Celebrate Trees â€“ and bring one home Meet Norfolkâ€™s new school superintendent Neighborhood University is a place where amazing things happen Holidays in the City events Fall 2010: An Official Publication of the City of Norfolk
he calendar will feature 13 images of Norfolk’s past and intriguing
tidbits of history. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Sargeant
Memorial Local History and Genealogical Endowment. The calendar is sponsored by the Norfolk Public Library Foundation in partnership with The Norfolk Historical Society, The Law Firm of Decker, Cardon, Thomas, Weintraub and Neskis, PC; and The Financial Firm of Dominion Capital Management, Inc.
2011 Nor folk
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East Beach • a community is born
WHY TREES? Helping Norfolk in more ways than you can imagine
Fairmount Park is a neighborhood on the move, and now it is the COOLEST place in Norfolk
4 5 7
Lake Taylor Middle School Success happens by design and Northside’s one-year sprint to achievement
New leaders at Norfolk Public Schools
Norfolk’s YouTube hits half million mark
How do you make Norfolk beautiful?
Amazing things happening at Neighborhood University
NPL – What do I do with the mouse?
Friends of Norfolk’s Historic Cemeteries
Dance, Dance, Dance at RPOS
Holidays in the City 2010
How to protect your family from fire Back Cover Lake Taylor says goodbye to “Sugar”
er cov On th
In 2004 when the Tidewater Builders Association featured 16 homes along 25th Bay Street in its most successful Homearama ever, East Beach was a tiny oasis in a 100acre plot of mostly open field and elegant oak trees. This October, a community of more than 250 families welcomed Homearama back. Built in the tradition of Atlantic Coastal villages, through a partnership among the city, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and private builders, East Beach creates a sense of place similar to much older neighborhoods. Wine and art fests, music on the bay, sailboat races and December holiday home tours draw locals and visitors alike. Here you can find one of the most beautiful stretches of public beach on the Chesapeake Bay. On a summer evening, it is common to find people in beach chairs lined up to view incredible sunsets. Swimmers, walkers, fishermen, sailboats and the occasional hovercraft from the base, share the waters – usually calm enough for young children. At one end, you can see a wedding taking place and a family picnic at the other. A natural, grass covered dune line extends the length of the beach (bring bug spray for late afternoon), a place where foxes roam. The beach is unadorned – no picnic tables, lifeguards or restroom facilities. Trash cans are placed at all public beach access points. On-street parking is available (obey signage) and a growing number of eateries nearby cater to locals and visitors. The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association named East Beach one of America’s Top Restored Beaches. East Beach received the award following successful efforts by local, state and national authorities to reverse the effects of erosion on its shoreline. With fall’s crisp, cool days, now is the time to visit East Beach and enjoy one of Norfolk’s newest neighborhoods.
Celebrate Trees How you can join Norfolk as it increases the coverage and diversity of its urban forest.
Norfolk High School Cheerleaders at rally
Director of Communications: Terry Bishirjian, Editor: Sandra Hemingway, Graphic Designer: Avery Easter. Contributing writers: Sharon Bivens, Mary Keough, Denise Thompson, Holly Christopher, Kristen Helgeson, Bobette Nelson and Stacy Adams, and from Norfolk Public Schools: Karen Tanner and Jennifer Francis. Contributing photographers: Jennifer Francis,
Celebrate Trees & bring one home
Inspired by a tree-planting program in Norfolk’s sister city, Kitakyushu, Japan, Mayor Paul Fraim developed the Celebrate Trees initiative in spring 2010 to increase Norfolk’s urban forest – on both public and private lands. The non-profit American Forests recommends 40 percent coverage for U.S. cities east of the Mississippi River. After the Virginia Department of Forestry used aerial photography and GIS technology to calculate Norfolk’s tree canopy (coverage) at 33 percent last year, Norfolk, which prides itself on its street tree program and designation as a Tree City USA, accepted the challenge to reach 40 percent. The urban tree canopy is the layer of leaves and branches and the area they cover when viewed from above. Urban tree canopy provides many benefits to communities (see Why Trees on page 4). Norfolk’s urban forest is made up of living organisms that require good care and which will change over time-for instance, utility wires and narrow downtown sidewalks have resulted in a change in recommended public trees for those areas. Through the Celebrate Trees program, a mechanism is in place to maintain—and with your help, to increase—the city’s urban forest for future generations and the good of the city. Below are the major components of Celebrate Trees and an introduction to Norfolk’s existing urban forest. Leave a living legacy Living Legacy Groves are planned groupings of trees and other native plantings on public property, made possible by donations from residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations. The groves are accessible to the public, will include educational signage and are planted in areas earmarked for restoration. The first Living Legacy Grove was established in March at Lakewood Park, 1612 Willow Wood Drive, as a grouping of native trees and smaller plantings. The grove is accessi-
ble to the public and will be allowed to develop naturally, helping to retain soil and storm water on the site, aiding in carbon uptake and providing a haven for birds and other wildlife. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Elizabeth River Project were key partners in the planting of the first grove, which was funded through a Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, using funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A second grove was established in Lafayette Park, behind the Ernie Morgan Environmental Center. Among the contributors were several Norfolk law firms. Over time, the City hopes to add Living Legacy Groves throughout the city in public spaces. Information is available on how to contribute at celebratetrees.norfolk.gov
Bring a tree home Property owners are essential to increasing the city’s tree canopy. GIS analysis tells us that even if the City could plant trees on every square foot of public land, the canopy measurement still would not reach 35 percent because the city is so developed. To reach 40 percent, property owners – residential and business - need to take on their own tree planting project. During this year’s Arbor Day Celebration, the Norfolk Arbor Day Committee gave away 1,300 tree seedlings (1218 inches) to raise awareness and encourage residents to plant on their property (prime tree-planting season in Hampton Roads is October 15 to March 31). If you want to start with something larger than a seedling, celebratetrees.norfolk.gov contains information on which trees do well in Norfolk, how to plant them and links to information and advice. The two most important things a homeowner can do to help make sure newly planted trees survive after correctly
Randy Thomas as he prepares to plant trees in a 3-5 acre grove where they will grow until ready to take place as Norfolk street or park tree. Edward Lee Artis (on leave) and Mark Hoar make up the three-man nursery team.
Nursery manager Mark Hoar holds seedling prepared for Arbor Day – an annual seedling giveaway that takes place the first week in October.
planting the right tree in the right place are to properly maintain mulch and to water the root ball deeply every 710 days if less than one inch of rain has fallen, according to City Forester Richard Wernicke. “In Norfolk a 2 inch caliper tree has all potential to prosper if provided 15-20 gallons every 7-10 days April through November for the first 2-3 years after planting,” said Wernicke. “During extremely hot summers, as we have just experienced, watering of young trees is proven essential to survival. To have a healthy tree providing multiple benefits and values for you and your community is rewarding for years to come; it has been said that the act of planting a tree is selfless and is a gift to others,” he said.
them in fields or pots and nurtures them for several years to improve the survivability. Over the years, the nursery had produced over 20,000 street trees for the city with an estimated value of $3 million. Norfolk is abundantly blue and green; bounded by navigable waters and endowed with valuable tree canopy, said City Forester Richard Wernicke. “It is a vibrant city with a great mix of urban, suburban, commercial and residential spaces,” said Wernicke. For decades, Norfolk’s street trees have added to appeal and livability of our neighborhoods. One result is that Norfolk has a healthy mix of mature and younger trees: one-third of Norfolk’s urban street trees are between 15 and 30 years of age, 21 percent are 30 or more years old, according to the City’s 2010 survey of street trees, and the remaining are less than 15 years old. In contrast, the national average age of urban street trees is a bleak 7-12 year lifespan. Age diversity is important because stressed and mature trees can succumb to secondary diseases such as Hypoxylon, a fungus which rode in with Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and is affecting Norfolk’s oak trees, or the stresses of living in an urban environment. Young, healthy trees can live with and continue to prosper for years with Hypoxylon around. What is of some concern is lack of species diversity in Norfolk’s street trees. The 2010 study shows crape myrtle trees represent approximately 59 percent of all street trees, while modern urban forestry stocking ratio states that no one genus of tree should exceed 20 percent of the total population. Communities with too little diversity can face major loss of public trees if disease or an environmental extreme kills off one species. That’s why Norfolk’s management program has, in the past three years, begun to grow a more diverse selection of street trees at the nursery which, when planted, will improve species diversity.
