Granby High School Wrestling Team needs your help to re-build their program

November 30, 2010

Granby High School

Wrestling Team 

7101 Granby St. 

Norfolk, Virginia 23505


November 22, 2010

Friends and Neighbors,
My name is David Pucino and I am the Head Wrestling Coach at Granby High School.  Granby Wrestling is one of the great traditions of Norfolk and of the Wards Conner area.  Our school has won 21 Virginia State Wrestling Championships.  We need your help now to re-build our program and restore the winning glory. 


We ask for your generous contribution to help us cover the cost of uniform items, singlets, and sweats for each wrestler.  Our goal is to raise $3000.00 by the start of the 2010 wrestling season.  Your contribution will make you an honorary member of our Granby Wrestling Booster Club.

The Granby Wrestlers need your help to restore the winning tradition and glory of Norfolk’s Granby Wrestling. 

_____  Yes, Coach, I will help the Granby Wrestling Team restore the glory of Granby Wrestling, with a

 contribution as indicated below.


_____  $250+              State Champ  –  Receive a Granby Wrestling t-shirt, mention on our Team Web Page & Face Book Fan Page, and  be displayed on a sponsor banner at home wrestling event


_____  $100    Pin   –  Will be listed on our Team Web Page and Face Book Fan Page, and they will be

                        displayed on a sponsor banner to be hung at every Granby event


_____  $50      Take Down   –  Will be listed on our Team Web Page and Face Book Fan Page


_____ Other   Team Spirit  –  Will be listed on our Team Web Page and Face Book Fan Page


Name, Address and Phone #:  ____________________________________________


Please Make check payable to “Granby High School”, and write “Wrestling Team 3280” in the check memo area.


Your donation is fully tax-deductible.  Granby is an educational organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Our U.S. Tax ID number is 54-600-1460.

Send your donation to the following address, before December 20th, so we are well prepared for this season.

Granby High School

Attn:  Wrestling Team

7101 Granby St.

Norfolk, Virginia 23505
If you have any questions or suggestions, please call me directly at  757-587-0657 or on my cell at 240-215-7519, or email at

The Granby Wrestlers and I greatly appreciate your help.

Best Regards,

David Pucino
Granby H.S. Head Wrestling Coach

Click here for copy of the 2010 Granby Wrestling Contribution Letter


Police looking for Denby Park resident, Mario “Rio” Fox, in connection with Timothy Drive shooting

November 29, 2010


Mario "Rio" Fox, image from

Mario "Rio" Fox, image from

Per the Virginian-Pilot:


City police are looking for a 26-year-old man in connection with a shooting Nov. 4 in the 500 block of Timothy Drive.

They have a pending warrant for the arrest of Mario “Rio” Fox on charges of robbery, armed burglary, aggravated assault and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Fox is black, 6 feet 4 inches tall and 215 pounds, with long dreadlocks.   Police said he is often seen around his residence on San Antonio Boulevard, along with East Bayview Boulevard and Ben Moreell housing.   He should be considered armed and dangerous, police say.

Anyone with information about Fox is asked to call the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (562-5887).

Pilot prints article on proposed Thrift Store and proposed Apartments

November 28, 2010

The following is the article that appeared in the November 28, 2010 Compass:

BY: Harry Minium

Wards Corner community leaders have big dreams for the drab commercial strip at the intersection of Granby Street and Little Creek Road.

Wards Corner Now, an umbrella group for civic leagues in the area, is pushing the city to recruit a Target or Kohl’s department store there.

So it was with some consternation that about 75 residents listened for two hours on Saturday as developers pitched, of all things, a thrift store and an apartment complex.

Little Creek Road is already replete with thrift stores, and Wards Corner has hundreds of apartments.

Developer Arthur Collins has proposed building 385 apartments in a project to be called the Landmark at Talbot Park. Located across Newport Avenue from the Fitness and Wellness Center, it would be an upscale apartment community that would attract high-income residents, he said.

