wiped away tears of joy. And the people around them applauded. Their happy reaction came after the Henrico School Board voted 5-0 to change the name of Harry F. Byrd Sr. Middle School at its March 10 work session at the New Bridge Learning Center.
Audience members applauded repeatedly as students from Richmond Public Schools delivered stirring remarks, creative musical performances, inspiring spoken word renditions and precision marching exercises at the 2016 State of the Schools Address.
Father-son artists share gifts with the community
Jerome W. Jones Jr. and his son, Jeromyah, share a deep passion for painting. Their works, many featuring portraits of noted people, provides uplift, education and motivation to untold thousands who have viewed them at exhibits and online.
Twenty philanthropically minded women have come together to have a greater impact on giving in the Richmond community.
Musician starts campaign linking prayer and healing
One year after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, James Johnson Jr., the minister of music at Cedar Street Baptist Church of God in the East End, is releasing a song and initiating a national prayer campaign. Both are called “Agree.”
North Side resident Sherri Davis said she is concerned about planned budget cuts that may close schools, crowd classrooms and have parents scrambling to arrange transportation for their children. “It becomes a safety issue when you propose to put more kids in classes,” the mother of two Richmond Public Schools students told the Free Press on Wednesday. “It’s already hard enough for teachers to teach the large numbers of students they have in their classrooms.”
Ronnie Soffee exchanged hugs and accepted well wishes from residents at Rudd’s Trailer Park early Saturday afternoon. He even shed a few tears as several people stopped by the office of the mobile home park at 2911 Jefferson Davis Highway.
The Richmond Police Department is stepping up efforts to stem domestic violence in partnership with the YWCA of Richmond and the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
Gladys Lewis and Anna Washington have faithfully led the Girl Scouts troop at their church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on North Side, for more than 50 years. Through their selfless service, the Richmond residents have helped hundreds of young girls fulfill their scouting dreams. They will officially step down as troop leaders Sunday, March 13, the day they are to be honored in a 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the church at 2900 Hanes Ave.
Leon Brooks, a retired sergeant with the Virginia Air National Guard, was honored Sunday “as a real living hero” in an emotional tribute at Greater Brook Road Baptist Church on South Side during the church’s Heritage Celebration. “I’m really honored,” Mr. Brooks humbly told the small congregation at the church led by the Rev. Grace E. Tolliver. “This is the first time anyone has asked me to speak about this publicly.”
Henrico County Public Schools has not banned the video on racism that upset some parents and their children at Glen Allen High School and created wider community turmoil when the Henrico County School Board chairwoman and superintendent apologized for it being shown. In an interview Tuesday, Andy Jenks, spokesperson for Henrico County schools, told the Free Press, “No,” when asked if the video has been banned.
Two groups of Democratic supporters gathered Tuesday night at separate viewing parties two blocks apart at restaurants in Shockoe Bottom. Shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m., both venues quickly transformed into jubilant celebrations of Hillary Clinton’s resounding win over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in Virginia’s presidential primary. When it was all said and done, Mrs. Clinton easily trounced Sen. Sanders in the state, winning 64.3 percent of the vote to his 35.2 percent.
Abraham “Ham” Mitchell has wowed audiences at the CIAA Basketball Tournament for more than four decades with his dazzling attire, engaging personality and stylish strut. Known as “Mr. CIAA,” he has entertained thousands of appreciative fans with the dapper tailor-made suits he wears during games that often reflect the official colors of the teams playing at the time on the basketball court.
“We need not apologize for the video.” That’s the view of Henrico School Board member Rev. Roscoe Cooper III about the 4-minute video on racism that was shown to Glen Allen High School students Feb. 4 at two assemblies.
Rudd’s Trailer Park owner Ronnie Soffee said that he has scheduled an auction in March to sell the 9.2-acre South Side property that members of his family have owned and managed since 1936. The once bustling community at 2911 Jefferson Davis Highway has long served as a home to many of the city’s most vulnerable and those in poverty.
The Richmond Chapter of Concerned Black Men National is holding an orientation session for men interested in mentoring youths.
When members of Mountain of Blessings Christian Center in Henrico County learned about the water contamination in Flint, Mich., they decided to pitch in to help residents living through the crisis. Pastor Dimitri Bradley Mountain of Blessings first reached out to the Victorious Word Church in Flint after he learned the church was in need of assistance. He also wanted to assist other residents of the predominately African-American community, 40 percent of whom live in poverty.
The African-American members of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors voiced frustration this week after Henrico school leaders apologized for showing a 4-minute video to students Feb. 4 at Glen Allen High School that portrayed the oppression and systematic racism in the United States that African-Americans have endured for centuries.
Leaders of a growing campaign to rename Harry F. Byrd Middle School in Henrico County are asking the Henrico School Board to ensure that the county’s growing African- American population is provided an equal voice in the community discussion on the issue.
As nearly 400 people met at an East End church last week to discuss solutions to stem the tide of violence in the city, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham somberly rose to address the audience.
Gwendolyn Smalls said not a day goes by that she and her family don’t feel anguish over the inhumane and unnecessary death of her 46-year-old brother, Linwood R. Lambert Jr. The former Richmond resident died nearly three years ago while he was in the custody of three South Boston police officers who fired 20 Taser shots at him while his hands and legs were shackled.
Another festival is coming to festival city. The first “RVA East End Festival: The Gift of Music,” will play Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8, in Chimborazo Park. Adding to the excitement, Bon Secours Richmond Health System has joined festival partners toward a pledged goal of $100,000 to provide musical instru- ments and related materials for East End students at Richmond’s Bellevue, Chimborazo, Fairfield Court, George Mason and Woodville elementary schools, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Armstrong High School and Franklin Military Academy.
Audience members rose to their feet with impassioned shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” at Virginia Union University’s Founders Day Convocation last Friday.