Public Trees Planting city trees on public property and rights of way is also a major component of working with residents. The city’s Bureau of Parks & Urban Forestry provides specific support to civic leagues and residents wanting to plant trees on city-owned rights-of-way, medians, traffic circles and pocket parks. Requests for “street trees” are taken year-round, and sites are assessed for size and environmental factors to determine an appropriate species to be planted. Trees are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be planted by a city crew, usually in late winter. To request a street tree, call (757) 823-4023.
Norfolk’s tree nursery The city’s own tree nursery-Norfolk is the only Hampton Roads city to own one – is located on a 40-acre site off Harrell Road in Chesapeake. The nursery cultivates approximately 4,000 trees of 33 different species at any given time, and plants some 1,000 trees along streets, on school grounds, in parks and on other public property every year. The city purchases seedlings or young trees – plants
WHY TREES From their roots buried deep within the earth, all the way up to the highest tip-top branches, trees are on-thejob, working for us 24 hours a day: that big tree in your backyard; the street trees along the road; the 100year-old trees in the neighborhood park and even recently planted young trees all work together to help make our planet habitable. Trees are the green lungs of our city. Through photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen, producing the clean, healthy air we need to survive. The work that urban trees do also includes air, soil and water clean-up, flood protection, and energy efficiency. Trees increase real estate values, provide habitat for birds and other creatures, control noise pollution, fight soil erosion and provide recreation and inspiration for people, young and old alike. A 2010 i-Tree report using data from Norfolk’s street tree inventory indicates that 42,000 street trees return annual benefits of $1.7 million; Norfolk’s Urban Forestry Division, which prunes and removes all public trees along streets, in parks and schools and also manages a nursery to
produce public trees is budgeted approximately this amount annually. Trees help reduce heating and cooling costs. Researchers have found that well-shaded streets can be as much as 10° F cooler than those without street trees. The U.S. Forest Service says that parking lots with shade trees can keep automobiles cooler, which reduces emissions from fuel tanks and engines. The American Public Power Association says that landscaping, including properly placed trees, can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent by shading the walls and windows of homes. Similarly, trees effectively sited around homes and other buildings can save from 20 – 50 percent in energy used for heating. Other studies have shown that shade from trees extends the life of road and other paved surfaces. Trees reduce storm water runoff and flooding, a benefit especially valuable in Norfolk, where low-lying areas and more than 140 miles of shoreline make the city susceptible to flooding. Trees absorb the first 30 percent of most precipitation through their leaf system, allowing evaporation back into the atmosphere, according to Dan Burden, Senior Urban Designer at
Walkable Communities, Inc. This moisture never hits the ground. Another percentage (up to 30 percent) of precipitation is absorbed back into the ground and taken in and held onto by the root structure. This can add up to a lot of water: The Southern Center for Urban Forestry reports that 100 mature trees intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year in their crowns. Trees trap and filter pollutants such as dust, ash, smoke and pollen with their leaves. Trees soak up hydrocarbons and also help to reduce ozone, a key component of smog. For Norfolk and other Hampton Roads cities, where ozone sometimes approaches unhealthy levels on hot summer days, this is an especially important benefit of planting and maintaining our urban tree canopy. The Arbor Day Foundation says that trees attract new business and tourists, and that commercial space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent. Researchers at the International City/County Management Association found that landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent.
Lake Taylor Middle School – Success happens by design “Once everyone understood the mission and our plan to get there you could see it, hear it, feel the determination in every hallway and classroom,” said Lake Taylor Middle School Principal Michelle WilliamsMoore. Teresa Marksbury gingerly opened her son’s report card, the bends worn and creased from frequent folding and unfolding. Her finger traced the outline of a sticker and then followed the dips and curves of Lake Taylor Middle School Principal Michelle Williams-Moore’s signature. Williams-Moore signed close to 800 report cards like the one in Marksbury’s hand last semester, sending a message to students and their parents about the importance of school-home communication. It was a message Marksbury embraced. Never once did Marksbury worry that her son wasn’t receiving a good education at Lake Taylor Middle. Not once did the school fall short of her expectations. So when the school got word this month that it had earned full accreditation after five long years of struggling to meet Virginia’s benchmarks for Standards of Learning tests, Marksbury wasn’t surprised at all. “Each year we saw the improvement and progress because they shared it with us, helped us as parents to know how to contribute to the cause,” Marksbury said. “There were a lot of difficult conversations about how to get it done, and nothing was brushed under the table. Nothing.” In 2007, Williams-Moore spent her first year as Lake Taylor Middle’s principal playing twister with the office
phones, answering calls from concerned parents with questions, especially about what it means for a school to have “conditional” accreditation. This is how it works. In Virginia, schools can be fully accredited, warned or denied accreditation based on how many of their students pass the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. A school receives a warning if its scores fall below a mandated pass rate. If it fails to meet the benchmarks for more than three years in a row, a school can be denied accreditation. It then has to apply to the state Board of Education for “conditional” accreditation while it tries to improve. At Lake Taylor Middle the problem was math, which left educators trying to figure out the right fix. At the same time, parents were worried about floundering test scores. Parent confidence was wavering and staff morale was faltering. It takes time to build faith and trust, Williams-Moore would tell the teachers -- and secretly herself -- that first year. Work hard, believe we will reach our goals, and the students and their parents will buy in. “There was a lot of change that first year, but we started to build trust within our team, with our students and our parents,” Williams-Moore said. “Once everyone understood the mission and our plan to get there you could see it, hear it, feel the determination in every hallway and classroom.” That first year, it was hard to get the teachers to stay after school for tutoring, to come in on a Saturday for SOL remediation; harder still to get
the students to participate. It took five years to build a solid foundation. Dedicated staff members stayed, others left. Still, the work to make over the middle school went on. What they have created at Lake Taylor Middle is a program rich in professional development, data sharing and collective wisdom. WilliamsMoore meets with students by grade level each quarter to review their progress and to discuss expectations. Parents like Marksbury in turn have learned the importance of education buzz words like cognition, differentiation and remediation. “They always put improvement as the first priority, and there was always someone to stay after school, to give extra time, to answer any concerns,” Marksbury said. “I have always felt they were there for me and my son, and that as a group we all came together with a plan for success to happen.” Like most veteran Lake Taylor Middle School teachers, Rosalind Farrell has experienced the highs and the lows. In a thick Caribbean accent, Farrell speaks with emotion about her 17 years at the middle school and the tremendous change she has seen. “Everyone, especially our students, needed encouragement and to believe that they could do it,” Farrell said. “Our success didn’t happen by mistake, it was by design.” The design included community partnerships. Teachers and administrators alike knew they needed extra help and the opportunity to work with small groups of students. A partnership with local shipyard repair giant
Metro Machine Corporation helped to fulfill those needs. Last school year, Metro Machine provided a grant of nearly $45,000 to fund extra positions for breakout sessions during the school day. Experts were brought in to work with groups of students identified by their practice tests and classroom performance. Students in turn were able to build relationships with their tutors and talk candidly about what concepts they were struggling with and where they needed help the most. “We are forever grateful to Metro for providing us the resources to really make a difference with our kids,” Williams-Moore said. “Metro didn’t accept the perception that Lake Taylor couldn’t do it. They believed in us every step of the way.” With full accreditation now a realization, Williams-Moore and her staff are not resting on their laurels. Instead, they are setting their sights on meeting federal benchmarks to earn Adequate Yearly Progress. An evermoving target, AYP is not the goal for Lake Taylor Middle. Part of the plan to reach that goal is to use resources made available to Lake Taylor through a state School Improvement Grant. The funds will be used to partner Lake Taylor Middle with Johns Hopkins University and to provide detailed professional development and teacher coaching. WilliamsMoore also hopes to continue the school’s partnership with Metro Machine. “We see a tangible difference and we are a team united,” WilliamsMoore said. “We know the path, and we are going to get there.”
