Saturday, October 1, 2022

October Newsletter and Events


  • Upcoming Events
    • 10/15 - Saturday - History Walk
    • 10/22 - Saturday - Adopt-A-Road Cleannup along Indian River Road
    • 11/12 - Saturday - Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park
    • 11/17 - Thursday - Bi-montly Meeting - Guest Speaker Mayor Rick West
  • Other News
    • City and Congressional Elections
    • October is Riparian Buffer Month
    • Indian River Park Update
    • Volunteer Updates
    • Volunteer Needs
    • Thru 10/22 - Linger A While Exhibit at the Cuffee Library

Upcoming Events

History Walk

Date: Saturday, October 15, 1 pm to 3 pm

Location: Meet on Lilac Avenue by Norfolk Highlands Primary School, 1116 Lilac Avenue

Take a stroll into the history of our community on this walk around Norfolk Highlands and Oaklette.  We'll start at Norfolk Highlands Primary School, the core of which was built in 1913, stop by the future Blue Heron Landing Park to talk about the history of settlement along the Indian River, and then cross the bridge to walk around the Oaklette Historic District including a look at the outside of the famous Colonna's Houseboat.

We'll be walking for about 1.25 miles over 2 hours and it will all be standing.  

Recommended age at least 12 and up.

Please pre-register at

Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road

Saturday, October 22, 9 am to Noon

Location: Meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road.  Park along Lilac Avenue by the Norfolk Highlands Primary School. 

We'll be doing our quarterly cleanup along Indian River Road, around the Indian River Oaklette Bridge, and the future Blue Heron Landing Park.   We'll also have a team doing any necessary gardening around the new landscaping at the bridge.   

For our main cleanup on Indian River Road, the city will provide garbage bags and safety vests.  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.

We are also asking all business owners along Indian River Road - and everywhere really - to make sure they sweep up in front of their storefronts as part of the effort.   And if you can't make it out for our organized cleanup please take 15 minutes and clean up the street and ditches in front of your home; pass the word to your neighbors!

Please pre-register at

Second Saturday Hike @ Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, November 12, 8:30 am

Location: Indian River Park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.)

Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations. Note: the forest trail has uneven surfaces and minor elevation changes.

Please pre-register at

Bi-monthly Meeting: Guest Speaker Mayor Rick West

Date: Thursday, November 17, 7 pm

Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive

Our guest speaker will be Chesapeake Mayor Rick West who will provide the latest news on the state of the City and take questions from the audience.

We'll also have the latest community news/updates and some light refreshments!

Other News

City and Congressional Elections

Early voting is already underway at the Voter Registrar's Office. Voting at satellite locations - local libraries - starts on October 24 and the last day to vote is November 8. The deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration is October 17. More details and sample ballots can be seen at

There are five seats up for election in the City Council, five seats on the School Board plus 1 special election for the School Board, and our Congressional Representative.
Ballotpedia has a summary of all the candidates and links to their website where available. You can find these at,_Virginia_(2022),_Virginia,_elections_(2022),_2022 The Friends of Indian River does not endorse any candidates.

October is Riparian Buffer Month

Riparian buffers, or waterside buffers, protect and improve our river and local streams.  A riparian buffer is an area adjacent to a stream, lake, wetland, or coastal area that contains a combination of trees, shrubs, and/or other plants that provide conservation benefits.  These plantings filter nutrients, pesticides, sediment and animal waste from stormwater runoff; reduce erosion; provide wildlife habitat; increase the beauty of the area; and provide recreational space.  

Along the Indian River, riparian buffers are protected under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, limiting development in the 100' buffer along the river and its tributaries.  Protecting and improving the buffers along our river is critical to improving the health of our waterway, preparing for sea level rise, and protecting property values.  

We know of at least five shoreline restoration and enhancement projects carried out along the Indian River with the help of the Elizabeth River Project and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  If you are interested in improving your shoreline, there are several grant programs in our area that can help.  The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) can provide up to 80% cost reimbursement for various projects - available to residential, commercial, and institutional property owners.   And VCAP applicants "may pair VCAP cost share funding with other grant or non-agricultural cost-share programs to fund a particular project".  The Elizabeth River Project also has a cost share project that can provide up to 50% funding for Conservation Landscaping, Shoreline Restoration, Rain Gardens for River Star Homes.  See and for more info or contact us for some background info.

Indian River Park Update

Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) held a public planning meeting in September to gather input regarding trails, signage, and identifying opportunities for improving visitor experience for the many user groups who dearly love and use the park. About 24 citizens came to the meeting.  PRT had a lot of staff present - 6 staffers including PRT Director Mike Barber and 2 rangers.  Director Barber set some baseline expectation that the City needs to be directly involved in managing the park and users can't just build stuff in the park.  Overall, everyone attending the meeting seemed supportive and constructive.  Some of the key comments we heard: What do folks love about the park?   The mature forest, the location nearby, the multiple use options.  What changes would you like to see?  Better trail maintenance and signage, removal of invasives, some requests for more "wooden features" for bikers, better erosion control, port-a-potties, a water station, and more trash cans.

Volunteer Updates

Thank you to the small but determined group that came out on the Indian River for the #InternationalCoastalCleanup in late September.   Unfortunately, it didn't take us too long to collect about 10 bags - 150 lbs - of trash from along the shoreline.    Mostly plastic bottles, bags, and food packaging.   The biggest item was a huge plastic tarp.  The smallest items - hundreds of pieces of plastic and foam - not that we got all of them.

Volunteers Needs

We need volunteers to help with weeding at the new landscaping at the Oaklette Indian River Bridge and at the native plant garden at Indian River Park.   We also need volunteers to help with removing invasive plants at the Park.  There are also other volunteer opportunities listed on our website at  If you can help out on any of these, please contact us at

Linger a While: The Art of Ken Wright

From 9/9 through 10/22, the Cuffee Outreach and Innovation Library at 2726 Border Rd, will have an exhibition by a nationally acclaimed artist whose work hung in the White House under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  Learn more at

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