Wards Corner community leaders, including Talbot Park Civic League head Jim Mc-Donnell, are skeptical.

Collins told the group that the apartments would have two swimming pools and a community center.   However, Wards Corner leaders said he has been hesitant to guarantee those amenities in writing.

Collins said his development would replace 190 units at the Riverside Terrace apartments, which he says are populated largely with low-income residents.   He said up to one-third of his tenants are delinquent on their rent.

Originally, he had planned to build condominiums there, but said the decline in the condo market makes that proposal unrealistic.

Collins needs City Council approval for his plans. Councilman Andy Protogyrou , who represents Talbot Park,  said he won’t support the proposal until it is endorsed by civic leaders.

Protogyrou has taken the same stance on plans for another thrift store in Wards Corner.   ForKids, a well-regarded charity that helps dozen of homeless families in Norfolk, has proposed running one at the southeast corner of Wards Corner.

The strip shopping center there is owned by Chris Perry, who is working with the city on redevelopment plans.

Vera Hartig, a parishioner at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, helped create ForKids, which began as an outgrowth of efforts to fight homelessness more than two decades ago.

The thrift store has the support of Mayor Paul Fraim, who said at the meeting that he’s in favor of the project, but his endorsement is predicated on the approval of area civic leagues.

Fraim said the thrift store would be “a short-term thing” until the economy improves to the point where Perry can redevelop his shopping center.

But Wards Corner community leaders Louis Eisenberg, Martin Thomas Jr. and Jim English said they are concerned that if the area is rezoned, another thrift store could open once ForKids closes. Currently, once a permit is approved for a thrift store, it can continue to operate even if ownership changes.

Fraim said he would ask the city attorney’s office to investigate whether the city could word the permit to expire once ForKids closes.

“I realize this is not Bloomingdale’s or Crate and Barrel,” Fraim said.

No it’s not, and Fraim has promised much to Wards Corner leaders.

Fraim campaigned for re-election five months ago pledging an economic revival of Wards Corner.   He kicked off his re-election campaign in a church at Wards Corner and had his campaign headquarters there.

Fraim said development will occur at Wards Corner when the economy improves.   “Good things are going to happen,” he said.

But for Wards Corner residents who have waited more than a decade for significant improvements, a thrift store and more apartments are not exactly welcome news.

Harry Minium, 446-2371,

Father charged in senseless death of 5 month old

November 26, 2010

Pilot Online has reported that Darrell Marvin Brown Jr., 27, of the 300 block of Fort Worth Avenue was charged with the malicious wounding of 5 month old Asia Brown. Norfolk Fire-Rescue responded Sunday to the 300 block of Fort Worth Avenue and said that Asia Brown was having difficulty breathing. She was admitted to the hospital in serious condition. Asia Brown died Wednesday evening. Additional charges are expected against Darrell Marvin Brown. He is being held in Norfolk City Jail.

Special thanks to Granby HS FBLA

November 22, 2010
Adopt A Spot - Granby High School Business Students

Adopt A Spot - Granby High School Business Students

Wards Corner Now and the entire Wards Community offers its thanks to the Granby High School Future Business Leaders of America.  On Saturday, November 20, 2010 they collected over 420lbs of trash during a cleanup event in the business district.  See details and pictures below:

What a beautiful Saturday morning.  Granby had 3 staff and 9 students participate in Keep Norfolk Beautiful project by picking up litter in the Ward’s Corner Business District.  We collected 420 lbs of litter in 3 hours.  Students were greeted by Chris Perry, Owner of the Ward’s Corner property and President of Suburban Asset Management.  His appreciation was shared with the students and their effort to give back to their community.  Participants included:  Jim Brown, Simone Davis, Jordan and Jewelia Grover, Baron McLean, Tyronne Tigg, Chrishauntez Moses, Brittany Taylor, Regina Calahan, Mrs. Boogades, Mrs. Lanz, Mrs. Pentinen and her 5 yr. old son, Grant.