Northside’s One-Year Sprint to Raise Student Achievement On a mission, a sneaker-clad Rick Fraley jog-walked the halls of Northside Middle School late this past spring, popping into classrooms and sprinting the distance between doorways. “Congratulations,” the principal said with thumbs up and a smile to a seventh-grade student teetering in his seat. Confused, the young man leaned around the computer monitor and whispered to the principal, “For what? I haven’t taken my SOLs yet.” “Taking the test is a formality at this point,” Fraley said. “You know this stuff, and I know you are going to pass.” To Fraley and his staff at Northside, having the right mentality when approaching the state Standards of Learning tests is half the battle. The other half is in proper training, planning and the implementation of strategy. In 2009, Northside fell short of reaching full accreditation by missing the state cutoff for history SOLs. This month however, the school is celebrating full accreditation after a year-long fight to improve student learning. Teachers rededicated themselves to the vision of providing students with equal, rich opportunities to realize their potential, and the students flourished. “It was the hard work of the entire Northside family,” Fraley said. “Our success was directly connected to our
shared vision to reach each and every child.” It took one year to fall from full accreditation. The Northside staff was determined it would take only one to get back on the mark. Fraley promoted positive staff and student relationships to increase student engagement. The school building was realigned to allow staff teaching the same subjects to provide support and mentorship for each other. The staff operated on a master schedule that allowed each content/grade-level team to spend more than an hour each day planning instruction together, uninterrupted. School leaders communicated consistent classroom procedures and expectations for teachers and students. More than ever, the entire Northside family, students and staff alike, became obsessed with number crunching, graphs and charts. Students kept track of their own progress and, as their understanding of the subject matter increased, so did the lines on their progress charts. Fraley’s daily laps around the building in his sneakers became an opportunity for students to show off their learning curves. Today, the school stands poised to raise a new fully accredited banner, and the staff has set sites on a bigger goal. “We aren’t finished until we reach 100 percent pass rates across the board,” Fraley said. “At Northside, this is only the beginning."
Fairmount Park: A Neighborhood on the Move Nine neighborhoods fall under the umbrella of Norfolk’s Fairmount Park Civic League, with many of the smaller neighborhoods nestled behind the tree-lined streets within the larger, more well known neighborhoods. Encountering some of these “mini” neighborhoods is a pleasant surprise. The neighborhoods represented by the Fairmount Park Civic League are attractive and diverse, featuring ranchstyle brick homes in the tucked away Bell’s Farm neighborhood, charming Cape Cods in Kent Park off of Cromwell Road, to stately two-stories with big porches and charming bungalows found south of Lafayette Boulevard, one of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares and slated for future redevelopment. The civic league is bordered by Tidewater Drive to the west; stretching to Norview Ave. to the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks forming its northern border. The railroad tracks intersect Chesapeake Boulevard bordering the east, to Tait Terrace, forming the southern boundary. The civic league is one of the biggest in Norfolk, representing about 2200 homes. Just the kind of the neighborhood civic league president Taylor Gould was looking for when he decided to move his family from Virginia Beach to Norfolk in 2006. “My wife and I chose Fairmount Park because the neighborhood was close to work and shopping, and we
both liked the character of houses in the neighborhood. It was evident that the houses were well-built,” said Gould, a landscape architect by trade. The civic league is celebrating its 30th anniversary and it’s evident that the neighborhood is in transition, with several projects in various stages of completion. One of the main projects, a sewer/water and street replacement project is in phase 7 of 13. The current phase, located on Cromwell Road east of Tidewater Drive, is almost complete and in accordance with the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Implementation Plan, adopted in 2004. One of the crowning jewels of Farimount Park is Shoop Park, a city-run park that recently underwent a major overhaul. New park amenities include basketball courts, volleyball court, horseshoe courts, bocce ball courts, a life trail path with exercise stations, splashpad water play area, a children’s track and shelters as part of the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Implementation Plan. “The residents, including the members of the civic league and the Norfolk City Council, especially Anthony Burfoot and City Manager Regina Williams, helped to make the Shoop Park renovation happen,” Gould said. Gould credits Shoop Park as one of the major reasons why people in the market to buy a home decide to settle there. “Residents have told me when they were considering neighborhoods and were driving around, they saw the park Continued on page 9
Using social media, Norfolk’s Seven Venues aims to reach and keep its fan base Using social media’s unprecedented levels of communication, Seven Venues, the entertainment bureau for the City of Norfolk, is quickly learning how to build its audience, keep it loyal and, most important, interact with fans. Seven Venues manages the performances and events at Scope Arena, Prism Theatre in Scope Arena, Chrysler Hall, Attucks Theatre, Wells Theatre, Harrison Opera House, and Harbor Park. Seven Venues’ first step was to use social media to define its various audiences. Because events at Norfolk’s seven venues range from baseball to The Lion King, audiences are constantly changing and growing. Today, the organization regularly surveys
patrons via website and email and uses the information collected to create targeted marketing campaigns and strategies. Advertising online is a great solution to the challenge of targeting Seven Venues’ event information economically and efficiently. For instance, when the city wanted to announce and advertise a major hip-hop concert at Scope Arena it used online ads on sites like vibe.com and allhiphop.com In another campaign, alternative music fans (and fans of specific artists) living within 25 miles of downtown Norfolk saw an ad on facebook.com directing them to video content and ticket information about an indie-rock band called The Weepies
playing at the Attucks Theatre this fall. “It costs us pennies on the dollar compared to what we spend on traditional media and if we miss the mark, we can change the language or images to something more appealing within minutes to improve performance right away,” said Melissa Skinner. To capture this enthusiasm, Seven Venues used social media to turn fans and visitors to the venues into brand ambassadors. For example, after seeing a show or attending an event, visitors are likely to Tweet or post a comment about the show or their experience, as well as post photos on their Facebook pages. They may also sign up to become a “friend” on Seven Venues’ Facebook page.
Fairmount Park Civic League members Nicole Weisstanner, Leslie Vaughn, Taylor Gould, Magalene Mckelvey, Angeline Stevens, Yvette Brown, Roger Edwards (in wheelchair), above him Sandy Edwards, Rudy Felton, George Deloatch, Lula Deloatch, Rita Hassell, Barbara Barry, Cynthia Darcus-Wilson, Gordy Hellenbrand and Sabra Gear.
Seven Venues makes sure these friends and fans are the first to know about promotions, ticket deals and the latest breaking show news. When fans see this information, they share it with their friends through social media. Since social media users are more likely to click on links posted on their friendsâ€™ pages than search for information themselves, the information is quickly disseminated. The fans essentially act as a free referral system, all made possible through social media tools like blogs, Facebook and Twitter. The next step is to cultivate these newfound relationships. Seven Venues continues the conversation using various social media outlets such as its Facebook page, (Facebook.com/sevenvenues), a Twitter account, (Twitter.com/sevenvenues), as well as
through an active e-mail program, by which fans regularly receive information on upcoming shows, deals and discounts, and suggestions for downtown parking, shopping and dining. Seven Venues is preparing to launch a blog this fall which will not only continue to send out the Seven Venues message, but will also encourage interaction among readers. Fans need to feel like they are a part of something. Tools like Facebook and the blog have allowed them to ask questions, provide constructive criticism, show support and express their likes and dislikes. Responding to fans is key to maintaining these relationships. The organization shares this duty across the marketing department from intern to manager to ensure a high level of customer service.
