Wards Corner criminal activity Tuesday night

January 31, 2008

I received the following email from Lieutenant Hungerford, Norfolk Police Department, as a response to an inquiry from Laura Thom, Jim English and myself on the criminal activity and police presence in the Greater Wards Corner area on Tuesday night , January 29th, 2008. As always, we in the Greater Wards Corner Partnership appreciate the great service of the men and women in our Police Department.

 Louis/Jim/Laura –

Yes there was a robbery at the Shell on the evening of the 29th. A lone B/M suspect went into the station, displayed a gun and took money fomr the cash register. We had several units right in the area, but the guy disappeared into the woodwork. He ran over behind RC’s so he probably lives in one of those apartments.
Also, with regard to the event that also occurred on the 29th at about the same time over by Norfolk Collegiate – An officer, over off of Lafayette Blvd., attemtped to stop a car for a traffic violation, and he fled. Our guys backed off, but put it out on radio. Another unit saw the vehicle on Granby and by the time he turned around the bad guys stopped the car and ran off, with the exception of the woman and a child. She was being detained (which she was being vocal about). Drugs were found in the car. K-9 was attempting to get a track. The area was cordoned off at the time due to the tracking effort. Sorry for the inconvenience,but we were working to make the arrest. Unfortunately we did not get the guys, but V& N (Vice and Narcotics) is following up since the car was not stolen, and the woman can ID the suspects. The car was impounded.

Message from RJ Luce

January 30, 2008

Below is a listing of the meetings for Norfolk City Council for 2008. I will be attending the February 5th meeting at 7:00 pm. All who would like to attend please email me back so that we can coordinate. I am planning on attending every evening meeting that I can to tell the council that we want their support, loud and often.


RJ Luce


Meeting Schedule

  • First Tuesday: 7:00 p.m. Business meeting, formal docket. Public can address Council on new business provided they have followed the sign-up policy.
  • Second Tuesday: 2:30 p.m. Business meeting, formal docket. Public can address Council on new business provided they have followed the sign-up policy.
  • Third Tuesday: 2:30 p.m. Business meeting, formal docket. Public can address Council on new business provided they have followed the sign-up policy.
  • Fourth Tuesday: 7:00 p.m. Business meeting, formal docket. To the extent possible, public hearings and planning-related items will be scheduled during these sessions.

The full meeting schedule and canceled meetings can be found here.

Guidelines for speakers can be found here.

Letter regarding Dalis/Martone property

January 30, 2008

The following is a letter sent to Larry Hecht at Harvey Lindsay by the Book Exchange owner, John Knight.

Dear Mr. Hecht,

Over the last few years, I have had several conversations with you regarding the constant deterioration of Midtown Shopping Center.  Unfortunately, my calls seem to have made little difference. I am writing this email to update you on the current situation and to include others in this dialogue in hopes that we will see some improvements.

I encourage you to look at the website wardscornernow.com.  Specifically, I would like for you and Ms. Dalis to read some comments by frustrated business owners and citizens:


The discontent regarding the Dalis/Martone property is rising quickly.  As you know, Foot Locker just closed it’s doors and word has it that several more businesses are planning to leave soon. In addition, there are now many broken windows in the back of the building which, according to your property manager, Ms. Dalis believes are the problem of the railroad and not her problem. We are also experiencing a large increase in rodents on the property.

Last night, we had a second special meeting of the Wards Corner Partnership which was attended by over 100 concerned citizens. As usual, Midtown Shopping Center was pointed out as being the biggest problem in the business district. As I’m sure you know, this building, it’s lack of occupants and state of disrepair are increasingly reflecting badly on Harvey Lindsay, you and Ms. Dalis. I imagine that you and Harvey Lindsay have little control over what is happening but I want you to be aware of the impression. I also encourage the three of you to attend meetings of the Wards Corner Partnership, Wards Corner Partnership and/or Wards Corner Business Association so your voice can be heard and any misunderstandings can be cleared up.

