Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 Year in Review

When we held our annual meeting in January of 2020, we could not imagine the level of disruption that the year would bring.   Everyone's plans for the year were upset by the coronavirus.  Many, if not most, organized activities and meetings were cancelled to protect the health and safety of participants.  But as we approach the end of this long year, we are thankful for what was achieved despite the challenges.   

For the Friends of Indian River and our community, here are some of the highlights of the year:

  • We did have some organized volunteer events early in 2020 and in the late summer.  And many volunteers continued to work on individual efforts or ones organized online.  All in all, at least 25 volunteers completed over 500 hours of effort to make our community better.
  • One key focus for the year was keeping the Indian River Small Area Plan study moving.  Working with the Chesapeake Planning Department, we helped to kick off this effort in late 2019 and participated in stakeholder meetings at the start of 2020.  Planned in-person public meetings were ultimately replaced with online sessions that allowed progress to continue with a draft Plan  expected in early 2021
  • Our group continued volunteer and planning efforts associated with Indian River Park, Plymouth Park, the planned Blue Heron Landing Park on the Indian River, as well as beautification efforts along Indian River Road and the Oaklette Bridge.  We also held several cleanups along the roadway, around the bridge, and on the river
  • Working with Indian River High School, the Friends awarded its first ever scholarship to a senior graduating from the school interested in pursuing studies in environmental and scientific fields.
  • Participated in the Chesapeake Conservation Conference early in the year
  • Held our annual Great Backyard Bird Count walk
  • Continued with an abbreviated, online, speaker series for our monthly meetings.
As we look forward to something approaching normalcy as 2021, we hope to ramp up our activity as the year progresses.  Key focus areas will include:
  • working with the City to complete development of the Indian River Small Area Plan
  • participate in updates to the City Comprehensive Plan when that effort begins
  • working with Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to improve our local parks
  • restarting our organized cleanup and beautification events
  • continuing with our monthly speaker series
We will be holding our Annual Meeting online on Thursday, January 21 at 7 pm to discuss plans for 2021.   Please register for the meeting at https://forms.gle/e7LPruYuh3BBWYGW8

The Friends of Indian River is an all-volunteer, local 501(c)(3) non-profit.  You can support our efforts by becoming a member, renewing your membership, or just making a contribution online at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/membership.html

Year in Review

Indian River Small Area Plan

In late 2019, the Friends worked with the City's Planning Department to kick off the Indian River Small Area Plan study by giving a tour of our area to the City staff and the consultants hired for the project, showing them the good, the bad, and the ugly within the neighborhood.  Ground zero, in our opinion, included the declining business areas along Indian River Road.  We also provided detailed documentation on the area and key points of concern.  The City followed up with stakeholder meetings in the first couple of months of the year.  

Then the coronavirus hit and plans for a public meeting in March/April were derailed.  In May, when it became clear that the meeting restrictions could not be eased any time soon, the City organized virtual sessions to collect community input on concerns and priorities.   This information was used to develop proposed improvements which were presented in another virtual Public Meeting in November.  A recording of that meeting can be found on the city website

The Board of the Friends of Indian felt that the planning team did an excellent job listening to the concerns of the community.  The recommendations presented, if properly implemented, can improve the quality of life of our community and strengthen the vitality of the City of Chesapeake.  The Board provided 4 pages of detailed comments to the City on the proposal.   The expectation is to see the final recommendations in early 2021.  Then the plan will be presented to the City Council and there will be additional opportunities for public comment.

Indian River Park


There had been plans for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) to host a public meeting in March to gather input on future improvements to Indian River Park.  The park, with its 80 acres of forest and trails, is being squeezed by development, at risk from unsustainable practices, and threatened by the spread of invasive plants.  But, this public meeting was also indefinitely postponed.  In the interim, the Friends have been working with PRT and representatives of the Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association (EVMA) to continue preliminary work on building a park plan.  This has included a couple of walking tours of the park, an inventory of the all "features" in the park, and work on a detailed map of the park.  Next steps would include developing a map of the "official" trails and work to remediate issues in the park.  Ultimately, public meetings will be scheduled to discuss these plans.

