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Bon Air marks 134th anniversary with parade, activities on May 7


mages of the Victorian era will dominate the festivities when Bon Air celebrates its 134th birthday on Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a parade, entertainment, historical displays, food, games for children and costumed residents strolling through the area. The parade, featuring nearly 30 floats and marching units, will leave at 11 a.m. from Bon Air Baptists Church and end at Bon Air Christian Church. Both churches are located on Buford Road in the Bon Air Historic District. Parking will be available at Stony Point Reformed Presbyterian Church on Buford and that road will be closed to motorists during the parade. Victorian Day is sponsored annually by the Bon Air Historical Society. Sam Giles, a native of Bon Air and promotions director of WKLR Radio, has been named Grand Marshal of the parade. Local vendors will display their wares on the grounds of Bon Air Christian Church in the afternoon. Food, children’s activities and musical entertainment await visitors, and historical exhibits will be set up in the church fellowship hall. Featured in the parade will be the U.S. Fort Lee Army Band, the Manchester High School Army JROTC Marching Unit & Color Guard, antique and modern fire engines, the Buford Road Pharmacy’s 30-foot, horsedrawn wagon with riders in “Tom Sawyer” attire, classic cars from Central Virginia Mustang Club, plus Steve and Angie Goff ’s ’56 Buick Special four-door hardtop, St. Andrews Legion Pipes and Drums, the Ukrop’s Supermarket 1926 Ford Truck driven by John Lewis and Professor Ali Katterwaller’s one-man band. Marchers or floats representing Bon Air Elementary School, several Cub and Boy Scout troops, the Laurels of Bon Air, Louisiana State University Alumni , and the Legacy School of Dance are among the other parade entrants. Suzanne Loehr will carry the Bon Air flag, Pamela Hoy will rider her horse Rocky and local residents will walk their dogs in the parade. Escorting the parade will be Chesterfield County police. For more information, check or Courtesy of Bon Air Historical Society Publicity Chair Grace Webb

Virginia mulls Shield Law for Journalists BY JEANNETTE PORTER Capital News Service


hile Virginia seemingly venerates all things Jeffersonian, the commonwealth has not yet enshrined in law one of Thomas Jefferson’s most ardently held principles: the protected role of a free press in a democracy. Delegate Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, would like to change that. In the 2011 General Assembly, she introduced House Bill 2199, which would grant journalists limited protection from being compelled to disclose confidential sources. Comstock subsequently withdrew the bill from consideration this year so it could undergo further study. A subcommittee of the House Committee for Courts of Justice then voted that the bill be passed by for this session. Comstock, who is serving her first term representing House District 34, said her goal wasn’t to get a law enacted but to get the discussion started. “I knew when I introduced it that we were at the beginning of a three-year process,” she said. “I wanted to get the idea out there.” According to the Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Virginia is one of 13 states that have no law explicitly shielding journalists from having to name their sources in court. The bill was based on one recently enacted in Texas, Comstock said in an interview. Despite the bill’s intent to protect the press, it met with a lukewarm reception from the Virginia press corps. Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, wrote to Comstock: “We believe that House Bill No. 2199 does not provide an appropriate degree of protection for journalists and we do not support it in its current form.” Attorneys for The Washington Post reviewed the bill and had four main concerns: - The bill offered limited, not absolute, SHIELD LAW page 3

Midlothian Airman killed in Afghanistan is remembered as a leader, ‘all heart’ baseball. Ransom wasn’t only remembered for his determination on the field. He was idlothian High School gradu- remembered as a natural leader. “Charles ate Capt. Charles A. Ransom, was always a very mature young man who who was one of eight killed in acted older than his years, and I think that Afghanistan on April 27, left was one thing that impressed me was his a legacy of leadership and ‘all heart’ since maturity,” Cooper added. graduating from the school in 1997. Ransom’s innate maturity made him a “It’s still hard to believe … He was just natural leader. “Kids, players and students, an amazing young man,” said Coach David gravitated towards Charles. He would Cooper, who now serves as athletic director undertake something and lead a group of of Midlothian High School. Coach Cooper people from start to finish and do the right remembers meeting the young sophomore thing to get the job done,” Cooper said. Charles Ransom the first year Cooper beAfter high school, Ransom attended came coach of the Trojans football team. Virginia Military Institute and majored in “Charles was listed at 5’2” at 125 pounds computer science. According to VMI release, on the football roster. He was tough, there Ransom was a cadet corporal, platoon was no quit in Charles,” Coach Cooper said. sergeant, and Rat Challenge corporal. He Coach Cooper recalled that Ransom commissioned as a second lieutenant in the wouldn’t even hesitate to think about the Air Force upon graduation in 2001. size of a physically bigger opponent on the The VMI Class of 2001 issued the folfootball field. “Most of the 125 pounds was lowing statement regarding Ransom’s death: all heart. He was an amazing young man.” “…During a speech to the class after BreakRansom played football his sophomore out in 1998, Charles promised he would be and junior year. A back injury his senior a fighter for all of us. That he was. Charles year prevented him from playing in the continued that fight for his country as an fall sport, but Ransom went on to play officer in the U.S. Air Force and died serving BY ELIZABETH FARINA


in harm’s way on our behalf. The great love of our class swells for Charles and his family. You will be so greatly missed, Brother Rat.” According to 24th Air Force, Capt. Ransom was a cyberspace Airman assigned to the 83rd Network Operations Squadron, located at Langley Air Force Base, Va. He had been selected for promotion to major in 2010 and was due to pin this year. Only through U.S. Presidential approval, Capt. Ransom would be posthumously promoted to major. According to the 24th Air Force release, “The [loss] drives home the point that life can indeed be fleeting, especially in the profession of arms,” said Lt. Colonel Eric Delange, 83rd NOS commander. “I would encourage everyone, as soon as they get a chance, to call their spouse, children, mom, dad, friend, or any other special person or loved one and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Then, tell them about Captain Ransom. Let them know that we all lost a friend and patriot who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country and freedoms.” A private funeral will take place this week.

Class project takes on Tire Amnesty Day


Anne Moore's seventh-grade students at Robious Middle School present the county's first Tire Amnesty Day on May 7 BY ELIZABETH FARINA


nne Moore’s seventh-grade students at Robious Middle School are looking forward to going on a canoeing field trip to count Warblers with Virginia Commonwealth University students, but first the students will have a few bicycle and passenger car tires to collect this weekend. Students are inviting county residents to drop off five old tires per household at the county’s first Tire Amnesty Day event this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the Convenience Center at 6700 Landfill Drive in Chester. The fee for recycling tires will be waived at the event. “We’re looking to get around 2,000 tires recycled,” student Katie Swenson said.

