Friday, September 18, 2020

Cleanup on 9/19

We are still planning to hold our cleanup on 9/19. But due to predicted high flood tides, our focus will shift inland to do a roadside cleanup along Indian River Road. We'll still meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road at 9 am. Please pre-register at https://forms.gle/1MPA7wuTw6R1ajSc6 to speed up registration and improve social distancing at the start of the cleanup.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

September Newsletter and Events

Greetings!  We hope everyone had a safe and healthy summer.  This fall the Friends of Indian River are going to get back in gear with various volunteer events and, at least initially, virtual monthly meetings.  We can also report progress on various cooperative efforts with the City.

In this month's issue, we have:
  • Upcoming Events
    • Virtual Monthly Meeting - Planning Community Gardens - Thurs., 9/17
    • International Coastal Cleanup @ Indian River - Oaklette Bridge - Sat., 9/19
    • Indian River Canoe/Kayak Cleanup - Sat. 9/26
    • October preview
  • Voting Guide
  • Other News
    • Indian River Park Small Area Plan Update
    • Blue Heron Landing Park Update
    • Plymouth Park Picnic Shelter
    • Indian River Park Trail Planning
    • Census 2020
    • Contests sponsored by Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council


Grace Farms 17 - community garden
Monthly Meeting - Planning Community Gardens

Date: Thursday, September 17, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Chris Epes, Norfolk Extension Agent will talk to our group about the ins and outs of creating a community garden.

We'll also go over some organization business and the latest community news and updates.  Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL.  https://forms.gle/GxLsPTNFDKPMKwci7



    International Coastal Cleanup @ Indian River Bridge

    Date: Saturday, September 19, 9 am to Noon
    Location: Meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road.  Park along Lilac Avenue by the Norfolk Highlands Primary School.  It is a No Parking zone along Oleander Avenue (parallel to Indian River Road).

    As part of the International Coastal Cleanup, we will be cleaning up around and underneath the Indian River - Oaklette Bridge and at the site of the future Blue Heron Landing Park.  

    The city will provide garbage bags and safety vests. We encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles.  Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

    All participants should follow Covid-19 safety precautions.  If you are sick or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 please stay home and contact your doctor's office for care and proper quarantine procedures.  Masks must be worn properly during the cleanup.  Strive to maintain a minimum physical distance of six feet from others not in your household.  Wear gloves during the cleanup and sanitize your hands before removing your mask and/or touching your face.

    *New* To speed up registration and improve social distancing at the start of the cleanup, please review and complete the online safety release form at least one day before the event.  https://forms.gle/1MPA7wuTw6R1ajSc6



    Indian River Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak

    Date: Saturday, September 26, 2 pm to 5 pm

    This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" event.  If you plan to participate, it is important to let us know so that we can plan appropriately and provide additional information on logistics and where we will gather.  
    If you have a boat but nowhere to put in along the river, contact us to make arrangements on where to put in.    Contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

    All participants should follow Covid-19 safety precautions.  If you are sick or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 please stay home and contact your doctor's office for care and proper quarantine procedures.  Masks must be worn properly during the cleanup when in proximity to others not in your household.  Strive to maintain a minimum physical distance of six feet from others not in your household.  Wear gloves during the cleanup and sanitize your hands before removing your mask and/or touching your face.

    If you are participating with our group, review and complete the online safety release form at least one day before the event.  https://forms.gle/JibBkhsTEenEybfx5




    Upcoming Dates in October
    • Monthly Meeting - Speaker TBA - Thursday, October 15
    • Adopt-A-Park @ Indian River Park - Saturday, October 17
    • Halloween Hike @ Indian River Park - TBA


    Voting Guide

    As we're sure everyone knows, this is a very important election year.  On this year's ballot are the President of the United States, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House seats.  There are also two Virginia Constitutional Amendments, including one to transfer the power to draw congressional and legislative districts to a redistricting commission, rather than the state legislature.

    The deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Tuesday, October 13.  You can check your registration and/or register to vote online at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. You will need a valid Virginia DMV driver's license or state ID card to register online.  Otherwise you can mail in your registration or go to the Chesapeake General Registrar's office.

    Thanks to changes passed this year by the General Assembly, there will be several ways to vote this year.
    • Early In-Person Voting will be available from Friday, September 18 through Saturday, October 31 at
      • General Registrar's Office located at 411 Cedar Road Chesapeake, VA 23322 
      • Satellite locations at one library in each zip code in the city, including Indian River Library, South Norfolk Library, and Greenbrier Library. 
      • Available Monday thru Friday and the last two Saturdays in October, hours to be announced.
      • Election officials will be at the sites to enable voters to cast their ballot.  Voters will not have to have a reason or fill out an application to vote early, but must provide their name and address and show an acceptable form of ID or sign an ID Confirmation Statement.
      • https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Voter-Registrar/absentee/in-person-absentee.htm
    • Vote by Absentee Ballot
      • You can request an absentee ballot online at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/. You will need a valid Virginia DMV driver's license or state ID card to request an absentee ballot online.  Otherwise you can mail in your application or go to the Chesapeake General Registrar's office.  
      • You do not need to give reason to vote absentee in Virginia.
      • Once you receive your absentee ballot, return your ballot to your local registrar by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day; or it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your registrar by noon on the third day after the election.
      • If you request an absentee ballot and decide to vote in person instead, you must hand in the unused, unopened absentee ballot to an election official when you vote in person.  
      • https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Voter-Registrar/absentee.htm
    • Vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 3, 2020 
      • Polls will be open from 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
    Early in-person voting at the city libraries looks to be a great, new convenient and secure option for casting your vote in this important election.  Now is the time to make your plan for how and when to vote!