In the meantime, volunteers have continued maintenance of the trails and the park entrance gardens.  In January, 9 volunteers, including several Tidewater Master Naturalists, came out to the park to work on removing destructive invasive plants, which include English Ivy, Chinese Privet, Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, Linden Viburnum, and (visible in the summer) Japanese Stilt Grass.  The volunteers cleared an area of about 2000 sq. ft. just off the main trail of English Ivy.  Through the year, smaller efforts targeted the other invasive plants listed above.

Our dedicated gardeners worked to maintain the entrance garden, weeding and mulching.  We had a setback in the early spring when PRT crews inadvertently weed-whacked part of the garden just emerging from its winter slumber.  Most of the perennials recovered after this early cutting, except for some of the Yarrow.   Still we had magnificent blooms from spring through the fall.  In October, we held an Adopt-A-Park event and a crew of 10 volunteers weeded and mulched the garden for the winter. Soon after our lead gardener planted some new plants to add to what is there.

Plymouth Park

We kept up routine inspection at Plymouth Park.  We had some plans for planting more trees at the site, but again those were derailed by the coronavirus shutdowns.  However, PRT did install a new picnic shelter at the park over the summer.

Blue Heron Landing Park (future)

After a minor change of the proposed name for this future park along the Indian River, to be located just east of Oaklette Bridge, PRT was working on formal engineering designs for the reconstruction of the park.  The final plans have not been shared as of this writing, but the word is that the overall plans are similar to the original conceptual design.   Hopes are that the plans will be approved in 2021 and we'll see construction start soon thereafter.

Indian River Gateway

Back in 2014, the Friends worked with the City plant plum trees and golden rain trees along Indian River Road.  We also planted Bald Cypress trees in the median of Indian River Road.    Unfortunately, we have lost several of the plum trees along the road to cars speeding along Indian River Road, losing control and jumping the curve.   In September we reached out to the City's Landscape Coordinator and the Traffic Department to talk about replanting the lost trees and adding better signage to mitigate the hazard of the curve on the east side of the bridge.  Ultimately, we'd like to see traffic calming along the roadway to reduce the speeding along the road, especially in Oaklette; we also addressed this issue in the Indian River Small Area Plan.   

The City Landscape Coordinator helped to create a comprehensive proposal to do planting in the public right of way on the south side of the roadway; including berms and traffic signage.  This planting would also use native trees and shrubs to provide wildlife value.  During 2021, the Friends will work to find funding to turn the concept into reality.


Cleanups and Beautification

During this year, we've been encouraging individual efforts to help with litter reduction.   Ultimately we need to cut the littering by individuals, especially of single use plastics, to solve this problem.  

We held two organized cleanups in September for the Great American and International Coastal Cleanups.  Volunteers collected about 400 lbs. of trash around the bridge and the future Blue Heron Landing Park.  And a week later, volunteers went out by canoe and kayak to clean up along the shoreline, removing about another 100 lbs. of debris.   We know several of these volunteers have been back out since then to collect more litter and many other citizens do the same.   We thank everyone for doing their part.

Our Business Outreach Committee continued efforts to beautify Indian River Road, our "Main Street" with upkeep of planters at key locations.  The Committee kept in contact with the Chesapeake Economic Development Department on efforts related to the Indian River Shopping Center, getting updates on the owner's on-going efforts to make fa├žade improvements, hook up with the new city water lines being installed in the area, and ultimately find new tenants for the center. 

The Friends also sponsored its second annual "Main Street" Indian River Holiday Decoration Contest.  Winners were selected based on overall appearance, festiveness, and appropriateness for the site.  Top awards this year went to Affordable Transmission, Botanica Spiritual House, and Fast Food Mart.  Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated.

Nature Hikes

Our usual series of nature hikes at Indian River Park was curtailed by coronavirus safety concerns.  But we did get in our annual Great Backyard Bird Count at Indian River "Woodland" Lake between the Indian River Middle and High Schools.  The group identified 27 bird species plus an unidentified raptor (perhaps an immature eagle). 

Indian River High School Scholarship

A new program we started in 2020 was the Friends of Indian River Education Scholarship Award.  The Scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who embodies the spirit of the Friends of Indian River mission and excels in leadership, citizenship, extracurricular activities and academics.  Our first award of this scholarship went to Jalan Davis, whose 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. 

Graduates in the class of 2021 will be able to apply for this scholarship in the coming months.