The classroom anti-littering project first started as four subjects: plastic bags, cigarette butts, Styrofoam and tires. “Tire Amnesty Day enveloped the class,” said student Kyle Knachel. Patricia MacCabe, another student, added that the project has been a learning experience. “We had to answer three questions: Why recycling tires are important? What is Tire Amnesty Day? What are tires recycled into? We had to write papers and research the subject,” MacCabe added. According to Chesterfield County Public Schools, the class collaborated with Chesterfield Anti-Litter Program Manager Pam Cooper to help encourage residents to properly dispose of tires rather than illegally dumping the tires. “Chemicals can seep out from the tires

when they’re dumped illegally and it can get into the water system and poison animals and plants,” student Lorin Roemhildt explained. Student Forrest Smith added, “In building on that, the chemical that seeps out of it the most is cadmium [sulfide]. It is what destroys the plants and if it gets into the water system it can kill fish and other animals.” Illegal tire dumping can also cause fires. “Tires in one area may catch on fire and you’ll have a continuous burn and can’t put them out, which I believe has something to do with the chemical make-up of the tires. It just keeps burning until it’s all done,” student Noah Walker said. Call (804)748-1297 for more information.

Rehearsals underway for 'Once Upon A Mattress'


Monacan HS Theater presents "Once Upon A Mattress", a timeless, family-friendly musical comedy based on “The Princess and The Pea”. The kingdom is in turmoil. The King has been cursed, the Queen is a windbag, the Knight’s honor is at issue, and their hopes reside in a very unprincess-like Princess. Tomfoolery abounds, but will love win out? Mark your calendars and find out May 12 - May 14 at 7 p.m. with a family-friendly matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. Tickets, available online at www., will be available at the door. courtesy of David Quick Find out what other spring performances will be taking the stage this month in 'Stuff to Do' on page 5.



2 || MAY 5, 2011



Manis selected for National Student Leadership Conference

Father-daughter dance a 'sold out' event at Alberta Smith Elementary School in April

Emma Manis, a sophomore in the Health-Science Specialty Center at Cosby High School, has been selected to participate in the National Student Leadership Conference(NLSC) on Medicine & Health this summer at Northwestern University. During the conference, Manis will attend specialized workshops and classes designed to develop the skills and traits that define a leader. Leading professionals and professors from top colleges facilitate the programs and engage the students in hands-on activities that provide students with a day-in-the-life understanding of a prospective medical career. “[The] students develop a sense of independence and responsibility,” said Dr. Paul Lisnek, NSLC Leadership Professor and Assistant Dean of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. “They leave with a true feeling of accomplishment and confidence in their ability to handle the challenges that lie ahead.” The National Student Leadership Conference is entering its 21st summer, continuing with a mission: identify and recognize outstanding young leaders from around the world, and provide them with a unique learning environment that encourages not only academic achievement, but also diversity, cooperation, and social responsibility.


(Good Luck Emma! - courtesy of mom Terry Manis) PHOTO BY ELIZABETH FARINA

Daughters and dads filled the converted dance floor at Alberta Smith Elementary on April 14 for an evening of fun organized by the school's Parent Teacher Association. The event was such a huge success, the PTA is sponsoring a second event for mothers and sons to be held on May 12.

Sen. Mark Warner to speak at commencement

Midlothian native named 'Manager of the Year' The Hyatt Dulles named Jared N. Hassard as 2010 Manager of the Year during the hotel’s annual awards banquet held on April 8. Hassard currently serves as revenue manager for the 316-room conference hotel located in suburban Herndon, Va. He is directly responsible for maximizing the hotel’s occupancy through the marketing and sales of the rooms and food and beverages divisions. Hassard, a native of Midlothian, Virginia and graduate of James River High School, began his seven-year career with Hyatt Corporation in 2004 when he secured a college internship with the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, the Grand Hyatt offered him a full time position as overnight manager and eventually as assistant front office manager. In 2006, he relocated to the Hyatt Regency Crystal City as

staff accountant and received successive promotions to reservations manager and director of guest services. According to Michael Session, Hyatt Dulles general manager, “This year we recognize Jared’s outstanding job performance, dedication and commitment. He consistently displays a positive attitude with our guests, vendors, associates and managers. He is always available to use his strengths as a hotel manager when he’s called upon to assist with special projects involving our rooms and sales divisions.” The award includes round-trip air for two to any Hyatt property in the United States, Hyatt hotel accommodations for five nights, one additional week of paid vacation, a $350 food/ beverage credit and $500 cash award. Hassard is a 2004 graduate of the University of South Carolina where he majored in hotel, restaurant and

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Dupler named Deputy County Administrator for Community Development

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John Tyler Community College will hold its 43rd annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the College’s Midlothian Campus, located at 800 Charter Colony Parkway. The graduating class will be approximately 890 strong. The commencement address will be delivered by U.S. Senator Mark COURTESY PHOTO Warner. Warner was elected U.S. Senator Mark Warner to the U.S. Senate in November 2008. He serves on the cellular telephone industry, Senate’s Banking, Budget, cofounding the company that Commerce and Rules comeventually became Nextel. mittees. From 2002 – 2006, He holds an undergraduWarner served as Governor ate degree from The George of Virginia. Before becoming Washington University and a an elected official, Warner law degree from Harvard. was an early leader in the courtesy of JTCC

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William D. Dupler, who had been serving as Chesterfield County’s Interim Deputy County Administrator for Community Development, was named to the post permanently at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on April 27. His responsibility includes the departments of Building Inspection, Community Development Block Grant, Economic Development, Environmental Engineering, Planning, Revitalization, Transportation and Utilities. He previously was the Director of the Department of Building Inspections in Chesterfield. He has worked in Virginia for Henrico County and Arlington County, in addition to Chesterfield County as a plans examiner, engineering supervisor and deputy building official since 1978. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland


William D. Dupler

with a B.S. degree from the college of Engineering and the Virginia Commonwealth University with a certificate in Public Administration. In addition, he serves as the Secretary Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the International Code Council, a membership association of code officials 50,000 strong, dedicated to building safety and fire prevention. Courtesy of Chesterfield County

Scouts, soldiers are focus of parks and recreation programs The Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation is offering two programs this Saturday, May 7. The first, Butler’s Offensive at Point of Rocks, is a walking tour of one of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign sites, Point of Rocks Park, 201 Enon Church Road. Learn about the naval battles of 1862, Gen. Benjamin Butler’s headquarters, the Union hospital Clara Barton served, and more. This tour will begin at 10 a.m., and pre-registration is required. To register online, visit www.chesterfieldhistory. com. The cost is $8 per person. Webelos are invited to attend a geology activity pin workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Midlothian Mines Park, 13301 N. Woolridge Road. This program is designed for boys aged 9-10 years who wish to complete the requirements for the Geologist Activity Pin. The program is $10 per scout, which does not include the cost of the pin. To register, call (804)748-1623 and request course 21897. courtesy of Chesterfield County