Soon fans will be able to upload photos to their social networking sites and receive text messages using auto Wi-Fi. Visitors to the venue will be able to share their experience by posting photos to the Seven Venues site. Of course, convenience is critical if an organization wants to keep its most loyal fans. The more convenient an organization makes things, the more likely fans are to stay active and remain in touch, and Seven Venues has used modern technology to provide ease of use to its customers. In July, Seven Venues unveiled their new Iphone and Android application. This free service allows Iphone and Android users to check concert dates and performance times, purchase tickets, access videos and music from featured artists, and much more.
Fairmount Park on the Move
Continued from page 8
and said ‘this is here?’ – you can walk and don’t have to get in to your car to go to a park.” Gould said. “The park has been a major catalyst for bringing residents to the neighborhood.” Gould said another reason why people are choosing to buy in Fairmount Park is that folks can see the neighborhood changing. “They see the work going on with the new streets, newly planted trees, new houses being built, and a plethora of renovated houses.” In 2009, the league started a Youth Civic League with 22 members. “The youth in the neighborhood partake in neighborhood activities, cleanups and recreational activities as well as learning how to become stewards of the neighborhood,” Gould said. The city has taken note of Fairmount Park. In fact, the neighborhood earned a COOL award for its active role in making the neighborhood a safe and pleasant place to live for its residents. COOL, which stands for Civic Opportunity and Outstanding Leadership, is a recognition program that honors grassroots projects started by residents that improves the quality of life in the community. Selected with input from community and agency Continued on page 22
New leaders bring a fresh perspective to Superintendent Dr. Richard Bentley
Norfolk Public Schools
In a city where public education dates back three centuries, tradition is clearly important. But new leaders are welcome, too, especially when they bring a long list of ideas for helping city schools shine. Norfolk Public Schools has three such energetic newcomers at the top: Superintendent Richard Bentley, who arrived in Norfolk from Texas in August; School Board Chairman Kirk T. Houston, Sr., who assumed that post in July after a year on the board; and School Board Vice Chairwoman Karen Jones Squires, who also was elected in July after serving a year as a board member. “We must build the All three offer fresh perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing the school division.
community’s trust by consistently demonstrating honesty, openness, respect and dignity.” Dr. Richard Bentley
School rally 2010
Dr. Bentley has been in education for more than 30 years, and started his career as a drama teacher. Most recently in El Paso, where he served as an area associate superintendent, he helped school principals zero in on the specific performance gaps for their students. As a new citizen of Norfolk, you have an opportunity to see the city with fresh eyes. What are your impressions so far? When my wife Debbie and I first visited Norfolk, we were struck by two things: the mermaids and the trees. We have so much greenery in Norfolk. It’s wonderful. We’re looking forward to doing a little gardening when we move into our new house in Larchmont. Now that I have been here for a little while, I can see that Norfolk has great people, great neighborhoods, rich traditions and an eye for the future. We’re looking forward to learning more about the community in the weeks, months and years to come.
School Board Chairman Kirk T. Houston, Sr. and Superintendent Dr. Richard Bentley
that effort, so I am asking that we all commit to finding three adults for every child – adults who will care about the child’s progress in school. That’s an important element in terms of growing great citizens. All of us must believe in our hearts that we have the ability to do things that will make a difference in the lives of children. What will be the division’s key challenges over the next year or two? First off, we have a significant financial challenge. We are likely to experience revenue shortfalls again for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which means we will continue having to do more with less. Although the resources coming from the state are diminishing, we must strive to exceed the requirements that are part of the state and the federal accountability systems. Another challenge is ensuring that we have quality facilities for all of our children. Our custodial staff does a tremendous job keeping schools clean and neat. However, aging buildings have different maintenance requirements. We must work with city leaders to create more options for renovating or replacing aging structures. We must build the community’s trust by consistently demonstrating honesty, openness, respect and dignity.
Superintendent Dr. Richard Bentley greets NPS staff and addresses teachers at a recent rally
What do you believe are the school division’s essential strengths, and how do you intend to build upon them? Number one, this school division puts children first, and that is really, really critical. I am reinforcing that priority to the entire staff by starting out each day visiting schools to observe student learning and listen to teachers and staff members. In our planning for the future, we will continue to focus on children, teachers and schools. It is my desire to ensure that children become great adults, and that desire already is woven into the tapestry of Norfolk Public Schools. I believe we need the entire community’s assistance toward
And most important: We must prepare children for a future that is relatively unclear. We don’t know the jobs that will be out there, because our world is changing rapidly. Our students must be powerfully literate, which means that they must have the ability to think critically and analyze, to solve problems, to find meaning and make connections, to calculate and compute, to demonstrate personal responsibility. In other words, they have to be continuous learners who can survive and excel in a dynamic and changing world. We will help our students become powerfully literate by, above all else, improving student learning every day.”
Dr. Houston is the founder and senior pastor of the Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church in Norfolk.
We know that a teacher’s knowledge, classroom management and a safe, orderly environment are among the most important influences on how well students learn. The role of the School Board in this effort is to ensure that resources are allotted for continual professional development for our teachers, and that lifelong learning is a value of the district.
School Board member Mrs. Jones Squires and School Board Chairman Kirk T. Houston, Sr.
You took over leadership of the School Board after a challenging time for Norfolk Public Schools. Do you believe the school division has addressed the issues surrounding testing procedures? With the Virginia Department of Education’s assistance in helping us identify problems and inconsistencies in our testing practices, and the additional training provided to our staff, I feel confident that we have addressed these issues. Of course, ongoing monitoring and training is always necessary, and we must maintain an atmosphere of trust and openness so that teachers and administrators will be willing to report concerns or practices that may be in question or in violation of the procedures. What is the School Board’s role in supporting powerful teaching and learning opportunities in Norfolk Public Schools?
Additionally, the board must implement and enforce codes of conduct that effectively address and correct disruptive behavior and attitudes that are not conducive to a safe and orderly learning environment.
Equally, continuing education incentives for teachers should be explored and encouraged so that teachers are inspired to be abreast of current instructional and curriculum reforms. The School Board should also consider the budgetary needs for current textbooks, and the provision of technological equipment and devices that will enhance teaching and learning opportunities. Prior to joining the School Board in 2009, Mrs. Jones Squires was active in lobbying the City Council to devote more resources to school facilities. You have a daughter in Norfolk Public Schools. What do you say to other parents who ask you questions about the quality of public education in Norfolk, or to parents who are wondering whether they should enroll their children here?
I have a daughter who is beginning her junior year at Maury, and another daughter who graduated from Maury in 2008. In Hampton Roads we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to schools: We have great public schools, a variety of religious and independent schools and a thriving home school community. We do not, however, have any perfect schools, so parents have to weigh the pros and cons of the many options to figure out what will be best for their child. On the whole, we have been very happy with our daughters’ public school education. Here’s what I believe about their experiences at NPS thus far: They have been safe at school. Their coursework has been interesting, challenging and varied. They have been inspired by great teachers who have given them opportunities to excel as a member of a championship chamber orchestra and as a charter member of an Arabic language class. They have become accustomed to engaging others in an environment that is economically, ethnically and culturally diverse. In today’s world, that is a critical component of a well-rounded education. What can city residents do to help ensure a high-quality public education system in Norfolk? Norfolk residents can embrace the idea that great schools are the bedrock of a great city. We need everyone to feel responsible for the academic success of our city’s children. When you ask a child, “How’s school?” listen to the answer. Let them know that you think their education is important, interesting and WORTHWHILE. If you can volunteer, call your neighborhood school and ask how you can help. If your neighborhood school is holding a carnival, show up. Go to a ball game and cheer on the kids. Vote for local, state and federal candidates who support public education. Whether you have a child enrolled or not, Norfolk Public Schools belong to you. Root for the home team!
