Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League

February 2005

             Guest Speaker, Merv Pitchford, Vice President of Community Services Branch of the YMCA, At This Month's Meeting

CIVIC LEAGUE MEETING, Monday, February 14, 2005, 7:00 pm, Stuart Center, 411 Virginia Avenue. Use cafeteria entrance at school parking lot.

NEXT BOARD MEETING will be Monday, February 21, 2005, at 7:00 pm.

DEADLINE for the March issue is Tuesday, February 22, 2005.

THIS MONTH'S MEETING AGENDA:   Monthly police report - Code enforcement update - Merv Pitchford, Vice President of Community Services Branch of the YMCA, will speak.

President’s Notes
Andy Wallach

As we experience the coldest part of winter, I look forward to spring. While some of my daffodils were fooled…having bloomed and then frozen…I know that we have several more months before the true beauty of spring in Colonial Place and Riverview. Our Civic League has two committees that assist nature and our residents in maintaining our neighborhoods. Audrey Webb is looking for members to assist her on the Beautification Committee. It coordinates neighborhood clean-up activities and provides horticultural information to the residents. The committee also serves as liaison with city agencies concerning the appearance and improvement of public spaces in Colonial Place and Riverview.

Amy Fant heads the Community Improvement Committee. Her committee makes recommendations to the CPRV Board for the improvement of the program, and receives complaints regarding the visual and physical condition of privately owned properties. The committee works with the City on the upkeep of streets, sidewalks, street lights, and public signs.

Currently the Occupancy Permit (OP) program only applies to rentals in ten Norfolk neighborhoods. Prior to a new tenant moving into a dwelling, the dwelling needs to be inspected by the City to ensure that the rental meets code. The City inspector for Colonial Place/Riverview is Russell Masten (664-6527). Besides the OP program, he enforces the maintenance provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC). Some common exterior violations that he looks for are flaking and peeling paint, loose and missing roof shingles, missing or deteriorated siding, sheds or fences in disrepair, gutters rusted or hanging loose, vacant/open buildings, and street numbers not displayed. He works in the Division of Neighborhood Preservation, which enforces applicable building regulations aimed at the protection of public health, safety and welfare. The Division’s primary goal is to eliminate substandard housing, blighting conditions and environmental stresses.

Sharon McDonald, Norfolk’s Commissioner of the Revenue (and a resident of Colonial Place), mentioned at our January meeting, her annual “Sales & Revenue Report for FY04”. This report gives some indication of the health of our economic districts. Riverview Village overall sales have increased at an average annual rate of 8 percent over the past 3 years with the retail sales component increasing at a rate of 11 percent. For the one-year period FY2003 to FY2004 increases were 10.8 percent overall with retail jumping 23 percent. Colley North has not grown as fast. Overall average rate of growth for the past 3 years is 5.5 percent with the retail component growing at a yearly average of 3.3 percent. From FY2003 to FY2004, overall sales actually declined 8 percent with retail declining 6 percent. For comparison, Norfolk’s overall sales have increased an average of 5.8 percent per year over the past 3 years with the retail component increasing at a rate of 5.4 percent.

Our new Membership Chair Bob Baxter is working diligently to update our membership rolls and to get out new membership cards. Please be patient.

As of January 31 there is still a cat-killing dog at large in Riverview. It has been described as a pit bull-chow mix, and though it has lost its companion in crime (the shepherd mix was trapped the last week of January) there is no reason to think that it isn’t still a threat.

At least one cat was attacked on its own porch – an area where we expect them to be safe, and which those who passed the city ordinance proscribing cats roaming freely surely did not have in mind. The issue is not whether cat owners are doing enough to protect their pets, but that there is a dog at large that needs catching pronto. Please call 911 if you see the pit-chow mix, and let the NPD and Animal Control handle the matter.

PACE (Police Assisted Community Enforcement) reports that since December 1, 2004 there were more than 70 thefts from autos in Colonial Place, and 6 in Riverview. In fully half of the cases the doors had been left unlocked (?!!!). In addition to taking the obvious precautions of locking our car doors and not leaving valuables in plain sight, Officer Hicks has suggested that we enlist the help of our teenagers. Young people are the primary market for the items usually stolen (stereo equipment for the most part), and so are uniquely positioned to hear rumors of such equipment being sold by individuals in large quantities and/or at a low price – often signs that the equipment is being fenced. PACE Officers Hicks and Routon can be reached at and, or at 664-7316 and 664-7000. If you suspect someone is casing an automobile, call the non-emergency police number (441-5610). Please call 911 if you see them try the door handle.