Civic Engagement

We cancelled most of our meetings in the first half of the year, but in the fall we started to hold our meetings online via zoom.  This brought us several interesting guest speakers including:
  • Chris Epes, Norfolk Extension Agent, discussing ins and outs of creating a community garden
  • Arthur Fichter, Solar Services, Inc. speaking on installing solar for residential use
  • Chesapeake City Council Member Don Carey 
In early March, the Friends of Indian River was a sponsor and participant in the City's first ever Chesapeake Conservation Conference, hosted by the Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council (CEIC).  The Conference brought together environmental groups and concerned citizens from across the area to discuss the status of environmental initiatives in Chesapeake.  Our Vice President, Carol Warren, sat on the Home and Garden Panel to discuss activities that groups and individuals can take to improve environmental stewardship in residential areas.  Learn more about the conference at https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/Boards-Commissions/full-listing/ceic/Chesapeake-Conservation-Conference.htm

The Friends also worked with the CEIC to compile a list of 50 Ways to Help Our Planet for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day - http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/2020/04/

Awards and Recognitions

Several members of our community were recognized at the CEIC's 38th Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon held in early March, in conjunction with the aforementioned Conservation Conference.
  • Jayne Whitney, founding member and past President of the Friends of Indian River, received one of the events top honors, the Chesapeake Outstanding Citizen Award
  • Sharon Komenda received a Certificate of Appreciation for the work being done by the Rokeby Garden Club on education, outreach, and beautification at the Rokeby Center.
  • Wicker's Crab Pot Seafood won the Business and Industry Award for their support environmental education in partnership with the Elizabeth River Project 
Active Supporting Members and Volunteers 2020

Joe Alvarez V
Jill Arnone M
Gary Ball V
Diane Burke MV*
Joe Burke M
Margie Carraway M
Vickie Easley V
Sonny Ertsgaard V
Alice Ertsgaard V
Lynn Gilbert MV*
Becky Greenwald V
Gilbert Griffin M
David and Lynn Greenfield M   

Helene Haluska MV*
Jim Haluska M
Jim Hartle MV*
Sara Howard V
Jean and Ron Hyson M
Walter Jacques V
Jill Jaminson V
Matt Kanz V
Lisa and Tom Kennedy M
Sharon Komenda MV*
Mella Leibrand M
Chris and Ed MatthewM
Barbara McCane V*
Keith and Debbie Moore M  

Vic Nichols M
Melanie Potter M
Jennifer Raymond MV
Mary Reno M
Rogard Ross MV*
Elaine Simpson V
Carol Warren MV*
Amy Weber MV*
Alex Whitney V
Chris Whitney MV*
Jayne Whitney MV*
Shaun Wynn-Bouder V
Alana and George YacusM



M – Supporting Member       V – Volunteer     
* - Completed more than 100 lifetime volunteer hours with FIR



Friday, December 11, 2020

Season's Greetings

The Board of the Friends of Indian River wishes you and your family a safe and Happy Holidays. During this season of giving, we remind you that the Oaklette United Methodist Church food pantry is accepting donation; see below for details.

The Friends will not hold our usual year-end holiday party this December. Keep an eye out for our Year End Report and invitation to our January virtual Annual Meeting. We are hoping for a happy and productive 2021!


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Food bank at the Oaklette United Methodist Church

We usually collect for the Oaklette United Methodist Church community food pantry at the Friends' November and December meetings.   The Friends' have suspended in person meetings, but the church's food pantry is a always in need of the following donations:

  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Canned tuna /salmon, or canned meats
  • Spaghetti sauce and pasta
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Dried or canned beans 
  • Bags of rice or boxed mixes

ALL items must be Non- perishable.  You may drop off items at the church at Indian River and St. Lawrence Dr. between 9 am and 3 pm Tuesday - Thursdays. Please call the church office when you arrive at (757) 545-7434 and they will meet you at the office door to take your donations.

