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

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