Last month a case of sexual battery against an adult female was reported in CPRV, occurring around 2:00am on the first of January. The assailant made off with the victim’s jacket. The police think it was an isolated incident that probably involved alcohol. However, Officer Hicks advises that after dark women walk with a companion. I think we are all troubled by the implication that a specific portion of our community needs to take extra steps in order to be as safe as the rest, so please let’s all work harder to pay attention to the pedestrians on our streets and to report (non-emergency 441-5610) any that are behaving suspiciously.

February Guest Speaker: Meet Merv!
Steve Earnhart

Our February civic league meeting (Monday, 2/14/05, 7 p.m.) will feature a presentation by Mr. Merv Pitchford, Vice President of the Community Services Branch of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. Merv will talk about the many programs that the YMCA’s Community Services Branch offers to under-served, at-risk children and families throughout Hampton Roads. In addition to discussing the many programs that are offered to the community at no cost to build strong kids, families and communities, Merv will be introducing a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Community Services Branch: an evening of “Jazz on Granby” featuring David “Fathead” Newman and Frank D’Rone on Friday, March 4th (8 p.m., Roper Center on Granby Street). If you would like to buy tickets for this unique fundraiser, please contact me ( or Martha Stewart ( See you on St. Valentine’s Day

Help a CHILD Give Blood!

Blood Drive: March 13, 2005 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
In honor of Sarah Shepard
Larchmont United Methodist Church
1101 Jamestown Crescent

Sarah is a 3 1/2 year old resident of CP who is currently undergoing chemotherapy at CHKD for Neuroblastoma. She requires several blood transfusions per week. It would be a very kind and generous act if her CPRV neighbors turned out in droves to help boost the blood supply that is critically low. It only costs an hour of your time and Sarah would appreciate it. For questions contact Larchmont United Methodist Church at 489-8168. Childcare can be arranged. To find out more on Sarah’s progress logon to and then (archived under e-LIGHT) Sarah’s Progress.

Let’s Take pride in the Neighborhood

You can help “Take a Bite Out of Crime”® in your neighborhood. How? Try picking up that empty can lying in the street. According to national studies, communities that look uncared-for are more likely to experience crime. Just as a house with one broken window is likely to have others broken out, a neighborhood with litter, dilapidated buildings, waste dumping and other eyesores can attract more serious crimes. An unclean area can indicate that no one is taking care of a neighborhood, or worse, that no one cares. Crimes are more likely to occur in neighborhoods where the residents do not take ownership of their community.

From the Norfolk.Gov web page

Recycle Used Ink Cartridges
Audrey Webb

 The Office Depot store at 5957 E. Va. Beach Blvd, Norfolk will give a free ream of Office Depot Premium paper (20lb.W.) when we bring in our used ink or toner cartridge for recycling. They will also provide a $2.50 discount on the next cartridge.

New Addition at Zoo

Your Virginia Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of its newest family member, Mramba – a 17-month old male African lion. Mramba, Swahili for “Golden”, comes to the Virginia Zoo from the Indianapolis Zoo as an approved recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a long term breeding and conservation plan designed to assist the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums across North America

Arts Within Reach Program
Ethel Pollock

Sam Dorsey, our Colonial Place neighbor, will present a guitar concert at Knox Presbyterian Church, 37th Street & Colonial Ave., on Saturday, April 9, at 2:00 pm. The concert will include both classical and contemporary works. Those of you who are familiar with the Arts Within Reach Program know that there is no charge for these concerts (sometimes there is a contribution basket in the back), they last about 45 minutes or an hour, and the whole family is welcome. When Sam does these concerts, he is quite informal, will talk about his guitars, or answer any questions. We are fortunate to have him. Mark your calendar now, April 9, 2:00 pm.

Past and Future Civic League Meetings
Steve Earnhart

 As you recall, our CPRV Holiday party was a fun social event as well as a time to give to others and remember those who are serving in the Armed Forces. I received this note from the U.S. Navy helicopter unit to whom we sent our thoughts to mark the holidays.

From the Redwolves of HCS-4: We are still working to ensure the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is honor to serve and we really appreciate the well wishes of all the good folks in CPRV. May the New Year bring us closer to the promise of Peace and Freedom for all mankind.

Looking to the months ahead, here is our tentative schedule:

Rev. Becky Kiser and I are looking for volunteers for our “Bike Safe” night in May. If you would like to help us educate our community on bicycle safety, please email me. I am always interested in speakers/themes you would like to see at future civic league meeting (email me at

Free Introduction To Tai Chi
Cindy Smith

Bending Tree Tai Chi opens their classes to students interested in finding out about this Chinese moving meditation exercise the week of Feb. 18-25. To find out where and when a free class is available, call 318-9355 or

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              Norfolk, VA 23508

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