Lastly, a week ago, I was told by a business owner that the following conversation took place between you and him regarding renting the old Regino’s place. The gentleman’s family has owned a successful restaurant in Norfolk for over 60 years and they would like to relocate to an area with more parking. He approached me about the space. I told him it was a good location and he should contact you about leasing it. The gentleman called me back 15 minutes later and was infuriated with your response. Apparently, you told him that the
owner is only accepting proposals from national chains. He then told you that Regino’s is not a national chain and neither are many of the other business that are left. I am extremely puzzled by this hocus pocus as another potential tenant was told that Ms. Dalis is not giving leases longer than 6 months. As we both know, national chains do no sign such short leases and neither would any business in it’s right mind.

As citizens of this community, I think you and Ms. Dalis owe it to the citizens and business owners of Wards Corner to be honest with us. If you are not interested in leasing any of the vacant units, take down your signs and let us know what your plans are. Over the past several years, millions of potential tax revenue has been lost by the city, business owners have been financially hurt, customers feel uncomfortable and Wards Corner has become more dangerous because of this situation.

We sincerely want to work with you and Ms. Dalis to solve our problems and we await your response.

John Knight
Owner- Book Exchange
Secretary- Greater Wards Corner Business Association

Your P.A.C.E. Officer’s crime prevention tips

January 30, 2008

I received the following email from our red sector P.A.C.E Officer, Curtis Jackson:

Good Afternoon,
We’re trying to get these crime prevention tips out to everyone and if you can help us out, we would appreciate it.
We have seen a problem with people leaving their valuables in their vehicles, and the bad guys are breaking into their vehicle and taking them. We came up with the idea of this brochure, PACE Officer Crime Prevention Tips , to help educate the public to help prevent them from being a victim.
Thank you
Officer Curtis Jackson
3rd Patrol Div. Red Sector P.A.C.E.

Requested information

January 30, 2008

Below is the information that was projected on the screen at last nights meeting. There was a request to post this so that everyone would have the representatives contact information.

Tonight’s Goals

1. Denby Park

a. Economic Development – Partnership with property owners.

b. Widening of Fort Worth Avenue

2. Wards Corner Business District City Owned


3. Titustown

a. Alexis Apartments

4. Police Department

Ward One: Don Williams, donwilliams1@cox.net, 636-4710 M

Ward Two: Theresa Whibley, drwhibley@msn.com, 714-3151 M

Super Ward 6: Barclay Winn, barclay@winnnursery.com, 494-1400 O

Super Ward 7: Daun Hester, daun.hester@norfolk.gov

WC Partnership meeting recap

January 29, 2008

The second meeting of the reinvigorated Wards Corner Partnership was held tonight at the Workforce Development Center. Across the front of the meeting room sat 10 current civic league presidents who together proposed an action plan to put more pressure on our elected officials to ebb the downfall of Wards Corner.

The action plan included:

  • Moving forward with the Comprehensive plan, especially redevelopment in Denby Park
  • Purchase of the Alexis Apartments
  • Wards Corner infrastructure improvements

The conversation tonight highlighted, once again, the lack of a champion for the Wards Corner Partnership area on City Council. A plan to let our concerns known was debated and letters to the editor, letters to the councilpersons, and this website were determined to be excellent tools to let the councilpersons and our fellow citizens know that we are fed up with the lack of attention to the blight in Wards Corner.

The Partnership members at tonights meeting are energized and intend to work until Wards Corner is no longer placed “on the back-burner”. Wards Corner Now.

To have your letters and articles posted on this website, email them to wardscornernow@wardscornernow.com

Old Trolley Route

January 29, 2008

The following is an editorial written by Tim Smith and printed in the Virginian-Pilot this past weekend titled “Old trolley route”:

Now that everything is a go with light rail in Norfolk and The Tide is moving forward, Norfolk must begin to move on the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan. Looking at aerial images of Norfolk, extending light rail from the Saint Paul’s area of the city to the beaches of Ocean View via Fenchurch, Church and Granby streets seems to makes perfect sense.

This route uses old trolley rights-of-way laid down decades ago but, for the most part, still maintained as public land. It cuts through the center of Norfolk and would serve more residents than a Hampton Boulevard route.