SHIELD LAW from page 1 protection from the disclosure of confidential sources. In certain circumstances, journalists could be forced to say who gave them their information or go to jail. Shield laws in Washington, D.C., Maryland and 11 other states offer absolute protection. - The circumstances under which journalists could be forced to say who gave them information were “too weak or confusing in some ways.” - The bill did not at all protect information that comes as a result of grand jury cases. - Under HB 2199, a court could find that the public interest in newsgathering outweighed the interest of someone seeking to compel a journalist’s testimony – and yet the journalist still could be forced to testify. “We welcome your interest in this important issue,” Stanley’s letter concluded, “and we would be glad to work with you and other stakeholders to see whether legislation can be drafted that we would support.” The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists took a similar line, saying in a statement that it “looks forward to working with Delegate Comstock in the future in defense of journalists’ rights in the Commonwealth.” Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (which worked with Comstock on the first draft of HB 2199), also had concerns.


One point of contention was over how to determine whether a person is a journalist. Such a definition can be problematic in an age of blogging and citizen journalism. HB 2199 used a “status test” to determine who is a journalist. The bill said a journalist is someone who “for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain gathers, compiles, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, investigates, processes, or publishes news or information that is disseminated by a news medium or communication service provider.” That phrase would exclude unpaid bloggers and student journalists. “We prefer a function test,” Dalglish said. Under that test, a journalist is someone who reports news – regardless of who the person works for or how much the person earns. Dalglish wants to ensure protection for student journalists: “We would like to cover broadcast, Internet and so on entities sponsored by an institution of higher learning.” Dalglish also said HB 2199 seemed to set a lower standard for prosecutors than for other parties in determining whether a journalist could be forced to testify. Despite such concerns, Dalglish was positive overall that Comstock had put the issue on the table. “For Virginia to come up with any type of statute will be progress,” Dalglish said. “I

'One point of contention was over how to determine whether a person is a journalist.' What is YOUR definition of a journalist? e-mail editor@ midlothianexchange. com wouldn’t single out (Comstock’s HB 2199) as terrible or wonderful. … We approve of her efforts. We have testified all over the country on this issue, and we’re looking forward to working within the state where we’re headquartered.” Comstock, now back in her Fairfax County district, seems committed to the process of creating a Virginia shield law. “Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Our liberty cannot be guarded but by freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,’” said Comstock, an attorney who has lobbied for a federal shield law for journalists as well. “Having worked on this issue at the federal level, I feel strongly about this and particularly strongly that Virginia, as Jefferson’s birthplace, needs to have this protection in law. We will have meetings with the press folks, prosecutors and our members to see if we can get a consensus bill that can get all parties on board.”

CRIME REPORT All data are based on the publicly available Chesterfield County Police Department daily arrest and crime releases and are reported according to Federal Incident Based Reporting rules.

23112 May 1 6200 block of Willow Glen Road Unknown suspect(s) gained entry by kicking in the rear door of the victim’s residence and removing property. 11200 block of Kingfisher Road Unknown suspect(s) removed the screen on the victim’s rear window in an attempt to gain entry. At this time, nothing was reported stolen.

April 30

Unknown suspect(s) pried open the cash dispensing box on the drink machine and removed property. 6800 block of Amster Road Property stolen from the rear of the victim’s unlocked 2000 Ford Explorer. 2900 block of Speeks Drive Tan 1990 Mazda MPV reported stolen. 14900 block of Lakebluff Parkway Complainant reported a backflow regulator was stolen.


13500 block of Waterford Place Several unlocked vehicles were April 29 13600 block of Riverton entered and property stolen. Ridge Drive Unknown suspect(s) entered 11100 block of Hull Street victim’s locked vehicle. At this Road time nothing was reported Victim reported property was stolen. stolen from victim’s unlocked van.

April 28

April 26 11300 block of Dumaine Drive Unlocked GMC Envoy was entered and property stolen. 9200 block of Midlothian Turnpike

1300 block of Buckingham Station Drive Two locked trucks were entered and property was stolen.

23235 May 1

Turnpike Two unknown suspects ran through the store stating there is a bomb inside the store. Nothing was located in the store.

April 29 1100 block of Tillers Ridge Drive Unlocked 1998 Toyota Camry was entered and at this time nothing was reported stolen. 6000 block of Pinetta Drive Juvenile suspects admitted setting a fire at the location. 8700 block of Polk Street Unknown suspect(s) forced entry to three county school buses and removed property.

April 28 10600 block of Honeytree Road Suspect(s) forced entry through locked rear door of the victim’s residence. The property was reported stolen.

'Heroes on the Hill' tribute event to be held at the Capitol on May 7 The America Never Forget Foundation (ANFF), the Halligan Bar and Grill’s foundation Halligans Heroes, and the Virginia Public Safety Foundation (VPSF) are proud sponsors of the “Heroes on the Hill” event on Saturday, May 7, from noon to 3 p.m. at Virginia’s beautiful Capitol. The organizations are proud to represent the state of Virginia in the Patriot Flag National Project. The Patriot Flag is a 30 x 57.5 feet and is being flown in all 50 states. This historical flag will be flown at the Capitol as a tribute to the 9/11 victims and their families, the Armed Forces, First Responders, Second Responders, and the resolve of all Americans and quest to live free. After the 50-state tour, the flag will travel to Pennsylvania, New York City, and the Pentagon for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. The May 7 event will be held to remember the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and raise awareness for the Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial, Virginia’s Monument to Public Safety officers killed in the line of duty that will be built at Darden Memorial Garden, formerly Capitol Street. There will be family activities, historical and educational booths, and great food from the Halligan Bar and Grill. The Patriot Flag ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. as the flag is raised in front of the Capitol by the Richmond Fire Department proceeded by the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. The speakers, who will address the public from a podium at the Capitol stairs include: Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker; Hadden Culp, President of the VPSF; Mark Buff, Virginia Department of Fire Programs. Key note speakers; Joe Torrillo, a retired New York City Fireman who was buried alive as the South World Trade Center Tower collapsed around him; Mickey Kross, who was trapped in darkness under mountains of debris and steel and is one of the 16 survivors in the “Miracle of Stairwell B” documentary about the collapse of the North World Trade Center. Cindy Sheaffer, President of