    Other News

    Blue Heron Landing

    Indian River Small Area Plan - 
    In the spring, the Chesapeake Planning Department hosted an online virtual meeting to gather input on the community's priorities for how to improve our area.  The project's consultants have been reviewing this feedback over the summer to develop and document recommendations for the Indian River Small Area Plan.   The next step will be another public input session, likely to be virtual again, to showcase and gather feedback on these recommendations.  The date has not yet been set but should be happening in the near future.  The Friends are providing suggestions on the format of the session based on similar efforts in Norfolk.

    Blue Heron Landing Canoe/Kayak Launch - Engineering design work for a new park along the river, just east of the Indian River - Oaklette Bridge kicked off in August, along with a slight change in the naming of the future park.  There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are pleased to see the next step get underway.
     
    Plymouth Community Park - 
    This past month Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism installed a new picnic shelter at the park to provide some much needed shade next to the playground.  A big thank you to the City for this!

    Indian River Park Trails - Over the summer, the Friends have been in discussions with Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and representatives from the Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association about Indian River Park.  We believe there is general agreement on the need for a trail management plan for the park with the first step being a detailed survey of the existing trails and features in the park.  There were plans for a public input session earlier this year, but that was derailed by the pandemic; we hope to reschedule this over the winter.

    Census 2020 - It's still not too late to be counted - https://www.census.gov/

    Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council - The CEIC has several contests in progress:
    • Notable Yards Contest is looking for yards that "Look Good and are Good For Nature".  The deadline for nominations is NOW - Tuesday, September 1st.
    • Chesapeake Calendar Photo Contest, looking for photos that highlight the beauty and splendor of parks and scenic area around the City of Chesapeake, is taking entries thru September 18th.
    • Business Beautification Award, which recognizes businesses in Chesapeake that takes pride in the visual impression it leaves on the surrounding neighborhood and shows an awareness of the environment, is accepting nominations until September 30th.
    • Submit all entries via https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/ceic

    Sunday, June 14, 2020

    June Newsletter

    Greetings!  We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.  With our usual meeting venue at Oaklette United Methodist Church still closed, we are cancelling our meeting for June.  We are hopefully to fully get into the swing of things this fall.  Keep a look out for our Summer newsletter for a schedule of events.

    In this month's issue, we have:
    • Cancellations
    • Other News
      • Indian River Park Small Area Plan Update
      • Primary Election on June 23; Absentee Ballot Information
      • Census 2020
      • Indian River Library
      • Webinars


    Cancellations
    • Friends of Indian River Monthly Meeting - June 18
    • Adopt-A-Road Cleanup - June 20


    The City and their consultants are reviewing the public input gathered last month for the Indian River Small Area Plan.    The next step is for them to use this data to draft recommendations and proposals for how to improve the area.  This is the real core of the study.   More public meeting/public input sessions to review these proposals will be set up later this summer.  Stay tuned!




    Primary Election on June 23


    Primary elections will be held on June 23.  For the 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Indian River area in Chesapeake, the ballot will cover the Republican House and Senate primary candidates.  Some local voting sites have been moved.  Learn more at http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/Voter-Registrar.htm

    Due to the COVID-19 risks, everyone is still eligible for absentee voting. You can request an absentee ballot online or by mail. See https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/ for details; the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Tuesday, June 16.



    Census 2020


    If you haven't yet filled out your Census survey, please do it now.  It only takes about 10 minutes online and it's very important that everyone gets counted. This head count determines our representation in Congress, helps to make sure we get a fair share of funding, and provides vital statistics used for all kinds of analysis and planning.  https://2020census.gov/ 





    Indian River Library 

    Thank you to Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council - CEIC Conservation Landscaping Subcommittee for doing this wonderful garden upgrade to at the entrance to the Indian River Library. Our understanding is that there are still some finishing touches, but it is looking great. And to top it off, the plantings are primarily native plants that are suited to the area and support birds and pollinators.  See a video on the installation at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIndianRiver/posts/3161220690609927




    Congratulations to Indian River High School Class of 2020 graduate Jalan Davis, winner of the Friends of Indian River Education Scholarship award. Jalan embodies the spirit of the Friends of Indian River mission, excelling in leadership, citizenship, extracurricular activities and academics. His involvement in Sports, the National Honor Society, the Marching Band, community service activities, and part-time employment are all examples of a commitment to advance personal goals and to serve the community. We are very pleased to have such an exemplary student and citizen as our first ever scholarship recipient and we wish him many successes in his future endeavors. View the presentation of in the virtual 2020 Indian River High School Senior Awards Presentation at the 7:00 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7M7F3JFwqQ



    Here are some webinars and online resources which may be of interest
    - Here is a great opportunity to see a presentation by renown author and ecologist, Dr. Doug Tallamy on Nature's Best Hope - https://youtu.be/H3X6wWCWm0A 
    - Jewels of the Night: Conservation of Fireflies in the U.S. and Canada - http://www.forestrywebinars.net/webinars/jewels-of-the-night-conservation-of-fireflies-in-the-u.s.-and-canada
    - Controlling Mosquitoes & Ticks in Your Yard without Pesticides, Friday, June 19, 10 am -https://mgnv.org/events/  
    - Elizabeth River Project Virtual River School - https://elizabethriverprojec.wixsite.com/kids





    Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/membership.html
      Striving to improve the quality of life for all the residents of the Indian River neighborhoods of Chesapeak