Style Weekly Wins Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service

Style Weekly was honored last weekend by the Virginia Press Association’s annual contest with 25 awards: 13 first place, four second place and seven third place finishes, in addition to one of the night’s major awards for journalistic integrity and community service.

In editorial, five of the first place finishes went to photographer Scott Elmquist, including his coverage of protests here and in Charlottesville, as well as a powerful slideshow of two teenagers remembered at Mosby Court. Also, Jackie Kruszewski won a first place for arts writing for her story “Richmond Noir” about local author Howard Owen, and a first place for general news writing. Creative Director Ed Harrington won a first place for informational graphics. The advertising team, led by Creative Advertising Director Joel Smith, won five first place awards and one third place.

Also we were presented this year’s award for journalistic integrity and community service for our staff’s work covering a wide range of protests and news events.

Here are some of the judges’ comments:

“They more than met the challenge they set for themselves, producing meaningful coverage of their community’s response to a historic election over a seven-month period, before turning their focus in August 2017 to the horrific events in Charlottesville.

“The SPJ Code of Ethics calls for journalists to ‘give voice to the voiceless’ and in their coverage of these events Style Weekly does just that. I was struck by the excellent balance of photo and voice – seeing the people and hearing them as well made for powerful storytelling. … I found myself being pulled into the story, into the lives of these people who had taken time from their own lives to make a statement, to get involved, to be seen, to be heard. … The excellent reporting of the Style Weekly staff – in reporting, photographing, editing and laying out stories with a pleasing consistency and continuity of style – made that possible. Excellent team effort – well done.”

Getting Ready to Jet!

By Amanda Roberts with The Vacation Chic

We all know air travel can be less than relaxing. Since travel agents fly frequently, they are always looking for ways to make it more pleasant. Here are some agent tips to ease your experience.

honeymoon travel insurance


Go into it with low expectations. If you experience delays or cancellations that require you to make changes to your itinerary, go directly to the airline customer service line and be prepared to wait.

While you are waiting in line, reach out to your travel agent. They will be able to assist you if you need to explore options with a different airline. And if you have travel insurance, chances are you can recoup some or all of these new expenses.

Travel insurance is offered at a relatively low cost compared to the possible expense of ticket changes. The major carriers charge up to a $250 change fee plus the fare difference. Insurance has other benefits too like covering for weather-related cancellations such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Also, some policies provide reimbursement for medical expenses and emergency evacuation. Your travel agent can give you a quote when you book.


Airline employees have grown accustomed to passengers being really angry. A little kindness goes a long way.

Something to note, airlines are making it really complicated to compare fares to other major airlines. Also, remember that the economy fare offered by discount airlines doesn’t include amenities like a carry-on bag or a pre-chosen seat assignment. Those items usually come at an additional charge.

To increase your comfort level on the flight, try bringing items like an airplane pillow, headphones, snacks, gum to help pop ears, a pen for completing customs forms, and antibacterial wipes. Germs are prevalent on a plane, and they can be quickly dusted away by a wipe down of the seat, armrest, and tray.

Last but not least, drink plenty of water. It is easy to get dehydrated at the high altitude. When traveling to Mexico, the Caribbean and other international destinations, you’ll complete a customs form, and you’ll have to clear customs upon entry. Depending on the number of flights coming in at any given time, the act of clearing customs can be time-consuming. However, there are many Caribbean and Mexican destinations that offer a VIP meet and greet that will fast track you through customs (some of these have VIP lounges too!) Check with your travel agent for this extra service, and you can be on the beach that much faster.

Happy travels!

Amanda Roberts is a certified travel specialist & owner of The Vacation Chic. To learn more about how she can help plan a trip of a lifetime for you, please visit

The post Getting Ready to Jet! appeared first on Richmond Weddings.

Hit the Trail

Ever been to a winery with your friends, returned home with a case of what you deemed to be the best wine ever, only to uncork a bottle later and discover that it’s not all that? Indeed, food and beverage shine greater with a complementary atmosphere.

Three breweries, a cidery and two wineries west of the city possess an element of place that enhances the enjoyment of the drink, and to capitalize on their advantages, they’ve partnered to form the Richmond West Craft Alcohol Trail.

“The Richmond trail is urban, so this creates a more bucolic trail with more scenery,” says Hannah Slagle, creative director of To the Fourth marketing firm that produced the trail’s branding materials. “It’s more relaxing to be outside.” Slagle is also the wife of Gabe Slagle, brewer at Fine Creek Brewing.

“You get that country feel without having to drive way out in the country,” adds Sue Anne Klinefelter of Elk Island Winery. “You’re really close to Short Pump, but once you’re out here, you’re very much in the country.”

Courthouse Creek Cider co-owner Eric Cioffi notes that the trail allows folks to get out of the city without committing to an overnight trip or a hefty drive. Even Elk Island Winery, the farthest west in the group, is only an hour-long drive from the East End.

“The center will always be Richmond and that’s awesome and it should be. It’s an amazing, aggressive, constantly changing little city,” Cioffi says. “But I think that hub has naturally pushed out. Get in your car and spend some time out west.”

Here’s a rundown of current trail members and what to expect:

Hardywood West Creek

Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery opened their third location this year in a bucolic setting overlooking Tuckahoe Creek.

The towering wood-siding building fits well with the natural surroundings. Huge windows and outdoor seating, with an outdoor amphitheater to come, provide ample opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty.