11500 block of Midlothian


Above the Patriot Flag flies in Seattle, Wash. Guest speakers and 9/11 Ground Zero firefighter survivor Joe Torrillo and Mickey Kross, who is one of the 16 survivors in the collapsed North World Trade Center, will be at the May 7 event at the Capitol. To learn more about the Patriot Flag Project, visit

Patriot Flag Ceremony to Honor the 9/11 Victims and Fallen Heroes, Military Past and Present and Raise Awareness for the VA Public Safety Memorial the ANFF will be presenting speakers with the “Never Forget” Pin. The ANFF is asking Congress,the military, and Americans across the country to wear this pin on September 11, 2011 in memory of the victims and in honor of the 10th Anniversary. Because May 8th is Mother’s Day and VE Day, the event will be honoring Blue Star

and Gold Star Mothers as well as honoring WWII Veterans. Shawn Gregory, owner of the Halligan Bar and Grill and founder of Halligan’s Heroes will end the ceremony with a few words and thank everyone for coming. The event will end at 3 p.m. courtesy of America Never Forget Foundation


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April 27 1700 block of Bloomfield Road Two unlocked vehicles were entered and property reported stolen.

MAY 5, 2011 || 3






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4 || MAY 5, 2011




With love and imperfection BY ELIZABETH FARINA



Student brings suicide,depression to light with Out of the Darkness walk Midlothian-area student Peyton Senning created a powerful presentation for her peers to become aware of suicide and depression. The young student, whose family has been affected by the loss of a loved one, shared the information in a presentation (online at about the national walk taking place in June. Out of the Darkness Overnight is sponsored by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The fund raising event, an 18-mile walk, will take place in New York City on June 4 and 5. Registration is now taking place. Call (888) 843-6837 or visit www. for information. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the U.S. dies by suicide every 16 minutes. The CDC added that talking about suicide "will help to foster dialogue and encourage people to get help." Currently, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college-age adults. The presentation is dedicated to Ian. "Ian passed away this past Oct. 30th. He was my brother's partner, confidante, and friend. Ian was a twin and had eight siblings. A beautiful and talented dancer, he strove to be the best. Somehow, in an impulsive moment, Ian chose to end his life by jumping from the 18th floor of a building in Philadelphia. He left behind thousands of fans, hundreds of friends and family members with questions that will never be answered ... Ian's future was bright, but now it will never exist for him." For more information about depression and suicide prevention, visit Needing help COURTESY OF SENNING FAMILY now? Call the National Suicide Prevention toll-free Ian, pictured above, was a talented dancer who died last fall. line at 1(800)273-TALK (8255) or the Chesterfield Peyton's presentation about depression and suicide was dedicated to the young man. Mental Health Crisis Intervention 24-hour hotline at (804) 748-6356. Call 911 in an emergency.

other’s Day Being a mom is sometimes nothing short of living insanity and feeling blessed all at once. I cannot adequately express the love I have for my child and how she has profoundly changed my life in so many positive ways, even on our bad days. I also accepted a long time ago that I wasn’t going to be a perfect mom. The epiphany happened when I accidentally locked my sleeping baby girl in our car at a gas station on a winter day in Bedford County. Luckily, a Virginia Game Warden was filling up his vehicle’s gas tank at the same time. He called the town’s police department for me. After a few minutes – that seemed like an eternity – the police showed up with flashing lights and sirens. The officer was able to pop the lock on the passenger side and I tearfully said, ‘thank you.’ My daughter slept through the entire episode. A similar situation happened to my mom, except on a much larger scale. Dad was out of town for a seminar, so she was stuck with my older brother, sister and me. Certainly outnumbered, I know we drove her to exhaustion. She decided to take a quick afternoon nap before picking us up from parochial school. We waited outside the school entrance for awhile. Then, we waited at the convent with the nuns. They were on the telephone non-stop trying to get in touch with my mom. The rest of the story is what I’ve learned over the years: A neighbor was reached and saw the family Ford station wagon was still in the driveway. She rang the doorbell again and again, but no one answered. Another neighbor circled the house to see if there was a way into the home. They went back their house where they called my dad and then the fire department. At that point, a lot of our neighbors were home from work and a crowd had gathered on our front lawn. The firefighters were mere moments from breaking down the door when my mortified mother opened it. She had told them that she had not been able to sleep well with our dad out of town and had fallen into a deep sleep. We were brought home by one of the neighbors as the fire truck was leaving. The point is that moms are imperfect. So, who are moms? There are so many ways to describe a mom that change with each child’s definition. Moms are not porcelain dolls to be placed on a shelf. Moms are not made of soft gooey marshmallows. Moms are not the perfection of humanity. Some moms are half of the parenting team. Some moms are the entire parenting team. Some moms are a source of strength for their children. Some moms are the font of grace for the family. Some moms are critical. Some moms are their own worst critics. Some moms work. Some moms work at home. Some moms are volunteers. Some moms give of their time in different ways. Some moms are the supply of laughter. Some moms are the reason for tears. All moms hold their children, no matter the age, in their heart. May all the moms who can – as well as those who cannot – give her child or children a hug on this Mother’s Day have a beautiful and blessed day honoring motherhood.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK Happy Mother's Day! Share your thoughts about mom...

courtesy of Shawn Senning

"Mom, you are right about everything (almost)! You are a super star. We love you!"

Reams Road Students branch out with Project Plant It! for Arbor Day


Third-graders at Reams Road Elementary were treated to a special forester presentation by Lisa Deaton, forestry education specialist for the Virginia Department of Forestry, on Monday, April 11. The students are enrolled in Dominion’s Project Plant It! program, developed to educate children, plant trees and improve the environment. Deaton and the students are acting out the life cycle of a tree, one of the many activities in her presentation. Teachers got a kit of lesson plans from Project Plant It! earlier this year, and each child received a tree seedling to plant at home on Arbor Day, April 29. Visit www.projectplantit. com for more information, and to watch videos or play games about trees. courtesy of Sara Hunt





"I still miss my mom dearly 10 years after her passing … it’s hard to believe how fast time goes by."


"My mother deserves the biggest award there is because she raised 10 children without going insane!"

Stephanie Childrey SALES


Lisa Deaton, forestry education specialist for the Virginia Department of Forestry leads students in the life cycle of a tree activity.