This route ties together five retail areas (Ocean View, Wards Corner, Riverview, 21st Street and Downtown). It also ties together the Virginia Zoo, Lafayette Park and Ocean View Beach Park. And it would provide access to DePaul Medical Center.

In addition, this route links Naval Station Norfolk to a large number of condo units. Tying light rail to the Peninsula would also be easy from the Wards Corner area.

For this extension of light rail to work efficiently and cost effectively, the revitalization of Wards Corner must begin now. That way, the infrastructure will be in place to just continue on with the light rail system when the downtown line is completed.

For light rail to truly work in Norfolk, The Tide must benefit those in the core neighborhoods as well as downtown.

Timothy P. Smith


Depaul Hospital update

January 28, 2008

 I received from Delceno Miles the following update on Depaul Hospital:

Bon Secours Hampton Roads remains committed to our quest of creating a new health model in Hampton Roads.  This bold new vision emphasizes primary care, prevention, the establishment of medical homes, outpatient care, and the development of easily accessible, acute care services in health care town center settings.     

We are very pleased to announce that the second round of COPN applications was filed with the Virginia Department of Health on December 31, 2007.   The purpose in submitting these applications is to ensure that we continue our momentum in gaining approval as the filing cycle started in early December 2007; we do not anticipate learning of the health commissioner’s decision until late March 2008.  

The applications are consistent with the letter of support received by the City of Norfolk.  The table below illustrates the details of the DePaul application:

Bon Secours

DePaul Medical Center


·         64 total

·         54 med/surg

·         10 OB 

Total OR’s

6 Operating Rooms

Key Services

Advanced Imaging

Radiation Therapy


Emergency Department


A key element of our bold new vision is the development of medical homes for our community’s underinsured and uninsured.  In addition to the submission of the COPNs, we are continuing our work with the perpetuation of the medical homes at Bon Secours Maryview with the Maryview Foundation Healthcare Center, and with the collaboration with Park Place Medical Center in Norfolk. 

In today’s Pilot Online, there is an article on Bon Secours Partnership with Park Place Medical.  Also we have   submitted our resounding results in our current COPN applications from the Maryview Foundation Healthcare Center. This document helps illustrate that their chronic disease patients are more likely to have access to much needed medications and by contrast, are less likely to use the emergency department and have a 15.9% reduction in hospital readmissions. 


Urgent! Meeting for all the residents and businesses in the Greater Wards Corner Area this Tuesday night

January 26, 2008

At the meeting on January 15th , over 100 concerned residents and businesses of the Greater Wards Corner area came together to discuss the City’s plans for, and apparent discrimination against, the Greater Wards Corner Partnership Area.  As agreed upon at that meeting, we are taking decisive steps to make our voices heard by City Council.

There will be an important follow-up meeting Tuesday, January 29th, 7pm, at the Norfolk Work Force Development Center, 201 E Little Creek Road (down the row from Kroger) where we will continue to work on formulating our plan of action. We must decide how next to proceed in order to hold our elected officials accountable for the implementation of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

Our task at this next meeting is to iron out and formulate our means of implementation for what must be our three most important items of action. Remember, if you aren’t present and don’t make your voice heard, you will not have cause for complaint,  We must all be present to represent our neighborhoods and businesses. The future depends on it. WARDS CORNER NOW!!

The Wards Corner Hula Hoop Lady is an Inspiration

January 23, 2008

Hula Hoop LadyWe have all seen this very dedicated woman hula hooping in the median strip in front of the ATC Fitness Center. We miss her when she is not there. Many of us know her story and for those who do not, Pilot Online has her story. Pamela Brown is her name, and she is a true inspiration.

Two more stores to close in Midtown Shopping Center

January 23, 2008

As if the Martone/Dalis “Midtown” Shopping Center in the northeast quadrant of Granby Street and Little Creek Road doesn’t have enough vacant store fronts,  today, I heard, from a reliable source, of two more closings. Payless ShoeSource and Simply Fashions will be closing their doors shortly. The Footlocker Store closed its doors for good on Monday of this week.

Why is Wards Corner consistenly on “the back burner”?

January 23, 2008

Below is a letter penned by Wards Corner resident, Joan Griffey.