For more information on their food pantry and how to participate, please visit http://www.oakletteumc.org/mission__outreach0.aspx


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

November Newsletter and Events

 In this month's issue, we have:

  • Upcoming Events
    • Indian River Small Area Plan Public Meeting, Mon 11/16
    • Virtual Monthly Meeting - Guest speaker, Council Member Don Carey - Thurs, 11/19
  • Other News
    • Indian River Park Adopt-A-Park
    • Chesapeake Master Gardener Training
    • Litter Prevention




Indian River Small Area Plan Public Meeting

Date: Monday, November 16, 6 pm
Locat
ion: Online, Register now at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYud-mppzouGt34FXdmPqnQFIhQaYixlMz-

The City will hold an online meeting on Monday, 11/16, at 6 pm, to review the recommendations from the Indian River Small Area Plan and collect feedback.  Register for the online meeting at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYud-mppzouGt34FXdmPqnQFIhQaYixlMz-

The City invites you to learn about the Indian River Planning Area Study process and share ideas about strategies and recommendations developed by the study team based on public input. The City is conducting its second Virtual Community Meeting (in-lieu of an in-person meeting) for the  Study on Monday, November 16th from 6-7:15pm. This meeting will include a brief presentation of the process and provide plan recommendations for discussion and feedback.



Monthly Meeting - City Council Member Don Carey
Date: Thursday, November 19, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Our guest speaker is City Council Member Don Carey.  Mr. Carey, former NFL player, philanthropist, and author, was elected to the City Council this summer.  

We'll have updates on the Indian River Small Area Plan and have other community news.  

Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL.  https://forms.gle/MJ5J2tsZmYrF5E1R8





Other News

Thank you to the 11 volunteers who came out to the 
Adopt-A-Park @ Indian River Park in October.  The dedicated team cleared 10 bags full of weeds, mulched, did some pruning, and other tasks.   We even spotted 2 to 3 bald eagles (one may have been a repeat) fly overhead during the morning.

The Chesapeake Master Gardeners are holding an orientation session for the next training class, which starts in January.  Learn more about becoming a Chesapeake Master Gardner at https://www.cmgv.org/.  And please let us know if you sign up! 

We're not holding our usual Adopt-A-Road cleanup this month.  But we encourage you as individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.   And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/

Saturday, October 3, 2020

October Newsletter and Events

 In this month's issue, we have:

  • Upcoming Events
    • Virtual Monthly Meeting - Solar for Home - Thurs, 10/15
    • Adopt-A-Park @ Indian River Park - Sat, 10/17
  • Voting Guide
  • Other News
    • Chesapeake Bay Foundation VoiCeS class
    • Chesapeake Master Gardeners Online Plant Sale
    • Conservation Landscaping Funding
    • Indian River Park Trail Planning
    • Great American and International Coastal Cleanups


Monthly Meeting - Solar for Home
Date: Thursday, October 15, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Arthur Fichter from Solar Services, Inc. will speak to us about installing solar for residential use.

We'll also go over the latest community news and updates.  Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL.  https://forms.gle/p1kU55WFmtArzuTe9






Adopt-A-Park @ Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, October 17, 9 am to Noon
Locat
ion: Meet at the Indian River Park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

We'll be tending to the native plant garden at the park entrance.  We may also do some trail work, pruning, weeding, and cleanup.

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. If you can, bring shovels, rakes, pruners, saws and other gardening tools.  We will have water and lots of snacks. We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles.  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/G8rhJ8F5NzNH8xGCA



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.  
      • Available Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and the last two Saturdays in October, the 24th and 31st, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • 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, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., and the last two Saturdays in October, the 24th and 31st, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • 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

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation VoiCeS class is going virtual this year, starting Tuesday, October 6.  Now it is easier than ever to take this wonderful program without having to travel.  Several members of the Friends of Indian River have graduated from this 6 week program and we highly recommend it.  Meetings will be Tuesday evenings via Zoom; you'll learn a wealth of knowledge about the Bay's ecosystem, the environmental challenges it faces, and steps you can take to make it better.  Learn more and register at https://www.cbf.org/events/voices.html

The Chesapeake Master Gardeners are holding their online Plant Sale thru October 11.  See the plant list and make your orders at https://www.cmgv.org/programsevents/spring-plant-sale

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $4000), buffers (up to $1500), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at https://elizabethriver.org/river-star-homes


 
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.

Thank you to the volunteers who came out for a pair of cleanups in September for the Great American and International Coastal Cleanups.  On the 19th, we collected about 400 lobs of trash around the bridge and the future Blue Heron Landing Park.  On the 26th, volunteers went out by canoe and kayak to clean up along the shoreline.  





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