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MAY 5, 2011 || 5


Muddy Buddy offers more than a mud pit challenge City Marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes and the Boston Marathon in just over four hours. He and teammate Jamie Monroe were both ready to take on t was a grueling course at the 2011 Columbia the off-road Muddy Buddy Richmond course for the Muddy Buddy Richmond Ride & Run for the 1,600-plus participants. Two-person teams, who second consecutive year. “I think it’s nice this year because it’s not as hot. Last year, I think it was like 90 alternated bicycling and running the course, degrees at 7 a.m. so it will be a little bit easier on us completed the six- to seven-mile race that served up this year,” Roumonada said. a series of obstacles through the woods and over the The teammates will continue the national race creek at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County series’ mud-slinging fun at 18 cities this year. “This is on May 1. our second [city] stop,” Monroe said before lining up Although the end of the course might have at the start. “They’ll be going over four obstacles on seemed like a never-ending uphill battle, all were the course, this 13-foot wall at the finish line, and of greeted with a cheering crowd as teammates crawled course, the main mud pit. Everybody has Red Hook together through the famous mud pit to the finish beer at the end … everyone is out here to have a good line. Midlothian native Brigitte Fanelli and husband time.” Michael Fanelli took first place in the co-ed category Native Texan and “mudder” Richard Parisi, who for their age group (for participants’ course Photo Gallery ONLINE now lives in Virginia Beach was ready to take on the times, visit Getting dirty has never felt better as the entertaining race with teammate Brian Geiger of Virnational series continued its support of the ginia Beach. The team added Mylar balloons to their shared mountain bike to make it easier to find at the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Official vehicle sponsor Land Rover® donated $1,000 pre-race obstacle drop-off points. The teammates focused on their strengths to set a solid pace through the course to the non-profit organization. Also, during the prerace festivities, CAF athlete Nick Roumonada of New and after the race. “Well, I did a lot of drinking and York City, quickly shared his story. “I thought I would he did a lot of running. We’ll see who trained better,” Parisi jokingly added. never be able to get back into sports at quite the level The Muddy Buddy had a few additions this year, I’m at now,” he said. Through the foundation’s support and sponsor do- besides the 13-foot wall before the mud pit at the nations, Roumonada now has a running prosthetic leg finish line. “Every year it keeps growing. We added a couple of new things; we’ll have live music later; the that he described as expensive as well as not covered through insurance. “I’m really happy to say I am back giant wall – it will be fun to watch people negotiate that. We’re just trying to upgrade the series. Everyone in to the game of life through sports,” he said. PHOTOS BY PATRICK DOBBS has been so supportive in Richmond. It’s a great city “We [CAF] really feel that through athletics, and Above: Midlothian resident David Groseclose of Team Bubba drops to come to and we’re looking forward to coming back being active, it increases one’s personal power and from the top of the first obstacle at the 2011 Columbia Muddy Buddy every year,” Monroe said. perspective of life,” Roumonada said in a pre-race held on May 1. Richmond has been a stop of the Columbia Muddy interview. “It changes everyone’s attitude; not only the Below: Midlothian teammate of Waist Deep finds holding the bike Buddy series since 2003. To learn more about the naathletes themselves, but the people around them as high into the air will still mean he faces a cold, wet crossing in the tional event in its 12th year, visit www.muddybuddy. well.” creek. com This year, Roumonada completed the New York BY ELIZABETH FARINA\


One 'mudder' emerges from the pit covered from head to toe in mud to cross the finish line.

STUFF TO DO E-mail your event to Subject line: EVENT

THURSDAY, MAY 5 National Alliance on Mental Illness-Central Virginia (NAMI-CVA) is starting a “Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group,” Thursday, May 5 from 7-8 p.m. at Monument Heights Baptist Church, 5716 Monument Ave. Richmond 23226. If you have lost a friend or family member to suicide, this bereavement support group is available to you. Contact NAMI-CVA at (804)285-1749 or Bon Air Presbyterian Church, Bon Air United Methodist Church, OR AMI Congregation, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs, St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church and the Islamic Center of Virginia are launching their third annual interfaith dialogue in 2011. Sessions begin at 7 p.m. The second session will be held at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, located at 2700 Dolfield Drive, Richmond (23235). Topic: The role of faith communities in public affairs. Mother's Day Flower Sale to benefit Team Chesterfield will be having a fundraising Mother’s Day Flower Sale on Friday, May 6 (4-8pm) and Saturday, May 7 (8am–5pm) at the LC Bird High School Softball Complex at 10301 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield (23832). Look for signs at intersection of Route 10 and Courthouse Road for directions. The sale will be held rain or shine The sale will benefit the team of the 2011 International Children’s Games in Lanarkshire, Scotland this summer.

FRIDAY, MAY 6 Discover Chesterfield is a walking club for adults aged 50 and over. Enjoy an organized walk led by members of the Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation. All walks will take place on Tuesday mornings at 9. On May 6, meet at shelter 3 of Harry G. Daniel Park at Ironbridge, 6000 Whitepine Road, and walk the trails of the park. On June 7, walkers will explore Henricus Historical Park. Walkers should gather at the visitors’ center. Robious Landing Park will be the site of the July 5 walking tour. The final walk of the summer will be

on Aug. 2. Walkers will explore the Chesterfield County government complex trails. Participants should meet at the trail sign behind the Smith-Wagner building, 9501 Government Center Parkway. For more information, call Judy Jones at (804) 751-4132. Northfield Ministries will host its second Annual Golf Tournament at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian. This year’s tournament will take a Captain’s Choice format and will begin at 1pm. Packet pickup will begin at 11 am. Player registration is $150 per golfer or $600 per team. Registration includes a box lunch, post-tournament dinner, golf cart and range balls, on-course drinks and snacks, team photo, goody bag & entry into event contests. Registration can be completed online by visiting Northfield Ministries is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization; a tax receipt will be issued for all donations and/or for a portion of your golf registration. Caring Reflections Series free presentation “Hand in Hand with Dementia: A Model for Care and Support” Led by Tricia Cushnie, BSN, MED, CMC. Presentation will be from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Beck Room – Bon Air Presbyterian Church, located at 9201 W. Huguenot Rd. Questions? Phone (804) 272-7514. There will be childcare and light refreshments.