NORFOLK’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL REACHES IMPORTANT MILESTONE Viewers of YouTube, a popular video sharing Web site, are getting a glimpse of what it’s like to live, work and play in the City of Norfolk. The City’s official YouTube Channel, NorfolkTV, reached a major milestone in July when videos on the channel reached over a half million plays by users from all around the world. Viewership of Norfolk’s YouTube channel has increased exponentially since the channel’s launch in November 2007. The City’s cable TV station, Norfolk’s Neighborhood Network (NNN-TV48 on Cox Cable in Norfolk) provides all content and management of the YouTube channel. The site features stories from city newscasts, segments from Norfolk Perspectives, TV specials and YouTube exclusives. There is no cost to the city but the returns are great. The YouTube channel opens city video productions to the
blogosphere and Google searches give Norfolk high visibility in the virtual world by reaching out to audiences of all ages and interests, not to mention the videos look great on iPads too. Currently, the NorfolkTV channel features 60 locally originated videos. Each is a unique and exclusive slice of Norfolk’s culture and people that make the city notable nationally in many areas. Here are a few of them: Mobile museum in Berkley Norfolk, Virginia. One Norfolk neighborhood has taken history into its own hands by opening a museum. It has over 400 photos and documents. Deputy Bob in China with his puppet friends. Through an assortment of puppets, he calls them “Mannequin
What do YOU do to keep Norfolk Beautiful? Tons, I’ll bet. And it ought to be celebrated! So over the next year, in some of the least likely places and times, all readers who pick up after your pet, ride your bike, take the bus, recycle, put your trash in the can, etc. should be on the lookout. The I Keep Norfolk Beautiful Crew will be out and about the city to offer random acts of thank-you for what you do. It may not seem that picking up one soda can or wiping off some graffiti does much to improve your city, but when you combine your one action with those of the other 238,000 residents in Norfolk (not to mention our guests) those actions add up to a cleaner, safer, more beautiful Norfolk.
And the city is grateful to you gardeners, artists, litter picker-uppers and everyone who cares enough about where they live, work and play to make even the smallest effort to improve your world and mine. So tell us what YOU do. Log into “I Keep Norfolk Beautful” on Facebook and post a picture of yourself, or send in the printed hand on this page. Take a photo or video of your beautiful efforts and share them with us. There are hundreds of thousands of stories to tell; we want to honor them and you. We’ve already heard from some of you:
The last trolley driver in Norfolk Randall Pike
Pet rescue mask kits made available from ctizen donations to NFR
Americans”, Deputy Bob explores tough issues facing today’s kids.
to the zoo, the garden will function as an outdoor classroom for children.
NFR Haiti Rescue Mission. Norfolk Fire Rescue helped save lives after the 2010 earthquake. Seven members of Norfolk Fire Rescue are part of a Hampton Roads team that has returned from a rescue mission in Haiti.
Bullyproofing kids in Norfolk Virginia, self defense Gracie style. A confidence and character building program is helping kids across the country learn to bullyproof their lives. It’s based on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Meet the Last Trolley Driver in Norfolk. One Norfolk resident has the unique distinction of being a living link between the Citys transportation past and future. Randall Pike began driving trolleys for the city back in 1941.
Your participation in city happenings has boosted NorfolkTV to the most watched municipal YouTube channel in Virginia. To view NorfolkTV, visit Norfolk’s YouTube site at www.norfolk.gov and click on the YouTube logo. Or surf directly to www.youtube.com/norfolktv. Check it out.
Children’s Rain Garden at the Virginia Zoo. The Virginia Zoo recently dedicated a new children’s rain garden as one of its newest attractions. Besides being a beautiful addition
• Dean teaches high school students at Booker T. Washington to make beautiful music. •Dyneeca says, “Love each other.” •Taylor planted HUNDREDS of pretty plants in his yard! •Jack, age 6, says, “I care about animals. That’s what I do to keep Norfolk beautiful.” •Emmy, age 7, waters the plants when she has leftover water. •Drewry says, “I recycle, down to toilet paper rolls!” •Jacey in East Beach is all about Clean the Bay Day! •Bret rides his bike to work and picks up trash in Northside Park along the way! • Michelle makes bird feeders out of milk cartons to draw beautiful birds to her yard.
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NEIGHBORHOOD UNIVERSITY • RESIDENTS ARMED WITH NEW SKILLS ARE DOING AMAZING THINGS
Ever since Neighborhood University started in 1999, it has been training residents how to change their world. Through NU courses, residents gain the knowledge and skills to do everything from applying for a neighborhood improvement grant to organizing neighborhood clean-ups to disaster preparedness. Armed with these new skills, Norfolk residents are doing amazing things. NU’s Leadership Development Academy is an especially fertile ground for projects. An advanced study program designed with dedicated, active civic leaders in mind, the academy was introduced spring of 2008 and is a modification of a course formerly known as Fundamentals of Neighborhood Leadership. Participants are required to conduct a group community building project which is presented to their peers at the close of the Academy. Each group selects a project. Fifty civic leaders have completed the Academy since spring 2009. “We have seen some very impressive projects,” said Melinda Luchun, who manages the Neighborhood University program. “One group created a video about combating hunger in Norfolk by supporting the Foodbank of Southeasten Virginia. The video can be seen on YouTube.” Other projects include a Registry of Persons with Special Needs/Disabilities project to increase the voluntary registration of residents to help ensure their safety during an emergency or natural disaster; a grassroots campaign to encourage participation in the 2010 Census; and development of a “Roadmap for Successful Civic League
Meetings” presentation that future class members can take back to their organizations. The Leadership Academy isn’t the only class getting results. All NU participants are asked to sign an agreement to bring knowledge gained back to their communities. To date, 112 participants have agreed to apply what they have learned to benefit their neighborhood and the community. Actions include applying for a grant, taking brochures and information back to their neighbors, sharing knowledge gained with civic league, holding a neighborhood event, organizing a clean-up, and much more. In general, NU participation has climbed in the past few years thanks to several factors, including a revision of some courses. “We felt over the years NU had moved away from its primary goal to prepare residents on how to be activists for their communities,” said Acquanetta Ellis, assistant director of planning and community development who directs the Bureau of Community Enrichment. The overhaul started in 2007, with a look at NU’s original structure and how other localities structure their programs. NU also surveyed participants on what they needed to achieve their civic goals. These results produced programs that seem to be paying off. Since 2008 NU participation has quadrupled. “Now, we have community and civic leaders coming back to teach others about their successful civic projects,” said Ellis. One such peer to peer effort was suggested by Mike O’Hearn of Larchmont, who approached the city (follow-
Neighborhood University courses attract residents from across the city to learn about leadership, projects such as the Lafayette Wetlands initiative and the importance of codes compliance.
ing a 2007 NU class) about teaching a class on civic engagement and community activism, using the Layfayette Wetlands Partnership as an example. The partnership had conducted extensive Layfayette River clean-ups in the Larchmont area and proved to be a wonderful example of how to recruit volunteers, work with city staff and properly manage projects to ensure success. O’Hearn is a member of the partnership. “I am thankful for the opportunity for the Lafayette Wetlands Partnership to work with NU and to teach a course,” said O’Hearn. “The group I had was great and the interaction with them made it a most memorable experience. I feel strongly that this ‘peer to peer’ concept is a work in progress and I hope it will be maintained within NU’s repertoire.” NU is also seeing new faces in its classes, with 73 percent of the participants in the 2009/2010 classes new to the university. And there has been an increase in young people attending. “We want to engage our younger population as well as sustain the interest of those who historically attend,” says Luchun. “An important goal is to ensure younger generations understand the importance of civic leadership and activism.” In addition to instituting a class on youth development, NU encourages parents to bring their children in to take classes alongside them. Academy graduate Audrey Oden of Park Place, whose 10-year-old son took all spring 2008 classes, explained.