Cleanup Participants

Cleanup Participants

Cleanup Participants

Cleanup Participants

ForKids proposes Thrift Store for Wards Corner

November 21, 2010
ForKids, Inc. has proposed a Thrift Store in Wards Corner

ForKids, Inc. has proposed a Thrift Store in Wards Corner

Thaler McCormick, CEO of local charity ForKids, presented her organization’s Wards Corner based Thrift Store proposal on Saturday at the monthly Wards Corner Now meeting.

The store, which is slated to occupy space in the shopping center at the southeast corner of Wards Corner (commonly referred to as the Perry Property), would include 7500 square feet of retail space and 3500 square feet of warehouse space in the former Sports Zone location.  That space has been vacant for 18 months according to the landlord, Chris Perry, who also attended the Saturday meeting.

Major concerns with the proposal included a thrift store not being the direction that the business district needs to move in and the appearance of donations being left in front of the store.

Ms. McCormick indicated that she understood that the eventual plan is to redevelop the shopping center and a clause will be included in her lease that will require her to move out upon six months notice.

Mayor Fraim, who was also present at the meeting, offered support for Ms. McCormick and her organization but indicated he understood why some people have concerns.  The Mayor suggested that Ms. McCormick meet with the civic leagues individually before any decisions by Council are made.

To open a thrift store a special exception to the zoning must be approved by City Council.  Another concern was that the zoning change would allow other thrift stores to open up in the same shopping center or that ForKids could sell the store to a different operator.  Mayor Fraim indicated he would have the city attorney research whether the special exception can be tied to the particular owner.

Other details of the proposed project:

  • The Thrift Store will be owner operated
  • Two full time paid staff, 5 part time paid staff, plus volunteers
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun 12PM-5PM
  • Investors: Hampton Roads Community Foundation, The Parsons Foundation, Suburban Asset Management
  • Project Director:  Bill Young, former owner of Taste Unlimited

Thrift Store at Wards Corner on Agenda for this Saturday

November 17, 2010

Agenda for this Saturday’s Wards Corner Now meeting:

  • Proposed Thrift Store in Wards Corner Business District
  • Art Collins to present on his revised apartment community plan

Please attend and let your elected officials know how you feel about the two above proposals.  The meeting is this Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

“History” section added to

November 15, 2010
Undated Wards Corner post card, Carroll Walker Collection

Undated Wards Corner post card, Carroll Walker Collection

Inspired by Robert B. Hitchings’ presentation on the History of Wards Corner, we have added a History section to the website.  You can visit the History section by clicking here.  The information and images posted were found in the Sargeant Memorial Room of the Norfolk Main Library.

W.C. Taskforce meeting cancelled for Veteran’s Day

November 9, 2010

The November Wards Corner Taskforce meeting scheduled for this Thursday has been cancelled for Veteran’s Day.  The next meeting is scheduled for December 9, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

History of Wards Corner

November 8, 2010
"Wards Corner Survives"

"Wards Corner Survives"

The Cromwell Farm/Ellsworth Civic League recently invited Robert B. Hitchings, Head of the Sargeant Memorial Room of the Norfolk Public Library, to give a talk on the History of Wards Corner. The slideshow that went along with the  presentation is attached here (PDF).

Should your civic league want to invite Mr. Hitchings to present, he can be reach at:
Sargeant Memorial Room – Main Library
235 East Plume Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510

Book Exchange to expand at Wards Corner

November 7, 2010
Book Exchange

Book Exchange

John Knight, owner of the Book Exchange at Wards Corner, wrote in to share exciting news about the expansion of his store.  Congratulations John!

I want to let you know that all parties officially signed the lease. We have taken over the former “Simply Fashions” space next door. The Book Exchange will now occupy both spaces. We hope to have renovations completed and the new side open by the first week in January. We will move our Movie and Music inventory to the new side and greatly expand our selection with the goal of providing the largest selection of used DVD’s and CD’s in Hampton Roads. The overall concept of family oriented store will remain the same, with “The Book Exchange” on one side and “The Movie & Music Exchange” on the other side. Customers will be able to use their store credit on both sides of the store. We are sure that this will be a positive addition to Ward’s Corner. Keep up your great work!