SATURDAY, MAY 7 Northfield Ministries will host its first annual 5K race/walk on the grounds of The Northfield Cumberland Home, a plantation estate dating back to the 1800s which will soon open as a Christian-based residential treatment facility for women experiencing eating disorder, depression, self-harm and in some cases, unplanned pregnancy. For more information on this event, please contact Catherine Boyle, Northfield Ministries’ Race to Break Free Chairperson, at (804)243-2002 or A Spring Carnival will be held from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at 7061 Commons Plaza (Corner of Ironbridge & Beach Rd.) Sponsored by Omega Learning

Now celebrating 20 years as Broadway’s most haunting love story. Winner of seven 1988 Tony® Awards including Best Musical. The longest-running musical in Broadway history. Released for amateur production just last June 3! Andrew Lloyd Webber's

Phantom of the Opera May 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30 pm Tickets: $10 Midlothian High School 401 Charter Colony Parkway

& Dong’s Karate-Chesterfield the event proceeds will benefit YMCA Bright Beginnings. Family fun with free carnival activities (ring toss, bouncy, face painting, balloon maker, prize wheel), raffles, fire truck tours, police car with McGruff the Crime Dog, Dong’s martial arts demonstration team & vendors providing free samples, information and/or products/services for purchase to include hot dogs, jewelry, medical & dental health, school & summer camp & much more. Questions? Contact Tara Nelson, at (804) 778-7868, e-mail chesterfield@ The 23rd annual Flower and Art Show will be held at the Historic Wakefield Foundation, 100 Wilson Ave. Wakefield, Va. The opening Gala Reception is from 7 til 9 pm. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door. Awards will be presented to the Artist and Floral Designer at this time. Musical Entertainment will be provided by Robin Welch, Classical Guitarist,

Instructor at Hampton University Music Department.

MONDAY, MAY 9 Richard M. Jacobs, CPA, MBA and Senior Manager in the Chester office of Goodman & Company, LLP, one of the region’s largest certified public accounting firms, will speak on the topic of “Small Business Retirement Planning,” as part of the Chesterfield Public Library’s Small Business Workshop series later this spring. The events will take place at the LaPrade Library on Monday, May 9 from 7-8:30 p.m. and at the Meadowdale Library on Wednesday, May 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. Both lectures will focus on exploring options for affordable small business retirement plans and how to administer plans and benefits, save business owner taxes and encourage employee loyalty.

AMI Congregation, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs, St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church and the Islamic Center of Virginia are launching their third annual interfaith dialogue in 2011. Sessions begin at 7 p.m. The third session will be held at Islamic Center of Virginia, located at 1241 Buford Road, Richmond (23235) Spring Acoustic Concert Series presents The Virginia House Band from 7-8 p.m. at Central Library, located at 9501 Lori Road, Chesterfield. Join champion fiddler Mark Campbell, along with Ron Gentry, Doug Shackleford, Molly Campbell and George Frick, for an upbeat evening of old-time dance tunes, ballads and songs of marital bliss. Registration is recommended and began April 28. Please register online at or by calling (804) 748-1603.

FRIDAY, MAY 13 The Heroes Art Ball: 17 local childhood cancer survivors will share the stories of their battle against the disease that is a child’s No. 1 killer and will offer their original artwork for bid to help others like them. Connor’s Heroes is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a grand display at The Heroes Art Ball on Friday, May 13, from 7-11 p.m. at the Virginia Holocaust Museum (2000 E. Cary St.). This special event will bring together childhood cancer heroes and the community who supports them. Guests will begin the evening with cocktails and a silent auction. Then, 17 childhood cancer heroes will be introduced in grand fashion. While sharing their cancer stories, the Heroes will present their original pieces of artwork, which they created while working with a professional artist. After a live auction of their art, guests will enjoy dinner and dancing with The John Fetherston Band. As a way to further honor them, the Heroes and their families will enjoy the Ball at no charge. Tickets are $75 per person or $150 for Patrons and can be purchased at www.theheroesartball. org.

THURSDAY, MAY 12 Bon Air Presbyterian Church, Bon Air United Methodist Church, OR


6 || MAY 5, 2011



Luray Caverns displays the power of water and rock Since discovery in 1878 by a tinsmith and a local photographer, visitors by the millions have made Luray Caverns the most popular cave in Eastern America and an internationally acclaimed destination. Over 4,000,000 centuries in the making beneath Virginia’s storied Shenandoah Valley, this “must see� U.S. Natural Landmark awaits your discovery. One hour tours, from well-lighted, paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high. Enormous chambers are filled with towering columns, shimmering draperies and crystal-clear pools. Also in this subterranean wonderland, “Hear Rocks Sing� as you experience the haunting sounds of the world’s largest musical instrument, The Great Stalacpipe Organ. Completely unique are the beautiful tones created by this one-of-a-kind instrument, which makes music of concert quality from the surrounding stalactite formations covering more than three acres. Luray Caverns is open every day of the year. Tours depart approximately every twenty minutes. The General Admission includes the attraction entrance fee and Luray Caverns audio tour, a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan, and the Luray Valley Museum. To learn about the caverns, call (540) 743-6551 or visit source: Luray Caverns



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Unselfishness, fundamental play were keys to amazing '85 season players and coaches. While players from other teams frequently drove themselves or rode with their parents, nce every so often, the stars align just the Mules made a point of traveling to and from games right and a seemingly ordinary collection together. of players and coaches comes together to That wasn’t a meaningless commitment, especially make history. since the vans didn’t have air conditioning to counIt happened in Midlothian 26 years ago, when the ter the effects of Virginia’s typically stifling heat and Post 186 baseball team became the only team from humidity. Virginia to win the American Legion World Series. “We stunk, we were in our uniforms, but we were a The team was recognized Saturday with a special family,” Chambers added. citation at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in PortsWhen it came to unselfishness, the coaches set the mouth. It was an opportunity for the “Mules,” as they tone. Despite having just won the Group AA state championship at Midlothian, Moody had no probbecame known for their stubborn refusal to accept lem serving as the assistant coach to longtime friend defeat, to reconnect and exchange still-vivid recollecGeorge, who had filled the same role under prior Post tions of a truly magical season. 186 head coach Bill Chambers. “It brought back so many memories,” said David “We were there for the kids and there was no ego George, the Monacan High baseball coach who led involved,” Moody said. “I’ve always had a lot of respect Post 186 along with Midlothian’s Dennis Moody. for David and that makes it easy because you know “Time goes by so fast. I was reading some newspaper articles from that time and it seemed like it happened things are being done the right way.” For old-school baseball men like George and just yesterday.” The passage of time hasn’t made it any easier for the Moody, doing things "the right way" meant working men who wore Post 186 uniforms during the summer on the fundamentals until their players could execute them in their sleep. of 1985 to pinpoint what made that team so special, They laid down sacrifice bunts. They were aggreswhy the ’85 team was just a little bit better than the sive on the basepaths and hit behind baserunners to squad that had finished one victory shy of a World move them into scoring position. They threw strikes Series berth 12 months earlier. and fielded flawlessly. Talent was part of the puzzle, of course. That Post "As far as executing basic plays, we did that very 186 team had everything you’d ever need to be successful on a baseball diamond: power at the plate (the well," George said. Even so, the Mules needed more than its share of Mules set a World Series single-game record with late-game heroics to make their World Series dreams six home runs against Puerto Rico), speed on the basepaths and a group of pitchers (led by future Texas come true. They trailed Falls Church by two runs in the ninth Rangers farmhand Tris Lipscomb) who made the most inning of the Virginia state championship game, but of an airtight defense by relentlessly pounding the Greg Harding tied the game with a dramatic two-run strike zone. home run. The winning run came home an inning But there’s a universal belief that the ’85 team was later on a balk. bolstered less by bat speed or arm strength than by A week later, Post 186 faced a 3-0 deficit and was a quality far less tangible: the ability of players from down to its last out in the regional final against host three area high schools (Monacan, Midlothian and Clover Hill) to come together and form a unit that was Boyertown (Pa.). With the bases loaded, Tony Moore hit a one-hopper that should've been an easy force play far stronger than the sum of its parts. at second for the final out, but Boyertown's shortstop “Our team wasn’t a bunch of individuals,” said threw the ball into right field for a three-base error. Mark Chambers, who batted .409 and drove in 38 runs. “We all knew each other and had played together When the right fielder's throw to third base bounced since we were kids. We played our roles and we were a into the dugout, the Mules scored the game-winning run without hitting the ball out of the infield. team.” Nothing better symbolized that sense of “all for one, one for all” than the old vans used to transport CHAMPIONS P8