“When I had my son I decided to move back to Norfolk because I wanted him to grow up in a place where the average citizen’s voice could be heard and have an impact on their community. Norfolk Neighborhood University and the Leadership Development Academy have proven to be a unique vehicle where even youth can participate in their community.” Luchun believes NU’s increased success is also the result of getting the word out to the public. From website registration and program information, to email alerts and publicity in community publications, more people are finding out about NU. But, while most learn of NU through the city website, the second highest source is word of mouth. “We are particularly please with this finding,” said Luchun. We feel we must be doing something right in engaging our residents. The challenge is making sure we are providing the best tools and best topics for real change. But we are confident that with working with the community we will be able to do just that.” For more information, check www.norfolk.gov (NU link), or call 664-6770.
- Making sense of the mouse
Residents learn computer skills at Janaf Branch Library
It is easy to forget how hard it is. Those of us who gained computer knowledge by bits and starts, learned how to operate computers as they evolved from glorified typewriters to a machine as complex as a jetliner. Not until Norfolk Quarterly visited a Norfolk Public Library Introduction to Computers class did we really appreciate how daunting it is to tackle the modern day computer. Instructor Jeanneane Southern offered her intent class tips and encouragement, “Remember how to use your mouse. Use your index finger . . . don’t drive your mouse like a steering wheel. I hear the guilty ones giggling over here.” Arrows, drop down menus, when to double and single click, – all the navigation terms and movements are a foreign language to the novice. “It’s not working. It does one thing and then another,” puzzles one student eying her mouse. Later – “Oh, I’ve got it. This is fun.” In FY2009, some 2,184 people attended a computer class, a nearly 50 percent increase. Adults make up most of the students, but Franklin Herbert, who heads the NPL program, said “many kids take my classes who were being home schooled by their parents.
Participants give many reasons for taking the computer classes, according to Herbert. Many senior citizens just want to become computer liberate; family members either do not have the patience or time to teach them. With family scattered around the world or nation, email is a cheap way to stay in touch. Following the introductory classes, instructors assist patrons in setting up free email accounts with providers such as Yahoo, MSN, and Gmail, if they don’t already have an account. The classes are also popular with patrons who are unemployed and need the computer classes to help them gain employment. “Many of the classes we teach are required in order to gain employment in many jobs,” said Herbert. Finally there are people who are employed but need computer skills to make them more marketable. “They need to advance in their current jobs. We’ve had many employers who have given their employees time off to attend the computer classes,” he said. Instructors will also share information on how to job search on the internet, and show participants various social media technologies. NPL computer classes have become some of the most
sought after computer training, with some participants taking NPL classes to observe teaching methods, and then volunteering in the community to teach others. The growth in class participation is made possible by the rapid expansion of computers in the libraries. In just five years, branch libraries have gone from roughly 5-10 public access computers to nearly 30 computers in branch libraries (with a two hour time limit), 90 computers at the new Pretlow Library and 60 computers at Norfolk Main Library. The increase in computers and the time limit has produced outstanding results: on average, about 2,000 people use the libraryâ€™s computers on a daily basis; and more teens are coming into the library to use the computers for homework and recreation. While there, they are checking out books and attending teen events, such as Wiiâ„˘ gaming tournaments. Since 2005, overall computer use has increased by over 400 percent, with 2010 primed to break all NPL computer use records. With the addition of computers, the number of library cardholders has increased by 30 percent since 2007, with
the majority being residents. In fact, almost half of the Norfolk residents have a library card. The computers draw thousands of people in, and as a result, more people are checking out books, taking computer classes and attending library programs as well. Circulation of library materials has increased 30 percent since 2007. Registration is required for all computer classes, and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pick up the NPL program guide at a branch library or check www.npl.lib.va.us for more information. All classes are free of charge.
Friends of Norfolk’s Norfolk’s cemeteries reflect the social, political, cultural and military history of our great city. The grounds and monuments serve both as the repository of the past and an inspiration for the future, offering endless opportunity for historical, artistic, architectural and genealogical pursuits. Yet the ravages of time, weather and, unfortunately, occasional vandalism topples monuments, collapses tombs and wreaks havoc on the landscape. Although the city manages the cemeteries and maintains the grounds, repairs to structures are often very expensive and there is no shortage of those that need mending. In many cases, the families have moved away or can no longer pay to restore grave markers, tombs or monuments. That’s why the city’s Bureau of Cemeteries has partnered with the Friends of Norfolk’s Historic Cemeteries to ensure that our cemeteries are preserved for the education and appreciation of future generations. The Friends of Norfolk’s Historic Cemeteries (FNHC), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, was founded in 1996 to assist in the restoration and preservation of Norfolk’s historic cemeteries. The dedicated members have raised funds to repair broken monuments, damaged statuary, collapsed tombs, and most recently, vandalism of the Core Mausoleum. Some of their work is pictured with this article. If you are interested in joining these restoration and preservation efforts, consider becoming a member of FNHC. Applications can be accessed at www.hunterhousemuseum.org/history/pdf/ElmwoodApplication.pdf.
A friend who came bearing cannon balls Norfolk’s cemeteries find friends in many places. Recently, Civil War re-enactor Albert Burckard donated four 70 pound cannon balls from his collection to restore the historic West Point Monument to its original state. The original four cannonballs were stolen several years ago (no one seems to know exactly when). The cannons have been set with rebar and a special adhesive. The West Point Monument is an example of the history contained amongst the grave. It is the only monument in the south featuring an almost life-size black Union soldier and was the first memorial to African-American soldiers in Virginia. It was largely the work of James E. Fuller, who was a slave and quarter master in the United States Colored Calvary during the Civil War. After the war, Fuller served Norfolk County in several capacities: on the advisory board of the Freedmen’s Bank, a member of the Common Council and instrumental in starting Samuel M. Armstrong School, the first public
Historic Cemeteries school for blacks in 1886. Fuller petitioned the Select Council to set aside section 20 (West Point sections) of Elmwood Cemetery to bury members of the Norfolk Union Organizations and Negro Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. On March 2, 1886 his resolution was adopted by the Common Council and the Select Council on April 13, 1886 and today 85 veterans are buried there. As President of the Norfolk Memorial Association, Fuller lead citizens in their efforts for a monument to mark the plot. They raised money through sales, raffles, concerts, and other fundraising efforts. Enough funs were raised to erect the monument altar which was dedicated on May 20, 1906 to record the shaft. The cornerstone was laid in 1908. In 1920, the Norfolk Memorial Association erected the monument. It was designated in the “Memory of Our Heroes 1861 – 1865.” The Civil War soldier depicted on the West Point Monument is Norfolk native Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. While his
parents were born slaves, they secured their freedom and left Norfolk with their son for New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1855. Carney enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts in 1862, and fought with his regiment during the July 18, 1863 attack on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. When the color bearers were shot down in the failed assault, Carney, despite being severely wounded, managed to save the U.S. flag from capture. Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary bravery under fire. He was the first of sixteen African American soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Over 200,000 African-American soldiers and sailors served the Union during the Civil War. Norfolk’s Bureau of Cemeteries provides free tours and a calendar of events within the cemeteries to help raise awareness of the history and beauty of these outdoor museums. On October 30, the Friends sponsor a Run/Walk for Norfolk Cemeteries Preservation at Elmwood and West Point Cemeteries. Future events to introduce people to the history and beauty of Norfolk’s cemeteries, as well as raise money for restoration, are planned. For more information about the Bureau of Cemeteries and events, please contact Bobette Nelson with the Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries at Bobette. Nelson@norfolk.gov or (757) 441-2654. Friends of Norfolk’ s Historic Cemeteries work to restore damaged monuments
Albert Burckard donated four 70 pound cannon balls from his collection to restore the historic West Point Monument
At Top: Dancers from Lakewood Ballet Company All Others: Dance Magic Dancers