Dear Mayor Fraim,

The 2004 Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan was proposed and financed by City Council with a quarter million dollars of taxpayer funds. What positive remarks will you include in your State of the City report concerning progress on this plan and the Wards Corner Business District?

In four years, the plan has not delivered on various items:

  • There are currently 15 empty storefronts which were supposed to be occupied with family friendly businesses
  • A badly painted crosswalk was installed instead of a brick crosswalk
  • New mast-arm traffic poles were planned to reduce overhead wiring mishmash
  • Elimination of blight was supposed to be the focus
  • Updated buildings have not been addressed
  • A parking garage has not been delivered
  • Housing was supposed to be built above storefronts to generate community living

Last Tuesday, nearly 100 Norfolk voters assembled to discuss our frustration and the rank discrimination by our Council and City Manager towards the Wards Corner section of Norfolk. We voiced plans to continue to meet and energize our civic leagues for fair treatment for Wards Corner. Since 1997, the WCPartnership, in 2000 the WC Taskforce, in 2003, the WC Comprehensive Plan all have made aware our problems with blight, crime and public safety, esthetics decline , downturn of business activity and a “war zone” image as a gateway to downtown. These reports have been ignored and pushed aside, oblivious to the very people we elected as our leaders.

On our city website, the mission states that the City of Norfolk shall provide leadership and direction responsive to the needs and desires of all citizens of Norfolk. This does not exclude Wards Corner citizens from leadership to improve our quality of life and civic opportunities. Discrimination exists when certain areas of the city are given preference to Wards Corner (i.e., $11 million for frivolous fountains in Town Point Park where people go to look at the River, and the St Paul’s Quadrant, and a skateboard park and new development near the light rail stations).

Why is the City not interested in developing Wards Corner area? The city is doing nothing to encourage development. Promoting downtown is fine, but not at the sacrifice of the rest of the City. Are you expecting to concentrate misplaced and indigent peoples in downtown to our geographical area? This problem needs to be addressed. Perhaps our only recourse is to approach the news media for help to call attention to Council’s neglect. Why is Wards Corner consistently on “the back burner” when development is discussed?

Wards Corner citizens expect our leaders to step up and represent us. We are waiting for you to deliver on your promises and “stick to the task”! Wards Corner First.

Joan S. Griffey

A letter to Councilman Williams

January 23, 2008

Yesterday, I received from Laura Thom a copy of the following letter to Ward 1 Councilman Don Williams:

Letter to Don Williams

January 21, 2008

Councilman Donald L. Williams

809 W. Ocean View Ave.

Norfolk, VA  23503

Dear Councilman Williams:

Wards Corner used to be a great area.  “Times Square of the South” it was once called.  No more.  This area, which is the main gateway to the City of Norfolk from points north, is in a state of disrepair and neglect. 

Finally, after years of losing business after business[1] and watching the further deterioration of already substandard housing in several Wards Corner locales[2], on November 21, 2004, Norfolk City Council adopted the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.  While city council continues to spend thousands of dollars enticing developers to downtown, and is now focusing on St. Paul’s quadrant (and what about  the $11 million fountains slated for Waterside!), not a move has been made to begin fulfillment of the Wards Corner plan.  Council members like to say their hands are tied because of the revisions to eminent domain.  But this is a smoke screen; revisions to eminent domain did not occur until 2007—2 ½ years after Council approved of the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

Residents and businesses of Wards Corner spoke loudly and clearly last Tuesday evening.  We are just plain tired of the discriminatory practices demonstrated by our elected officials.  Moreover, we are prepared to take decisive action to institute changes of City leadership unless council members begin to right the wrongs, end the neglect, and focus on implementing the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan –not next year, not next fiscal year, but now.  It’s unfortunate that the eminent domain legislation will make this plan more difficult to accomplish, but Council will simply have to overcome the resultant obstacles.  I respectfully request that you, as our Ward 1 representative, take heed and pay attention to Wards Corner Now.