1985 American Legion Post 186 Standing(L-R): Coach David George, Tony Moore, Mark Wroniewicz, Eric Miles, Greg Harding, Tris Lipscomb, Kevin Mawyer, Mike Ciucci, Coach Dennis Moody Kneeling (L-R): Mike Waroblak, Marc Miller, Andre Guardino, Lee Coleman, Ricky Jarvis, Mark Chambers, Manager Maurice O. Beck Seated (L-R): Jim White, Richard Barrett, Chris Goodman, Kevin Leigh, Andrew Rose (courtesy photo by Dave Boney)


8 || MAY 5, 2011




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MAY 5, 2011 || 9


Kickers dedicate field at Hensley


Midlothian's Christine Abbott rallied to beat Cosby's Lauren Denuel after losing the first set of last Friday's match.

Trojans outlast Titans BY JIM MCCONNELL


hristine Abbott didn’t bring her “A� game along when Midlothian’s girls tennis team traveled to face Cosby in a clash of Dominion District titans last Friday. The Trojans’ No. 1 player, who spent spring break in France on a school trip, didn’t return to Richmond until Tuesday and was still dealing with the effects of jet lag 72 hours later as she prepared to face Cosby sophomore Lauren Denuel. Denuel offered no sympathy, winning the first set 6-4, but Abbott has never lost a district match and she wasn’t about to start making excuses. “I couldn’t imagine being the kind of player who just gives up,� Abbott said after Midlothian’s 5-4 victory. “If I walked away and realized it was my fault for losing, I wouldn’t like that at all.� Abbott didn’t give up and she never lost her composure, even when Denuel was taking control of rallies with her serve and groundstrokes. She simply stayed patient, kept the ball in the court and waited until Denuel started missing shots. Abbott won the second set 6-3, then took the super tiebreaker by a 10-6 margin to remain perfect in her high school career against Dominion District opponents. “She just doesn’t make mistakes,� Denuel said. “She’s tough to play against because she’s very consistent and she gets everything back.� Abbott’s win was one of four singles victories for Midlothian, which lost 6-3


Cosby's Lauren Denuel smacks a backhand groundstroke during her No. 1 singles match against Midlothian.

to Cosby in the teams’ first meeting this season. The Trojans proved Friday they weren’t going to relinquish their district title without a fight. They won four of six singles matches, two of which were decided by third-set tiebreakers, and needed just one point in doubles to force a deadlock atop the district standings. “These girls know how to win and they’re used to winning,� Midlothian coach Doug Garrett said. That point wouldn’t come easily, though. Cosby’s No. 1 team of Denuel and Anjelica Esteves blanked the Midlothian duo of Abbott and Sarah Whitten

6-0, 6-0. Afterward, all four players turned into cheerleaders for their teammates who were still on the court. With Cosby’s Jamie Cochrane and Bailey Kirchner in control at No. 2, it quickly became apparent that the match would be decided by the outcome of the third and final doubles clash. Midlothian’s Celeste Womack and Jessica Fischer won the first set 6-3. Cosby’s Brooke Thaxton and Maggie Buchanan evened the match by winning the second set by an identical 6-3 score. Behind Fischer’s strong serving and a couple nice volleys by Womack, the Trojans won the third-set

tiebreaker 10-5 and put Cosby’s title celebration on hold indefinitely. “Our coach has never had the honor of being a district champion and we’re trying to do it for her,� said Esteves, who dropped only three games in her singles match and was even better in doubles. “Last year we knew Midlothian was better than us. We know we can be district champions this year and that pushes us more than ever.� Cosby was tantalizingly close Friday. Both Denuel and Buchanan took the first set of their singles matches, only to see their opponents rally to win both the second set and the 10-point super tiebreaker. Abbott outlasted Denuel with the same combination of consistent groundstrokes and determined defense that carried her all the way to the Central Region final last season. “When I heard my teammates cheering for me, I remembered it wasn’t just me versus her – it’s about the team,� Abbott said. “We’ve been talking about it, that everybody had to push their hardest.� Cosby coach Courtney Lee warned her team that Midlothian would be extremely motivated to avenge its earlier defeat. She was right. “We were ready, but obviously not ready enough,� Lee added. “We’ll be ready for them next time.�

The Richmond Kickers, in conjunction with Midlothian Youth Soccer League (MYSL), are pleased to announce that Field 9 at Hensley Park has officially been designated PODS Field. A field dedication ceremony was held on Saturday morning during the height of recreation play, making the name change official. Officials from the Richmond Kickers and MYSL took part in the ceremony along with Wesley Mullins, President and Owner of the local PODSŽ franchise for the Richmond area. The Richmond Kickers and MYSL merged this spring and will be operating under the same administration beginning this fall. “PODS is delighted to be a partner of the Richmond Kickers and to be supporting youth soccer in Central

Virginia,� Mullins said. “Through our involvement with youth soccer, specifically with the Kickers and MYSL, we understand the impact that this game and these organizations have on young people. For PODS, this is the element that makes our involvement so rewarding.� “Having PODSŽ containers at Hensley has made an absolute world of difference to our staff, volunteers and players,� added Tom Leahy, MYSL Board President. “The units are efficient, effective, and have allowed us to save time and money. Given the importance of what PODS has done for our organization, it’s only fitting that we return that gesture by having PODS Field at Hensley." Content provided by Richmond Kickers