nside Lakewood Dance & Music Center, an unimposing cinderblock building within Lakewood Park on Willow Wood Drive, dancers of all ages and levels learn to tap, grapevine and pirouette their way across the studio’s hardwood floors. The dance program, run by the Norfolk Department of Recreation, Parks & Open Space, offers 50 classes per quarter in a wide variety of disciplines—ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, belly dance, Hawaiian dance, creative dance, hip-hop, and more. As with other classes offered by the department, the goal is high-quality instruction at a low price. Most courses average just $3 per class hour, but provide a progressive learning experience that builds strength and endurance while focusing on technique and the beauty of dance. The Lakewood dance program is unique in its breadth of course offerings for adults. While many studios focus solely on training the young dancer, Lakewood provides opportunities for adults interested in both a new pastime and serious study. Indeed, with participants up to age 88, many would agree that dancing keeps you young. Courses for young people fill the schedule as well. And, each year Lakewood holds an annual Music Performance Tour Camp. This year’s camp paid tribute to Bernard Davis (1955-2009), a former RPOS employee who began his career in the 1970s. Thirteen middle and high school students participated in the camp, which focused on building skills in acting, dance, voice and playing a wide variety of musical instruments. Norfolk Quarterly stopped by a Lakewood Ballet Company class, a mix of teens and adults with intermediate level pointe work and ballet technique, as well as a commitment to extra curricular rehearsals and performing. Instructor Melissa Lang’s forceful instructions sound more like those of a boxing coach than outsider’s view of ballet – “fight for it, fight for it” – to students struggling to hold a position; “I’m here, I’m here and I love it and you can’t tell I’m jumping from here (she points to her stomach) because I am in control; “look at your audience” and “the core should be tight, you can bounce a nickel off it now.” With the warm-up over, the dancers switched gears, becoming elegant snowflakes to the strains of The Nutcracker, preparing – as do participants in all dance classes – for the annual Dance Magic performance. “It is wonderful to see the self esteem that grows in our dancers,” said Julie Hart, ballet mistress and director. “Many dancers babysit or do dance camps to provide money for their classes and costumes. They have become self motivated and have learned that they hold within themselves the power to achieve their dance dreams.” Each December, after 200 hours of rehearsal, Lakewood’s dancers take the stage at Harrison Opera House to present a three-act performance called Dance Magic. During the second act, guests receive a holiday treat with Lakewood’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” Dance Magic is an affordable, spirited show put on by over 400 talented dancers. The performance gives back, too; all proceeds are donated to The Virginian-Pilot’s Joy Fund that proContinued on page 28
Fairmount Park on the Move
Continued from page 9
stakeholders, the Fairmount Park neighborhood won the award because of its “Fairmount Park Civic League Beautification Committee” and the “Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch Program.” Fairmount Park’s program involves increasing awareness about code violations and educating residents on issues from building compliance to cutting tall weeds and grass with direct communication, cooperation and a hands-on approach. The committee also organizes special programs and events. According to Gould, the committee is made up of residents who have volunteered their time to make Fairmount Park a better neighborhood. The residents decided to not rely on the city entirely to take the lead to solve some of their neighborhood issues. “We decided we couldn’t wait for the city to take care of these problems. We took action and when you take action, you can free up the resources for the city to handle issues more effectively,” Gould said. The beautification committee includes eleven civic league members, with two members each covering a section of Fairmount Park that has been broken down in to sub-districts. Members review their coverage area on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and report findings back to the committee chair. But instead of reporting violations directly to the city, the committee developed educational flyers (which could be about mowing the grass, code violations, and environmental issues) that can be posted on the properties so residents or property owners are educated about their violations, allowing them time to correct the issue before
enforcement takes place. “We get almost an 85% return on residents completing the necessary improvements without the City’s involvement,” Gould said. The Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch has grown from coverage of a one-block area in 2007 to 45 blocks today. With a series of “block captains,” the program focuses on a block-by-block approach. “The overall effort has brought residents closer together to take back their streets,” Gould said. The COOL award is presented based on the following criteria: residents working together as volunteers to improve the community; encouraging individual and community responsibility for the neighborhood; an increased awareness of the importance of enhancing the quality of life in a Norfolk through neighborhood programs, events or projects; and the promotion of neighborhood unity and significant impact on neighborhood communication, interaction and cooperation. Other neighborhood programs receiving honorable mentions include the Ballentine Bark Park, started by residents in the Ballentine Park neighborhood; the Knitting Mill Creek Garden, founded by area residents who converted a vacant, trash-filled lot into green space and a community garden; the Lafayette Wetlands Partnership, a citizen-based group with the mission of preserving an urban wetland along the Lafayette River; and Art/Everywhere, where empty storefront windows along Granby St. were with filled with various art mediums including sculpture, paintings and photography. Neighborhood University will be tapping into the expertise identified through the COOL Awards program.
Holidays Join Us for Holidays in the City
The Downtown Norfolk Council coordinates the annual Holidays in the City, a series of fun events in Norfolk and Portsmouth that kicks off with the Grand Illumination Parade and extends through New Year’s Eve. Featured here are some Norfolk highlights. For more information go to http://www.downtownnorfolk.org/
26th Annual Grand Illumination Parade “Lights, Camera, Action” sets the theme for this year’s celebration which kicks off with the spectacular illumination of the Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth skylines. Saturday, November 20, at 7pm Downtown Norfolk 757-623-1757
MacArthur on Ice Outdoor Skating Rink at MacArthur Center November 20 – January 17, 2010 757-627-6000
Approximately 100,000 people attend the Parade each year. Watchers are urged to come early, enjoy pre-parade entertainment, shop, have dinner even go skating! The ice rink at MacArthur Center opens that day, too.
A Christmas Carol Presented by the Virginia Stage Company Wells Theatre December 3-24 757-627-1234
5th Annual Fall Festival Epworth United Methodist Church November 20, 4-10pm 757-622-2970
d’Artini Night d’Art Center December 3, 6-8pm 757-625-4211
Gift of the Magi Presented by Todd Rosenlieb Dance Roper Performing Arts Center December 3-4 757-626-3262
in the City Alleluia! Carols Around the World! Presented by Virginia Chorale Christ & St. Lukeâ€™s Church December 4, 8pm 757-627-8375 Candlelight NOEL Freemason Street Baptist Church December 5, 7pm 757-625-7579 Holidays in Virginia Presented by the Hurrah Players TCC Roper Performing Arts Center December 10-12 757-627-5437 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Presented by the Hurrah Players TCC Roper Performing Arts Center December 11, 7pm 757-627-5437
Annual Christmas by the Fireside Epworth United Methodist Church December 12, 4-6pm 757-622-2970 Holiday Pops Presented by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Harrison Opera House December 17, 8pm 757-892-6366 Christmas Eve Moravian Lovefeast Freemason Street Baptist Church December 25, 5pm 757-625-7579 New Yearâ€™s Eve Dinner Dance Party Spirit of Norfolk December 31, 7:30pm-12:30am 866-835-8849 (Reservations Required)
Home for the Holidays Moses Myers House and Norfolk History Museum December 12, 12-4pm 757-664-6200
Lion king Photo by Joan Marcus
Facts about Fire and
Norfolk Fire-Rescue burns the midnight oil to keep families safe. Crews answered 9,436 fire calls in 2009 and 30,760 Emergency Medical Service calls. Station 14, on Norview Avenue, is the busiest station in the city, but firefighters at all stations have seen the near-misses and tragedies once fire gets started in the home. That’s why Norfolk Fire-Rescue (NFR) is urging residents to take steps now to prevent fires and burns from occurring, or learn how to survive a fire if it does start. In many colder areas of the country, more fires start in the winter than in any other season for several reasons, including overtaxed and malfunctioning heating systems, auxiliary heating units such as space heaters being placed too closely to combustibles and overloaded electrical circuits, according to NFR Battalion Chief and Public Affairs Officer Harry Worley. While Norfolk doesn’t see the seasonal increase, because its winters are often milder, residents are urged to maintain all heating equipment to ensure the safety and comfort of their family members during colder months. This includes annual servicing of home heating systems, regular cleaning of filters, and inspection and cleaning of fireplaces and chimneys before use. Heating equipment ranks as the second leading cause of fire according to the National Fire Protection Association. Furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves or space heaters need three feet of open space around the equipment that is free of combustibles; portable heaters must be turned off when leaving a room or before going to bed. Never use the oven for heating within the home. Residents who have a furnace, fireplace, water heater or other appliance fueled by natural gas or propane should consider installing a carbon monoxide detector. Poisoning from carbon monoxide occurs from malfunctioning gas appliances. The gas is colorless and odorless, causing many people to become overwhelmed before they can seek help. Carbon monoxide detectors are available at most hardware stores. Smoke Alarms – The only warning you may get of a fire NFR urges all residents to have properly placed smoke alarms Especially at night, smoke alarms may be the only warning your family receives to get out of a potentially fatal fire. Check monthly to make sure alarms are working properly. Setting the alarm off while cooking doesn’t count - you want to make sure the battery is still strong enough to warn you of fire. To check, push the test button and sound the alarm for at least 15 seconds. Change the batteries twice a year. Don’t take the battery out to use in another appliance – a smoke detector cannot warn you if the battery is removed. Smoke alarms generally last 10 years, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure yours hasn’t expired. For residents with hearing impairments, there are smoke detectors that incorporate strobe lights or vibration devices in addition to an audible alarm.