Collins to present at WCN meeting on Nov 20th

November 5, 2010
The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Site Plan

Art Collins, the developer of the proposed “Landmark at Talbot Park”, will present his new development proposal at the November 20th meeting of Wards Corner Now.  The meeting is at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Ave.  Your attendance is requested.

WC resident comments on Collins’ new proposal

November 1, 2010

Sam Ross, a resident of Hariton Court adjacent to the proposed apartment complex, sent the following email with his comments on the proposed development.  The email was addressed to Jim English, president of the Wards Corner Civic League.

Mr. Collins will be presenting his new plan at the November 20, 2010 Wards Corner Now meeting.

Jim –

For whatever it may be worth the following represents my understanding of the meeting we attended at The Landmark At Talbot Park on October 20.

The presentation was well done, the architect and the developer expressed their problems quite well. It is probable that everyone would acknowledge now is not the best time to be trying to develop housing units for sale. Having held the property for four years or more without significant sales has to be a stretch on whatever corporate resources Mr. Collins has. Additionally, we all would agree that the existing in-place structures show their age and are in need of maintenance and management which would obviously increase their costs beyond reasonable levels.

In terms of aesthetics any change (even paint) would enhance the curb appeal of the older buildings. The renderings presented are far more pleasing and of more neighborhood value than the existing buildings so I do not believe the people’s problems have to do with either property improvement nor construction methodology.  Also the proposed changes to the ambiance of Newport Avenue would certainly be welcome especially as that shown in the provided renderings.

There are various advantages and disadvantages to the proposal that Collins should address as part of his presentation to the public. As I once knew of things the only thing that sells anything is the benefit received from the proposed change. Therefore the advantages to the project should be highlighted to inform inquirers as to what they will receive from the change. This has several key factors within it. People support things in which they feel they have had part ownership as well people support things that have been shown to benefit both parties in the transaction.

For these reasons I suggest Mr. Collins focus more attention on the following areas:

1. Rental versus Owner occupied structures.

As was discussed, there is the probability that as the mortgage market and realty    market change and improve over some period time there is the likelihood that  the         new units may convert, gradually, from rentals to condominiums.  There can be             no absolute guarantee of this nor should there be a    plan issued for this but the             probability is strong that Mr. Collins may, in the median future, want to recoup      portions of his investment through the sale of units as part of a Condo   Development as was originally intended.

If, as is probable the median income is $ 58,000 to $ 60,000 with a disposable        income on average of  $ 17,550 most leasing tenants may well qualify for      mortgages in an amount that would allow for sale of the properties at some future        point. This may well assuage some of the long term concerns of residents.

The upscale nature of the apartments would go a long way to insure tenancy of      longer-term renters and those renters that would care more for the condition of the property negating some of the angst of the single family residents. Nothing will            allay everyone’s fears but to present the issue that there is something to gain             (eventual property owners and better neighbors) should help the process

2. Density and increased Traffic

It would seem one of the predominant issues is the increase in traffic incumbent    upon the development of 376 dwelling units ( 12 existing new + 364 proposed).          This represents an increase of 144 units over the existing 232 apartments. Using            the numbers provided by Collins et al the existing units require .5 parking spaces    per unit while the proposed units require 1.66 per unit. One would assume the requirements are reflective of the probable number of automobiles in each unit.            Clearly then there are currently 116 vehicles existing and 624 proposed. So there      will be a five fold increase in vehicles with the development as presented. Additionally there seems to be (from the drawings) approximately 672 spaces   within the complex providing only 48 spaces for visitors and guests or about .13           spaces per unit. Obviously any overflow would have to be on Newport Avenue             which in many ways is over parked now. I would suggest that Mr. Collins needs    to address this issue directly. The traffic study that was done according to the    presenters indicated little or no change to the traffic which seems contra-indicated             by the numbers above.