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Revolution struggles continue in Reading READING, PA – The Richmond Revolution kicked off the second half of their 2011 Indoor Football League season with a game that ended much like the first half of the season – with a 49-28 loss to the Reading Express. After Richmond (1-7) took an early 7-0 lead on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Monte Purvis to Scorpio Brown, the host Express (6-3) were able to drive down the field on their next possession. They needed seven plays to score and capped off the drive with a three yard pass from Chris Malleo to Jeff Willis. A two-play drive for the Revolution followed directly after, with Purvis running the ball in from nine yards out. The 14-7 lead would be the last of the night for Richmond. The end of the first half came with some drama as the Revolution, down 21-14, took over the ball at their own 1-yard line after stopping Malleo’s scoring attempt. They were able to complete a pass to the 12-yard line, call timeout, then complete a 36-yard Hail Mary to the Express 3-yard line with three seconds remaining on the clock. But two attempts into the end zone fell short and the team carried a seven-point deficit into the half instead of ending on a high note tied at 21. The two teams traded touchdowns at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter as the Revolution attempted to get back into the game, but two backbreaking touchdowns by the Express sealed the deal. First, Malleo hit Collin Taylor on a 48-yard touchdown pass, then the Express ran back a kickoff 51 yards after Purvis’ second touchdown toss to Brown. The Revolution were once again able to get back to within 14 points from another touchdown pass from Purvis, this one to RB Anthony Jones. The Revolution offense, led by Purvis for the second consecutive game, moved the ball quite well. Purvis ran for a game high 74 yards and a touchdown, while completing 15 of 29 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. “I liked what I saw out of Monte tonight, he continued to grow into the quarterback position,” said Revolution Head Coach Antonio Hawkins. “We controlled the ball really well tonight, and we made a lot of progress on some important aspects. We just need to put it all together.” Scorpio Brown led the Revolution in receiving as he continued to adjust to the offense, catching seven passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Crawford contributed 61 yards on two receptions while Donnie Avant and Anthony Jones each had three receptions. Justin Spruill led the Revolution with eight solo tackles while LB Stanley Jones contributed with the team’s only sack. The team returns home May 7 for a game against the Chicago Slaughter at SportsQuest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05. For ticket information for the May 7 game, visit www.richmondrevolution. com or call the SportsQuest Membership Center at (804) 595-8437.



For host, a much-needed win BY JIM MCCONNELL


enny Hamlin has come a long way from the kid who raced Late Models on the weekends while nearly bankrupting his parents and dreaming of one day competing with NASCAR’s top drivers. He’s made millions of dollars through his affiliation with Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor FedEx. He bought his parents a house in suburban Charlotte, N.C., where he himself now resides. Last season, he nearly won his first Sprint Cup championship before finishing a close second to five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. But while you might not expect a guy with such an impressive resume to get too emotionally invested in winning an exhibition race that exists only to benefit several of his hand-picked charities, Hamlin entered NASCAR's annual spring weekend at Richmond International Raceway 17th in the Sprint Cup points and looking for any kind of spark to reverse his early-season struggles. “This feels [darn] good,” Hamlin said after holding off Michael Waltrip to take the checkered flag at his Short Track Showdown for the first time. “I’m serious. This feels like a Cup win. “This definitely goes a long way, especially the way things have been going for us this year. It’s a huge confidence boost, coming all the way from the back in only 75 laps; that’s not an easy thing to do.” The event’s host had only himself to blame for his starting position. Originally slated to start on the pole, Hamlin instead decided to “make things right” by starting at the tail of the 35-car field. That move didn’t take long to come back and bite him. On the race’s opening lap, in fact, Hamlin found himself in the middle of a big pileup coming out of Turn 2 that brought out a red flag before anyone had even completed one circuit of the .75-mile track. Over his in-car radio, Hamlin had “some good news and some bad news” for his pit crew. The good: His No. 11 car escaped the incident with no sheet metal

for a final 10-lap shootout. On the ensuing restart, Darrell Wallace Jr. got loose and then got drilled by a hard-charging Max Gresham. Their collision sparked another multi-car incident and another red flag, and when the dust settled, Hamlin found himself in third place behind Busch and Late Model veteran Frank Deiny Jr. “I was going to give [Busch] a run for his money. I drove it in deep and got a little sideways. I had it saved, but then I got hit in the rear,” said Wallace, who had won the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race earlier in the evening. “Still, it was an awesome night. I can’t even be mad about that.” The same couldn’t be said for NASCAR veteran Michael Waltrip. “I don’t know where the hell [Gresham] was going. It was almost like we weren’t even there and he was going to go right through us,” Waltrip said, before adding, “I’m glad he wrecked.” Busch couldn’t have been too thrilled about all the restarts, either. He reported to his crew during the last caution period that his car’s fuel pickup was malfunctioning, preventing enough fuel from reaching the engine. That problem proved decisive when Busch’s car slowed dramatically on the final lap and Hamlin surged past to take the checkered flag. Waltrip was second and Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR elder statesman Bill Elliott, took third. After finishing sixth, an obviously frustrated Busch climbed out of his car and stormed away without speaking to reporters. PHOTO BY KENNY MOORE “The race wasn’t fixed. Trust me, Event host Denny Hamlin walks away with the big trophy after winning Kyle Busch wasn’t going to let me the fourth annual Short Track Showdown for the first time. win that race,” Hamlin said. But Hamlin, who stands 17th in was able to make my move,” Hamlin damage. points after eight races, insisted he The bad: By locking up his brakes said. would’ve done “everything in my Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s teammate trying to avoid the spinning cars in power” to get past Busch in the final with Joe Gibbs Racing and a twofront of him, he “flat-spotted” all two corners. time Showdown winner, led most four of his tires. “Thankfully he ran out of fuel of the race and seemed poised to The lack of grip became even make it to Victory Lane in the event’s because it might have gotten ugly more of an issue because the race’s anyhow,” Hamlin added, drawing debut at RIR. rules allowed each driver to change Busch was in first place and Ham- laughs from the assembled media. only two tires, and not until the lin seventh when the yellow flag flew “The Short Track Showdown is “halftime” break at lap 45. about old school racing. Anybody “I just rode around for the first 30 again for a planned “competition else would’ve done the same to me.” caution” that bunched up the field laps, then I got into the top 10 and


Denny Hamlin (11) races door-to-door with former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart midway through Thursday's 75-lap race in Richmond.

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MAY 5, 2011 || 11


Photo Gallery ONLINE

Thursday tradition of racing in Richmond


After heavy rains pass through Richmond International Racewa,y a rainbow stretches through the sky of Richmond International Raceway. The stormy weather hit RIR and put a long delay in the middle of the race Blue Ox 100 race on Thursday, April 29. The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown followed with resounding success for the hometown driver.

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