Author Archives: blackstocken

‘Grand Illumination’ Lights Up Richmond for 25th Year

By Eric Blackstock and Alonna Artis
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — The annual Grand Illumination at Richmond’s James Center celebrated its 25th year on Dec. 4, when holiday lights at multiple downtown locations were lit at the same time.

Following a countdown, a 60-foot tree and 95 reindeer at the James Center, as well as more than 15 buildings in the area, were lit promptly at 6:00 p.m.

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Ukrops-Supervalu Richmond Christmas Parade Celebrates 26th Year

By Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — Despite inclement weather, the 26th annual Ukrops-Supervalu Richmond Christmas Parade went ahead as scheduled Dec. 5.

95 separate units were scheduled to appear, including floats, balloons, bands, and an appearance by the Legendary Santa.

Broad St. was closed for the parade route between the Science Museum of Virginia and Richmond Colisseum as the parade marched through the city, past Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy’s Monroe Park campus.

2009 marked the 26th year of the parade.  It is as of yet unknown if the sale of the Ukrops supermarket chain to Royal Ahold, announced on Dec. 17, will affect future Christmas parades.

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Thrift Stores Experience Steady Sales During Economic Crisis

By Chelse Greaux and Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — Thrift stores in the Richmond area are seeing an increase in sales as Virginia Commonwealth University students continue to deal with economic issues in the United States.

Area stores, such as Fantastic Thrift and Diversity Thrift, see as many as 1,500 shoppers each day, with Diversity Thrift reporting sales of over $500,000 annually.

“I’ve noticed that we’re seeing more folks from VCU, the University of Richmond, Virginia Union, who are in here at all times during the year,” Diversity Thrift owner Jay Squires said.

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Emmy-Award Winning Program Offers Courses at VCU

By Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — The VCU-TV/HD program at Virginia Commonwealth University will be offering courses to students beginning in the spring semester 2010.

Students will learn to use high-definition film equipment and produce documentary programming. Training obtained through these courses could allow for students to eventually be promoted to paid positions within the VCU-TV/HD program.

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‘Eerie Nights’ Tour Explores Richmond’s Haunted History

By Eric Blackstock and Ben Schafer
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — Former students from Virginia Commonwealth University began a new tour program in Richmond this year, which allows patrons to visit sites thought to be haunted.

The “Eerie Nights Ghost Tours” explore haunted areas around the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, including the Virginia Capitol building, governor’s mansion,  canal walk, and the site of the Church Hill train tunnel collapse.

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Students Unhappy With Preachers on VCU Campus

By Ben Schafer and Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. – Students at Virginia Commonwealth University have been complaining about the presence of preachers on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses since the start of the fall 2009 semester.

However, “street preachers” have been present at VCU for several years now and according to Dr. Reuben Rodriguez, Dean of Student Affairs at VCU, there is nothing the university can do about them.

“It is the First Amendment right to free speech,” said Rodriguez, “That’s the governing legal aspect of what anybody, including a student if he or she wished to demonstrate on campus, enjoys.”

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Folk Festival Returns to Richmond

By Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — After close to 185,000 people attended last year, the Richmond Folk Festival is due to return to Virginia next month, and remains free to the public.

Folk Festival Manager Stephen Lecky spoke with VCU InSight about the upcoming event, which will include live music and dance, storytelling, crafts, and food.

In his interview, Lecky explains Richmond’s folk history, why the festival continues to be a popular attraction, and which aspects of the event he’s looking forward to the most.

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