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Photo by Sarah Walor
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Photo by Steve Hedberg
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Photo by Justin Vaughan
Best County Official of the Past 25 Years:
Virgil R. Hazelett, Henrico
Hazelett has managed Henrico County for two decades now. He started in Henrico government in 1972 as a traffic engineer and has given directions ever since. "I am both humbled and honored by this recognition," Hazelett says. "All that I do for Henrico County is at the highest level of service and is actually a labor of love for the community and its citizens."
2. Lane Ramsey, Chesterfield
3. Jim Donati, Henrico
Worst County Official of the Past 25 Years:
Goochland Treasurer Brenda Grubbs
In December 2011, Grubbs was convicted for embezzling some $200,000 in county funds (40 years, 36 suspended). Chesterfield supervisor Barber resigned in 2006 after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors of sexual battery involving his stepdaughter.
2. Ed Barber, Chesterfield
Best City Council Member of the Past 25 Years:
If advancement is any guide, Kaine went from council to appointed mayor, from lieutenant governor to governor and then to chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Now he's running for the U.S. Senate. Graziano championed the parks system and the regional farmers' market movement. Loupassi parlayed his 2000-2006 council term representing Richmond's First District into a seat in the state House of Delegates.
2. Kathy Graziano
3. Manoli Loupassi
Worst City Council Member of the Past 25 Years:
The Yale-educated civil rights lawyer served three terms on the council until his 2003 tax fraud conviction. His 1999 "Bring your stuff" challenge to those who supported a Robert E. Lee banner on the Floodwall became a national late-night comedy meme. Chuck Richardson (served 1977-1994) battled publicly with a Vietnam War-related heroin addiction. Trammell, on council from 2001 to 2003, and then since 2007, makes these lists due to early off-hours missteps with policemen.
2. Reva Trammell
3. Chuck Richardson
Worst Regional Weather Event of the Past 25 Years:
Isabel walloped Richmond Sept. 18, 2003, deprived 1.8 million people of electricity — some for weeks — uprooted thousands of trees, wrecked houses, caused more than $1 billion in damage statewide and killed 23 people. Gaston (2004) turned Shockoe into a dangerous lake and collapsed Church Hill roads. Irene (2011) left 1.2 million in the dark, toppled trees statewide and killed four people.
2. Tropical Storm Gaston
3. Hurricane Irene
Person or Group Who Has Contributed the Most to the Region in the Past 25 Years:
The Ukrop name used to be associated with the Monument Avenue 10K, the Richmond Christmas Parade and the Folk Festival (and that's just for starters). Sports Backers presents dynamic public athletic events, from Dominion Riverrock in May to the Anthem Moonlight Ride in August, and the Richmond Marathon every fall. Former VCU president Trani commanded the university's 1990s expansion.
2. Sports Backers
3. VCU's Eugene Trani
The Region's Worst Moment of the Past 25 Years:
Harvey family murders
The brutal New Year's Day 2006 killing of musician Bryan, World of Mirth merchant Kathryn, and their daughters Stella and Ruby remains a plangent memory as evidenced by an essay in the June Oxford American magazine. We had thought this level of heinous — the Briley Brothers, the Southside Strangler — was past in Richmond. We realized that it's possible any time, any where.
2. Transvaginal ultrasound legislation
3. Loss of the Richmond Braves
Worst Closing of an RVA-Based Business in the Past 25 Years:
Ukrop's Super Markets
Ukrop's (1937-2010) built enduring loyalty despite Sunday closings and no alcohol sales, but sold to the Dutch conglomerate Ahold in 2010. Corporate management drifting from founding core principles into a financial crisis killed Circuit City (1949-2009), and national chains versus the local eclipsed Miller & Rhoads (1885-1990) — and likewise its major competitor, Thalhimer's (1842-1992).
2. Circuit City
3. Miller & Rhoads
The Region's Best Moment of the Past 25 Years:
2011 NCAA Tournament
Virginia Commonwealth University's astounding performance in the 2011 Final Four gave Richmond's step a snap and strut. We enjoyed the primetime television exposure. The Folk Festival shows our capacity for doing good things, and Wilder's election made us feel good, then not so much. Forgetful, we made him mayor.
2. National Folk Festival
3. Doug Wilder's election as governor
Best Thing Built in the Past 25 Years in Richmond:
Short Pump/Short Pump Town Center
An ersatz downtown somewhat resembling the more gritty version a dozen miles east trumps the world-class addition to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Route 288 places third, but it all means that some people enjoy visiting the city's cultural offerings, as long as they can make a quick exit.
2. VMFA expansion
3. Route 288
Worst Thing Built in the Past 25 Years in Richmond:
Short Pump/Short Pump Town Center
Disliking suburban Short Pump but kicking dead-and-gone Sixth Street shows a communal psyche split. Arthur Ashe will be there when the critics are gone; likewise, the Diamond may fall down before it's pulled down. Moral: Haters gonna hate.
2. Sixth Street Marketplace
3. (Tie) The Diamond; Arthur Ashe statue