With more than 20 beers on tap and multiple bars on-site, Hardywood’s newest location has a diverse lineup: year-rounds like Singel, Pils, VIPA and Richmond Lager as well as the brewery’s many special releases.

Courthouse Creek Cider

Eric and Liza Cioffi subscribe to low-impact techniques and materials and emphasize heirloom cider apples.

“Our cider-making philosophy is simple: do our best to let the fruit speak for itself, and add a loving twist here and there,” SAYS WHO? Loving twists like ginger and raspberries; fermentation in neutral wine barrels plus secondary fermentation with Viognier grape skins; bourbon barrel-aging plus blackberries and lavender; and hops.

Fine Creek Brewing

Mark and Lisa Benusa, son and mother, opened the brewery as an extension of the Mill at Fine Creek, a historic property operating as a wedding venue.

Beers includes approachable styles to appeal to a wide audience in addition to rustic styles: farmhouse ales, sours and barrel-aged beers. Recent examples include Sweet Potato Old Ale, a breakfast stout with Blanchard’s coffee, Cascadian Boheme Pilsner, Imperial Thai Tea Milk Stout, and Farmers Only Date Syrup Dark Farmhouse Ale.

The brewery also offers house-made small plates from fresh, local seasonal ingredients.


Elk Island Winery

“We’re very passionate about the Virginia wine industry, and we’re passionate about rural life, so we farm as well,” says Sue Anne Klinefelter, who co-owns the winery with her husband, Paul. Even the cozy tasting room presents a homey, country feel.

The Elk Island vineyard is planted in Norton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and small plantings of other varietals. The winery offers a range of wines to suit a variety of tastes at affordable prices. “Our motto at our winery is we want people to drink Virginia wine, and we want to be your everyday glass of wine, your house wine,” says Klinefelter.

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

Located in Goochland, this farm brewery regularly hosts breathtaking sunsets and fields of crops, including hops, barley, pumpkins and sunflowers.

Also Lickinghole Creek hosts live music and family festivities such as Easter egg hunts and pumpkin picking, plus a rotating selection of food trucks and special releases throughout the year.

Though low-ABV beers pop up on the Lickinghole line-up, the brewery is known primarily for its high-alcohol beers, including Nuclear Nugget double IPA, Enlightened Despot and Coconut Quad.

Grayhaven Winery

Grayhaven is one of the oldest independent commercial vineyards in Virginia. Founded in 1978 by Lyn and Chuck Peple, it remains family-owned and operated.

The winery was launched in 1994, producing handcrafted, Old World-style wines from vinifera and French hybrid grapes. Estate-grown wines include Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and Traminette.

Grayhaven also is known for creative events, including the annual South African Food and Wine Festival in the fall.

Kindred Spirit Brewing

The location for this brewery isn’t in a bucolic countryside but rather a quiet industrial park that backs up to woods.

Along with head brewer Lee Lonnes, co-owners and brothers Jason and Joe Trottier have emphasized hops from the beginning.

“We want to be known as an IPA destination,” Lonnes says. “But we also want to have [those beers] that everyone else drinks.”

Hopheads drink up the lupulin in a variety of IPAs and DIPAs, but the lineup is balanced with a variety of beers including stouts, Belgian-style strong ales, brown ales and lagers.

Midnight Brewery

Prior to opening, owner Trae Cairns burned the midnight oil as a homebrewer after working his day job, inspiring the brewery’s name.

Midnight combines proximity to Short Pump with a quiet setting toward the back of an industrial park in a comfortable tasting room. Beers focus on easy-to-enjoy, malt-forward beers that remain loyal to style.

Guests can count on enjoying beers like the New Beginning Kölsch, Rockville Red Irish red ale, Not My Job Southern English brown ale, Midnight Granite oatmeal stout and Purdy Mechanic IPA.

For more info, visit

Sinclair’s “Fake News” Promo Did Not Air Locally on WRLH

A story is going viral today sparked by sports news site Deadspin and a segment on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” The story involves Sinclair Broadcast Group requiring dozens of its television stations to run the exact same promo against “fake news.”

Conservative-leaning Sinclair owns WRLH Channel 35 in Richmond as well as more than 190 TV stations around the country. It would acquire many more, including Richmond’s WTVR CBS 6, if its acquisition of Tribune Media is approved.

The HBO segment shows many different anchors reading the same script from Sinclair, similar in tone to attacks by President Trump on the mainstream media. Trump has praised Sinclair on Twitter. The video mash-up of talking heads is prompting some observers to call it “Orwellian.”

“Nothing says ‘we value independent media’ like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult,” Oliver says in the segment.

Tim Perry, general manager of WRLH, tells Style that the promo in question did not run in Richmond, primarily because of its news share agreement which pays WWBT Raycom Media to produce its nightly news cast.

“Those anchors you see [in the viral video] were working at Sinclair owned and operated news stations,” Perry says. “So that promo campaign wasn’t something that was implemented here.”

Sinclair is currently in the midst of evaluation by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice regarding its purchase of Tribune Media. According to FCC rules, an entity is permitted to own up to two stations in a given market if the service areas do not overlap and at least one of the stations is not ranked among the top four based on audience share.

Perry notes that the FCC has a provision that “under certain circumstances they will allow two stations in a market,” but right now Sinclair is still in the review process, so he couldn’t comment much more.

“It hasn’t been approved or disapproved,” he says.

Here is the original “Last Week Tonight” segment (NSFW):