How to Protect Your Family NFR wants to make sure all residents are protected by having working smoke alarms in their homes. The department participates in the Get Alarmed, Virginia! program, which provides free smoke alarms to those who don’t have them. Since Get Alarmed, Virginia! began in 1998, the program is credited with saving more than 53 men, women and children throughout Virginia and preventing millions of dollars in damage. Homeowners can request a free smoke detector through the Smoke Detector Hotline at 664-6616. In a fire, you have to move fast. Have an escape plan Another essential step is a family escape plan. Eighty-three percent of the people who die in fires lose their lives in the home – the one place least likely to have a formal plan. Fire escape plans are essential for every resident, ensuring that family members understand how to get out of the home, where to meet one another outside and how to contact 911. Although fires can occur anytime, most home fires occur when residents are sleeping between 11 pm and 7 am. Plan ahead for family members with disabilities and for small children. Post your formal plan where it is visible – just as it is done in offices, hotels and schools. Practice your plan and make sure escape routes are workable and clear of obstructions. Time is of the essence-fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. Fire extinguishers – practice and use with care The Virginia Department of Fire Programs recommends that homeowners purchase multipurpose ABC extinguishers. These extinguishers are capable of putting out small contained fires with proper use. It is essential that anyone operating a fire extinguisher be properly trained in how to use it and to call 911 first. If it takes more than one extinguisher to put out the fire, then the fire is too big to handle without the assistance of the Fire Department. All fires should be reported to ensure the fire department responds and makes sure the fire is out. Extinguishers should be placed in the doorway of the kitchen and garage in the path you are using to get out for quick access. Take some time to read the directions before you need it. 40 percent of all home fires start with cooking Cooking fires account for 40 percent of home fires, with the leading cause being unattended cooking. Cooking also accounts for many accidental burns. Homes with children and pets should set up a three feet zone around the stove to prevent accidental burns. Rear burners should be used around children and all pot handles need to be turned to the side whenever possible. Microwaving food can also cause burn injuries, use caution when opening the door and food containers to avoid steam injuries. Electrical safety and candles Electrical safety begins by not overloading individual outlets. Consider Continued on next page
How to Protect Your Family installing more outlets by a qualified electrician rather than using extension cords. Extension cords are intended for temporary wiring only. Homeowners can perform a quick visual scan of each room to ensure that all electrical cords are in good condition and free from damage. No cords should be across doorways or under carpets which can lead to falls and fires. All empty outlets should be covered in a home with small children. Candle use continues to be a cause of home fires. All candles should be closely monitored and kept three feet away from anything that will burn, especially decorative greenery. Remain in the same room with burning candles and extinguish the flame before leaving the room or lying down. In homes with pets or children, candle use is cautioned; consider the use of battery operated candles which give a similar effect without the fire hazard. Smoking poses special fire dangers Smoking material also causes home fires and warrants special attention. Ask smokers to remain outside while smoking and provide a protective container for ashes and discarded material. If smoking inside, refrain from smoking on upholstered furniture including the bed. With small children inside, keep all matches and lighters secure.
The Norfolk Fire Marshall’s office investigates multiple crimes including but not limited to, arson, explosives, environmental crimes, and habitual fire code violators. Here they are investigating a business for illegal adult parties. Pictured are Capt. Roger Burris, former chief John Applewhite and Lt. Larry Harris. Environmental Crimes Investigator Karen Barnes also works to keep residents safe through education.
Fire Safety – Learn more Norfolk Fire-Rescue would love to see all citizens educated about fire safety and protecting their homes for the common dangers and causes of fires. Beth Bruner, a Norfolk Firefighter/Paramedic and Public Educator states, “Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. Norfolk Fire-Rescue strives to educate the public at all ages about fire safety and what they can do to be proactive in keeping themselves and their families safe.” Norfolk Fire-Rescue currently offers classroom presentations, practical skill sessions with fire extinguishers and apparatus displays, fire station visits, civic league and other service group presentations. If you are interested in fire safety education and presentations, contact the Norfolk FireRescue administration at 664-6600.
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vides toys to local underprivileged children during the holidays. Since 1981, Dance Magic has contributed $100,620 to the Joy Fundâ€”enough to buy 6,700 toys. DANCE MAGIC will take place on Saturday, December 4, at 5 p.m. at the Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Blvd. Tickets $10 per person, and are sold online at www.ticketmaster.com and at The Scope box office (Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. â€“ cash only). Ticketmaster surcharges apply. For more information, call the Lakewood Dance & Music Center at (757) 441-5833. Registration for dance classes is offered four times a year: This year, registration begins on the following dates: 12/6/10, 3/14/11 and 6/6/11. Registration dates for nonresidents is approximately a week and a half later. Registration and payment must be made in person at the Lakewood Dance and Music Center, 1612 Willow Wood Drive. For more information, call 441-5833, go to www.norfolk.gov/rpos or pick up a copy of Good Times at your location recreation center.
Above and Above Left: Dancers from Lakewood Ballet Company
Dance Magic Dancers
“When I think of Lake Taylor, I think of compassion, quality care, professionalism and a warm, happy place.” After 20 years affiliated with Lake Taylor Transitional Hospital, Eleanor “Sugar” Bradshaw recently celebrated her retirement, leaving her role as the hospital’s most visible proponent in favor of a behind-the-scenes role on the board. “Mrs. Bradshaw has always been someone we could count on at the hospital to step up and take on any role that was asked of her,” said Thomas Orsini, president and CEO of Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital. “She exemplifies professionalism, compassion and grace. Her integrity and character have always been present in all that she’s done for Lake Taylor and the community.” In the late 1980s, Bradshaw served as the Chairman of Lake Taylor’s City Hospital Citizen’s Task Force and later took on the role of Lake Taylor’s Director of Development/Government Relations. Along with other Lake Taylor key personnel, Bradshaw helped to expand and grow the hospital over the years. In January 2005, she was present when Thomas Orsini, president and CEO of Lake Taylor, presented Mayor Fraim and Norfolk City Council with a check for lump-sum payment of final installment of Hospital bond debts.
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NORFOLK QUARTERLY is an official publication of the City of Norfolk.
City Council Paul D. Fraim Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot Vice Mayor Alveta Green Andrew Protogyrou Paul R. Riddick Thomas Smigiel Dr. Theresa Whibley Barclay C.Winn
City Manager Regina V.K. Williams Norfolk Quarterly is published four times a year by the City of Norfolk Communications Bureau and a number of other city departments. 302 City Hall Building 810 Union Street Norfolk, VA, 23510 Phone: 664-4266 Fax: 664-4006 Web: www.norfolk.gov