If Mr. Collins could negotiate with the Senior Center, Norfolk Health and Wellness Center, Farm Fresh, Kroger’s, and Malcom Van de Water for combined use of a van or Jitney transport to and from these areas as well as a location such        as MacArthur Mall the concerns of some residents could be calmed a bit. It may    even be that several existing residents of single family homes might see this as an    advantage beyond what exists for them today. If such negotiation is not possible it    might be possible to work with HRT for a limited service vehicle to provide the      same service. If, as was said, a significant marketing effort will be undertaken for retired families this provision would have even more merit. In any regard there is benefit to the current residents in any proposed transportation improvement.

On a second issue. The fact sheet provided shows no increase in the number of      residents.  Using their numbers there are 232 apartments occupied by 500-600        residents. Using a mean between the numbers of 550 residents we would see that    232 apartments are occupied by 2.4 people per apartment. Using the same figures the proposal shows that the newly built units would be occupied by 1.46 people           per unit. This is not very rational and perhaps Mr. Collins should be a little more         reasonable in constructing his fact sheet when it comes to the number of people to    be served by the new units.

With 1.75 people per unit making  658 people resident we could easily say that      would yield $ 11,515,000 (658 x $ 17,550) in possible disposable income. Some           percentage of this money will find its way into the economy of Wards Corner.     That having been said whatever reasonable percentage is applied to this should      help in the process of trying to attract some anchor tenant or new construction of           retail space in and around the Granby/Little Creek area.

Coupled with this is the obvious increase to the City of Norfolk of $ 4000,000 or more in property tax revenue.  While not a direct benefit there is some reasonable            expectation that home owners taxes will not need quite as much of an increase in the future.

Finally there is impact on the use and services provided by the Health and Wellness Center. Recently, for financial considerations they reduced the usage of    their facility from 7 days per week to 6. An increase of 658 high median income            families should increase their membership and provide income for future    expansion of services regardless of the Norfolk City budget process. I wouldn’t think it to become totally self-sufficient but there would be less need for City    money if even 20% (131 people) were to join the membership. There may be             plans for an exercise facility in the proposed construction but it would seem           superfluous to add that since a more than adequate facility already exist within        two blocks of the site. Residents would obviously benefit from expanded hours and more programs.

3. Building Scale, Bulk and Mass

As was expressed in the presentation the buildings are, in this iteration, only three stories high. A rendering as if from Hariton Court as to the view of those        buildings would go a long way to reduce feelings of “just more apartments.” The         view now is not as pleasant as it could be if care in rendering a multifaceted           façade (ala Bolling Place) were provided. Perhaps a deeper setback with more trees of size and ornamental plantings would be something that could allay fears         of only seeing walls across the stream.

As was said the change in Newport Avenue is significant and must, in a     reasonable market, positively affect property values for the whole of the    neighborhood. It could be suggested that more discussion with Malcom Van de            Water take place to research the option of his redoing the east side of Newport to either match or complement the west.  It might not be necessary to undertake as     extensive a building plan as Mr. Collins  but rather to address only the area            fronting on Newport.  The maintenance of that area has always been well done             and seems to continue in that way but the buildings are of an age and style that     might be due for a change.

As we semi-discussed the façade fronting Newport could easily reflect subtle        difference from structure to structure. Such things as different roof lines, different     setbacks, different colors, different siding options, etc… This might eliminate a             little of the bulk and “row house” look that exists now.  The buildings are much             nicer than what exists but I would suggest that since they are to be new      construction anyway that as much variance as is possible without soaring           construction costs would enhance them even more.

As a conclusion I would offer that much of the negativity that has existed has come from expecting one thing and then being told something else. Mr. Collins is to be commended for his willingness to listen to the community and make provision for what he hears. No one likes to be forced into things so if these semi-benefits could help in any way he might more easily “sell” his concepts without seeming to force people into something that is based only on his business problem of having the property and not realizing enough income from it.

These are just ideas and concepts that arose during the meeting. If there are any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sam Ross

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