Laura Thom

[1]  Over the years, Wards Corner has lost the beautiful stone Hofheimer building in favor of a generic Walgreens. Regino’s Italian restaurant, a Wards Corner landmark, closed then re-opened far down E. Little Creek Rd., Mary Barnett’s moved to Riverview, Naas Bakery moved to Tidewater Dr.   The space formerly occupied by People’s Drug has been vacant for years.  Uncle Louie’s is gone, so are: Abel Art Supplies, The Toy Works, Herschler’s Children’s Shoe Store, LaVogue, Rice’s Department Store, The Fabric Hut,  Smith & Welton’s, Lottie’s Shoes… the list goes on.   We even had a bowling alley!     

[2] Note the crime statistics in Denby Park and the Texas Streets. 

January Civic Connection Updates

January 22, 2008

The Civic Connection is produced by the City of Norfolk on a monthly basis. Below are some highlights from January’s edition.

Recent Action by City Council

  • Approved the concept of a memorandum of understanding between the City and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and authorized the City Manager to negotiate the agreement. It will establish a program to help the City address blighted areas through NRHA. Council also designated the first neighborhoods to be included in the program: Denby Park, Monticello Village, and Oakdale Farms.
  • Approved an ordinance for the possible future use of surveillance cameras in Project Focus neighborhoods (currently Denby Park, Olde Huntersville and Pleasant Avenue in East Ocean View. The ordinance Council outlines the process by which neighborhoods or the police chief can request the installation of cameras and where the cameras would be placed. The purposes of the cameras would be to deter crime, assist in the apprehension of known suspects, and to reduce public fear in perceived higher-crime areas. The next step is the issuance of a Request for Proposal for a contractor to help the City investigate technology and issues regarding the placement of cameras. Council would hold a public hearing prior to implementing any program in a neighborhood.
  • Established “rental inspection districts” for each of the three Project Focus areas (Denby Park, Olde Huntersville, and the Pleasant Avenue area of East Ocean View). The Department of Neighborhood Preservation is in charge of implementing the rental inspection program and notifying renters and owners.
    The program allows the City to inspect all of the units in a property with fewer than 10 units. For a multiple family (10 or more units) complex in the initial and periodic inspections the codes compliance office shall inspect only a sampling of the total dwelling units of not less than two and not more than ten percent of the dwelling units However If the codes compliance office determines upon inspection of the sampling of dwelling units that there are violations of the building code that affect the safe decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants of such multiple family complex the codes compliance office may inspect as many dwelling units as necessary to enforce the building code. Once a property is found in compliance, it cannot be re-inspected for four years except at the request of a tenant.

Contracts – Notice to Proceed
Wards Corner Signal / ADA Improvements
Contractor: Highway Electric, Inc.
NTP Date: December 3, 2007

Norfolk Tea Party 2 Out of Focus?

January 20, 2008

On a cold, rainy and dreary Saturday morning, The Norfolk Tea Party 2 held another Town Hall Meeting. The message that came out of that meeting was as cloudy as the weather outside. The Norfolk Tea Party 2’s past success has been based on doing it’s homework, having its facts straight, and sticking to the issue of a high Norfolk real estate tax rate. Half truths, fuzzy facts were spewed by many in attendance. (We have at times accussed the City of the same thing. We are better than this.) None of this was necessary. The budget of this city is in a written document. Spending by Norfolk is documented; therefore, facts are readily available to the Tea Party if the leadership had been willing to do their homework.  Clearly apparent yesterday was another agenda at work; an agenda to remove the City Manager. The City Manager serves at the pleasure of Council. Obviously, since she is still the City Manger, most of the Council must be satisfied with her performance. And why shouldn’t they be satisfied? Most of the wards in the city are recipients of economic development projects and spending for city services that are improving their citizens’ quality of life.

The geographic make up of the attendees was mostly folks living outside of the Westside of Norfolk. The Greater Wards Corner Partnership area was sparsely represented at the Town Hall Meeting. We in the Greater Wards Corner Area have bigger fish to fry. We do not need to expend our energy in a bitch session, when we have not cleaned up our own mess caused by a lack of proper representation.  The Norfolk Tea Party 2 will not get our Comprehensive plan off of first base; only through our efforts and attention to the task at hand will.

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